Welcome to the Practical Minimalists.  We host a podcast where we discuss intentional living and what it means to have freedom with less.  We are also a community, so feel free to connect with us on social media! Wishing you peace, wonder, and joy....and the freedom that comes with less.

A Cleaner, Greener Home: Heather's Perspective

A Cleaner, Greener Home: Heather's Perspective

Hello friends!  When we published our interview with environmental toxins expert Lara Adler, honestly we had no idea how our listeners would react.  Were we going too far outside of our "brand?"  Is this stuff boring to people?  Do listeners find this overwhelming?  Are our listeners even interested in this?  These were just some of the questions we had when going through the production process, so we were pleasantly surprised when we got a ton of positive feedback and engagement (and continue to receive it!) from that episode.  

Although we always have the listener in mind, that experience was great because it taught us to continue to trust our gut when it comes to show topics.  Yes, we look through the lens of experiments in minimalism and intentional living, but we want to talk about things that we want to learn more about and ways in which we are growing.  

Honestly, I felt ill-equipped to speak about it.  This is part of the reason why we had a guest on the show. Aside from non being an expert on the matter, I wasn't sure if I was passionate enough about making huge changes.  I wasn't sure I was a "believer."  In the insta bubble us online creatives live in sometimes, I found myself feeling like I wasn't "walking the walk."  I mean, I still have Windex in my house from time to time and I have yet to give up my favorite body lotion, so who the heck am I to be an example for people for how to clean their home or what products to use on their bodies?? Too much pressure!  

But what I found myself coming back to is that maybe that's exactly why I SHOULD share.  Because we do live in an insta bubble sometimes and maybe it's a good thing to remind you guys that those of us outside the squares and behind the microphones are "normal" people who struggle with feelings of inadequacy, shame, guilt, and confusion...just like everyone else!  

So from place and from that perspective I thought I'd share the small, simple steps I've made in my own life that I feel good about in the realm of cleaner, greener living.  

1. Resourcefulness

Being resourceful feels great to me because not only am I saving money, but I'm doing my part to reduce waste as well.  So that does that look like for me?  I use refillable glass bottles when I can.  I make my own stuff when I can.  I reuse and recycle when I can.  I buy fewer things from reputable manufacturers when I can, but I don't stress out about it.

2. Cleaning Products

This is one area that has been a cinch for me to change.  I credit that to two sources: Young Living's thieves line and Becky over at Clean Mama.  (who was as guest on the TPM show!)  I didn't change my cleaning products because out of fear or because of science.  I simply did it because it was easier, cheaper and the more natural products don't give me a headache when I use them.  That's it.  With the Thieves line, making solutions is the easiest thing in the world, and if I don't want to use Thieves, Becky has an entire list of recipes that you can make out of things you probably already have at home that are all natural.  It's super duper easy.  

3. Perfumes and Candles

Another super easy thing that I did was to stop wearing traditional perfume most of the time, and switched out my candles for either a essential oil diffuser combo or an open widow :)  Again, I was not necessarily convicted with the science behind why these chemical compounds can create issues in the body, but from my actual experience.  I found that perfumes and strong scents were a big headache trigger for me, so essential oils were an easy fix and did not have the same effect. And I LOVE wearing them and playing mixologist. In fact, I've had a ton of fun lately re create some of my favorite scents from places like Bath and Body Works and Anthropology if you want to follow along over on Instagram!  

4. Relax a little

This may sound counter intuitive, but one thing I've done in the realm of reducing toxins in my environment is to relax.  I'm the type of person who feels like when she learns new information (ie all the chemicals in everything are making us sick) that I have to be a perfectionist.  I start to become critical of myself if I notice myself being a hypocrite (aka - posting on instagram about my chemical free disinfecting spray while I lather up with Coppertone sunscreen), but honestly I learned I just have to relax.  When I find myself stressing about every single little thing in my environment, I'm doing more harm that good to myself and to my family.  My new mantra in this area is one step at a time when it feels right for me.  We all evolve in our own time, and that's ok.

5. Look at the Big Picture

It feels like a relief to know that other people think about hypocrisy in this area too.  I loved this post a while back from Melissa Hartwig of the Whole 30.   It was a good reminder that I'M TOTALLY FINE if I'm sharing about little ways in which I'm trying to be better human but my makeup's still not made out of baby fairy tears.  It ok.  It was also a good reminder that it's a good idea to keep all this stuff in perspective too.  I like to focus on the big 3: Diet, Stress, and Sleep.  I might be stressing about toxins in my home, but if I'm not sleeping enough, eating lots of veggies and reducing sugar and instead stressing myself out...well I'm not getting a lot of bang for my buck in terms of energy. So I'm passionate about diet, stress management and sleep first.  Hopefully by focusing on those then I have the capacity to fine tune the other areas of my life that have room for improvement.  

So there you have it.  That's my take on clean, green living at this point in time.  I hope it leaves you feeling like you have not only some practical tips for getting started on your own journey but it also leaves you with a sense of validation.  Also, if you're interested in even MORE practical tips on getting started, Eryn, wrote This post and then THIS post a while back with some wonderful starting points as well.

What about you?  Do you find greener, cleaner living empowering or overwhelming?  What are some small simple steps you've taken in this area that you feel great about?  What other questions do you have? 

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