If you haven’t gathered from visiting my site, reading my blog, or following my Instagram posts, I love reducing clutter, simplifying my life, and minimalizing my family’s and clients’ impacts on the planet. Not surprisingly, I also LOVE products and processes that not only help me minimalize, but are also healthier for my family and the environment. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year educating myself on these types of multi-serving products, and I’d love to share what I’ve discovered with you!
Here are some of my favorite clutter-reducing and low-impact products. In no particular order, because I love them all:). I’ve provided links to online stores so you can read more about the products, but I strongly encourage you to seek these out in your area to support small/local businesses.
- This New Mop: I switched our mop from a Swiffer with disposable cloths to a Mr. Siga mop with reusable, washable microfiber pads. We have two of the mop pads that I throw in the laundry every weekend to reuse the following week. If you’d rather not throw out a perfectly good Swiffer (ours broke), they also sell these reusable refills that you can use instead of the standard disposables.
- Plastic Bag Dryer: I am still working on ridding our family of all plastic bags, but in the meantime I try and reuse the ones we have as much as possible. The key is to make sure they are clean and dried thoroughly. Once I wash out the baggies, I hang them on the dryer, then when they are dry, I fold them and put them back in the box. We can get at least ten uses out of a single bag.
- Stowaway Makeup: I love this brand because it meets all of my requirements: it’s super-natural and cruelty-free, their branding is minimal and beautiful and the best part…everything is sized to avoid waste. How often do you actually finish a lipstick? They’ve sized their products to match how we actually use them!
- Native Deodorant: A new all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant brand (read: not anti-perspirant, because sweating is important:)). They have yummy scents like Lavender and Rose, and free shipping! You do have to be careful of the “white stick” issue on your clothes, but other than that I’ve really loved this new option. Oh, and they also have beautiful minimal branding.
- Blue Avocado: As I mentioned, I’m working hard on eliminating disposable plastic from our home. These little bags are great alternatives. They are PVC-, lead- and BPA-free and can be washed and reused for a long time. Each one of them replaces 300 plastic bags. Read that again! They are a little pricey and they aren’t totally leak-proof, which is why we haven’t made the full switch yet, but totally worth having a handful to see how you can replace some of the disposable plastic in your home. Note: while these are reusable, they are still vinyl, so there is debate around if they are a safer alternative than plastic.
- Abeego Wrap: More plastic replacement! Abeego Wrap is an alternative to plastic wrap. We use it for sandwiches, and on top of bowls or cups that we are putting in the fridge. The warmth of your hands softens the beeswax embedded in the fabric, and as it cools, it sticks to glass, porcelain, and itself to make a seal. It’s super-cute and I love the smell of it. You wash it in cool water (hot water would melt out all the wax), let it dry and reuse it again and again. It hasn’t removed plastic wrap from our home, but we certainly use a lot less of it!
- Flip and Tumble bags: I bought these on a whim one day when I needed some retail therapy and am so glad I did. We take them to the grocery store and farmer’s market with us and use them to pack, carry, and store produce instead of using plastic bags. At the market, we are able to give the farmers back the plastic bags they use to pre-package their salad greens. Best part…when we get home, we just throw (well, we don’t throw) the produce in the fridge. Because they are mesh, you can even use them to clean your produce right in the bag. We bought baby lettuce on Sunday and it was still fresh, crisp, and delicious by Wednesday night. Warning: I got a little over-ambitious and stored carrots in them…they were like dried pencils the next day. So while they do retain moisture, they are intentionally breathable and some foods don’t do as well as others. Live and learn!
- Wet it!: You would be alarmed at how much my husband and I gush over these things. #meantforeachother. They are like if a paper towel, a cloth towel and a sponge had a baby…yeah, weird. Use water or cleaner to wet them, wipe down your surface, then you can rinse them out or throw them in the dishwasher and use them again. They are highly absorbent even when damp. We use far less paper towels and they work great. Plus look how adorable!
It’s important to know that all products, whether disposable or reusable, come with an environmental cost to produce, ship, use, and dispose of. We’re always trying to find alternatives that balance usefulness, quality, health, and planet-friendliness. I would love to hear if you try any of these products in your home and what you think, or if you know of any other alternatives! I’m happy to answer any questions you have about how to use them. One of my goals this summer is to start making my own laundry detergent and cleaning products …more on that soon!
PS: I don’t receive any payment or promotional consideration from any of the brands mentioned—just sharing what I’ve learned with you 🙂