Finding my tribe: Nath at beautycalypse

The Europeans seem to set the pace in so many aspects of being green, I suspect that living in an area of high population density where you have many neighbours — literally and on your national borders — makes you more conscious of the outward effects of your personal decisions.

Though I’m not a girly girl I do use skincare products as well as some makeup, I like to know what I’m using, what’s in it and where it came from. My serendipitous stumble onto Nath’s blog last year has been a total win.

Used with Nath’s kind permission

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Simple Home Year: Frugal laundry detergent

When I go into the cleaning aisle in the supermarket my nostrils and lungs are assaulted by the smell of chemicals. Our household is not completely chemical-free nor am I asthmatic or particularly “lung sensitive” but I do find that aisle noxious — and obnoxious.

If I were to buy detergent this (below) is probably the sort of thing I’d buy. It appeals to me because it indicates that it is good for the environment as well as people, it’s toxin free and it’s Australian-made. Of course I’d check out these claims but as it’s made by Honest to Goodness I suspect they are true, I’m a fan of many of their groceries.


$12 for a kilogram of laundry powder is certainly a premium price, generic boxes sell for under $10 for four kilograms, brand name detergents of the same weight are around the $20 mark.

However why buy any of them? Homemade laundry powder can be in made up in moments, it costs a fraction of the retail version, it’s good for you and the environment, it’s toxin and sensitiser free.

Rhonda’s laundry powder recipe can be mixed up in no time, the even more frugal laundry liquid recipe can be prepared and bottled within about half an hour. The ten litres will cost you about $A2.50.


I’ve found both recipes to be very effective on clothes with all levels of soiling. I make up the liquid detergent in a saucepan on the cooktop, then pour the concentrate into a large bucket to which I add nine litres of tap water. Mum stirs the bucket of liquid every half hour or so for a couple of hours (her choice, I’d do it once or twice), we get a great gel liquid that simple needs a shake before use.

We decant the ten litres into empty two litre vinegar bottles whose contents have been used as rinse aid (more on that next week). This super economical environmentally friendly liquid also doesn’t require hauling home from the supermarket, it won’t make you sneeze and it will clean your clothes.

I hope you’ll give it a go.


Mind games #2

Over at the DTE Forum we’ve been rocking along with our Simply Organised Challenge. One of the ideas we’ve been discussing is the once-a-week plan where we look to the week ahead anticipating when we’ll wash (do laundry), do cleaning tasks, pay bills, go the supermarket, fold/iron dry clothes, menu plan etc.


I’ve planned household tasks for the last fifteen or so years, I plan not to produce an extensive to-do list but to cover the essentials and then some so that my mind doesn’t become a stage for a mental siege on “Will I/ Won’t I?” It’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination — surfing the Web, checking email or Facebook status and find that not only have you not achieved very much you haven’t actually benefitted from that diversionary activity on the most mediocre of entertainment levels.

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Mind games #1


Over at the DTE Forum I’m running a 28 Day Challenge called Simply Organised in which we are building daily routines as the foundation of all housework tasks, the assumption being that, since we all eat, sleep, dress and bathe daily attention to these parts of the house will make the overall tasks simpler and quicker to do.

I’ve always been fascinated by both psychology and organisation, I’m equally enthralled by how the mind reacts to organisational efforts and it’s interesting to learn that it’s way less co-operative than you might think.

On the surface you would assume that organisation is a good thing so our minds would seize any effort to improve how we live but, when you investigate the reality by thinking back to your own experience, what happens?

Exactly. We procrastinate. And why? Often enough perfectionism rears it’s ugly head, as in the case of a household task you might think “I’ll vacuum the floor” then your brain cuts in with “And you’d better do the skirting boards, dust all the flat surfaces first …” Sound familiar?

Then there is the self doubt about the work we’ll do, can we do it properly, will we do all of it, will it get done in the time we want to do it…this siege mentality can exhaust you before you even start.

To exacerbate this, I learned via my latest intellectual crush, Cal Newport, that procrastination is an evolutionary trait.

Simply said, our frontal lobes learned to do complex planning early in evolution, the brain would evaluate the plan according to whether we were likely to survive or not. Thus, the evolved brain evaluates plans and, if the plan seems likely to succeed, the brain will accept it. If the brain perceives the plan as flawed it will biochemically steer you away from the plan in what results in procrastination.

Note that. The evolved brain causes procrastination, not your innate character.

The brain is rejecting is the plan, not the goal, it’s the plan that is causing the brain to hesitate. As I’m suggesting to our Challenge participants back up and review your plan when procrastination hits. Don’t use your new understanding of procrastination as another excuse, use it as a tool to improve the plan.