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A couple of weeks ago, I asked this community to bring me any questions about sustainable living, decluttering, simple living, my life, etc. I haven’t done a Q&A in a couple of years, and this community was due for some entertainment! So today, I’m answering ALL of your questions!
Before we dive into the questions, if you are curious about my last Q&A post, go read it! There are some super cute fellas in it that you don’t want to miss! Previous Question and Answer
Also, I organized the questions into categories, and some questions are summarized due to the person asking the question shared personal information that I don’t feel comfortable with sharing publicly.
Answering ALL of Your Questions!
I’ve categorized the questions below in the following categories, so if there is a specific topic you’re wanting to read through, you know where to find it:
- Decluttering / How to Keep a Small Space Tidy
- Sustainable Living
- Switching to Natural Products
There are a lot of questions to answer, so let’s do this!
Answering Your PERSONAL Questions:
What inspired you to blog? And what keeps you inspired to blog? – Lena Onate
I’ve been interested in blogging since 2007, but never felt I had anything to say or share. When my husband and I decided to make a big life change, I knew I wanted to document the journey publicly so that others could read our story. If you’re interested, the post that shares about our transition to the life it is linked below for you!
I just ask you give me some grace with these posts as they are raw in the sense of what I’m sharing.
I stay inspired to keep blogging, because I still have a story to share. There is so much you can learn with simplifying your life and homesteading. Most people [including myself] have no idea all the doors that open when you decide to live with only the essentials.
It is overwhelming at times, so I continue writing to share tips that hopefully help the overwhelm subside. I’m not saying I know everything, because I definitely do not. But what I do know can help other people, and that is why I continue to share.
Trust me, there are days where I wonder why I keep blogging, but then a sweet comment or email comes that quickly reminds me of my purpose.
Answering Your DECLUTTERING / HOW TO KEEP A SMALL SPACE TIDY Questions:
Can you provide ideas of how to live without closets? – Tori [question summarized]
Tori, I will first say that I am currently living without a traditional closet. We have a 6 foot long closet organization shelf that is mounted to our wall. All of our hang up clothes share this shelf, which helped us to quickly see which pieces are necessary for hanging up and which can go into a drawer.
When we lived with my in-laws, we had a 4 foot clothes rod that could roll around the room that we shared. It wasn’t the best option for two people to share, but it got the job done.
With the information you’ve shared, I would suggest to find the best space for your hanging clothes to go and evaluate what can fit comfortably. Also, displaying clothes seasonally provides more space visually.
For example, you don’t want to look at heavy winter coats or jackets in the middle of summer, so you could put those away during the months you don’t need them. Same for during the winter time. You don’t want to be consistently reminded of summer time, so you can store away the clothes you aren’t currently wearing.
If you’re on Pinterest, I suggest searching ‘closet organization no closet’. There are so many different visual examples for you to find something that works best for you!
Can I hire you to declutter for me? – Common Community Question
We can definitely work something out! While I do believe you need to do the decluttering personally, you can hire me to guide you through the process. You can book your session HERE! I’ll send you over a quick questionnaire, so that the time we spend together is efficient and productive.
How do you make decluttering a rhythm instead of doing it when you’re overwhelmed and then not touching it again? – Lacy E.
Start with scheduling your decluttering times until you find a rhythm that works for you. For example, scheduling out Saturday mornings to go through things. Eventually, it will become routine and easy to work through, because your mind adapts to the idea that Saturday mornings are for decluttering.
What’s an easy way to get started when you find yourself too overwhelmed? – Christine R.
I suggest that you set a timer for 30 minutes and work until it goes off. This removes pressure of how much you need to sort through and allows you to just get to work. Removing the thought of what you need to do and just finding a spot to start allows for greater progress.
What room should I start with? – Jennifer
I suggest starting with the area that bothers you most. Instead of focusing on an entire room, start with a surface or pile that will only take about 30 minutes to sort through and declutter. This small win will give you the motivation and momentum to tackle entire spaces. Plus, it helps you not get so overwhelmed when getting started.
Answering Your ROUTINE Questions:
I would be interested in your daily routine. Work, cleaning, etc. I’m always interested in productivity and love to read about how other working women start their day, fit in cleaning, leisure time, etc. I know not every day is the same and most people don’t follow a strict daily routine, because Hello, life happens, but it has always been something I love reading about. Thanks for all your wonderful blog posts! – Rochelle S.
First of all, thank you for the kind words, Rochelle! 🙂
I have a few posts about my perfect routines when it comes to morning, night, and cleaning routines. Of course, these are when I’m really focused on the perfect routines. However, here is a glimpse of how it all works together during the week when I also have my day job:
- Wake up between 5:30-6:00 AM and complete my morning routine.
- Work hours are typically 7:00 AM – 3:30 PM
- After work, I either run my errands, like grocery shopping, or go home.
- Once I am home, I start on my daily cleaning routine list
- Cook supper, typically around 6:00 PM.
- After supper, I relax with my husband. We chat about our days and plan out what we would like to accomplish the next day.
- Night time routine starts around 9:00 PM, and lights out by 10:00 PM
Of course, there are variants to my routine, but this is what my normal generally looks like.
How do you get back into a routine after disruption (illness, etc)? – Lacy E.
Take baby steps with either an alarm or accountability system that will help you dive back into your routine quicker and smoother. Your brain has to be reminded of the routine you had before the disruption.
How do you know when your routine needs a refresh? – Christine R.
For me, it is when I’m no longer inspired or excited about my routine.
When you’re going through the motions, you aren’t living as present or in as fulfilling of a way as you could if you changed up your routine periodically and thought about what and/or why you’re doing the things within your routines.
Answering Your SUSTAINABLE LIVING Questions:
What are your favorite zero waste products/hacks? – Christine W.
I’m going to start with the hacks.
- Do a trash audit. This allows you to see if there is anything you’ve tossed that has a reusable replacement (example: paper towels can be replaced with reusable cloth napkins).
- Avoid plastic at all costs. Instead, purchase glass, stainless steal, or wood options as all are 100% recyclable or compostable versus downcycled.
- Just because you have something plastic doesn’t mean you should throw it away and replace it. Use it until its life runs out, then replace it. Zero waste means you produce less waste, so it doesn’t make sense to replace something that still has a use.
- You may not always find a zero waste solution, and that’s okay! Do what you can, and give yourself grace for what you can’t.
Now, let me share some of my favorite products:
- Reusable water bottles. Not a Trace, Co.’s water bottle has an infuser option so you don’ have to drink just plain water!
- Reusable coffee cups. Welly Bottle’s Original Bottle is my favorite! Use the code ‘TANNHOME15’ for 15% off any purchase! [Code is case sensitive.]
- Reusable cloth items. ANYTHING from Juniperseed Merchantile is AMAZING!! I especially love her reusable cotton rounds.
- Favorite Tea Company. I’m obsessed with Numi Tea! Their tea bags are zero waste, and contain ZERO plastic within the bag lining. The Jasmine Green tea is my current favorite.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes. This is a new swap for me, and I am loving the toothbrushes by Wowe Lifestyle so far! I am using their soft bristle brushes.
Where do I start? – Jennifer
I suggest starting with a trash audit. See what you’re throwing away that could be recycled, has a reusable option, or what you can eliminate altogether.
What are three easy swaps you can make today? – Christine R.
- Reusable straws in lieu of plastic straws.
- Cloth napkins in lieu of paper towels.
- Reusable water bottle in lieu of plastic water bottles.
What are your composter recommendations? – Lacy E.
I don’t have a specific model to recommend. We made our own barrel system. HOWEVER the ones you can keep in the kitchen [like this one] are on my list to try!
Answering Your SWITCHING TO NATURAL PRODUCTS Questions:
What do you mean by natural? – Lacy E.
When I think natural, I think of products that are free of harmful chemicals that can cause hormonal imbalance, increase your chances of cancer, etc. These products can include cleaning products, makeup, skin care, food, and basically anything that is formulated or processed.
What are some general ingredients to avoid and watch out for? – Christine R.
First and foremost, avoid any ingredients you cannot pronounce. These are the first warning signs to harmful ingredients.
A quick list of ingredients I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post include:
- BHA [butylated hydroxyanisole] and BHT [butylated hydroxytoluene]
- DEA [dietholamine]
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- PEGs [polythylene glycols]
- Fragrance [protected as ‘Trademark Secrets’, so these ingredients do not have to be listed on the ingredients list.]
Best minimal makeup? Beeswas food wraps? – Casey L.
I LOVE CreekBaby‘s Arawak powder, but I’m still looking for faces with the rest that is 100% clean.
I haven’t dived much into food wraps, because we use glass storage containers. But Bee’s Wrap is what I see recommended the most.
What’s an amazing all-purpose cleaner that doesn’t use vinegar? – Kiara C.
Homemade…..? Vinegar and water is the best.
If you don’t mind purchase premade all-purpose cleaner, then I recommend Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner! It works really well and smells SO good! It is a concentrate, so it will last a long time.
Another brand I recommend is Mrs. Meyer’s. It works really well, too! They also have seasonal scents, which I really enjoy.
FYI, Grove Collaborative offers a FREE Mrs. Meyers set to first time customers that place an order of $20+, so you could try them for FREE!
What deodorant do you recommend for heavy sweaters who stink and cannot use baking soda? It’s hard! – Elisabeth M.
I personally use Schmidts Naturals, and love it! The one I use has baking soda, but they do have a sensitive skin line that doesn’t. Some friends have suggested trying No Pong and Lavanilla the Healthy Deodorant. I haven’t tried either of these, so I cannot attest to how they work.
That is all for this Question and Answer! I hope you enjoyed this and learned something you didn’t already know. If you have a question I didn’t answer, please feel free to email me at erin[at]thetannehillhomestead[dot]com