An Enemy in Disguise. CONTAINERS. 

Who in their right mind doesn’t love a good container? A sturdy, cute basket. A tub with a lid that locks shut with a satisfying snap

Them crayons ain’t going nowhere

Laundry baskets, mason jars, makeup bags, diaper bags, hand bags, totes, plastic drawers, sandwich bags, Tupperware, toy boxes, jewelry boxes, tea boxes, shelves and more shelves.

These containers whisper to us, knowing we yearn for organization.

“Let me tidy up that bathroom cabinet for you.”

“You know what would fix that junk drawer? Seven tiny baskets!”

“Laundry will be quicker with this ergonomic tote.”

“I can slide under the bed and hide so much stuff.”

CLICK TIGHT LIES AND STACKABLE DECEPTION.

This epiphany came to me as I was kick-pushing two giant, rope handled buckets across my living room. These were originally purchased to be used as toy bins, but since minimizing our toy stash, they’ve turned into impromptu reflex and balance obstacle course challenges. (Should I just fall gracefully after stumbling over them or should I try a ninja leap first and then fall?) These darn things are always in my way. Either empty or with two or three Hot Wheels rolling around inside.

“You have to keep us.  You NEED us.  What are you gonna do? Throw us away? Giant PLASTIC buckets? LOLNO.”

The jars in my cabinet tell me the same dirty stories. Even though I’ve literally *never* needed to use all of them at once… “But what about when that day does come? Where will you put that 1/3 cup of marinara? IN THE TRASH?! Way to utilize that first world privilege, sicko.” 

The eco guilt is real.

Throughout my destashing and minimizing and zero waste endeavors, I’ve focused on clearing out these spaces in earth (and wallet) friendly ways. I now have drawers that open and close freely. Who knew? I have cabinet space. I don’t have to buy Ziplock bags.

But I’ve basically been left with empty shells. The storage equivalent to my kids’sandwich crusts. I could use it for other things in the future, but do I really want to hang onto old sandwich crusts

Um, no, I eat that immediately because I don’t have time to make my own lunch if I want to watch Gilmore Girls reruns during nap time DUH. 

The containers must find new jobs or they’re out of here. Window herb planters, fabric upcycling, reusable shopping bags, rainwater collectors, giftables, etc.

Know thy enemy!

Minimalists, is there anything that has managed to stay under your radar? What things have you had the most trouble with letting go?

“Lowcountry Institute for Exceptional Booger Flickers” : Naming a Homeschool 

This year will be our first year legitimately homeschooling. As in… We’ll have to send official documents to people and pinky promise to actually do stuff other than watch Leapfrog on YouTube. 
I feel oddly undaunted by the thought of being the dominant educator of two real-life humans. I don’t know if I’m the calm, organized yet free spirited mom or the utterly hapless, disaster-is-imminent mom

One of the things on my mind is our school name. I know quite a few homeschool families, and every. single. one. is named LastName Academy. 

We have to be different. Obviously

I also don’t like the word academy. It makes me think of soldiers for some reason, and likening our home life or schooling philosophy to anything remotely orderly and stringent would be a farce. 

I also don’t want my children to cringe each time they have to write “Darth Vader Memorial High School” or “Academy of the Elven Fleet” or some other ridiculousness on job applications for the rest of forever. (Some people really take their homeschool names to the edge.)

However, I would like our name to be somewhat original and unique and speak to who we are. 

I’m interested in hearing what other homeschoolers have named their school. Or if you’re not a homeschooler, what would you name a family school? 

Natural Alternatives That Are Actually Bunk 

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I’ve been wanting to create a few posts about some of the natural remedies and alternatives floating around. Some of these methods are extremely popular and even touted as THEBESTTHINGEVAR by some users. 

But once you start digging, it starts to get sketchy. Sure, these items involve organic products or they’re mixed up in a cozy kitchen, or that other crunchy lady said it worked. But… These alternatives…  

Do they actually work?

Are they safe?

Do they make a lick of sense?

I love natural options as much as the next hippie, but far too often, the answer to these questions is a big ‘ol nope. Snake venom is natural, but I’m not gonna brush my teeth with it, ya know?

Instead of rewriting what other exceptional writers have already written, I’ve decided to do a link round up post. This also proves I’m not just being contrary and that many others have come to similar conclusions as myself.  I’m not crazy.

I preemptively apologize for the bubbles I’m about to pop.

#1 No Poo

I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of the No Poo method. If you haven’t, the quick overview would be… Use baking soda to clean your hair and then follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse. There are variations, but these two ingredients and steps are the most common. Here are a few great reads about why this method isn’t the greatest and how it can actually really damage your hair. 

What Years of Baking Soda “No ‘Poo” Did to My Long, Healthy Hair {Or, When a Natural Living Experiment Fails}

Yes, I’m Sure It Was the Baking Soda {FAQ on the No ‘Poo Disaster}

The Dirty Hippy Truth About No-Poo and Why I Won’t Use Baking Soda on My Hair

Why I Stopped the No Poo Method

Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair

Why No ‘Poo Didn’t Work For Me

#2 Mixing Vinegar & Baking Soda

This combo runs amuck all over Facebook and Pinterest. If you read the links above about the No Poo method, you likely already see the issue. Vinegar is used to neutralize and balance the baking soda. Sooo… What good is a neutralized cleaner? Turns out this mixture reacts to create nothing more than salt water. The end results achieved can actually be attributed to the combo of water and elbow grease and not those fizzy bubbles you see. (Those videos of people effortlessly wiping away years of burnt on oven gunk? Dark magic. Lies.)

DIY 101: Baking Soda + Vinegar = Not So Much

Is a Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture Effective for Cleaning?

Vinegar + Baking Soda = The Ultimate Cleanser?

Why You Should Never Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean Clogged Drains

#3 Coconut Oil as an Emergency Moisturizer or Facial Oil

This one is hard for me. I love coconut oil and use it for so many things. (see my Two Ingredient DIY Everything Butter) But the facts are facts, and coconut oil is just not meant for some uses or users. For some skin types, it can be *extremely* drying and is also a well-known comedogenic oil… meaning it has the potential to seriously clog pores.  I regularly hear from friends or see social media posts along the lines of “I use coconut oil every day, and my skin is so dry!”  We’ve been living a lie, people!

When Coconut Oil May Not Be Right for You

Why Some Skin Types Should Stop Using Coconut Oil – the mixed results of this otherwise healthy oil

7 Alternatives To Coconut Oil, Because Your Beloved Coconut Oil May Clog Your Pores

Comedogenic Ratings

#4 Lemon/Lime Juice on Skin

This isn’t one I see as often as the others, but it’s quite significant. Lemon juice is often recommended to lighten skin or as a liquid for facial scrubs. Turns out it actually can have the opposite effect and can be pretty dangerous.  Skin darkening, uneven patches, dry skin, second degree burns… Um, no thanks.

Is Lemon Juice Good or Bad for Your Skin?

Fact-Check: Should You Use Lemon Juice on Your Skin?

I Got Second Degree Burns From Lime Juice

#5 Homemade Detergent

Am I stepping on any toes yet? This is one I haven’t used personally, but I did have a close friend use homemade detergent for an extended period. (years!) Being the receiver of many a hand-me-down from her (and being incredibly grateful for them!) I did notice a significant difference in the fabrics.  The materials felt unusually heavy and filmy…I’m assuming this is a soap build up? Homemade detergent also massacred her cloth diaper stash :/ 

Why You Should STOP Using that Homemade Laundry Detergent (like right now!)

Homemade “Detergents” : The Bad, The Worse, and The Ugly

Homemade Laundry Detergent Doesn’t Work

DIY Laundry Detergent Update

Fluff Love & Cloth Diaper Science’s Cost Comparisons


Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest, but it’s also pretty darn disappointing. We aim for “better” with our natural, home made with love, money saving, DIY products only to find out they’re bogus? 

Laaaaame. 

But when we know better, we do better! And the whole point of searching out natural alternatives is to find something that actually works and is safe for us, right?  

Just keep swimming. 
What are your honest experiences with these natural methods? 

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to replace these alternatives? 

Dear Future Generation, 

I promise not to be a jackhole when I get older.

As a millennial, I can’t help but wonder what the next generation will have to deal with. Because of the year in which I was born, some people assume I’m selfish, entitled, impatient, ungrateful, incapable, dumb, narcissistic, emotionally whacked, so on and so on. It’s assumed that I don’t know how to cook, sew, garden. It’s assumed that I’m gadget obsessed and never drink from a garden hose. It’s assumed I’d die before finding my way home with only a folding map to guide me. 

Dear Future Generation… I got you. 

I promise not to make underhanded comments when you can’t change a flat tire because you were too busy curing diseases my generation didn’t take seriously.  

I promise not to shake my head in disdain when you say you don’t make many meals from scratch because your parents were never home to teach you how. 

If you get through 12+ years of school and still can’t figure out your change or a 20% tip in your head, I promise to take on at least part of the blame on behalf of my own generation. 

I promise not to do something asinine like insist on handing out mass participation trophies, display them on a shelf for years, and then blame you for ever accepting them while wondering aloud why you don’t try harder. 

I promise I’ll try really hard not to laugh at you when you cry and can’t handle the emotional wasteland that my generation ushered in. 

I promise not to cherry pick among your faults, then turn around and gobble up all your spectacular inventions, discoveries, and ideas like soft peppermints.

I promise I’ll spend at least as much time lifting you up as I do poking fun at you. 

All my love, 

A Millennial
How do you feel about generation separation? 

Pro Tip! 

Don’t store both your butter and your coconut oil/beewax/orange oil diaper cream in the same style jars on the same counter. 

Husband made himself some tropical, waxy coated toast yesterday. 

My bad, husband… 

Does anyone else store their butter on the counter instead of in the refrigerator?

A WEE Bit Greener

familycloth

Bad puns. Gotta love ’em!

But yes!  I’m ready to test these waters.  (there’s another pun there somewhere)  I’ve always used cloth wipes on my babies, but I’ve been hesitant to try them for myself.  I don’t think I’m ready for adult #2’s in my washer just yet, but I can handle #1’s!

I prefer to use nursery flannel to make my kids’ cloth wipes.  It’s soft and even softer when two layers are turned and topstitched together.  It does the job so well and they’re super cute.  It’s also a really easy sewing project for beginners.

Alas….I care not even a little bit about cuteness when it comes to grown folk wipes.  But that’s what makes this DIY so awesome.  It doesn’t matter what they look like.

I’m taking this little leap, and I want to encourage you to try it as well!  This is so easy.  Just minutes from start to finish.

The secret to this DIY is KNIT FABRICS.

If you’ve done much sewing, I bet you already see where I’m going.  Knit fabrics don’t fray.  No sewing required, no serging, no special scissors needed.  Just cut it up and go.

BOOM.

Knits are available at any store that sells fabrics, and you can feel free to skimp a little and buy the cheaper stuff or check the discount/remnant bin.  This DIY is also perfect for those of us clearing out closets.  Tshirts, PJs, tank tops, etc…A lot of these are made with knits.  Minimize, recycle, DIY, and save the planet all in one go!

I chose to cut my fabric into rectangles so I could easily fold them into thirds for use.  I didn’t measure or get too fancy.  However, keep in mind that knits will roll around the edges a good bit, so plan accordingly when deciding on a rough size.

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Perfectly Imperfect!  Full size to the left, folded in thirds to the right.

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Ample hand coverage!

That’s all it takes!  I store mine in a basket underneath my bathroom sink and pull out a tiny stack each day.  Used wipes get dropped into a mesh lingerie bag for washing.  If you don’t already have a mesh bag, I’d definitely recommend getting at least one.  Tiny wipes could get stuck in your washer!  The bag also makes it easy to refill your basket.  Just dump the clean wipes out of the bag and carry on.

We can do this!


Do you use cloth wipes?  What do you use?  What are your experiences?