Now that I’ve surely convinced you the benefits of homemaking products and living a natural lifestyle, here are some key things you’ll need to get started. You don’t have to buy these all upfront, you can just buy what you need as you go along. But these are good things to have on hand, and they will last a long time. These are just some staples, each recipe will have its own stuff it calls for. I attempt to explain what some of these things are, but these explanations come from my friend Google and her pal Wikipedia. You science-minded types can silence your laughter now.
Storage containers and measuring spoons
I like quart sized mason jars to keep my detergents in, and spray bottles for my cleaners. I got the mason jars from the canning section of my grocery store. It’s been awhile, but I believe they were around $15 for a dozen. You can buy single jars at Hobby Lobby. The individual jar price is higher, but then you can buy just what you need. An alternative to mason jars would be empty food containers. It’s nice to have a few measuring spoons on hand. I like tablespoons, as that is the size I need most often. I just get cheap measuring spoons at the Dollar Tree. I also got my spray bottles at the Dollar Tree, but the next time I buy some I will splurge and get better quality ones. The ones I have seem to get stuck a lot.
What exactly is Borax? It’s a mineral- sodium borate- that is found in deposits left by the evaporation of seasonal lakes. The biggest sources are found in the southwest United States. It is a white powder that can be used in many different types of cleaners. You can find it in the laundry aisle and a big box that last months costs around $4.
Washing soda is sodium carbonate, a “sodium salt of carbonic acid”. It is a highly alkaline compound that can be found from many sources- one is the ash of plants. It is also used in cleaners, specifically detergents. The high alkalinity of washing soda helps it to remove stains and treat hard water. It is also found in the laundry aisle and costs about $3. Oddly enough, my local Target does not carry washing soda, but my grocery store does.
We all know what vinegar is, right? It’s cheap. Buy a lot.
Most soaps are based on animal fats. Castile soap is based on vegetable oils. It gets its name because it was derived in the Castile region of Spain. Pure Castile soap is a simple soap, not a complicated blend of chemicals. I like the Dr. Bronners brand, which comes in several scents and is fair-trade certified*. I get it in the natural beauty section at Target for about $10/16 oz bottle…or $17/32 oz bottle. One bottle lasts awhile.
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils from plants. They come in many kinds such as cinnamon, lavender, orange, rose, pine, and many more. They are all-natural and because they are so concentrated, a little goes a long way. Each oil has things that it is good for- for example, tea tree oil is great for treating acne, peppermint essential oil can ease headaches and indigestion, and lemongrass oil can be used to prevent fleas and ticks on animals. Essential oils are optional when you are getting started with homemaking. You can find them in health food stores or online, and they can be a bit expensive. I started off with this sampler pack for $25 including shipping. Make sure whatever you purchase comes in a dark bottle so that light does not destroy the oil.
That should be enough to get you started! Can’t wait to share some recipes with you!
*After my last post I had a few questions about fair trade. Being fair trade certified means the product is produced in a way that pays the farmers/producers a fair wage, that there is no child labor, there are no hazardous chemicals, and no genetically modified organisms. You’ll know it’s fair trade because it will be labeled as such. You can find fair trade products everywhere, but they are easiest to find in health food stores or health sections of regular stores. The other day I noticed Quik Trip brews a fair trade coffee! This short video has some good information on fair trade.