A WEE Bit Greener

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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?

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Reflections and Progress. The New Year Post.

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I’m seeing so much positivity and many hope-filled resolutions being shared all over my social media and blog reader. I’m loving it! I’m also really excited about the new year. This is actually my first year with legitimate goals and real resolutions. But before I put on my rose colored glasses and tell you all about how awesome my 2017 is going to be… I want to take a moment and reflect.

I’ve seen quite a few “good riddance, shoddy 2016” comments sprinkled within all the resolution goodness. And maybe some people really did have a cruddy year. But I want to start my new year not by remembering the ickiness and failures of the previous year, but rather by remembering all the things I got right, gathering up the momentum I’m bringing into 2017, and focusing on the base on which I’m building my “new year.”

In 2016, I became a better parent.

I opened my mind to the idea that children (babies included) are actual people that deserve the same respect, measured responses, and validation as any other human. Maybe that sounds like a huge DUH statement to you, but my natural (as in how things are meant to be) parenting journey took a wild swing this year. For the better.

In 2016, I committed to better, healthier products.

I’ve been dropping my sketchy body care and household items left and right and have been replacing them with more natural, simple items.

In 2016, I made better diet choices.

Processed foods are out, real food is in. I still splurge on goodies or fast foods, but it’s now seen as an infrequent fling for funsies and not a dependence on “quick and easy” options. Quick and easy can still be healthy.

In 2016, I became an advocate.

I came much more outspoken about genital integrity and the case against routine infant circumcision. I’ve made posts, awkwardly started conversations, collected research. I’ve saved babies.

I’m riding my 2016 wave right on into this new year.

I’ve never actually made a New Year’s Resolution. Not one single half-hearted attempt.

I’ve always thought it was a little silly or just pointless. A reason to feel positive on January 1st and then like a failure two weeks later. And honestly… I’ve never really had a reason to make a resolution.

That seems so sad to me now.

This year feels different. I feel so… AWAKE. This year I have so many goals I’ve actually felt a hint of worry that I might be overdoing it. And then I remember that these are my goals, my passions, on my time, with no expiration date.

Big things are happening this year.

Our homeschooling journey goes LEGIT.

This will be out first year homeschooling legally, joining co-ops, keeping records, etc. I feel confident. Not necessarily prepared for perfection, but confident in where I want this journey to go and the general path we want to take.

This year I want to give more of myself.

I’m a pretty quiet and reserved person. A homebody. This year I want to let more of my real self be seen. I want to be open in my friendly chats. I’m going to tell you about how awesome menstrual cups are and how positive thinking has changed my life. I’m a unique hippie lady, and it’s time I stop covering up my secret identity.

I also want to give more of myself to God and my family. I want to do more for my church, for my community. I want to give my children more hugs, more stories, more mom time. I want to love my husband more intensely, more passionately.

But I also want to be less.

I want to create less waste. (Looking at you, Zero Waste people!) I want to minimize my household objects to create a space of comfort and calm and appreciation rather than just live in tolerance of their existence. I want to spend less. Less dirty dishes in my sink. Less worries in my head. I want to need less.

This year is already great.

Minimizing the Little Southern Girl’s Closet

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In my last post, I shared that I had destashed two garbage bags of kid’s clothes. Today while doing laundry, I had a moment. My daughter’s closet has been PACKED since before she ever came earthside. I’ve been buying packages of hangers monthly. Even with consistent and frequent destashes, it was still jammed and I’d have to shove stuff to the side just to squeeze in a few more clean items.

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A poor quality photo.  Poor quality because I was in such a state of URGENCY here.  Look at it.  There is literally a kitchen sink in there.  (although this is actually *the best* space for our kitchen playset…  It keeps it out of sight and saves space in the bedroom.)  But this is where we stood AFTER my purge last week.  This is not minimal.  This is not peaceful.

Getting dressed and choosing clothes is always a headache. My husband simply refuses to help pick clothes because of the absolute chaos in the closet. Things that don’t fit yet, things that are super cute but kinda don’t fit yet, things that are cute and fit great but, as my girl says, have “scratchy lines inside.” (shirred fabrics) A giant mound of hand-me-downs, too-big items, or out of season things added to all that as well.

Today I decided I’m over it.

Completely and utterly EXHAUSTED by it.

You know you’re in a terrible state of excess, and dare I say ungratefulness, when clothing is a BURDEN.

Behold.

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Poor quality photo.

Superb quality destash.

This is everything except socks and undergarments.

I now have almost 100 empty child’s hangers in my laundry room.

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I’m still blown away by this.

I want to share how I went about it and to encourage you to take the plunge yourself. It took me about two hours (one nap time), and it feels WONDERFUL! I’ll go ahead and say that I kind of lucked out with a kid that despises most pants. She has maybe three pairs of pants she will wear. I’ve always been frustrated by that. No longer!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Step One – The Absolutes

First, I pulled out everything I knew was a 110% keeper. For my daughter, that included “puppy shirt,” “Ariel dress,” and “the red shirt.” She is the ultimate minimalist. I pulled out a couple brand new, unworn things and then used the following criteria to complete this first step.

  • It must fit right now
  • It must be something we all really, really like
  • It must be seasonally appropriate

I ended up with about a dozen things in this first sorting.

Step Two – The Basics

Next, I went through and pulled out the “staples” that we liked.  Basically, things that make life easy.

  • Things suitable for everyday wear at home or quick outings
  • A few nicer things for church
  • Things that could pull double duty (shirts that layer well, cute outfits that work for any and every occasion, etc)

Step Three – The Unnecessary

The third step was to pull out the fer-shurr no’s.

  • Things that either one or both of us disliked
  • Things that didn’t fit nicely
  • Summer clothes
  • General “bleh” items.

Anything either of us didn’t care for went into the destash bucket. Bleh items went in there as well along with anything on the verge of being too small. Anything too big was judged and sorted based on “Will this summer item fit six months from now?” and “Do we even like it?” and most importantly “Does it have itchy lines inside?”

Step Four – The Assessment

At this point I still had several things hanging in the closest that I was unsure about. They fit most of my keeper criteria, but I was having commitment issues.  So I sorted my keeper items from steps one and two into these categories.

  • Short sleeve shirts/outfits.
  • Long sleeve shirts/outfits.
  • Everyday dresses.
  • Church dresses.

Looking at my definite keepers made it easier to decide on the items I was feeling unsure about.  I could see that I had plenty of this and maybe needed a few more of that.  Basing my choices on what I wanted to KEEP rather than what I wanted to get rid of made this purge much easier for me.

I finally had an empty closet..

Step Five – The Miscellany

On to the mound of random items stuffed into the corner.  (Maybe you already keep yours in a nice heirloom trunk, but going through it is still a good idea!)  I followed much of the same criteria for these things.

  • Strong appeal to us both
  • Likelihood to fit
  • Whether or not it was similar to another item

It all fits into a printer paper box. I didn’t even have to sit on the lid to shut it.

THIS is what minimalism feels like.  I know there are people out there with one pair of jeans and three shirts, and maybe I’ll get there one day, but this is amazing!  I encourage you…Don’t stop until you reach a genuine place of peace and happiness and excitement about the state of your belongings.  Don’t aim for better, aim for BEST.

I’m on a roll now.  Closets being liberated all over the house this week!

Holiday Minimalism Tips

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I’m minimizing slowly but steadily!

We’re now down to two crock pots instead of three.

Leaps and bounds being made here, I tell ya!

In all seriousness, I really have been making good progress. Especially considering the time of year and the near constant influx of new toys and clothes.

I did a pretty good destash of my kids’ clothes a few weeks ago. I was able to donate two huge garbage bags of stuff. Yesterday I halved the amount of stuff in our toy box. (I cannot express the level of combined peace and fabulocity one feels when there is OPEN SPACE in the toy box.)

Let me tell you… Attempting to up your newbie minimalism game DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON can be tough. We are extremely blessed and often exchange many, many wonderful gifts.  It can feel overwhelming to have rooms full of wrapped gifts, new toys scattered everywhere, and giant mounds of new clothes to find hangers for.  But what a blessed mess! Because of the love and generosity of family and friends, we have only needed to actually purchase clothes for our children a handful of times in their whole lives.  How amazing is that!?

I’ve realized a few things and developed a few strategies to make the most of the season without going into full on minimalist panic mode from the chaos and then following up that panic with immense “but we’re so fortunate” guilt.  I hope this helps some of you too!

Action #1. Prep Errthing.

Destash heavily in the weeks before.  Clothes, toys, kid stuff, adult stuff.  Clearing out not only gives you room to work with, but it also gives you an excellent sense of what you and your kids actually need and what you don’t really use.  Clearing the clutter makes visits at home and traveling much easier. Plan your schedule and visits to allow for a recoup period so you can get yourself refocused before going at it again. Spacing events also helps give your kids some time to detox and unwind from the excitement and RED DYE SOAKED SUGAR IN EVERYTHING. STAAHHP.  

Action #2. Destash Wisely, Graciously, and Cheerfully.

During the destash process, be on the lookout for regiftables, hand-me-downs, shelter items, etc.  I’ve noticed in our town people leave warm clothing and blankets tied to trees in parking lots for the homeless and less fortunate.  There is always someone needing a warm jacket. With all the opportunities to be a blessing and be blessed during this time, there is no reason to keep any “umm, this could maybe be useful to me” items.

Action #3. Learn to Accept Blessings.

This was actually a hard lesson for us to learn.  When we started attending our current church, we realized that many within our church family love to give.  Whether it be a helping hand, a small comfort item, or palmed cash covertly slipped over during a hug.  To say it was awkward for us is an understatement.  When we asked our pastor about it (Should we let people do this?  Should we give the money back?), he basically told us to remain humble and not refuse a thoughtful and faithful blessing from a sister or brother in Christ.  If someone feels a pull to give, let them give.  Both sides receive joy in this.  And remember that we are blessed so that we may also BE a blessing.

Side note for funsies! – We did the shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse this year.  My husband and I were standing at the back of our SUV in a parking lot trying to decide what we needed and how to best pack our boxes.  A wonderful lady approached us and said she had asked God for direction in blessing someone today.  And then she handed us $50. We thanked her profusely, wished her a blessed day, and then bought $50 more worth of stuff for extra boxes!  I’ve heard it said, “God will get it to you if He knows He can get it through you.”

Action #4. Always Remember Jesus.

With soooo much going on and so many physical or material aspects of the season, always keep your focus on Jesus. Giving away your old items, or even giving away brand new items, is so much easier and heart fulfilling when you really open up and accept that you’re not just giving things or donating your old crud.  You can make your home a happier place AND bless others mightily. Maybe you’re like me and often struggle with thoughts of “we have so much and others have so little.”  Now is the time to remind yourself that Jesus was sent, not because we deserved Him, but because our Father in Heaven loves us so much!  Be blessed.  And when the blessings fill you up to overflowing, start blessing others just as much!