When I discovered the Zero Waste lifestyle in January of 2016 I became completely addicted to looking up recipes and how to’s. I was enamored by the multiple benefits Zero Waste offered. I saw Bea Johnson’s (founder of the movement) sleek, clean, home and I wanted to try it for myself. I wasn't just looking to adopt the next trendy lifestyle hack, I resonated with her wake up call of how overwhelming our choices for home products are. These products are chemical laden and cause harm to the environment when we flush them down our toilets and sinks. Johnson's book allowed me to closely examine my habits with consumption and chemicals.
Cleaning is something I loathed growing up. Just ask my family, they will happily confirm that my bedroom was a constant mess throughout my childhood. When I discovered Zero Waste, I also discovered minimalism and their dual joys. Since downsizing what I own, cleaning has transformed from a hassle to a satisfying task. This is what I find to be so empowering about Zero Waste, not only have I met my environmental goal of reducing the plastic I use in my home, by doing so I’ve also decreased my interactions with chemicals, I’ve downsized my cleaning budget, and simplified my cleaning process.
To clean everything, from the counters to the toilet I mix ½ vinegar ½ water and about 12 drops of essential oil, to dilute the vinegar smell, in a spray bottle. I give this a shake, and I’m good to go. I’ve also swapped paper towels for rags, which I thought would be dubious, but now I can’t imagine going back. This has eliminated my need for disposable, plastic and chemical ladened cleaning products. It has also cut my cleaning supplies cost down dramatically by only using a few simple ingredients. The only thing I have to purchase for cleaning is white vinegar and essential oil.
Now, don’t be fooled by my easy candor, this was not a pain-free journey. I definitely had a cry session over giving up paper towels one night early on. (I’m not kidding, I cried over paper towels, that really happened!) Slowly but surely, however, living from my values, one of which living in harmony with the earth and putting utility back in my products, has brought me more joy over the long term.
While cleaning may not being the #1 thing I always want to do, it is comforting to me how simple it now is. I take great joy in the many things practicing Zero Waste has brought to my life, now, cleaning is one of them.
What are some simple green cleaning changes you have made? What have you found to be most difficult to change? What has surprised you most about making changes to your cleaning routine? I’ve been surprised at how something so mundane can bring so much satisfaction when I do it in the way that feels right for me.
If you have any questions about Zero Waste or chemical free cleaning, feel free to shoot me an email email@example.com. I'm still in the process of discovering more recipies and hacks, I'll post more as I learn!