Filed under :Minimalism

Just what is “minimalism”…. and what does it have to do with being frugal?  Well, check this out:

Less Stuff = Less Maintenance = Less Cleaning = Less Stress = Spending Less Money = Having More Time

OK, in that equation I see two key things that I like a lot — ‘Spending Less Money’ & ‘Having More Time’   Who can argue with that?   If you pick up a “home” style magazine, look at the pictures of the kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms….  Notice the pictures of the rooms that put you at ease, the ones that you would like for your home to look like.   Are the pictures that you’ve chosen full of clutter and ‘what knots’ or are they clean, sparsely decorated, open with clean lines?  Well, for me, even though I’m not an fan of  ‘modern’ decorating, I do like the feel of rooms being open, clean and uncluttered.  And when I’m in rooms decorated in this fashion, I feel much more at ease and less stressful.  Why is this?  Well, it’s because if you’re in a cluttered room, your mind will feel cluttered – you will get the feeling of disorganization.    If you are in a minimally decorated room that is organized, you will feel calmer and more sane.  You will feel like you have more control over your life and your surroundings.

Here’s two photos of the same room that I found on  — one is cluttered and the other is uncluttered.  Take a look at both of them and then think about how each makes you feel:

Minimalism means LESS CLUTTER — You’ll have less STUFF.  And, with less stuff, you’ll have less to clean.  Also, less stuff means that you’ll be able to have a place in your home where everything goes (everything in its place).

Minimalism means LESS WASTE — Why?  Because you’ll get out of the “disposable” mentality.  You’ll purchase items that you really need and things that will be good quality and will last for a long time.  When you have a “minimalistic” mentality, you’ll double think everything and research your purchases FIRST and then buy at the right time.  You will not “impulse purchase” items that you don’t really need or want.

Minimalism means BEING CONTENT — With a minimalistic attitude you’ll get out of the mode of buying things to try and make yourself happy.  You’ll learn that these purchases do not make you happy – they just add to your clutter.  You’ll learn to be happy with the things you already have and you’ll learn to make due.  The items that you do have will mean more to you – they will become more valuable to you.

Minimalism means SPENDING LESS MONEY — you’ll waste less, you’ll be more content with the items you already have, you’ll make due and ultimately you’ll spend (throw away) less money.  And let me tell you what this will do for your stress level!!  If you spend less on “stuff”, you’ll have more money to pay down your debt – which will reduce your stress.  OR, if your debt is already paid down, you’ll have more money to save!

I will be posting more on MINIMALISM and going into detail on how to DE-CLUTTER your home, life and mind and how you can get into a minimalistic attitude.

Get Your Laundry CLEANER And Save Money At The Same Time!

Filed under :Laundry

I’m going to share a little “trick” that I use when washing laundry.  This tip will help you to save  money (on electricity) and also get your laundry cleaner at the same time.

It’s very important to set the water level on each washload to accommodate the quantity of laundry that you want to clean.  The water level should be high enough to cover the laundry so that it can move freely about in the washing machine.  Yes, while it is important to wash “full loads” and maximize each time that you run your washer, it is also important that your laundry comes out clean when the wash cycle is complete.   So, don’t overfill your machine with laundry – that will not only put your washing machine in a “bind”, but your clothes will not come out as clean as you’d like either.

You are going to need a timer for this task.  The timer can be just a small, manual timer OR, you can do like I do and set the timer on my stove 🙂

  1. Turn the washer on and let it start filling with water (always wash with COLD WATER)
  2. Add your homemade liquid laundry detergent to the water as it is filling up the machine (this is the best way to make sure that the laundry detergent is equally distributed in the wash water)
  3. Add your laundry
  4. Make sure the water level is set to accommodate the wash load
  5. Close the lid
  6. Set your timer for 10 minutes – this will give your washer time to fill with water and agitate for about 5 minutes.  You may need to monitor this a couple of times and make adjustments according to your specific washer model.  Aim for the washer to agitate for 5 minutes.
  7. When your timer goes off, turn the washer off after the laundry has agitated for about 5 minutes – this is plenty enough time to work the wash water into the fibers of your laundry.
  8. Set your timer for 30 minutes for normally soiled clothing and 45 minutes for heavily soiled clothing
  9. When the timer goes off, set the dial on your washer to agitate on the last setting before draining the water – this will help to move the wash water around again and work the dirt out of your laundry.
  10. Your laundry can complete the wash/spin/rinse/spin cycles

How does this save you money?  First, you will use less electricity agitating your clothes for only 5 minutes at the beginning and around 5 minutes at the end of the wash cycle instead of up to 25 minutes if the washer was left to run as normal.  Also, the increased agitation will just create unnecessary wear and tear on your laundry and it will wear out much faster.  So only agitating the wash for 5 minutes + 5 minutes will help to make your clothing last much longer.   The manual “soaking” period of 30 minutes will allow the wash water to penetrate the fibers of your laundry and break down the dirt – so your clothes will be much cleaner.

This is an EXTREME on the frugality scale 🙂

Save Money & Extend The Life Of Your Clothes!

Filed under :Laundry

One of the most frugal things you can do is to USE YOUR DRYER AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Not only will it help you to save money on electricity, forgoing the dryer can extend the life of your clothes.  Let me explain:

Have you noticed that clothes today just don’t seem to last as long as they did when you were younger especially if your mother hung your clothes out to dry on a clothesline?  The majority of the people in the U.S. use their clothes dryers to dry 100% of their laundry.  To get your clothes dry, they are subjected in varying degrees of heat while tumbling around in the dryer.   This heat can break down materials found in your clothes like elastic and even buttons.   The heat can also make many materials “shrink”.

Another way that a dryer reduces the life of your clothes is by tossing the clothes around and wearing down the fibers.  Where do these fibers go?  Well, you know how you empty your lint trap in between loads of clothes – well, what you’re seeing in the lint trap is actually fibers from your clothing!  Did you ever wonder why towels or t-shirts became so thin when they are a little bit older?  It’s because slowly, washing and drying time after time, you’re treating your clothing very roughly (even more so than when you are wearing it) and those fibers that make up the fabric are breaking down into pieces that tear loose from the garment, tumble in the dryer, and then make their way to your lint filter.

So, what’s a person to do?  #1 thing to do is invest in some sort of clothes line!

The best place for a clothes line that is in a shaded part of your yard away from any animals that can do harm to your laundry (for example, dogs who would pull your clothes off the line to play with them LOL).  The reason that it is important to have the laundry in a shaded part of the yard is because some colored clothes will fade in direct sunlight.  It’s also important that if you have your clothes line under a shade tree, make sure the tree doesn’t seep sap!   The ultimate spot in my opinion, is a under a covered porch that still gets a good breeze.  Also, if possible, make sure the clothes line is outside near your back door for convenience – you don’t want to carry a hamper full of wet laundry all the way to the back of your property to hang it up.  If you had to do that a few times, you’d probably abandon your clothes line altogether.

What if the option of having a clothes line in your back yard or under your porch isn’t an option?  Well, I have some solutions for you.  You can invest in a folding clothes dryer that can bet set up and taken down in a matter of minutes.  It’s portable and easy to use too.  Usually they are not very expensive. Here’s a nice one that I found online:

This dryer rack will hold a good bit of wet laundry!  One thing that I do suggest is to place a small fan to blow in the direction of the dryer rack to help the clothes dry faster.  Place the fan so that the air blows through the side or middle of the dryer rack so that the laundry will dry more evenly and also faster.  Air circulation is very important especially when drying clothes inside.  Also, it’s a good idea to place the dryer rack on a waterproof surface (maybe on top of a large garbage bag) – this will help to protect your floor or carpet if the laundry drips.

Quick, Easy, Cheap – Homemade Fabric Softeners

Filed under :Laundry

While we’re on the subject of LAUNDRY, I thought I would share some ideas on “fabric softeners” and what I use in the laundry room.  If you use store bought fabric softeners, then you know just how expensive they can be.  And, what really hurts is that you know that most of what you add to the rinse cycle just goes down the drain!  So, I’m going to show you what I do to make clothes soft and towels absorbent.

Did you know that commercial fabric softener has a tendency to “build up” over time in your clothes?  I remember some years ago, we visited relatives in another state and were guests in their home.  My sister-in-law really loved using fabric softener so much that her towels were so soft and smelled so good – BUT, they were not absorbent at all!  It’s because she used fabric softener in every load, every time she washed (plus I think she used more than the recommended amount).

Well, guess what household item that you probably have that works very well as a fabric softener/static killer/detergent remover for the laundry?  VINEGAR!  Let me discuss each benefit of using vinegar in the rinse cycle:

  • Fabric softener:  Vinegar is a great choice to use in the rinse cycle as a fabric softener.  And, it’s not full of chemicals like regular store-bought fabric softeners.  Vinegar is better for the environment and, if you have a septic system, better for that too!  If you have a automatic dispenser in your washer, just fill it with straight vinegar and let the washer dispense the vinegar automatically into the rinse water.  If you don’t, invest in one of those “Downey” balls that you’ve seen int he grocery store – they will work with vinegar also.  And the most common question everyone asks:  Will my clothes smell like vinegar?  Mine don’t.  Did you know that vinegar is a natural odor remover?
  • Static killer:  Yes, vinegar works well to eliminate static in your laundry.
  • Detergent remover:  Laundry detergent (especially the commerical brands) have a tendency to not completely rinse out of your clothes.  Sometimes it’s because we use too much (if you’re using commercial laundry detergent, only use 1/2 the recommended amount).  If you’ve ever had to “re-wash” a load of clothes, you’ll find that you don’t even have to add detergent and the clothes will still suds up!  Well, just like in regular household cleaning and mopping the floor with a final vinegar rinse, vinegar will cut the detergent out of your clothes.  So your clothes will come out of the washing machine SO MUCH CLEANER!

Do you want your towels soft, yet SUPER absorbent?  Well then, never use commercial fabric softener on your wash load of towels.  To be quite honest with you, now I only use vinegar in the rinse cycle anymore on everything that I wash.   Using vinegar in the rinse cycle will make your towels so absorbent!  You will notice a difference after the 1st wash.  After the 2nd wash, the vinegar has removed most all of the detergent and commercial fabric softener buildup.   Your towels will be fluffy and soft too.

There are some items that I wash that I really do like to use commercial fabric softener on though.  But the thought of using a cap full and most of it just washing down the drain seems to be wasteful to me.  And, there’s the items that I have in the same washing load that I don’t want to use fabric softener on.  Well, I have a solution to that problem!   I love the “scent” of the regular Gain fabric softener and it really does a good job at relaxing the fabric, making it soft, and even eliminating wrinkles in clothes.  I like to use this commercial fabric softener on t-shirts, jeans, DH’s dress pants and dress shirts (mainly because I don’t want to iron them!)  So, here’s what I do:

  • Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cap full (keep in mind that I’m using the Gain fabric softener – so that’s the cap I’m talking about) in a generic spray bottle (you can find these bottles at WalMart in the cleaning dept for around a buck).
  • Then, fill the spray bottle up about 1/2 way with water.
  • Mix the water & fabric softener by swishing it around in the bottle before filling the bottle up to the top with water.
  • Label your bottle with a sharpie pen so you don’t get it mixed up with other bottles.  I tell you this because I love using these spray bottles and without labeling them, I could easily get mixed up and use the wrong bottle LOL
  • As I pull the wet, washed items from the washing machine, I selectively choose the items that I want to use fabric softener on.  I give a couple of quick squirts to jeans and tshirts and then put them into the drier.  The items I do not want to use fabric softener on, I just transfer to the drier without misting with the diluted fabric softener.

Using this spray method is great too for the items that you hang up to dry.  I’ve noticed that it helps to eliminate wrinkles very well because the fabric softener relaxes the fibers of the fabrics.

You’ll use far less commercial fabric softener with this method because you won’t just be throwing it down the drain with the rinse water.  This is also good for your septic tank if you have one.  The less chemicals you put down your septic (and sewer too), the better for the environment.  And you’ll use less too because you’re only using the fabric softener selectively on the items you want to instead of everything in the wash.  For example, these are the items that I do not use fabric softener on:

  • Underwear
  • Towels
  • Wash rags
  • Dish rags
  • Socks

I hope this has helped you to save money and have a cleaner, softer load of laundry!

HOMEMADE Laundry Detergent (Liquid) – A GREAT Way To Save $$$

Filed under :Laundry

I’ve been using this laundry detergent for a couple of months now and I love it!  My daughter has sensitive skin and store-bought detergents (like Tide for example) break her out.  Also, I’ve read (but not confirmed) that this detergent is better for your septic tank (if you are on one) than the store-bought brands.  I have found that when I use the homemade detergent, it doesn’t build up in my clothes and I do like that better.

There are several different scenarios online that calculate the savings for making and using homemade laundry detergent.  I did not save my receipts for the ingredients, so when I purchase them again, I will update this post with my actual costs.  But, I can tell you that just one batch filled up probably 8 liquid laundry bottles that I had saved.  The cost of buying the original laundry detergent that came in each was around $2.97 (I had been purchasing the really cheap brand).  So, I know that would be $24 worth of laundry detergent if I had purchased “store bought”.  Whereas, the homemade laundry detergent costs much cheaper!!


  • 1 – 5-Gallon bucket or pail (clean)
  • 1 – Bar of Castile soap ($1.49 at Cracker Barrel) or Fels Naptha
  • 1  – cup Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda (not baking soda) maybe around $3.50/box
  • 1 – cup 20 Mule Team Borax maybe around $3.50 per box
  • A wisk
  • 1 medium cooking pot
  • Measuring Cup
  • Grater

First, I want to tell you where I was able to find my ingredients – you can buy the Castile Soap at Cracker Barrel 🙂  Yep!  Also, I had trouble finding the Washing Soda but did locate it at Ace Hardware (the only place I could find it).   Now, if your Ace Hardware does not carry the Washing Soda, I believe you can order it online from Ace Hardware and possibly have it shipped to your local store.   Next, can you believe it, WalMart (in my area) actually carries the 20 Mule Team Borax in the detergent isle.   Our WalMart is carrying less products that ever before…. to save money of course LOL

Grate your bar of soap.  Put 4 cups of water on the stove and heat to almost boiling (always keep the water below boiling).  Slowly add your grated soap to the water while stirring (just a little bit at a time so it does not clump up).   Stir until the soap is all dissolved.  Pull the pot off of the stove top and then slowly add (while stirring) 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Borax.  Stir until all is dissolved.

Add 3 gallons of cold water to the clean 5-gallon bucket.  Then pour in the hot soap/washing soda/borax mix.  Stir well to make sure everything is mixed up really good.   OPTIONAL:  Add and mix in 10 drops of your favorite essential oil PER GALLON of laundry detergent for added scent.  Leave uncovered for 8 hours (you can make this in the morning and it  is ready in the late afternoon, or you can make it at night and it is ready the next morning).  The mixture will have congealed – use your wisk to mix it all back up again into a liquid.   Use a funnel to pour the liquid detergent into clean, used laundry detergent bottles that you have saved.

Before using the homemade liquid detergent in your washer, shake the container to mix it up, then use 1/4 for medium-sized loads and 1/2 cup for large-sized loads.  This detergent is not very “soapy” and does not make lots (if any) bubbles.  But don’t worry, it is still cleaning your clothes.

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Filed under :Uncategorized

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