Sometimes small wins can be really gratifying. Like the time you come home from a work trip and the house has, somehow, maintained a relative sense of orderliness. Or when you find a five dollar bill in the fall coat you just wore for the first time this season. Score!
I’d love to share a series of small wins that added up to a one in my life and my daughter’s — it has to do with the moment I was able to clear out the cupboard under my kitchen sink.
What’s in there?
That small space had become the go-to place for everything from oven cleaner to dishwasher tablets to window cleaner. It was like the fully stocked pantry for a hungry home cleaner — everything to satisfy all our needs. But was it as dangerous as some of the midnight snacks in my pantry?
I decided to take a look at the ingredients and found out there was some pretty scary stuff in those bottles. I guess that explains why many of the bottles state “Keep out of the reach of children”. I was cleaning surfaces that my children touched, and even ate off of, with these chemicals.
But don’t I need that?
While this was concerning to me, I had had years of training that the scary stuff was necessary to really get your home clean. You had to use that blue stuff to clean the windows and surface cleaners should smell strong because that meant they worked. Harsh chemicals were required for serious cleaning.
I started to think about how caring for my body and my children’s bodies had changed over the past few years. I’d stripped harsh chemicals out of those routines, even making my own personal care items. Everyone was still pretty clean after that change. Could I use what I learned for my home?
A fresh way to clean
I decided to try making a simple counter cleaner using things I already had in my home — apple cider vinegar, water, sweet orange essential oil and lemon essential oil. Easy! It worked and I felt great about cleaning my counters and kitchen table with it. As my success with simple recipes like this continued, so did the emptying of the cupboard below my sink.
Each small win made a big difference in how I cared for my home, which brings me back to my daughter. She loves homemade room sprays. Watching her pick her favorite essential oils for her personal bathroom spray is the biggest win I’ve experienced from the small choices I made months ago. And, by the way, my cupboard is emptier and a lot less scary.