Posted in Healthy Home, Nontoxic Lifestyle, Organization, Uncategorized

Creating a “Shoe-Free” Home

If you have followed me for a bit, you know that this is one of the FIRST things I advocate for when trying to create a cleaner, more organized, and most of all HEALTHIER home. (And it happens to be the question I get asked the most frequently, too!).

There are so many good reasons to leave the shoes at the door–the biggest being viruses, bacteria, waste, herbicide and pesticide toxins, heavy metals, and dirt & grim, in general, which Medical studies show are very common on the bottom of your shoes, AND can live there for several days. A friend shared an article today about the corona virus and how it can live on your shoes for up to 5 days. So there ya go! YUCK.

The good news is, you only need 4 key things to make a Shoe-Free House happen!

For EACH Entrance:

1. Rug or Mat to wipe shoes off when you immediately enter.

2. A Shoe Rack/Basket/Tray to store your shoes in an orderly way.

3. A organized corner to store the “goods”.

This is important, because if you come in through the garage one day, the front door another, or in-and-out from the backyard when playing or gardening, you’ll need a spot at each entrance to kick off the shoes right away. It defeats the purpose if you walk through the house to get to the spot where your shoes are stored.

4. A commitment from the members of the house to make it a habit.

It may take a few kind reminders but after a week or so, everyone will be in the groove of kicking off their shoes as soon as they walk through the door. If you aren’t used to bare feet at home, you may want to stick some socks or indoor slippers nearby for family members to slip on. 🙂 I have found this especially true for guests–like when my in-laws come to visit. After a bit, they got used to packing a pair of their own socks to bring along when coming over.

IMG_6336

First Step: Prep

To start out fresh, spend an afternoon doing a deep clean on the hard surfaces and carpeted areas of your home. (Sweep/Vacuum, and wash). Dont forget to throw the mats and rugs in the washer, as well.

We love Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for a safe and effective option. For other hard surfaces, a mixture of White Distilled Vinegar with warm water and (optional) a few drops of DoTerra’s Lemon Essential Oil for extra disinfecting power and a great scent. Remove all the rugs and move the furniture to do a full-floor clean! This helps with the motivation to keep them clean and free of outside germs.

Second Step: Procure your supplies

Here are a few of my favorite options (click the photo to shop the images):

Expandable+3-Tier+15+Pair+Stackable+Shoe+Rack-Wayfair
3-tiered expandable shoe rack from Wayfair
Target Iron Shoe Tray
Iron Boot Tray by “Smith & Hawkin” from Target
10073743-shoe-tree-3-tier-chrome_Container Store
Shoe Tree from The Container Store

 Third Step: Find a corner or closet near each entry and set up your shoe storage zone!

Shoe Free Home_MakeSimpleHappen

This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make it work for your family. I like to have a rug immediately in front of the door, and then a tray, rack or basket next to it where we can easily and neatly store the shoes. Some friends have a closet or a cupboard where their shoes fit in. Awesome. Once the bin fills up, it is time to store some pairs in the bedroom, or distribute to the other “shoe storage zones” around the house. You’ll probably find you have to sweep and vacuum less, too!

Have an outdoor pet? You can add a hanging towel nearby to wipe their paws as they come back in the house. (Norwex would be my preference with natural antibacterial qualities). Because they typically don’t go with you to public spaces like stores, restaurants and public bathrooms, their paws won’t carry nearly as many germs as the bottom of your shoes, so even if you have a pet that comes and goes from the house, having your family remove their shoes is one BIG win in the health and cleanliness column. Whoohoo!

You’re done!

 

Posted in Healthy Home, Nontoxic Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Healthy Home Spring Cleaning Challenge

Hello! I have been wanting to write this post for a while, and NOW seemed like the perfect time to kick it off, with mostly everyone at home and perhaps even with some extra time on our hands.

Spring Cleaning:

Focusing on what we do have control of right now, and enjoying the safety and comfort of our home, our family has created some household goals for spring cleaning and organization! I wanted to put a little extra love out in the world, so I’ve created free worksheets that go along with it. Simply download the empty templates and personalize them, or use the already completed task sheet we are following in our home. (You are welcome to tag “MakeSimpleHappen” and share with friends as well!).

 
(Free Download with a bonus section on Larger House Project Goals, and two “Big Impact” project ideas from me!)

Healthy Cleaning Tips

MakeSimpleHappen Cleaning Bin

I have spent the last several years transitioning our household over to safer, more natural products, and some DIY cleaners as well.

Many times warm water 💦 ,basic soap, and a good scrub, are ALL that is needed to give a deep clean and protect from nasty germs—hands included. So PRETTY PLEASE don’t bring back the yucky harsh chemical cleaners 🚫 (the coronavirus has shown to have a lipid barrier and proteins, which can be broken down by regular soaps, if washed long- and well enough! Isn’t that reassuring?).

Household Basics for Cleaning_MakeSimpleHappen

There are some fabulous resources out there (👇) so I won’t go into too much detail, but here are our “always have on hand” basic household items for cleaning:

  • Distilled Water
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s is our fav)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (or a cheap vodka works too!)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (if you can find it right now)
  • Reusable Brushes and Rags (Full Circle Home is our fav for these items)
  • Norwex Cloths (Especially the Dusting Mit, Window Cloth, and Enviro Cloth–you can get all three in this set here).

Favorite Safe Cleaners:

Humble Suds  I especially love the All Purpose Cleaner, Scour Cleaning Paste and Laundry Soap. Use code MAKESIMPLEHAPPEN for 15% off your orders.

Branch Basics is also wonderful for safe and effective cleaning. Their concentrate lasts quite a long time and makes a wide variety of cleaners for around the house. Get $10 off your first purchase using my link.

DoTerra OnGuard Concentrate is great when we need to do a deep “disinfect” (I’ll mix it and spray on door handles, light switches and other frequently-touched surfaces after someone comes home with a bug 🤒), and for surfaces like our yoga mats!  Below are the DoTerra oils I keep on hand for cleaning, as well:

IMG_6355

The @EWG has a great “Guide to Healthy Cleaning” and does the research for you on toxicity, giving “grades” for products. The “🅰️“and “🅱️“s are the safest. 🌱

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners

Happy Cleaning! Reach out with any specific questions and let me know how your spring cleaning goes!

-Amber

Posted in Gift Guide, Uncategorized

The Conscious Consumer’s Simple Guide to Gift Giving

*Sharing Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales on my favorite conscious brands and products after the original post (scroll down). -XO -Amber

 

Hello lovelies! Certainly not the first or last blogger to be sharing a gift guide this season–but I did kick myself last year for not sharing a guide to more conscious consumerism (think ethically-sourced, fair-trade, sustainable, social impact-type gifts and companies that you can feel super good about supporting and receiving), so I am getting it up early, and hoping you will help me add to the list as we go along!

I love that consumers are becoming more aware of the power their purchases hold! We vote every day for the type of companies we want to see more of in the world, simply by what we choose to spend our money on. Here are some ideas on making more conscious purchases this upcoming holiday season:

1. Support your Local Movers & Shakers! Everyone loves a home-town goodie, especially handmade or one-of-a-kind, all while supporting a small business owner! A few of my favorite small business with amazing products include: “Ellie in her Element” for women’s jewelry, “Lil’ Hotties Street Salsa” for the best salsa around, and Tekst Artist, for the coolest graphic- and traditional-art that weaves inspiring quotes into the drawings. Be sure to leave a comment with some of your favorite small businesses so we can share the love!

unnamed (2)

2. Shop certified B Corps that are using business as a force for good! These are companies that have amazing product solutions, while also thinking about the planet and communities.

B-Corp-Become-One-and-Make-a-Global-Difference-Rubicon-Global-blog

“B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how the company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers.”

My favorite B Corps include Beautycounter, Everyone Products, Patagonia, Athleta, Klean Kanteen, and more. You can search for other Bcorps here. When shopping, you can also look for this logo:

b corp stamp.png

3. Select “Buy one, Donate One” Models. Such as Toms Shoes, where for every purchase of shoes made by a customer, Toms (another certified BCorp, by the way!), donates a pair of shoes to someone in need. They also have new “Giving Partners” where you can choose your style and corresponding cause. Pretty cool!

toms_su19_bannerad-1501x400

4. Choose Companies with a deeper social impact! There are some really neat companies out there creating freedom and opportunities, specifically for women artisans around the world, as they develop beautiful products and build profitable businesses!

Check out the gorgeous accessories and home goods from Noonday Collections  a fair-trade federation member, and Bcorp, who provides no-interest loans and partners with Artisans around the world using indigenous materials and traditional skills to create modern, fashionable designs.

tropica-necklace-alt2 noonday

Another favorite socially-conscious company is SariBari, which helps create economic freedom for women rescued from human- and sex-trafficking in India. They have amazingly beautiful products, particularly their Christmas Stockings and their Bags of all sizes and patterns, handcrafted by the women artisans.

Sari Bari Arotun Bucket Bag

5. Think Sustainably! Ditch presents that are one-time use items, especially plastic junk, and opt instead for items that can be used and enjoyed year-long. See my blog post here for some fun themes!

You can also find really need products that have been made out of recycled materials, like the amazing Rothy’s Shoes, made out of old plastic waterbottles! b013f683-f84b-40b9-bf5b-bc85bb37f9b4_EB-Right.20191028220250297

Don’t forget about eco-friendly gift wrapping, as well–minimize the amount of wrapping, choose recycled and recyclable materials, or reusable bags. Love the ideas shared here on the “EcoCult” site.

6. Give the gift of Health while supporting really cool businesses! There are so many great health-supporting gifts out there:

A gift set of nontoxic cleaning supplies–two of my favorite companies are Branch Basics  (reach out if you want a discount code) and Humble Suds. The ingredients are safe and amazing, and they get the job done, with beautiful packaging too!

A customized clean-beauty gift box. Happy to create one for you with my favorite clean and safe brands, or you can shop my Beautycounter link here, for gorgeous gift sets and only the best ingredients from a certified B Corp, with a whole wing of the company dedicated to advocacy and changing the beauty industry for the better!

Other Ideas: 

  • Gift Experiences instead of Stuff
  • Make a Donation to a Worthy Cause in Someone’s Honor
  • Provide a Service for Loved Ones as Your Gift
  • If you Shop Amazon, make sure to use the Amazon Smile link and designate a nonprofit you wish to benefit. Same full website and products, but Amazon gifts a portion of your purchase to charities!

amazon-smile

photo-1510284876186-b1a84b94418f (1)

Here are a list of great Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals happening for companies and products that have health, wellness and sustainability as a priority (listed in alphabetical order). I will continue to update as sales pop up on favorite brands!

IMG_8577.JPG

  1. Athleta–Certified B corp, sustainably focused fashion. 30% off with code LAYERUP
  2. Beautycounter Safe and Clean Ingredient Makeup, and personal care products for women, men and kids. Certified B Corp and Women-Owned. 15% off sitewide and free shipping on orders over $50. No code needed.*
  3. Beeswrap sustainable food wrap alternative. 20% off with promo code BEETHANKFUL
  4. Branch Basics: Nontoxic cleaners (that really work)! 20% off of all starter kids with promo code: GIVECLEAN
  5. Klean Kanteen Water Bottles & More: Family-owned, Certified B Corp. 25% off sitewide. No promo code needed.
  6. Pact–Sustainable, Ethical Fashion (Fair-trade, organic, recyclable and stylish). Up to 70% sitewide, no code needed.
  7. Pela Eco-friendly Phone Cases. Up to 50% off sitewide. No code needed
  8. PlanetBox Sustainable Bento Lunch Boxes: 25% off Sidewide (Use promo code PLANETTHANKS20)
  9. Mighty Nest Eco-friendly and healthy monthly subscription membership. First month $3 and then only $11 after. Products are always valued over $11. (Use promo code “FIRSTFIX3)
  10. Native--Safe and clean-ingredient deodorant and other personal care products. $10 off a purchase of $30 or more with code “BLACK”
  11. NetZero Co.waste-free product solutions and really cool gift ideas. 25% off storewide with promo code GFCM
  12. Noonday fair trade, artisan-made jewlery. Another certified Bcorp, too! Up to 75% off on select styles. No promo code needed.
  13. Primally Pure: Spend $50, get a free deodorant! I recommend the dry shampoo! Save an additional 10% with my referral code: http://fbuy.me/v/amber_699 
  14. Stasher Bag food-grade silicone “ziplocks” that are reusable and dishwasher safe! Certified B Corp and Women owned. 25% off sitewide, no code needed.
  15. Swell Bottle 25% off with code HOLIDAY19
  16. Toms Shoes–Certified B Corp and awesome social missions! 30% off sitewide with code “THANKFUL”

BCorp_1Percent_800x.jpg

Am I missing one of your favs? Do share! And let me know if you see deals for Rothy’s, Native, Primally Pure, or Cote Nail Polish, please!

*Affiliate link. As an educator, I may receive a small commission for your purchase. 

Posted in Back to School Wellness, Family Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

Sustainable & Healthy School Essentials!

Sharing some of our favorite SUSTAINABLE Waste-Free (ie: reusable, recyclable and/or compostable) School Favorites, particularly for lunch and snack, for this new school year… or whenever you are on-the-go with your littles. I happen to also own a Yumbox for myself–it’s like my personal Smorgasbord away from home!

Sure, you invest a little more $ up front on reusable options, but I assure you, you save lots of money in the long run , and provide your kids with healthier non-plastic options, while simultaneously helping mother earth 🌍! 

P.S. I added lots of promo codes for even more savings. Scroll down…

Sustainable Lunches

Our family’s purchasing decisions come down to the following criteria:

1. Safety (clean & safe ingredients and/or materials for our bodies and endocrine systems. That means no known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals),

2. Ethics of the Company (Transparency of the ingredients, and ALL of them, Sustainability efforts for packaging and products, Certified BCorps, and Certified Leaping Bunny–cruelty free, are a bonus! I will always support these companies first).

3. Likability. We actually have to use and love the products before I will invest in additional options, or recommend to friends and family!

Here are our most favorite On-the-Go Kid Essentials:

  1. Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Waterbottles--Super Durable, fun patterns, and a really cool Bcorp and sustainbility-focused company.
  2. YumBox bento boxes–All food safe materials, BPA-free and phthalate-free. And they are easy to open for littles, everything stays in their individual compartment without leaking, and you can throw the trays in the dishwasher! LOVE ours. They also fit in almost all popular brand lunch bags, with a flat icepack and a little room to spare. Use code “Try20” for 20% off your first purchase online.
  3. LunchSkins Dishwasher-safe reusable bags can be used again and again (I personally like the zipper tops, over the velcro), and their recyclable/compostable paper bags are easy to use once and toss responsibly. This is good for super little ones who may accidentally lose or toss the reusable ones 😉 Use code “2019LS” for 10% off online. You can also find them at Target!
  4. Stasher Bags!  The coolest sealable food-grade silicone reusable bags–they come in many fun sizes and colors AND are dishwasher safe on the top rack. We have obsessed over these for a long time now. Bonus: A women-owned, certified BCorp and of member of “1% for the Planet” (1% of all sales go to high-impact non-profits that protect our oceans).

There are so many great alternatives to one-time-use ziplocks and paper sacks in the marketplace these days—let’s make this school year a much more sustainable and healthier one for all! 👌👌👌⭕️⭕️

Reach out with any questions! Much love, Amber