There are days when I feel committed to banishing all toxins and unsustainable materials from our home. I’m sold on the merits. But then I need to pick that bug up off the basement floor and, well, paper towel it is. Or I need to cover the leftover pizza and have not yet mastered the art of sustainable wrap. So plastic wrap it is.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that this doesn’t need to be an all or nothing proposition. Making little strides is valuable. And maybe someday I’ll make it all the way to a fully non-toxic home. (In my imagination, the windows are open and the sun and fresh air will be streaming in on that day!) But in the meantime, I’m always looking for good guidance.
Journey to a Non-Toxic Home by Sarah UmmYusuf is providing that guidance for me right now. It’s both inspiring and practical. In Part 1 of the book, Sarah explains how the household products we use every day affect our health — and how the government does (and doesn’t) regulate these products. She provides information on the “worst offenders” and covers topics like air quality and label reading.
In Part II, Sarah gives the reader a “roadmap for success.” Her Small Steps Formula™ is five steps for tackling toxins in the home, product by product. Maybe you want to start with dish soap or toilet cleaner, for example. After finding a safe alternative, you move on to the next product. I’m a big fan of breaking down big tasks, so this is working like a charm for me. I also appreciate Sarah’s nudge to spend time really choosing (or making) alternative, safe, quality products that you like rather than quickly substituting for everything in the house. “You might wake up one day and find a whole bunch of mediocre products that you kind of hate, instead of just a handful of awesome products that you love,” she explains.
The nitty gritty (and full support for this endeavor!) starts in Part III, where Sarah takes us through the home, room by room, looking at the products used in each. She covers the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, and the living areas. In each room, she provides recipes for making your own product (I’ll probably be passing along some of her suggestions for getting things clean in future blog posts), as well as source recommendations for buying alternatives, if you’re not into DIY.
Part IV includes extra encouragement for taking the first step and forging your own path. It’s followed by a valuable Appendix that includes lists (ingredients, equipment, supplies), sources, safety information, and additional resources.
I have a handful of books promoting a non-toxic household, and Sarah’s is my favorite. It’s the one book that’s managed to get me not just convinced about the need to convert but excited about the process of getting there!
Note: You can find Sarah’s book on Bookshop.org. (Bookshop supports local, independent bookstores!) I’m an affiliate with Bookshop, so if you make a purchase through my link you’ll support Bookshop, Sarah, and C2K, at no added expense!
Where are you in your journey to a non-toxic home? Is it something you think about doing or are you fully non-toxic, or do you, like me, land someplace in the middle?
You might also enjoy:
A Life Less Throwaway, The Lost Art of Buying for Life, by Tara Button
I Quit Plastic and you can too by Kate Nelson
Simply Imperfect — Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence