Josée in Ottawa

The Mouthwash Myth

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My newfound knowledge of minimalism has changed my perspective in some subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. Instead of looking at my stuff and asking “What can I get rid of?”, I’m asking myself “What do I have to keep?” It might seem like two ways of asking the same question but it’s not – the answers are worlds apart. This has been proven to me a few times in the past few weeks. Some random “minimalist moments”:


Iron - door stop by Vivevans (Flickr Creative Commons)

Iron – door stop by Vivevans (Flickr Creative Commons)

We’re pretty casual dressers around here, and I only ever iron a couple of my shirts and a skirt or two. My iron has been acting up lately. I called around to see if anyone would repair it – nope.  “Buy a new one” is the only advice I got. So then I hit Google to see if I could fix it myself, thinking maybe it was just a loose connection somewhere. I took it apart and it appears that the wires encased in insulation are broken; fixing them is beyond my pay grade. So the iron is toast (no pun intended), and a potential electrocution hazard, as a friend pointed out. The same friend asked me, “Do you really need an iron?” Hmmm… good question. But doesn’t every (properly run :)) household have an iron? What to do with my wrinkled tops and skirts? The same friend who worried that I would electrocute myself mentioned that she doesn’t iron, ever. She puts wrinkle-prone items in the dryer for a minute or two to get wrinkles out; she hangs items carefully to dry to avoid wrinkles altogether; and she avoids buying fabrics she knows will wrinkle in the first place. Good tips! A few weeks ago I would have ditched the malfunctioning iron and bought a new one without even thinking about it. Now I’ve tossed it AND the ironing board to boot.


Mirror for sale - item may not be exactly as shown

Mirror for sale – item may not be exactly as shown 🙂

One of the benefits of minimalism is that having less stuff means having less to clean, and I am all over that.  This weekend I pulled out a mirror that has been in the basement since our move and leaned it on Hubby’s tall dresser, purely for looks: it’s hung too high to be of any use, and we have mirrored closet doors in our bedroom anyhow. Later on when I was dusting I realized that if I left it there, it would be serving no purpose except to collect dust.  One more item to clean. So I put it up for sale on Kijiji. Sure, the wall above the dresser might look a little bare. But who’s going to notice? I haven’t had anything there in the five months since we moved, and it hasn’t bothered me. I only considered putting the mirror there because I had to put it somewhere, right? Not anymore…


Mouthwash by Inha Leex Hale (Flickr Creative Commons)

Mouthwash by Inha Leex Hale (Flickr Creative Commons)

About  a week ago I ran out of mouthwash. Hubby likes strong mouthwash and I prefer a gentler version, so we’ve always had two large bottles in our medicine cabinet. Normally when I run out, I put it on the list of things to buy and mindlessly pick up another bottle when I’m at the drugstore. Not this time. Now my mininalist brain asked, “Do I really need mouthwash?” Not to worry, I am concerned about dental hygiene and I wouldn’t stop brushing my teeth or flossing. But mouthwash… is it just another marketing gimmick? Does it actually do anything besides make me feel like I have better breath? I decided to research the topic. Now mind you I’m not a dentist, but I found that some dentists think mouthwash might improve your breath for a few hours; most seem to think that any mouthwash that has alcohol has a drying effect which might actually lead to worse breath. (I checked – both brands that Hubby and I use contain alcohol.)  So even if mouthwash does improve breath in the short term, the effect only lasts a few hours. I’m sure the apple I eat after my morning coffee does more for my breath than the moutwash I gargled with at 6 am. Although mouthwash might improve breath in the short term, it’s certainly not a must for me. I haven’t replaced my bottle, and so far Hubby hasn’t commented on my breath. 🙂

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