Waste-less Shopping Goals

I love shopping. However not the shopping you are probably thinking about. I love grocery shopping. I lay the blame for my shopping addiction partially at the door of the Trader Joe’s store that just moved in down the road from me and partially on my love of good food. But my need for dark chocolate peanut butter cups aside I find the whole exercise of planning my meals, getting my shopping list and strolling around the store (ignoring my shopping list) quite relaxing.
As Rachael and I discussed this month’s theme of zero waste and being more environmentally friendly I realized that my approach to shopping is far from earth friendly. I tend to shop last minute or when the urge grabs me and my lack of planning can lead to buying things I don’t need. So in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of impulse grocery shopping (for some people its shoes for me its random cheeses) I have decided to focus on five specific goals to help me move toward a zero-waste lifestyle when it comes to shopping:

1) ALWAYS bring my reusable bag. I have a few bags I can use instead of paper or plastic at the store, but I always seem to forget them at home. My solution to that is I will keep one in my car and then even if I forget my preferred giant bag I will have it. Additionally, if I get to the store and I don’t have it I can just tell them to forgo the bags and I will load directly in to my car.

2692C1E0-3914-4203-8BBE-B08EBD8F316ABA0E01B7-86A1-4C95-B823-E2B1FB48BC06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Along the same lines as number 1 I have purchased several canvas bags to deal with all my produce and bulk bin buys. They just came yesterday so I am excited to try them out. I just explored a few options on Amazon until I found some from “Organic Cotton Mart” what would work for me.
3) Make a shopping list and stick to it. This for me is about limiting food waste, I often come home with too much and then I end up throwing out food.
4) Try to buy glass containers or easily recyclable ones where possible. There are often choices between plastic and glass-I am going to be more mindful of this and go for what can be recycled.
5) Finally, I am going to try to consolidate my shopping trips so that I am not over buying (see number 3) and am saving gas in the process.
So, these are my goals. I would love to hear any other suggestions that people have for more mindful shopping and if you want to follow along with this month’s challenge let us know how it goes!

DIY Fizzing Toilet Cleaning Pods

DIYFizzingPods-01.jpg

I have a quick and inexpensive DIY for you! I saw this recipe and tutorial on Pretty Providence and knew I wanted to try it. Once you get all the ingredients, these cost cents to make a batch, and are whipped up in just a few minutes of hands on time. Below is my experience, and some tips.

Recipe from Pretty Providence, very slightly adapted with my notes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (sometimes can be under the name ‘Sour Salt’, or “lemon salt”. I ended up finding mine at a local Armenian store, as the grocery stores near me did not carry it. Some grocery stores carry it, or Amazon is always a good bet). 
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar (white)
  • 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • 15 to 20 drops your choice of essential oil (lavender, rosemary or peppermint. I like peppermint for it’s strong, fresh scent). 
  • silicone candy molds. You can also hand shape into little discs, or use mini muffin tins, but make sure to line the tins with paper cupcake holders. These pods dry hard, and it is very difficult to get them out of hard molds. I learned through experience. 

Instructions

  1. Add baking soda to a mixing bowl and break up clumps. Baking soda naturally cleans and eliminates odors, making it the perfect base for the fizzies. Add the citric acid (see my notes above) and stir. The citric acid is what adds the fizz to these cleaners.

  2. In a small glass bowl, mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, which will work together to help clean your toilet. Now SLOWLY drop by drop, add vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda. If you add it all at once, you’ll have a big mess due to the reaction between the baking soda and citric acid!

  3. Now add the essential oil and gently mix. This is just for scent, so you can choose any scent you like. I used peppermint.

  4. Use a half teaspoon to scoop the mixture into your candy molds, and press in gently with your fingers. You don’t want to fill them completely full, because this will expand. They really do puff up, it’s fun to watch. Let dry for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  5. Place the pods in glass jar and keep them sealed near your toilet. (I just used the open bowl for photo’s sake 😉 Make sure you label them and keep them out of reach of children, as with any cleaning supplies, natural or not. Whenever your toilet needs a little freshening, just drop one of these in!

    Photos of my process below.

    IMG_1034

Done, and ready to freshen! With a little bit of fizzing action to boot 😉

Reader Spotlight-DIY Blanket Ladder

Melia, one of our sweet readers (and sister! ;), decided to go all in with DIY this month with us! Side note, she is one of the most creative, artistic, and crafty of us six sisters. We definitely were inspired by her this month.

Melia just moved into a larger apartment, from a tiny studio, so wanted to make a few pieces for her new space. Here is one of those projects, which she made for next to nothing! Color me impressed.

Tools and Supplies (mostly gathered from extra bits and pieces around the house. Also can be bought at any home improvement store).

  • 2, 2×4 pieces of wood-about 71 inches long (adjust to what size you want your ladder)
  • 2, 1×4 pieces of wood-21 inches long
  • Small finishing nails
  • Wood glue
  • Sander/sandpaper
  • Wood stain that also acts as a sealer

 

Directions:

Sand all wood, then start building! (I love when a tutorial starts that easily).

The top rung of the ladder should be about 8.5 inches from the top, and then about 11 inches in between each of the next three rungs. That should leave roughly 16 inches on the bottom (if using the 71 inch long lengths).

Use wood glue to attach your rungs to each side piece of wood, and let dry slightly. Then nail each piece securely, using small finishing nails.

If desired, distress the wood somewhat at this point (can also do some after staining). Bang it up with tools, sand the corners, and make little marks in the wood with a screwdriver to help give it an older look.

Wait for the wood glue to dry completely, then stain entire ladder. Can continue to distress after stain dry if desired, or just sit back and enjoy your work!

Time: 2-3 hours.

IMG_0978

And done!! Look how amazing that is! All from extra bits and pieces around the house. It will be perfect for blankets, or towels and other linens. Hopefully this can inspire you to try your own DIY project.

 

What projects have you been working on lately?

DIY: Honey Turmeric Mask

Let’s get right to it–my skin has had a hard time adjusting from Utah to Massachusettes. The stress of a move, combined with days in a car, and not drinking enough water has played a part as well. I have been trying to help calm my face of breakouts and redness and get it settled down, as I settle down in a new city.

The first thing I wanted to try was turmeric. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which make it good for acne. It also can help lighten dark spots on skin, including scars. My skin has been oily here, and I am always looking for ways to even my skin tone, so I wanted to give turmeric a try. So far I have really felt it helps sooth my skin, and my breakouts are subsiding. A super easy recipe I used is:

turmericmask-02

Continue with masks 1-2 times a week to see best results.

Video of the process below.

Let us know if you try it and enjoy it!

Start with a Small Space

Everyone has those places in their house. Where you think “if I could JUST get this space organized everything in my life would fall in to place”, that one small area that is holding you back from success! 🙂 For me, that area was under my sink. It seemed to mock me with its lack of organization and reminded me of all the goals I had yet to accomplish-for example my desire to rid my house of as many chemicals as I could. A fine goal to be sure but with the number of hazardous materials still under my sink, it should have come with its own safety video.

img_2131-1

 

In an attempt to rid myself of this impediment to my potential awesomeness and to continue to implement the principles we learned in February about minimalism I decided it needed to be dealt with. I was SO lucky in that Hannah Hearin from Home Refreshment (www.homerefreshment.com) reached out and offered her assistance to put me on the right track for success. Working with her was easy, and just the right amount of kick in the butt accountability I needed. I sent pictures of my problem area (not without a little shame) and she created a plan based on my budget and aesthetics. So simple!

I decided that anything that did not fit in the two containers I bought would just have to go. Side note: Thanks to Hannah I took my first trip to The Container Store-a magical place that I could probably blow an entire paycheck in! I also made some natural all-purpose cleaner to replace what I had discarded (if you want the recipe let me know-I love it!).

img_2251

A well-organized space is a beautiful thing to behold, isn’t it?

So now as you can see I am free to win my Oscar, climb Mount Everest, and bring about world peace-I just needed to get to that silly sink first!