Cleaning for Lazy People*

simplified cleaning

*Or overworked, busy, stressed out or ill people!

I'm not a fan of cleaning.  My mom is a saint with it comes to cleaning, she devotes an entire day and a half to it each week.  I did not inherit that gene.  So what's a lazy person to do?  

Choose any one of these to do when you have a spare 30 seconds. Do one or two a day and your house will never be filthy.  Awesome. 

Bathroom:

  • When you're done washing your hands, right before you turn off the faucet, use your hands to scrub down the sink.  It needs it. 
  • Use your damp hand towel to wipe down the toothpaste splotches on the mirror. 
  • After using a washcloth on your face, use it to wipe up the counter and faucet.  
  • When you've finished blowing your nose, grab an extra tissue or two and wipe down the top of the toilet bowl and that little space between the tank and the seat.  Toss the tissue into the toilet. 
  • Keep a spray bottle of 50% distilled or boiled water and 50% white vinegar in the bathroom.  Spray down the toilet with it and let it sit for a minute while you're brushing your teeth.  Done.  Disinfected.  
  • Keep a toilet scrub brush next to the toilet and give it a whirl when you see a dirty ring form in the bowl.  So long, nasty.

Kitchen: 

  • Ready to toss your kitchen hand towel in the washing machine? Use it to wipe down the faucet first. 
  • Keep another spray bottle of 50% water and 50% white vinegar in the kitchen.  When you think of it, spritz down the counter tops and the sink.  Let sit for 1 minute.  
  • Place a broom and dust pan in a corner.  When you notice the floor needs it, you won't have to hunt down a broom to give it a good sweep. 

Living Room and Bedrooms:

  • Use a Swiffer dust wand thingy to give things a quick swipe when you notice they are dusty.  The wands are magic and almost makes dusting fun; no chemicals needed.  
  • In lieu of getting on your hands and knees to scrub the tile or wood floor, use a spray mop.  It might not get quite as clean, but at least it will actually get cleaned.
  • Keep as many spray bottles, towels and Swiffers in your rooms as necessary.  Having to track down cleaning supplies will kill the urge to clean.
  • Vacuum when you notice debris on the floor.  That might be every day or every 5 days, just do it when you feel.  One caveat: we recently moved to a house with all tile and wood floors.  With no carpet to hide in, it's truly amazing/disgusting how much "fluff" builds up each day.  I'd ere on the side of more vacuuming if I were to move back to a carpeted place.  

Laundry

  • If you're lucky enough to have an in-home/garage washer and dryer, do a small load each day.  If that doesn't feel environmentally friendly to you, lessen your chemical impact by using a natural detergent and save water elsewhere by taking shorter showers.
  • Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.  One less thing to worry about - they stay in your dryer and are good for 1,000 loads.
  • If you're dealing with a coin-op, multiple machine situation at your building or use a laundromat, I find doing all the wash at once is less overwhelming because you can get 3 loads going at once.  

 

Well, that's how I keep our home reasonably clean, even with low energy and not much time.  If a tip or trick helped, please click the <3 button or share button below!  

5 Ways to Tame Your Kitchen Today

simplekitchen.jpg

1.  Gather up all of your Tupperware-style food storage containers.  Match the lids.  Recycle any that don't match or are chipped, broken or otherwise damaged.  Pare down.  Most of my clients could cut their collections in half and still have plenty.  Consider switching to glass - it's BPA free and doesn't stain.

2.  Go through your pantry and toss any expired cans, boxes and jars.  Pay close attention to spices, snack foods and cans.  I find that these are often expired.  Many cans are lined with plastic that contains BPA.  If you are going to use canned food, look for ones that say "BPA free" on the label.  

3.  Grab a paper shopping bag or box and clear off your counter of anything that isn't kitchen or food related or that you haven't used in the past month.  Put this bag in the garage for 2 weeks and see if you miss anything.  If not, you have permission to recycle it all.  If there are important papers on your counters, put those in your office, not the garage. :) 

4.  Give the refrigerator a quick once over - toss anything that's getting funky or growing more mold than a shot of penicillin.  Please recycle the empty jars.  Once you've composted any questionable food, give the shelves a quick wipe down with a 50/50 vinegar and water spray. 

5.  Open your utensil drawers and toss any packets of soy sauce, salt, pepper and the like, as well as any plastic cutlery.  Give the gadgets a once over while you're looking in there.  Most restaurant kitchens rely on knives, cutting boards, a can opener and skillets to create any number of tasty meal.  Chances are, you don't really need 80% of the gadgets in there. 

Simple Luxury

As we enter the new year, I know it's easy to focus on what we want to change about ourselves and the resolutions we made (and probably broke by now), but we if we focused on the luxury we all have access to? The luxury that comes, not from million dollar yachts and Dom Perignon, but from appreciating the simple beauty all around us?

I would like to propose a few simple, happy changes to make.  Ones that will remind you of the beauty all around us and of how lucky we are.  If you're not in love with your life, consider trying a few of these.   Most can be had for free or under $20.  

1.  Display Flowers:  

For $3.99 at Trader Joe's or Safeway, or for free from your yard, fresh flowers (and branches, leaves or greens) are one of the most inexpensive way to feel truly luxe.  When you open an HGTv Magazine, or Better Homes and Gardens, there is ALWAYS a bouquet of flowers displayed in the homes.  The editors know we are naturally drawn to their beauty, so why not replicate it in your own home.  While I spend most of my time telling you to declutter and get rid of things, some very deliberate purchases can have a lasting, positive impact and make your life feel luxurious.

2.  Light a Candle:  

Another favorite $3.99 splurge is IKEA's Glimma Tealight candles.  These burn the best out of any tea lights I've purchased, and the tins they are in are recyclable.  If the thought of heading into an IKEA makes you break out in a cold sweat, you can also get them on Amazon.  I LOVE using the tea lights in my himalayan sea salt candle holders. They glow and make our room so inviting.  Also try a candle at the dinner table!  If you're feeling a little spendy, my all-time favorite candle is Danielle LaPorte's Clarity Candle.  At $32 (including shipping), it's a bit of a splurge, but it's so worth it and lasts forevah!  There are 3 other scents if that one doesn't do it for you. 

3.  Cultivate Gratitude:  This one is free and probably pays the biggest dividends. I'm not saying go out and buy a gratitude journal.  Those usually wind up with 3 pages filled, then shoved under a bed.  I'm saying notice, during the day, the things you have to be grateful for.  It's raining, but you're inside, and warm.  You wake up in the morning and have access to fresh coffee.  Bombs aren't being dropped on your house.  That sorta thing.  :) Tell yourself that for the next 3 days, you're going to pay attention to your blessings.  It'll change your life. 

4.  Make a Fire:  

Sticking with the $3.99 trend, grab a Duraflame log next time you're at the grocery store.  Most stores have them up by the registers.  Nothing feels more luxe than reclining by a fire as the winds howl and the rains fall outside.  

5.  Create a Morning Ritual:  This doesn't have to be complicated, it just involves a bit more than hitting "snooze" 3 times, then springing out of bed, racing to take a shower and get out the door.  Calm down. Go to bed earlier, so you can wake up refreshed.  Then pick one or two things to be your ritual.  For me, it's making 1 cup of coffee and reading a few pages of whatever book I'm in.  Bonus points if it's sunny and I can sit on the porch while sipping and reading.  It feels luxurious to take a few moments for myself before charging headlong into the day. 

6.  Watch a Movie:

Make it a guilty pleasure.  Something that makes you happy.  Intellectual think pieces, while amazing and important, aren't what we're talking about.  I'm talking Step Up, Magic Mike, Bad Moms, Bridesmaids.  Something that entertains you without requiring too much brain power.  Get out of your head and start laughing. Enjoy the luxury of letting go.

7.  Go for a Walk:

Even if it's just around your block, getting outdoors is the ultimate luxury.  Walk a bit more slowly than you normally would.  Notice the plants, the people, the houses.  Feel the air in your lungs.  Take a deeper breath.  Feel your muscles expanding and contracting. Stretch a little.  

8.  Take a Bath:  This can be free, or you can create a detox bath with a few inexpensive ingredients.  The important thing is to grant yourself the time to sink into a warm bath and zone out for a while.  If it feels luxurious to you, read a book and sip on tea.  If that seems like work, just enjoy the warmth and close your eyes.  

9.  Make Your Damn Bed:  You're an adult.  It takes 3 minutes. I timed it, and we have 4 blankets and 5 pillows to wrangle.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, will make your room look fancier and feel more peaceful.  Don't believe me, take before and after pics and see how you feel looking at the made bed vs. the unmade one.  Look at beautiful bedrooms on Pinterest and note how many have unmade beds. Still don't believe me? Make your bed for 3 days in a row and see how you feel.  You're welcome. 

10. Cook Something Healthy :

Seriously.  Nothing says luxe more than eating a high-quality, organic, healthy meal.  It doesn't have to be a huge production, nor cost an arm and a leg.  One of my favorite things is to saute 2 cups of spinach with some garlic and onion, then stir in a scrambled egg and top it all with some fresh avocado and a dash of Tabasco.  Easy, decadent, healthy.  

 

Well, there you go, 10 ways I wallow in luxuriousness.  Pick 1, or all 10.  I hope they help you!  If they do, please click the <3 or "share" button below. 

PS Outsource and Order Takeout to simplify

Fighting Clutter with eBooks

While I am a huge fan of library books in the traditional sense - go to library, check out books, save $20 vs. going on Amazon - they still bring the same amount of clutter into our homes as purchasing said books.  

The fix?  Borrowing eBooks! They are sent directly to your Kindle, Kindle app, or Nook.  If you live on the peninsula, you have access to the entire Peninsula Library System.  If you don't live here, well I'm assuming there is a similar program in any metropolitan area.  

So let's head to the Peninsula Library eBook page hosted by Overdrive.  If you don't live in the area, check Overdrive for libraries near you.

Are you there? 

Here's how to check out a book in 8 easy steps:

1. Sign in with your library card number (or an Overdrive or Facebook account).  

2. Search for the title you want.  

3. If it's available, click "borrow"; if it's already checked out, click "hold".  

4. The "borrow" button, once clicked, will say "read now".  Click that and it will allow you to read it on your computer through your browser.  

5. To download to an eReader, click on the "My Account" button at the top right.

6. Click "Loans" from the "My Account" dropdown menu. This will take you to your loans page. 

7. Click "Choose a Format" and then either Kindle, ePub or PDF eBook.

8. Clicking "Kindle" will take you automagically to Amazon and download it to your device.   

Toxin Free Home: Makeup

 

We’ve talked about toxin free laundry, bathing and moisturizing, so let’s move on to the stuff we smear on our faces.  I”m talking makeup, baby.  

I’ve always loved makeup.  Maybe that’s anti-feminist, but I love it’s transformative powers.  You can be anyone you want with a swipe of lipstick and a good mascara.  The thing is, most of us seem to pile on a lot….

A simple way to see how your makeup stacks up is to go to the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.  You can plug all of your makeup products into it and get their scores.  Many foundations scored ok if they were just foundations.  But, when you add in SPF, the scores go up into the danger zone.  

Remember our good friend Oxybenzone?  Main ingredient in many sunscreens. .  

So let’s talk about alternatives.  The two product changes that can make a big difference are foundation and lipstick.  Amount-wise, we use the most foundation and smear it on our biggest organ.  Between our skin absorbing what we put on it and ingesting a good portion of what we put on our lips, that can add up to a lot of chemicals getting into our bodies. 

If you’re going to use a foundation with SPF, look for ones that use titanium dioxide or zinc instead of oxybenzone (a known endocrine disrupter, allergen, and carcinogen). 

If you’re going to use lipstick, let’s get away from petroleum based products and go with natural plant oil and beeswax based products, so we can mitigate a lot of the damage. Look for ones free of Retinyl Palmitate, an ingredient in a lot of lipsticks that the FDA calls a known human reproductive toxicant.  I do wear lipsticks on special occasions, like today!, but for daily use, I use Waxelene as it helps keep my lips moist, is beeswax based and petroleum free.  

Well, that's a wrap.  if you have any natural makeup tips or photos, share them on social media with the hashtag #thesimplifiedlife  and if this video or post helped you, please consider forwarding it to a friend or clicking the "<3" button below.