Save. Spend. Splurge.

Eco-Friendly and Minimalist Things I Do That People Might Find Kind of Weird

This is an odd title for a post, but it basically sums up all the things I do that people (who don’t know me) might find kind of weird.

For the record, I am NOT doing any of the following to be frugal — I’m doing it more for eco-friendly/green reasons, or because I prefer it.

The saving money part, is just a nice bonus.



Frankly I think the last time I used laundry detergent was on some oily kitchen towels. Otherwise, I don’t bother using laundry detergent. Just a warm wash (even cold), gets all the dirt out.

I was skeptical when I first tried it, but it works like a charm.

If I feel like I need an extra boost to clean and soften my laundry, I throw in a cup of white vinegar just before the last rinse cycle.

This goes without saying that I also don’t use commercial fabric softener.

I only use detergent when we wash the cloth diapers for the baby, super greasy or dirty towels that go in, and anything that NEEDS detergent.

In fact, cloth diaper tags even tell you: Don’t go crazy with the detergent. Use a moderate amount.

I use soap nuts, which are THE BEST things to really scrub out stains of all kinds. They worked great on my cloth diapers, and didn’t leave a fragrance or a gross film on them which made the diapers super absorbent and soft.

Soap nuts are natural, biodegradeable soap berries from a tree as well.


Did you know that they use animal fat to coat those things?

Or at least, some brands do.

So the next time you take your clothes out of your dryer, give them a sniff to see if you can smell beef tallow (fat) on them.

Just kidding.

Still, it kind of grossed me out to realize that (THANKS vegans!….)

I use wool dryer balls instead! And they work great, they are a natural fabric softener, they cut down on drying time, it’s amazing.


I am not sure if I ever mentioned this, but I don’t.

I use a bit of baking soda on my toothbrush, and if I want some fresh-mouth feel, a drop of peppermint oil.


I haven’t for the past 5 years, and my dentist has actually recently complimented me on how well my teeth looked. I don’t spit out blood when they clean my teeth any longer.

I tried using a dab of toothpaste a while ago, and it absolutely dried out my mouth to the point where I felt like I had cottonmouth. Awful.

I actually do more than just brush my teeth as well. I floss, and I also use interdental brushes to massage my gums, and I have had stellar dentist checkups ever since.


A Japanese futon on the floor is way more comfortable to me than a bed. (This is where I bought )

I tried sleeping on just 2 blankets on a floor (out of desperation because I was traveling and the bed was awful), but it was too hard for me. I need a futon.

I tried sleeping on a bed after I got used to the futon, and I couldn’t adjust. It was too soft and bouncy in the middle.

I felt like my whole body sank down, and my back curved to the point where I felt very uncomfortable.

Similarly, if I sleep on a hard bed, I can feel the springs.

Give me an on the floor, any time!

P.S. You can buy an , free shipping worldwide with a few country restrictions, or here if you want an all-cotton one made in the U.S. instead.

I don’t have a fear of falling off, rolling off the bed, being pushed off the bed, monsters hiding under my bed, or having to carry this massive mattress, boxspring, headboard and bed frame everywhere I go.


People give me the weirdest looks when I say this.

I love cloth diapering him and I never have to worry about running out of diapers, nor do I feel terrible about having to change him a second time RIGHT AFTER I changed him because he pooed.

If I used disposables, I’d feel psychologically a little bit mad that he pooed on a perfectly clean, fresh diaper when he could have done it before on the dirty one, or as I was changing him…

Stupid, but true.

I also just really like cloth diapering. I don’t think it’s any more or less disgusting than not cloth diapering him, and he has even taken to pretending to diaper his toys.


I don’t buy those commercial cleaners to clean anything.

White vinegar is a great product that disinfects and lets you clean anything pretty easily. It even works really well in dishwashers to get water stains out (no need for fancy chemicals, just throw in a little vinegar with the soap you use).

There are plenty of ways to use it once you do a little Googling on the internet.


  • Candace

    I cloth diapered too…the real old fashioned kind, with pins.
    Bean never got poked. Freaked everyone out but me. Saved
    tons of money and landfill space. I couldn’t have imagined
    doing anything differently.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Me neither. I really love cloth diapering. It is not easy and can be kind of gross at times but.. I feel really good when I hear about diapering stories & how much their kid went through in a day.

  • Xin

    Very interesting post. I’ve stopped using dryer sheets (because my boyfriend is used to not having them) and I find that there’s no difference in how soft or static-y (or not) my clothes, bed linens, or towels are after drying. I line-dry most of my clothes anyway too.

    I’m not sure I could get used to not using laundry detergent, but for a period of almost a year I was actually not using detergent when I lived in Hong Kong. Someone had left a jar of what I thought was detergent, but I only found out later that it was actually fabric softener due to never thinking to read the label. I didn’t notice any huge differences in how clean my clothes got outside of one or two stubborn stains that wouldn’t go away, though that was probably more because of the washing machine (a different style from the ones I’m used to in the US) than anything else.

  • Anonymous

    You must be from Asian descent as Asians have fewer sweat glands than other races, for example: the Japanese rarely wear deodorant. So I guess I’m not surprised if you don’t use laundry detergent, you probably don’t sweat as much as others do. I sweat really badly and I couldn’t get away with just washing without detergent.

    I’m interested in trying crystal wash balls as an alternative to fabric softener sheets. I consider you very lucky as laundry detergent is as much as $10-20 per container.

    Toothpaste contains an irritant because when it first was invented, people rarely used it, until a company decided to put a chemical that irritated your mouth a little because they wanted to let you know that the toothpaste was actually working and thus establishing a habit in their customers so they’d buy their toothpaste. If something becomes a habit then they’ll probably buy it without thinking. I read “The Power of Habit” and learned that the first toothpaste company did this to get customers to buy their product. Really fascinating book, check it out if you haven’t already.

    I tried brushing with baking soda, didn’t like it, found it salty, then I tried Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and didn’t like that either so I now use Pronamel recommended to me by my dentist. I don’t find your cloth diapers weird because my mom used cloth diapers on me. I also read somewhere that some kids can get off diapers fast with cloth diapers.

    As someone that doesn’t have allergies I find a lot of commercial products to be overly perfumed and toxic. So while I haven’t given up on buying commercial products, I will from time to time lean on baking soda, vinegar, peroxide to clean.

  • Chris Grande

    We do a lot of the same. We bought the dryer balls at Amazon I think.

    For me the electric toothbrush has been the key move on teeth. Will have to try your gum massager idea!

    Oh and we Also sleep on mattress on the floor. Kids too.

    Great thoughts! And yes white vinegar and baking soda work wonders:)

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