Nifty Thrifty Week: Day #2 with Ruth Soukup

Welcome to day two of our Nifty Thrifty week featuring ideas, stories, recipes and GIVEAWAYS from five frugal guests.

(And it all started with my devotion entitled The Boomerang of Blessing. You can click here to read it but be sure to come back!)

Up today is my new friend Ruth from the chock-full-of-ideas website  Living Well, Spending Less .

I met Ruth at our recent Proverbs 31 She Speaks Intensive conference and we became fast friends.   A shopaholic turned money-saving expert, she has learned over the years that a life well lived is not so much about what we have, but who we are. On her website Ruth shares her adventure of finding the Good Life {on a budget}.  Living Well Spending Less includes recipes, couponing & budget advice, DIY projects, and household tips as well as reflections on faith, parenting, and homeschooling.  She lives in Florida with her husband Chuck and their two daughters, “Princess” (age 6) and “Trouble” (age 3).

Ruth’s post today is on making homemade cleaners and her generous giveaway is a $50 Amazon card to use to stock up on cleaning supplies.

Now, roll up your sleeves, get ready to clean and meet Ruth:

I can think of many compelling arguments to keep my house tidy.  It looks better.  I can find things.  It helps me be more productive and more hospitable.   It lets me be more creative.  It makes for a smoother-running household, kids who play better, and a husband who isn’t afraid to come home at night.  It even helps me sleep better.

A clean house also saves money.   That alone might be reason enough.

Taking care of my home and my things means I am less likely to need to replace something that gets lost or broken.  Furthermore, when my house is messy, I want only to escape the clutter.  This often means shopping, mindlessly filling a cart with even more stuff I don’t need or finding some other costly way to pass the time.

Re-gaining control of a mess house can be a little overwhelming at first, especially when life never stops moving.  It can be hard to know even where to begin.  Luckily spring is a great time for new beginnings, and if you are ready for a cleaner house, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Clear the Clutter.  For most of us, the problem of a messy house doesn’t come down to too much dirt but too much stuff.  We’re drowning in it.  To steal a line from Karen, it is time to Let. It. Go.  But I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  De-cluttering begets more de-cluttering.  Once you start, it is SO much easier to keep going!  {Get more de-cluttering tips here}
  2. Go Green & Thrifty.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that buying more cleaning supplies will somehow magically make your house cleaner.  It won’t.  (Believe me, I’ve tried that!)  Over the years I’ve discovered that just ten simple household ingredients—vinegar, baking soda, salt, olive oil, liquid dish soap, lemon juice, borax, washing soda, Ivory bar soap, and essential oils—can be combined in ten different ways to clean every single surface in my house.  This not only saves time, space, and money, but is better on the environment too.  {Get all ten homemade cleaning recipes here}
  3. Clean From Top to Bottom.  For a really deep clean, start high—with the ledges, ceiling fans, and light fixtures—then slowly work your way down, ending with the floor and baseboards, cleaning everything in between except the kitchen.  Save that for last. {Get a printable top-to-bottom cleaning checklist here}
  4. Conquer Your Kitchen.  Once the rest of your house is clean and (relatively) clutter free, you will be free to focus on the space that haunts us from behind closed cabinet doors.  Luckily those closed doors mean we don’t have to do it all at once.  Split this task into manageable chunks, one section at a time, over the course of a few days or weeks, and before you know it the kitchen you once feared will be a joy to work in. {Get a printable kitchen cleaning checklist here}
    Homemade laundry soap.

There are plenty of times when my own home falls into disarray.  Life gets hectic and I can’t keep up.  I almost always notice it in my wallet first, and that’s when I know it is time to take a step back and put things back in order.  When all is said and done, a clean house just lets me breathe a little easier.

Okay–to be entered in my giveaway here on Karen’s blog, tell me what products do you use to clean your house? Have you ever tried making homemade cleaners? I’d love to hear!


  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward
    for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  2. I’d like to find out where to get essential oils so I can make some of these natural products. I do use vinegar and baking soda, but also a lot of non-natural cleaners that I grew up seeing my mom use.

  3. I have been really trying to work on this issue. I have started to use alot of the products mentioned to clean and I have noticed that I have not been having the breathing problems that I used to have when cleaning!

  4. Thanks for sharing these tips! I never thought about saving money by having a clean house but it’s true!!! I have only ever made vinegar-water cleaner. But I’d love to make everything homemade.

  5. I use norwex cloths and water for just about everything. I can’t seem to make the hump where my toilet is concerned though. I’d like to eliminate paper towels for that, but I’m having trouble mentally. I love using econuts for my laundry, however, I plan to check out the recipes above and pin what I might be interested in looking at closer.

    Thanks! I’d love to win!

  6. So thankful I was given the recipe for laundry detergent. It does a great job and I have shared it with other friends. So glad I was introduced to using borax and arm and hammer. You can truly use them for a lot of other cleaners and it goes a long way. Thanks for your ideas.

  7. I make my own window cleaner and laundry soap, I will be trying some more of your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I made a homemade all-purpose cleaner and didn’t use it long. I think I like the “clean smell” left by the commercial products. Maybe I’ll give it another try…

  9. I tried making a homemade shower cleaner with Dawn, vinegar, and water. It worked okay, but the vinegar smell was so strong that I haven’t used it again.

  10. Love the idea of natural or homemade cleaners! I planted a large garden this year and plan to use organic/homemade insect repellants to keep our produce healthier. Thanks for being a part of this week of blessings!

  11. Simple Green is one cleaner that I like a lot. I use it all around the house and it is friendlier than other cleaners out there. I do look forward to transitioning to more organic ways of cleaning. Thanks for the tips.

  12. I try to use most “green” cleaners, but there are a couple of old standbys (not so green) I don’t do without just because the greener alterantives don’t work well. I have been making my own laundry soap for about 3 years now, and we like it so much better!

  13. I want to try homemade laundry detergent. I also use baking soda often for cleaning and put it down drains with vinegar to keep them from clogging.

  14. I have never tried to make my own cleaners, but use Magic eraser on my rust stains in my toilets and tubs.

  15. I have always worked full time and have decided recently to quit my job to focus more on my family and my home. I have a checklist of all of the things that I want to clean, and de-clutter in my home. I am excited to try these homemade cleaning solutions! Thanks.

  16. I have never made homemade cleaners but think after reading this I will. I love the idea of saving money and simplicity!

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