One Thing You Absolutely Need in Your Home

Hey guys! How’s it going?! The typical BC summer has come at last, I can’t say I’m all that thrilled but I’m surviving haha. It was just Canada Day weekend, and I had a really good weekend. To celebrate Canada Day we went to a friends for a fire in the evening, we roasted hot dogs and played some hilarious minute to win it games. Then once it was dark enough we played sardines and we were all running around like kids and to end the night we had sparklers. I think the nesting bug has finally come for sure as I did some deep cleaning on Saturday morning and Sunday, which I’m very happy about, I was starting to worry it wouldn’t come haha 🙂

Anyway that’s not what I’m really sharing today! So moving on !

one thing you absolutely need in your home (1)

 

Okay so, part of learning to live traditionally and sustainably means choosing a different way to clean your home. You need to find something that’s more eco-friendly and a little more versatile. And I’ve been using this one thing for almost two years now, and now I can’t live without it. You need to have it in your home, and a big bottle of it too!

Wanna know what I’m talking about?

It’s White Vinegar!

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Seriously guys, vinegar is the mostly magical thing ever. You don’t just eat it. It’s a fantastic antibacterial, great deodorizer, and many more uses which I’ll be sharing.

You ABSOLUTELY need to have it in your house. Vinegar is a modern-homesteader’s staple!

First off, vinegar is a mild acid that has been used in the past for industrial, medical, and domestic methods, but mostly just cooking now. You can get it at any grocery store, it’s so affordable, and it takes forever to expire. I buy a 4L jug for $5 and it takes me a few months to go through. There are many different types of vinegars but I find the white is the most versatile.

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Okay now, the many magical uses of vinegar… (There’s actually way more but these are my everyday uses)

  1. Freshen laundry, I always pour in a bit (about 3/4 cup) when I wash a load of towels.  It helps keep my towels smelling clean.
  2. Fabric softener, having a bit in your rinse cycle will help soften clothes so you don’t need a softener which actually clogs washers and dryers.
  3. Washing machine, if you pour some in an empty washer and run it, it will actually give your washer a nice sparkle and for front loaders help with the wet dog smell.
  4. Extra dirty dishes, pour some vinegar in your “pre-rinse” compartment of your dishes if they need some extra boost. Really great if you found something growing in a tupperware and you need the extra antibacterial properties.
  5. Dishwasher, if your dishwasher is getting a bit clogged up, pour some in and run an empty cycle.
  6. Sinks, if your sinks are clogged, pour some baking soda in the drain, add 1 cup of vinegar and let it sit 10 minutes then pour boiling hot water down the drain. Also, sinks are some of the yuckiest places in the kitchen, so I like spray them down from time to time with vinegar to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
  7. Coffee pot cleaner, coffee pots will often times have bacteria hiding around somewhere so I’ll like to run some vinegar through it to be safe. I always rinse twice to be sure that the vinegar is gone and you wont taste it in your coffee!
  8. Kettle cleaner, we have fairly hard water here and sometimes I get a mineral build up in my kettle. I fill the kettle with water and about 1/2 cup vinegar, make it boil and then let it sit for 20 minutes or so. When I pour out the water the build up is usually gone, if not I scrub the inside and do it a second time. And then of course rinse after!
  9. Cleaning counter tops, I’ve made an all-purpose cleaner using vinegar (recipe for it HERE) that really is all-purpose. Some people may forget that your kitchen is actually so gross, and needs a little extra cleaning power, vinegar is a great natural way to clean your counters. Good for stoves too! We have a glass top stove so it’s easy for me to wipe the whole thing down, but it works on basically any surface.
  10. Fridge, again an area people forget about. I just use my cleaner spray and then wipe down the inside. You should especially use vinegar as an antibacterial if you have meat juice spill in your fridge or even freezer!
  11. Bathroom, I use the all-purpose cleaner in my bathroom as well to wipe down the counter and sink, but also in the shower/tub.
  12. Toilet cleaner, I use my cleaner spray and wipe down the whole toilet with it, even inside the bowl. It’s great at removing any yuckies and bacteria.
  13. Washing produce, vinegar is good if you’re worried about pesticides or any bacterial on your produce. Fill the sink with cold water and a cup of vinegar and soak the produce. Some people say it’s helped berries last longer, I have not tested this but I use this method to remove the wax from apples.
  14. Colour stay for clothes, soaking your clothes in vinegar diluted with water will actually helps your clothes hold on to their colour longer.
  15. Fruit flies, this is probably one of my best tricks with vinegar. Take a drinking glass, pour in a little vinegar, squirt some soap in, and fill the cup with water. You want the bubbles to go over the rim of the cup, the flies are attracted to the smell and then get stuck in the bubble and drown! For this one you could use apple cider vinegar as well too.

There’s my somewhat long list on how I use vinegar all the time and why I could not live without it. It’s a huge part of my weekly routine and I will actually panic a little if my jug is running low.

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There are so many different uses that I didn’t mention, like ways to cook with it or cosmetic reasons because I mostly use it as natural cleaning agent.

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For my all-purpose cleaner recipe go HERE

 

Was there a method that I missed and you use all the time? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

dawn

 

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Simple Garden Update #1!

So I started my garden the end of March (with my parents help). We have been fortunate to be given a little area to garden by our landlords and I gotta say, I’m absolutely loving it! You can see how it started HERE!

As a kid, I always had to help my mom weed and pick beans or spinach and I hated it. I thought it was so boring and weeding was literally the worst thing ever. My parents had a huge garden and we always had home grown food.

Now I love going out to my little patch to water and weed. I don’t even mind the weeding anymore haha. Maybe it’s because this growth is mostly my own efforts; yeah sure I’ve had questions and difficulties so I’ve called my mom but it’s still all me doing the work. I love learning new skills and it’s so calming to just sit with my hands in the dirt, which I never thought I would ever say or even think! I appreciate this opportunity that I have to mini homestead in my little area.

This is it now…

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So far I’ve had to deal with some nasty weeds (horsetail) and a terrible mole uprooting a couple onions and beans! FYI solution for moles, (this was a tip from my parents) find the hole and shove some blackberry branches in there, haven’t had an issue since I did that! But I still don’t have a solution for horsetail so if you do let me know! If I don’t pull them weeds everyday they’ll take over my garden!

Here’s how my blackberry branches look shoved in the mole hole.mole remover

We also went away for a week and it didn’t rain much so they didn’t have a whole lot of water and when I got back they were looking pretty sad. But with a little plant food and regular watering they sprung back up. I’ve also got a stockpile of coffee grounds to sprinkle with that I’ll do later this week for a waste-free fertilizer.

I’ve already been able to harvest some beautiful radishes and will probably plant another row before July!

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Also, up until today I didn’t have proper garden markers so I made some real quick with Popsicle sticks that I had stashed away.

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And that’s the garden so far! I’ve been so happy with it’s progress and that I’m really learning self-sufficiency skills!

I’m going to be posting a veggie dip recipe soon, so watch for that. You can see that recipe HERE now!

If you have any thoughts (or tips for horsetail) leave me a comment!

dawn

 

Simple Garden

One of my things I wanted to achieve this year was a mini garden; last year my parents had planted some veggies in pots for me and let’s just say the crop was not overly fruitful. This year we have been generously been given an area to garden by our landlords. Clearly, I’m no expert so I’m not going to be giving any advice but over the summer if there’s anything I learn, I’m hoping to share it here.

My parents however, are avid gardeners. I don’t ever remember growing up where we didn’t have a garden, I was helping washing fresh spinach and tipping beans since I was old enough to help! So while my parents were here a few weeks ago, we picked up the supplies (seeds and dirt) and on a good morning they showed me how to plant my seeds because I always skipped out on that part 😛

Because this is my first year I wanted to start with something easy and won’t take up too much space. So we planted…

  • potatoes
  • beans
  • onions
  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • radishes

Here’s what it looks like now, not pretty but it will grow, hopefully hahah

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It’s not much but it’s a start to learning a new skill and hopefully it flourishes.

dawn

Spring Beginnings

Okay so I’m going to be honest, the last four months have kicked my butt. I have had zero energy to do anything, my winter goals were to cook and read but I feel all I’ve done is work and sleep. I really can’t say I’ve even cooked once a week for the past four months because growing a human is exhausting.

Thankfully, I have my energy back (mostly), and over the past month or so I’ve really missed it here. Hibernating gave me a chance to refocus on what I really want to achieve with this blog. It will keep me motivated to learn what simple slow living looks for Evan and I, and to really embrace it in our lives.

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So with it being Spring (first day of Spring is tomorrow!!), I am “wiping my slate clean”, and starting fresh. My winter goals were to home cooked food, read often, and embrace slow living; which I feel, I achieved none. So I am again going to attempt these goals but in a different way.

This Spring I want to…

  • Cook from scratch at least 3 times a week
  • Minimize what’s in my home
  • Sustainable waste management

Cooking from scratch shouldn’t be such a problem but for people my age it’s a foreign concept because there is so much convenience food around that baking a loaf of bread is terrifying. I’m hoping to be able to master some delicious and easy recipes because I like easy and fast but I don’t want to have to pay for it anymore. We’ve recently received a small freezer as a generous gift from my parents and I’m hoping to fill it with freezer meals which will make cooking from scratch much easier.

I feel that clutter has a huge impact on slow intentional living, clutter not only fills our homes but our minds too. I know for myself when my house is messy and there’s papers everywhere, and just stuff everywhere, I feel stressed and anxious. Also, with a baby on the way I need to make space, especially since we’re in a basement suite there’s not a lot of room. I’ve already started to go through my clothes and a few other spaces but I found a “10-week” organizing plan on Pinterest that I’m going to use as a loose base model for my decluttering.

Over the last year, I’ve become aware of the waste that my household produces. It’s a little upsetting actually. Did you know that glass is 100% recyclable, it can be reused over and over again and never lose it’s integrity? Where as plastic which we use every day, and throw away every day is not 100% recyclable, and it sits in landfills or our oceans causing problems. This is where I have to start small, I’ve already switched to reusable produce bags (I bought them at a local grocer) and once I’m done my fancy bottle of foaming hand soap we’re going to use bars of soap because that’s completely zero waste.

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I love what comes with new seasons, that freshness and the ability to hit a “reset button”. Setting these goals for myself give me an opportunity to embrace an intentional lifestyle, but also to reflect on my past seasons. I’ve had some successes but mostly failures, but its a part of learning. And that’s what this blog is for.

Let me know what you think by leaving me a message in the comments section!

dawn