Mindfully Spent is about managing finances, time, and more in pursuit of meaning. It chronicles my journey to use money and moments for things I truly love.

Save money. Pay off debt. Simplify. Do the unimaginable big things that you want with your life. Look back on your dollars and days and find they were Mindfully Spent.

Spring Clean! An easy change that helped us cut waste and save money.

Spring Clean! An easy change that helped us cut waste and save money.

As we continued to make household changes to reduce waste and save money, one area that caught my interest was homemade cleaners.

Last fall, inspired by a friend and an acquaintance who both made their own home products with essential oils, I decided it was time for a change in our home too. Although I was initially intimidated, I came to find that switching to homemade cleaners was a lot like eliminating paper towels— much easier and less expensive that I imagined. 

 I chose to make a small investment in some beautiful bottles that would make my homemade cleaners feel special as well as keeping the essential oils fresh from blocking unnecessary sunlight. I do not regret this purchase.

My first task was to recreate a yummy smelling citrus eucalyptus air freshener they used in the recording studio that mastered my husband’s albums. Rachel at Resonant Mastering said the recipe was simple: 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, 20 drops of orange oil, some water, and I was done. I had a perfect, fresh smelling spray in a good looking bottle that was easy on the environment and cost pennies to make.


Creating an all-purpose cleaner was equally easy. Vinegar forms the basis of many natural cleaners and mine was no different. I already knew I loved the scent of eucalyptus, and it happened to have antiseptic properties as well. I  knew I wanted a citrus oil to cut grease and grime, and a bit of tea tree oil in the mix for its anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. My final recipe:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water  
  • 20 drops eucalyptus oil
  • 20 drops any citrus oil  
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

The result was an effective cleaner that took seconds to make. As an added bonus, the homemade cleaner made great holiday gifts when bottled and labeled. The recipe is fool proof and can be altered almost any way you’d like to create a scent that smells fresh and clean to you.

With these first projects down, I was eager to see what further changes I could make. 

I was sick of the plastic, disposable soap bottle spittle nonchalantly alongside my bathroom and kitchen sinks. As we made changes to eliminate waste of all kinds, the presence of those plastic bottles gnawed on me. I knew that we refilled it (and had, dozens of times from the bigger plastic jug of inexpensive soap), but it didn’t speak to my values.

As I looked at possible recipes, I discovered a foaming handsoap dispenser could replace the disposable bottles sitting alongside our household sinks while reducing the amount of soap we needed for each use. 

In the end, I decided that I couldn’t toss out the soap we had remaining, but I could splurge on the reusable, foaming hand wash containers that would cut down on the amount of soap we used.  

Our new foaming dispensers use just one part soap to five parts water, and they need refilling much less often.  


When we finish up our jug of store bought soap (which will take quite some time now!), I’m excited to experiment with a making my own.

For floor cleaner, I cobbled together a mixture of things we had on hand for an inexpensive option that cut pet odors and left our kitchen floors sparkling: water, a tiny drizzle of dish soap, a splash of Febreeze, And a good dose of vinegar. While I’d been using a similar method for some time, the addition of vinegar made a huge difference in how effectively the solution cleaned and how fresh the room smelled afterward.  

These changes were the beginning steps of having a home that is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to keep clean. There are lots of recipes online for all kinds of sustainable cleaners and home products. If you decide to experiment with some, I’d love to hear about it. 

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Our 2018 Financial Resolutions: Strengthening our finances, building community.

Our 2018 Financial Resolutions: Strengthening our finances, building community.