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Soap nuts and crystal stone deodorant

I made an amazing discovery recently. Soap nuts! Nuts that grow on trees that you can wash your clothes with.

They make your clothes smell fresher and nicer than any branded detergent, and it's great knowing that you're not using some mass/factory-produced powder (also good if you suffer from eczema like I do). I've been re-using them and they seem to last a good few washes, so they're actually cheaper than detergent too (£4.99 for a bag of around 100). They're quite curious things, I love them and am glad I heard about them. My mum picked up a catalogue from a company called Wikaniko who're based up in Newcastle in the UK, and now she's acting as a distributor for them. They sell all sorts of eco-friendly products.

Another great item is a natural deodorant stone, made of crystal rock. You just add water and it rolls on. So much better than the shop-bought products, just feels healthier, cleaner. And the write-up says that the stone lasts a year, maybe longer, if you take care of it. Again, this cost £5, which is going to save me about £20 a year.

The deodorant stone says:

Natural mineral salt
No animal testing
No Parabens]No Aluminium Chlorohydrate

which is all excellent news.

Here's how the natural deodorant stone looks:

These are two really good ways of helping the environment, so I just though it would be of relevance to post and inform others. If you are interested in Wikaniko eco-friendly products, the web link I have for the products is:


There is also a free allotment e-magazine, which has given me loads of great tips for my gardening. And there are some bargain cheap seeds for sale too, starting at £0.99p.
This site looks interesting, it's talking about personal carbon capture and storage as a strategy to prevent climate change:

"The COyou2 patented technology works by filtering the air you breathe out, capturing the carbon in a convenient lightweight backpack.

As you breathe out into the tube, the carbon dioxide passes through a solution of ammonium nitrate and the reaction allows the carbon to be isolated. The carbon is then stored in exchangeable inner bags that can then be sequestered in any nearby location including your own backyard."

I've just ordered a catalogue, it's definitely worth checking out, after all, every little thing makes a difference. I never thought about human beings as being responsible for major carbon emissions.

What do you guys think?

Tomato guts?

I'm making tomato sauce - I've turned a bunch of tomatoes into 7 cups of tomato for sauce, about a cup of skins and tops and about 3 cups of seeds and juice.  Anyone have anything yummy to do with the seeds and juice?  Last time I tried using it in the sauce, but it just didn't come out very good... It seems like I should be able to use it for *something* though!

The 100 Thing Challenge

The 100 Thing Challenge - A grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items.

"Stuff starts to overwhelm you," says Dave Bruno, 37, an online entrepreneur who looked around his San Diego home one day last summer and realized how much his family's belongings were weighing him down. Thus began what he calls the 100 Thing Challenge. (Apparently, Bruno is so averse to excess he can't refer to 100 things in the plural.) In a country where clutter has given rise not only to professional organizers but also to professional organizers with their own reality series (TLC's Clean Sweep), Bruno's online musings about his slow and steady purge have developed something of a cult following online, inspiring others to launch their own countdown to clutter-free living.

Bruno keeps a running tally on his blog, www.guynameddave.com, of what he has decided to hold on to and what he is preparing to sell or donate.

Source: Time Magazine

living lightly... in birth!

if you're a woman interested in having a child some day, you should watch The Business of Being Born. (Also a netflix instant watch movie!)

Very interesting! I learned so much I didn't know about midwives, etc.

Guiding Rule: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

I'm somewhat new to this . I had been talking about doing it for years but it is just this last year that I actually started to simplify my home and my life and since then I have been on the lookout for new ways to do this. This community is just what was looking for :)

Henry David Thoreau
~Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify! ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.~

This of course is one of my top priorities this year. It ties in nicely with the Buy Nothing New plan.
The thing is I'm a Libran.
We like to surround ourselves with beautiful things. Books, art, framed photos of family and friends, beautiful gifts that have been handmade just for us. My house is full of these things.

~To keep a house clean with minimal effort, the guiding rule is to simplify as much as possible. The less you have, the less you have to keep clean and put away.~

So the first step in a minimalist cleaning routine is the hardest: declutter as much as possible, so that you only have the things you use often and love to death, and no more. For me, that's still a lot.

1.a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter: a jumble:
2.a state or condition of confusion

They are not clutter. They were purposely placed. A place for everything and everything in it's place. This really isn't a problem as keeping house is now my job and my hobby. Perhaps if I was still working outside the home I would feel differently or even if my children were young. But still there is quite a bit I can let go of. I've started a *must go * pile and I add to it everday during the week. On the weekends I take a load down to the Salvation Army or Thrift store. I also give a lot away to friends and family.

~Our life is frittered away by detail. ~

~Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; ........ instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.~ (forgive me, I chopped this quote up in order to use what most pertains to this post)

Okay now this I can and have done. At one time I only allowed 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 cup per person .That was back when I was working full time and raising a family. Since then my cupboards have once again become full with excess. I will be working on that this week.

~An uncluttered room, with only furniture on the floor, is extremely easy to clean.~

Yeah, And it is also cold and boring. I mean I agree with No clutter, but I have to have books and art.

Fewer clothes means you have fewer things to put away and to wash. Sure,if you have lots of clothes, you can go longer without having to wash, letting the clothes pile up into a huge Fuji-like mountain. But who wants to face that mountain when you run out of clothes to wear?

  • Fewer things on your kitchen counter means cleaning the counter is a snap - just give it a quick wipe with a washcloth and you’re done. No straightening things out, cleaning in between or under things, putting things away.

    ~Meditate While You Clean~

    ~While housework is not looked upon favorably by many people, if done right, it can actually be very relaxing and destressing. The key is to be mindful and present while you clean.~

    I like to think of a Zen monk sweeping the floors of a temple when I sweep. It’s corny, maybe, but it really helps me focus on the sweeping, and it’s a form of meditation. In this way, I actually enjoy the cleaning, although I’d rather be writing to be honest.( or in my case, I'd rather be baking)"

    And now some links that might help you out

    How to Declutter,
    15 Great Decluttering Tips,
    A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home.

    *x-posted to myhappyhome


    I am making a green "to do" list and I want to switch over to a green energy tariff for my electricity.  Does anyone know anything about the ones operating in the UK?  How to choose?  How we know they are doing what they say they are doing?  Are there any drawbacks to choosing green electricity?

    Also, anyone living in the colder parts of the world have any experience with domestic solar panels?  One of my friends who works for an energy company tells me it would be difficult to make it work at our house because our main sloping roof sections face east and west, rather than south.

    All info gratefully received.


    Home-made toiletries/cleaningstuffs?

    Hi all,
    I'm just starting to embark on a light living experiment, and as part of which I aim to quit using cleaning chemicals and commercially-made toiletries as far as possible.

    However, I theoretically start this experiment tomorrow, so I'm very unprepared for what happens when my current cleaning things run out and I have to start improvising.

    I have washing soda and soap nuts for laundry purposes, and a home-made moisturiser using jojoba oil, and the moment I find where in my town I can lay my hands on white vinegar I'll be getting some of that in for cleaning purposes. However, I have two problems at the moment:

    I will very shortly run out of washing up liquid and conditioner.

    On the basis that detergent is detergent, I'd have thought that washing soda could be applied to washing dishes as easily as it can to washing clothes, but does anyone have a better idea? Do the bubbles on commercial washing up liquids actually serve any purpose?

    And about the conditioner, I'm completely stumped. I've seen some recipes online for hair conditioner, but they all appear to be ones that you have to make on the day and have no shelf-life whatsoever. For a slob like me, that would basically result in my never conditioning my hair at all.

    Ideas, peoples? Any helpful URLs that explain exactly How It Is All Done? Eternal gratitude awaits you.

    Cool trash experiment

    Hi, me again.

    NPR's Marketplace has a host carrying around (almost) all her non-recyclable trash for two weeks, with the goal of zero waste by the end of the challenge.


    It's been going on for four or five days, but I decided just now that I'm going to try it too. It should be interesting.


    Hello? Hello? Anyone here?

    I really like the posts I've read in this community, even if they are infrequent. I think it would be wonderful to pick it up a little. I am very much into simplicity, and I don't have anyone I can talk to about it (late-night re-googling of old search words is not as good as conversation!). Even my most alternative friend, a vegetarian pagan environmentalist farmer, does not get excited about simplicity. I would love to share this with someone. A few points to mention for your enjoyment.

    1. Quakers. If you don't know about them, find out. Simplicity has long been part of Quaker tradition, as evidenced by the almost-extinct plain dress. Which, by the way, does not require black or old-fashioned cut. For Quaker simplicity, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimony_of_Simplicity. For plain dress, http://quakerjane.com/index.php?fuseaction=plain_dress. and also the "About plain modern" link.

    2. The Little Brown Dress Project. http://www.littlebrowndress.com/ This woman wore the same dress, accessorized, every day for a year to give a little FU to fashion. The next year, she wore only clothes that she made or altered herself. Including underwear.

    I noticed a while back members listed items they brought into their homes. Last year I also had a habit of listing in my journal the things I bought or brought. Unfortunately, I really enjoy getting things that are neat/attractive/cool/perfect for my personality, and getting them for a steal at Goodwill. At the same time, I have frequently uttered the phrase "I hate possessions." I try very hard to send out of my home an amount comparable to what I brought in. Belongings, even if well-organized and not actually physically clutter, clutter my mind. They frustrate me. I need simplicity. In Feng Shui terms, belongings screw up my Chi, I suppose.

    Things I would like to try:
    Something akin to the little brown dress project.
    Making my own unders and cut-and-seamed socks.
    Bathroom wipes in place of TP.
    No microwave/TV (alas, they belong to my roommate).

    All I can think of for now.