Simply Getting By

Simplifying my life & taking back control of my choices, possessions, lifestyle, and nourishment in order to salvage my finances, the environment, and my sanity.

Homemade Laundry Soap & Fabric Softeners October 3, 2008

Filed under: diy,frugal,homemaking — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 4:21 pm

I finally broke down and made some homemade laundry soap last week.

I’d seen recipes online for a while, but was hesitant to use them because most were liquid/gels and looked sort of gloopy and messy [I don’t even like commercial liquid detergents].

I found a recipe for a powdered laundry soap, made from the same ingredients, minus the water, and thought it looked good. I’ve done 3 loads of laundry since, using homemade fabric softener as well, and the clothes are coming out clean and good-smelling, so I consider it a success.

The homemade soap powder recipe I used was:

2 parts [3 cups total] SOAP I used 1 bar Octagon & 1 bar Ivory, because I couldn’t find Fels Naptha or Zote
1 part [1 1/2 cups] *Washing Soda
– Couldn’t find this either, made by heating baking soda for 2 hours @ 375°
1 part [1 1/2 cups] Borax

Several people have tried similar recipes with baking soda, and it does not work. They are different chemically. You can make a washing soda by heating baking soda in the oven for an hour or two at 350-400°, but do not use this for other household uses afterwards. It is still best to find and buy “Super Washing Soda” [Arm & Hammer brand] in the laundry aisle or online.

This is so easy to make – grate the soap on the fine side of a cheese grater, then powder and mix together in the food processer, and just add to water to do your washing.

I also added 2 scoops [about 3 Tbsp] of generic Oxyclean, and some leftover Tide detergent [maybe 1/2 – 3/4 cup]. I’ve been using 1 heaping Tbsp for most laundry, and 2 Tbsp for the dirty stuff, and this is working great, even in our cold water washer.

I had trouble finding some of the ingredients at Wal-Mart & Food Lion , but sells a kit with everything included, or you should be able to shop around and find it all locally.

I also added a homemade liquid fabric softener made from vinegar, baking soda, and water. The recipe I used for this was:

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups water

Mix the vinegar and baking soda in with 1/2 the water each & add the soda/water very slowly to the vinegar water, giving time for it to fizz up and then die down before adding more [use a very large container, to allow room for the foam]. When it’s settled down, por into an airtight container, and use 1/2 to 1 cup per load. I poured mine back into a fabric softener bottle, with about 1/2 an inch of softener in the bottle to add scent, and am just adding a cap full to the laundry.

Another fabric softener recipe is:

2 cups hair conditioner [one regular size bottle is almost 2 cups – close enough]
3 cups white vinegar
6 cups water

Mix these together and use as you would store-bought softener. You can also put this in a spray bottle or baby wipe container and use to soak or spray and saturate a clean rag or squares of flannel, then toss it in the dryer with your laundry for easy homemade dryer sheets. [Several homemade sheets can be left soaking in the container, ready to use, or just use the spray bottle to saturate a new rag/cloth each time you dry them].


Front Table Decorations September 25, 2008

Filed under: diy,homemaking — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 3:34 am

This table is one of the first things you see from our front door. I thought it looked plain, and I wanted some of those cinnamon scented pinecones, so I came up with some decorations.

The top photos are before & after. The bottom shows the supplies I bought to put it together.

Total cost- under $16
Wicker basket $2 on sale @ Dollar General
Ribbon $1 per spool @ Dollar General
Table Runner $3 @ Dollar General
Scented Pinecones $3.33 @ Rose’s
Mini Flower Arrangements $2 [$1 each] @ Rose’s
Coffee Cups $2 [$1 each]
Candles $2 [$1 each]


Still Here :) September 18, 2008

Filed under: change,homemaking — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 11:11 pm

Just a quick post to let everyone know I haven’t disappeared.

The state is in the process of paving our road, and they keep cutting or phone line in to, so I just got internet access back after being without since Monday.

I’ll do a longer “catch-up” post over the weekend, when I have more time.

This past weekend was really nice. Billy [my husband] knew that I was planning on doing a lot of cleaning and decluttering, so he helped me out a lot. We planned the day so we had breaks every hour, and quit working early enough in the evening to have some time together to just relax and talk. I was surprised how much we got done, including sorting and inventorying our emergency pantry, so I can plan the next few weeks’ meals on using up some older food and replacing it with fresh.

It’s amazing how much simpler the control journal makes things, because I know what I have to do and have things prioritized somewhat. I also made a control journal for my job, and even in using it the past few days, have been a lot more productive, because I know what I need to do and check off, before I get sidetracked on other projects. Still a long way to go, but I’m well on my way to running my life instead of letting it run me.


Baby Steppin’ Through The House September 12, 2008

Filed under: decluttering,homemaking — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 2:03 pm

I’ll be updating with some pics tomorrow, when I get my digital camera back.

One of the key concepts over at FlyLady is doing things in “Baby Steps” instead of trying to tackle it all at once. Even though I’ll be spending several days during the next couple weeks in crisis cleaning mode, because my parents may be stopping by to visit while they’re in town, I can appreciate the logic behind building a habit one small step at a time. I’m trying to do what I can now in the mornings after work, before I have to go to sleep for my night shift job, and I’m surprised how much of a sense of accomplishment I’ve been getting from the smallest things. I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel like I’m making progress, and that it will be possible to not only get the house clean but to keep it that way, despite not having much time to spend on housework right now.

I managed to have dinner cooked both Wednesday and Thursday, and I have everything prepared for tonight’s dinner and work snacks as well. That may not sound like much, but the past couple years I’ve done good if I cooked once a month – the kitchen was usually too messy to use for preparing food, and the stovetop covered in clutter. It’s nice seeing my counters again. Even though I only have about 1/3 of it cleared right now, it is scrubbed and clean enough to eat off of. Of course, the real benefit was getting to spend time with my husband as we sat down to eat, rather than grabbing a snack and staying in separate rooms, each doing our own thing.

My other baby step is shining the sink each morning. That FlyLady is one smart, sneaky, woman. She must’ve known that to shine the sink I’d have to wash the dishes that were in it, and have to put away the dishes in the drain. Of course, after a day of this, I noticed the dish drainer needed cleaning, and the counter beneath it, and the miniblinds behind the sink over the kitchen window. This morning, I cleaned the counter to the other side, and all of the appliances that live there [the coffee pot, deep fryer, and electric grill]. I guess if clutter can spread from any spot I sit anything down and leave it, then cleanliness can spread from whatever I clean as well. 🙂

The foundation for everything, for me, is having a routine already planned out getting dressed and putting on shoes before I start. Most mornings, I am tired from work when I come home, and I used to thrown on a nightgown and either veg out in front of the computer and kill time or go straight to bed. Either way, I got nothing done. Now, I know what needs doing, so I just follow the schedule until it’s done or it’s time for me to go to bed. Since I change right into my housework clothes, it gets me in the mindset for work, not slacking off. I always top this off with an apron and a scarf for my hair – it just seems to remind me that I’ve got work to do, and keep me in the right mindset to get things done, and I put some music on to keep my moving until it’s time to stop.

Do you have a “uniform” or a certain routine or thing that you do to let yourself know that it is time to do housework?