5 Ways to Simplify Your DIY

by Ivory Soap

If you’re not paying attention, you can overwhelm yourself with “simple living.”  You can clutter up your life with so much DIY that you can’t see your way out.  DIY only simplifies your life if you keep your DIY simple.

Pick double/triple duty products.

DIY is empowering and fun.  It’s shouldn’t be overwhelming.  Don’t use DIY to recreate the 75 different cleaning products on the store shelf.  Find a few basic recipes that work across many chores.  It reduces your clutter, your shopping list, and the space it was taking up in your brain.  We’ll be doing a series of posts on these this week, so just hang on a day or so and you’ll have a great list!

Streamline your ingredients.

In our recipes, we use the same oils across all the body care products.  There’s no need to have five different kind of specialty oils for five different products.  Avocado oil, beeswax, shea butter (liquid oil, wax, solid fat).  Every time.

I do the same thing with all my cleaning products.  Either I use the same batch of homemade soap for everything, or I use Ivory.  It’s my laundry base, shampoo, body wash, dish soap, liquid hand soap, etc.  No need to go find the “perfect” soap for each chore.

I also do it for essential oils.  I have three oils that I use for everything (if I use them at all.)  Either it’s a tea tree oil recipe or a rosemary/lavender recipe. I don’t have a cabinet full of options.

Get your recipes all in one place.

Borrow books from the library, write down what you like and send them back.  Or buy the book, write down what you like and stick it in the attic until you need it again.  Or catalog all your favorite recipes on Pinterest.  Regardless, you need to consolidate your DIY recipes into one place. I like to type mine into a word document and print it off for my notebook.

Order once or twice a year.

Figure out everything you use for all your DIY and order it at once. Even if I’m not making soap or sunscreen for six months, when I put in the order for lotion bar ingredients, I go ahead and get the lye and zinc oxide I’ll be needing later.

Do it all at once and make BIG batches.

If I’m going to make laundry detergent, I make enough for MONTHS.  And if I’m smart, I’ll do all the other soap-based products .  While we’re grating Ivory, let’s just grate a TON.  Like the old pioneer homesteads, who made soap once a year, sugared off once a year, put up the hams once a year, I’m not making little batches every two months.


If it is your THING to play with herbs and oils, carry on with my blessing.  It’s my THING to research homeschool manipulatives to pieces and you should see how complicated Daisy’s garden is.   (Look inside here at amazon, its the shot from the introduction page.)

So if this is your hobby? Go right ahead.  But if it’s NOT, follow the instructions in the next few posts this week to streamline your DIY for cleaning products, stain removal, homemade detergents, and body care products.

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri Miller May 23, 2012 at 7:41 am

Good ideas! We have tried to live simply throughout our lives, and sometimes, we have to make the decision NOT to DYI. :::gasp:::

I love your articles and enjoy getting grounded by them!! Keep up the good work!


Sarah May 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Great post. You mentioned the use of your soap as your shampoo. I’m trying to streamline our products in the shower and get us down to one thing for all family members (baby included). Currently I’ve been using our unscented liquid castile soap that we use on the kids for my own shampoo and it seems to do fine, but I really miss conditioner because my hair gets so dry. Today I tried a new trick that seemed to work as a detangler (mixing my alcohol-free lavender witch hazel with water in a spray bottle). But alas, my frizzy hair still needs some sort of conditioning or styling product. So I’m curious, do you use anything for conditioner or any kind of styling products on your hair?

Ivory Soap May 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

For “conditioner” I used dilute apple cider vinegar. You will still likely need some store bought product to tame frizzy hair as this routine makes hair very light. It’s like kids’ hair.

Babsy October 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

Hey Sarah…..Years ago I found that adding coconut milk to my liquid castile soap (I love the lavender for hair/bath/body) …yields a wonderful shampoo/conditioner combo. Slightly more soap to coconut milk is about right. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice did nothing for my hair at all, except make it dryer and more unmanageable. For many years now I have been using this and I have to tell you it is wonderful. And I have thick, coarse hair that succumbs easily to the horrible humidity we have here in the south. Since this stays both in the shower and in my basket hanging in the clawfoot tub, it makes a wonderfully emollient body wash too. It doesn’t need refrigeration….just don’t mix up huge batches at a time. I just keep a 4-6 oz. bottle mixed up. Hope this helps!

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