purging the house of unnecessary products

I’ve always been the type of person who can’t stand wasting a product — if I don’t care for a particular shampoo, I’ll wash my feet with it until it’s gone. If I don’t like a hand soap that I’ve bought, I’ll put it in the guest bathroom instead of tossing it. I physically cannot throw a container away that’s full of something. Because of this, my closet had become somewhat of an endless abyss.

Over the past month, I cleared out my closet by giving products to friends that I know would use them, along with re-purposing bottles of some products that were near their expiration date or had very little product left. In the end, I’m pretty satisfied with the amount of products that remain (including in the kitchen, bath, and laundry areas) — only what I consider absolute essentials.

Honest Conditioner: this is a product by Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company brand, which recently hit Target shelves in mid-June (previously, it had only been offered via mail orders and subscriptions). What I love most about this product is that it’s fragrance free, aside from the natural essential oils that have been added. Technically, it’s meant for small children, so it can be found in the baby aisle. I had never tried this product before buying it after Target’s press release, but I couldn’t recommend it more — particularly for people with sensitive skin.

(Update: I was able to sample a lot more products from The Honest Company by using the coupon code UBER40 at checkout for 40% off my purchase — new customers only. This is a fabulous deal! I was able to score 8 products — yes, 8! — for less than $30. Expiration of code is unknown. If you’re interested in learning more, click here (note: this is my referral code link — feel free to use, but certainly not necessary if you’d prefer not to). I’m really excited to try out several new products that I might not have had the opportunity to try otherwise.)

~ Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap: I prefer the Unscented Baby-Mild Castile Liquid Soap.I use this as both hand soap in my kitchen/bath, body wash (I use a bit more organic olive oil + a few drops of peppermint oil), and laundry detergent (Borax-free recipe + peppermint oil). While I doubt I’ll ever stray from the hand soap and body wash recipes again, after some experimenting with the laundry detergent, I’ve kept my bottles only for bedding and sheets (+ vinegar in the fabric softener compartment). This is because I found that my work clothes weren’t feeling as “fresh” as I’d like them to be, so I swapped to the free and clear Seventh Generation Powdered Laundry Detergent. I had never used powder detergent before as I generally preferred liquid, but this product received an A rating by the Environmental Working Group, so I figured I’d give it a try. I really like it!

~ Vinegar: I’ve also replaced my household cleaners with various recipes that include vinegar and water, along with a recipe from my grandmother for “the ultimate cleaner” that you can use on any surface: 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, and 7 cups of water in an industrial spray bottle. I clean my mirrors, windows, and tough stains on my counter-tops with this. You can find more environmentally-friendly recipes for household cleaners on my Pinterest page titled squeaky clean.

~ Coconut Oil: I’ve been using coconut oil as a hair mask for several months and am more than impressed. I’ll never buy those crazy-expensive hair masks again. Take 1/2 cup of coconut oil (I like to use organic from Trader Joe’s — the best price I’ve found!) or however much you desire and warm it in the microwave. To save some time, remember that coconut oil melts with body heat, so you don’t necessarily need to heat it up. I just feel that it penetrates my hair better. I’ll pop it in the microwave for half a minute to a minute and slather it all over my hair. I’ll then sit with it wrapped in a hot towel while I watch a movie, when I’m doing laundry, or when I’m making dinner. When ready to rinse, just head to the shower and follow your normal routine — but rinse thoroughly and make sure to shampoo because the oil will remain in your hair if you don’t. Definitely give it a try!

(I also talked more about some frugal finds for the home in a previous post, located here — and I still highly recommend my tips.)