Recently I was invited to participate in a blog tour and review of a new book called All You Need Is Less: The Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Living and Stress-Free Simplicity by Madeleine Somerville.
All You Need Is Less is a funny, real and practical guide to living green while saving money. And it does so without vilifying anyone who uses plastic bags and Lysol.
Eco-blogger Madeleine Somerville even starts the book right away with a laugh at how most eco-friendly books start: “terror-inducing lists of the carcinogenic chemicals you are liberally slathering all over every single surface of your house, painting you as an unwitting eco-villain, happily Lysol-ing you way straight to Hades.” (I know what she’s talking about – I have some of these books!)
“Well, Lady, you can just relax and unpack your bags – we won’t be going on any guilt trips today,” she says.
The book is organized into 10 chapters:
Chapter 1: Home
Chapter 2: Body
Chapter 3: Lifestyle
Chapter 4: Food and Drink
Chapter 5: Gardening
Chapter 6: Relationships
Chapter 7: Health & Wellness
Chapter 8: Baby
Chapter 9: Pet
Chapter 10: Holidays
Each chapter is filled with practical tips, a “make it” section with recipes for natural products including all-purpose cleaner, hardwood floor polish, baby wipes and body scrubs, and how-to’s for composting, gardening and living simply.
And they’re not weird, go-to-some-odd-store-40-miles-from-home-to-buy-the-ingredients kinds of tips. They’re actually simple enough for anyone to follow.
For example, did you know you may have many multi-purpose products in your house right now? Madeleine shares many including one we have had sitting in our fridge – apple cider vinegar. I didn’t know how versatile it was until reading page 180. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a facial toner, hair conditioner, flea repellent, sunburn reliever, itchy-skin calmer and so much more, and you can find recipes for these as well.
In chapter 3, “Lifestyle,” the facts about home size over time are eye-opening. The average home size of 983 square feet in 1950 tripled to 2,480 in 2011, despite the average family size decreasing from 3.37 people in 1950 to 2.6 today. The reason? The availability of easily acquired consumer goods. Madeleine offers a solution – sharing (“beg, barter, borrow”) instead of owning everything yourself. And start by approaching a friend or neighbor and generously offering them the use of something of yours. Though neighborhoods aren’t what they used to be – I still don’t know many of our neighbors after living here 7 years – perhaps starting a bartering system can help people get to know each other (and save each other money!!!).
A great frugal-living book, I love her reasoning behind shopping secondhand. “Buying secondhand is the absolute best way not only to save some cash, but to make sure that you’re getting a quality product too. You know those stores that offer shoes for ten dollars, or shirts for five? I can almost guarantee that you’re not going to ever see those items in a decent secondhand store.”
In other words, items in a secondhand store have already stood the test of time – so the condition you find it in is the condition in which it will remain, so you know you’re getting (usually) a quality item.
All You Need Is Less offers tips including:
- Don’t buy laundry detergent – make it!
- Make your own all-purpose cleaner with ingredients you already have in your home
- Basic “green” hygiene boot camp
- Reduce waste in the grocery store
- How to cultivate your own pesticide-free garden
- Ways to circumvent cold and flu season with at-home remedies
- How to be eco-friendly with a new baby in the house
For a chance to WIN a copy right here at Twin Cities Frugal Mom, fill out the Rafflecopter form with your email address below. The giveaway closes at 11:00 p.m. on Monday, May 12th. It’s open to all U.S. residents.
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. All opinions are 100% mine.)