They’re such tiny rooms, but they contain some of the most heavily packaged, non-biodegradable and single-use items in our homes. Here is a list of bathroom and laundry items you can switch.

Last week, I shared a number of small things you can do to create a more self-sufficient bathroom… one that isn’t dependent on the supermarket for every small need. This week, I want to share a few more things, perhaps a little harder to stomach than some others, but worth the discussion nonetheless.

Things to change in the bathroom

Tissues

Growing up, a handkerchief seemed to me to be the mark of a gentleman. I never saw my Dad or either of my Grandfathers use a tissue. It seemed that if one had to blow his nose, it may as well be done in style!

While some folks are revolted by the concept of blowing snot into a small square of fabric and then placing that piece of fabric into one’s pocket, the concept is easily overcome. And it’s one of the simplest things we can change in our home.While some folks are revolted by the concept of blowing snot into a small square of fabric and then placing that piece of fabric into one’s pocket, the concept is easily overcome. And it’s one of the simplest things we can change in our home.

Care for hankies

If cleaning the hankies is the part that grosses you out, here’s an idea… rinse them in the shower or used bath water before throwing them in the wash to get mixed through your clothes. You’ll get the worst off and save water by not rinsing them separately in the laundry tub.

Some ideas to help you make the switch from tissues:

• If you’re feeling crafty and have some small amounts of cotton or polyester fabric around, you can make some cute handkerchiefs. Use the opportunity to teach your children running stitch. If you’re not sure about it yourself, check YouTube for some great tutorials.

• You can use old clothes to make hankies. Flannelette pyjamas work well, as they’re nice and soft.

• You can purchase a pack from the menswear section at your local clothing store or from a haberdashery store.

Bonus Fun

Get creative: homemade hankies make gorgeous gifts for overseas friends and relatives – and they fit in an envelope!

 

Feminine Care

You knew this topic was coming, didn’t you? It’s ok to feel a little queasy about it.

Reusable menstrual products were all our great-grandmothers knew, but the application of modern fabrics and advanced sewing technologies has led to the development of a range of high quality, luxury products that are a far cry from the ‘rags’ of yesteryear.

Most cloth pads contain a top layer which goes against the skin, a base layer against the pants and hidden layers of waterproofing and absorbency. Most modern brands of cloth pads also feature wings which can be fastened around your underpants with polyresin snaps.

Women who use cloth menstrual pads report shorter cycles, reduced cramping and increased ability to chart their cycle.

CARE

At home

• Keep your clean stash in the bathroom.

• Store used pads in a bucket of cold water until it’s time to wash.

• Rinse in the laundry sink before washing with clothes, towels or nappies. Most cloth pads contain a top layer which goes against the skin, a base layer against the pants and hidden layers of waterproofing and absorbency. Most modern brands of cloth pads also feature wings which can be fastened around your underpants with polyresin snaps

 

Out and about

If using cloth pads when out and about, take a small wet bag (preferably with a zip closure) with you to store your used pads in. Be sure to soak your used pads in cold water when you get home.

Soaking in cold water prevents stains and lifts most of the blood out before rinsing off in the laundry tub.

Although menstrual discharge is generally odourless, a few drops of essential oil in the bucket helps everything to smell fresh.

You’ll need around 12 pads if you plan to wash each day of your cycle.

 

Can’t stomach it?

If you really can’t stomach the reusable kind just yet, try a biodegradable and ethically manufactured brand of disposable menstrual products.

NOTE: The concept of a reusable cup that can be used during this time may appeal more than cloth pads.

 

Storage

My favourite thing about creating your own storage containers is that you can use them in all areas of your home… not just the bathroom.

Create a simple, effective, organised space within your bathroom using the following formula:

• Empty your bathroom cupboard and sort toiletries according to the family member that uses them.

• Find one old container or box (shoeboxes are perfect for this) for each member of the family and leave as is or cover and label. We use old wrapping paper or fabric just to pretty them up.

• Discard any out of date products and recycle packaging where possible.

• Put the essentials in each correct box and back into your now tidy bathroom cupboard.

Yay! You’ve up-cycled some great stuff, and organised your bathroom cupboard.

Do the same for you laundry and sort according to task (ie. cleaning box, clothing care box, etc).

 

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