Staying Out Of The Store

by Tammy Taylor

The more I learn to do for myself, the easier I find it is.  For instance I used to have a large cache of cleaners under my kitchen and bathroom sinks.  I had toilet cleaners, glass cleaners and tile floor cleaners.  It seems there were cleaners specially formulated for cleaning only one specific type of surface.  I really never thought about it, just blindly picked up each one and put it in my shopping cart as I danced down the aisles.  Then reality set in… REALLY??!?

There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now to find my household cleaners I need to look no further than my kitchen pantry.  They are non-toxic and are so safe they can be EATEN!  What’s my secret?  Vinegar and baking soda.  Two ingredients that are typically included in my cooking can also keep my house squeaky clean!

Bathroom Cleaners

I keep a special container of baking soda in our bathroom for cleaning.  It’s mildly abrasive qualities will clean the sink or toilet bowl to a sparkling shine.  The spray bottle of vinegar cleans windows & mirrors to a streak-free shine, keeps soap scum off the bathroom shower walls, cleans tile floors and disinfects the toilet.  I no longer buy specialty cleaning products – these two items along with an occasional bucket of soap and water make up my entire list of cleaning supplies.

There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Trash Bags

Trash bags are another thing I no longer need to purchase at the store.  Since we now buy fewer cans, boxes and convenience mixes our trash output has been drastically reduced.  Now we only fill a small bathroom-sized trash can every 1-2 weeks.  There’s no shortage of plastic bags that automatically make their way into our home anyway so I use them to line this small trash can.

I’ve been known to use a larger cereal bag or even the plastic that wraps multiple toilet-paper rolls to line the can.  And I’m thrilled that I no longer have a bulky trash can pretending to be a mammoth decorator item in my kitchen!  This smaller waste basket fits neatly inside a small slide-drawer we had built into one of our bottom cabinets.  Since I compost my food scraps, and recycle plastics such as milk jugs, etc. this waste basket only needs to be emptied every 1-2 weeks.

There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Convenience Mixes Are GONE!

Commercially produced convenience items are rarely used here now.  I was thrilled to learn that what’s now become my absolute favorite fudge frosting recipe takes only 1 minute on the stove.  And it contains only butter, sugar, coffee, cocoa and vanilla.  OK let’s face it – how bad can it be – it has cocoa AND coffee in it!  The taste simply cannot be matched by frosting in a plastic tub.  And there’s precious little trash when I make frosting myself.

I can also whip up the most decadent brownies completely from scratch in about the same time it takes to mix the wet ingredients into boxed ingredients.  And my pancake recipe takes no longer to mix up than the “premixed” kind in a box or bag. The benefit here is that these items are all made with ingredients I already have in my kitchen.  Ingredients I recognize and can pronounce, and at substantially less cost both economically and environmentally.  The kicker here (and believe me this is important):  It takes no more time than the “convenience” mixes!

There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now I’m not casting stones.  I bought into the convenience mindset and didn’t really think about the procedure itself.  It wasn’t until I challenged myself to provide the things that I typically bought that I found out how incredibly easy it was.  The bonus?  Fewer runs to the store for household and recipe items.  I can almost always round up the ingredients for whatever can or boxed item might be listed in a recipe.  Give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

~TMH~

 

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58 thoughts on “Staying Out Of The Store

  1. Marla

    I stopped using chemical store bought cleaner quite a while ago due to my chemical sensitivities. At first started with some green cleaners bought from the store but then I started making my own DIY cleaners and using peroxide, vinegar, baking soda as mainly to clean with. I also make my own DIY citrus cleaner which I use for many things with taking orange peels (or any type of citrus peels) and white vinegar and putting in a jar for about a month to work or ferment – its a great cleaner. I use it constantly throughout my house. I use olive oil on my wood furniture to dust with and it lubricates the wood very well. As far as trash I still need to keep working on that – although we only put 1 trash bag out for the trash man once a month or less. which is some cans and odds and ends of old stuff. We burn what paper we have and try to buy in bulk as much as possible. Sharing on article on twitter & pinning. Visiting from #WasteLessWednesdays. I love your recipes too.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      It’s funny how the advertising ‘powers that be’ have convinced us that proper cleaning must include complicated chemicals. I’ve wasted so much money in my lifetime buying into the myth. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Stephanie

    Oh, I’m envious of only emptying trash on a weekly or biweekly basis! We are better than used to be, but still have lots of room for improvement in that area. I desperately want to compost, but don’t have the space for it at this time. I’ve been thinking about freezing food scraps until I get enough to blend a compost tea of sorts…you’ve pushed me to start it now! Visiting from Happiness is Homemade. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m so glad you stopped by today Stephanie. I used to haul a large trash bag to the curb every week so I’m not casting stones here, I just made some changes over time that were important to me, and reducing my landfill-bound trash was important! I am happy to say that it’s much easier than I thought it would and I find myself challenging myself to do more so it’s almost a game. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Judith C

    I try to make as much as I can from scratch. Probably 90% of our food is made from scratch, yogurt, ranch dressing, baked goods always! Household cleaners to personal items like deodorant, Brazilian wax, tooth paste and lots more. What I don’t like are the skeptics who turn up their noses in disgust. Oh well, it’s their dime…. dollar really.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Us too Judith and ya know, it’s so easy to do. I think many people (myself included in my younger days) have been convinced by the advertising moguls that their complicated chemical-ridden products are the only way. I assumed those scientific-sounding ingredients were the key to an effective product, and of course there’s no way I could obtain them to make my own. Little did I know THOSE are the things I’m trying to avoid in the first place! ~TMH~

      Reply
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  6. lisa lynn

    Very true! I make everything from scratch now too and I love it! Healthier, cheaper, better for the environment…how much better can you get than that? Oh, yeah…tastier too 😉

    Reply
  7. Kathy

    This is so true! I do love the freshness of homemade cleaners – great post! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday, Kathy

    Reply
  8. Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and tips at The Four Seasons Blog Hop! We all could learn a lesson from you:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Reply
  9. Marla

    I only use baking soda, lemons, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and essential oils to clean and try to never buy any processed. Believe totally in organic and local harvest foods. Believe we need to be as self sufficient as possible and agree with your ideas. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Four Seasons Blog Hop.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Me too Marla, looks like you & I are definitely on the same page! 🙂 And it’s such a win/win when you can get less toxic and less expensive too! ~TMR~

      Reply
  10. Jennifer Johnson

    I find I need to be in a habit.. Dawn soap and vinegar are my go tos and baking soda. Every once in a while I find myself buying something super convenient. Thank you for the reminder to keep the course!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Jennifer, I agree it’s just a habit, and so many things are super-easy to implement. But you know for me it’s all about moderation. There are things that work for our home and some things that are tried but just didn’t work. If something doesn’t work for your household just focus on those that do and search for other things to implement that will help both your budget and the environment. Kudos to you! ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Ilene

    Greetings from NE Oklahoma! I hate to grocery shop, and only go out once a month or so. I keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer. I grow a garden, have planted fruit trees and do my own canning. With all that drought they’re having in California I’m expecting prices to really soar so I’m hoping we won’t have our OWN drought here this summer. Doesn’t look good so far. We already need rain. I use a lot of vinegar, I keep some in a spray bottle in the kitchen to wipe down my counters with. I use Borax for the bathroom. It’s gritty enough that it does a good job on bathtub rings. I just don’t like to breathe the fumes that some of those cleaners make, you know? “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard this growing up.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      We’re trying to provide for ourselves as much as possible as well Ilene by being mindful of the garden and preserving everything we can. I think you’re right, drought is going to mean trouble with food prices and like you we’re way, WAY behind in our rain accumulations again. We’ve already gone through three consecutive droughts. Praying for rain! ~TMR~

      Reply
  12. Marlies

    I enjoy reading about your blog and all of the wonderful tips. I have also started using a lot more made from scratch recipes for food, cleaners, and even for my health and beauty routine– whatever it is. LOL Not that I concern myself with looking like I just stepped off the runway. It is all about living natural and organic, and most definitely healthier. My dad used to tell me that I was born in the wrong century and now that I am trying to live and eat like my ancestors would have. Keep up the good simple life!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yes Marlies, I know what you mean, I’ve always felt I was born in the wrong century as well. Plus I think because I’m happy in my own skin I’m not constantly striving to get the approval of everyone else – I think that goes a long way to keeping me satisfied… ~TMR~

      Reply
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  15. Donna

    I too have switched completely over to organic cleaning products they’re wonderful to the furniture polish to the toilet cleaner to the shower cleaner. I think one of my favorites is the orange peel and vinegar. makes the whole house smell refreshed and shiny. we compost and recycle everything ! I love the idea that you have about the trash bags using boxes or anything else that actually would be a waste to hold the trash. I for one are those people that have the cloth bag full of the white yellow and blue and grey plastic shopping bags little secret I weave plastic rugs out of them and they hold up forever.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Donna – I’ve seen the shopping-bag woven rug you’re speaking of & I’m so envious – I would LOVE to have one of those! I’d think that it would be an easy task to gather those bags too even if you refused them yourself when shopping – they’re never in short supply from either family or friends, or even the drop-off in front of some grocery stores where they collect them for recycle. But alas, I’m just not talented enough to make one… LOL ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. Jennifer @ Homestead Mania

    I love, love, love everything about this article. I too use all the random bags that come my way instead of buying garbage bags or accepting plastic bags at the store. I also love the concept of staying out stores completely.

    Reply
  17. Suzanne Lucas

    Great tips on reducing cleaning supplies. Having just moved to the country, I’m forced to watch the type of cleaners that I use to avoid problems with my septic tank. Baking soda and vinegar sound like great alternatives. As for reducing garbage, it used to be pretty difficult for me to compost in my previous home. Townhouses really aren’t conducive to composting – the property is too small for an outdoor compost bin (and not ideal due to coyotes and other animals roaming around), and using the city-supplied “green bin” for compostables is a nightmare because it attracts flies and maggots. One day I’ll give it another try, now that I’ve got more space. Stopping by from the No Rules Weekend blog hop.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Suzanne, you might try the tumbling composter like I have. We have all manner of critters such as coyotes, opossums, raccoons, etc. But we’ve never had a problem with them because it’s enclosed. Just a thought… ~TMR~

      Reply
  18. Cameron

    Love this! I have also replaced all my cleaners with natural, homemade ones, but I love how little waste you produce! I’d love to get down to that much! Great inspiration, thank you. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL. Funny thing Cameron, when we began to prepare to move out here to the ranch full time I began to become mindful of all the packaging that comes with even the most mundane day-to-day purchases. I started wondering if there was a less-packaged option for those things & it turns out for the most part – there is! ~TMR~

      Reply
  19. Hannah

    My goal is to shop less and less and less! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope you join us again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/flip-trainer-review-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

    Reply
  20. Lisa Lynn

    I go to the store once a week and usually don’t get a lot…a few fresh veggies for salad and maybe some cheese. I’m making more things from scratch and we raise our own chickens for eggs and meat, and buy our pork and beef from local farmers. I also go into the store with the idea that I will get in and out and not stray from my list 🙂 Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you tomorrow night at: http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/the-homeacre-hop-11.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Wow Lisa – you’re disciplined. I’m still working on the “stick to the list” part. LOL But making more & more of our own items certainly keeps purchases at the store down, and it’s good for storage space as well! ~TMR~

      Reply
  21. Madge @ The View From Right Here

    I agree, soda and vinegar are good cleaners, and so much less toxic… Thank you for joining in ‘Rurality Blog Hop #6’ Hope to see you next Wednesday for #7…

    Reply
  22. Shosh

    This is impressive. I do believe in this stuff. However, when I find myself short on time, I notice that is when my supplies of those sprays goes up. Household cleaning is like having a child and not spending enough time with it…so there’s the inevitable guilt-shopping. I think that’s it for me.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Guilt-shopping. LOL. We all do what we can do Shosh. Having an open mind to different or better ways to do something is key, but it’s all about moderation and what works for each family. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks. It’s funny – for me it’s all about mindset. It wasn’t until I stopped to think about the “status quo” that I knew I could do things different! Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  23. Jackie

    Everything you said is so true! And I feel especially virtuous when I use the toilet paper packaging as a trash bag! 🙂 Your frosting recipe sounds delicious.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Jackie! My frosting recipe *IS* delicious (if I do say so myself) and I’m hoping to start posting a few recipes on the blog soon so watch for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. KarenLynn

    I so agree with staying out of the store years ago I found out that making brownies from scratch was the difference of adding like 2 or 3 more ingredients…CRAZY! I am not going to lie though I love Trader Joe’s sage and cedar general multi purpose cleaner but other than that I buy very few cleaners! Less is really more if you would have told me 10 years ago that I would spend most of my summers eating eggs, homemade bread, tomatoes and peppers I would not have believed you! Loved this post what a great reminder to make do with what you have! So glad you linked up this week to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop this week! http://www.lilsuburbanhomestead.com/2013/03/08/the-ole-saturday-homesteading-trading-post-ed-no-41/

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I guess in my case it was the ole “with age comes wisdom” KarenLynn. Live and learn. I’ve even made some of my favorites like my brownie mix recipe into a convenience item by mixing all the dry ingredients into a reusable container and placing a note of what wet ingredients to add and how long to bake. Homemade items in a snap with very little (if any) landfill trash. Win/Win! Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  25. Rachel

    It’s amazing after a day of reading posts by encouragers like yourself I feel so motivated to make everything from scratch and be as natural as possible, but then as soon as I visit the store I feel the need to buy a box of this or a packet of that or a cleaner that does everything. We need to be constantly encouraged because it is actually quite easy to fulfill a simple lifestyle!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I agree Rachel. I’ve often said that top execs at big marketing companies are very good at making us “think” we need to buy/buy/buy. Encouragement is very helpful for us all! Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  26. Monique Elisabeth

    Hi, I am so happy I found your blog through Sunny Simple Life !!! Your tips are great and the frosting looks so delicious !! Have a great day.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Monique, so glad you stopped by. I’ll be posting some recipes starting next week so keep an eye out! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yes ma’am. I’ve never posted recipes on this blog before, but it’s in the plan and next week I begin posting them! Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  27. Joan @ The Chicken Mama

    I’m not quite brave enough to make the full leap to homemade cleaning products, but I have reduced my cleaning supplies down to one naturally-made cleaning spray. Maybe someday… 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Each family is different Joan, it’s all about comfort level & moderation for each household. These are just things that work for us. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  28. CelloMom

    So cool. Lately I’ve been saying that the way to consume less (to cut your carbon footprint) is to think like a pauper. Not that we are paupers: that, in a way, is exactly the problem. But if we THINK like paupers that would go a long way to help the planet. This means making do with what we’ve got, not running to the store for every little thing, and generally getting creative. It can be a lot of fun! Great post, thank you!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I agree, it’s all about mindset. As I mentioned I never really thought about it before, I just bought because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. But I’ve learned that all that buying is not necessarily better. Thanks for stopping by CelloMom! ~TMR~

      Reply
    2. Carole

      Its not thinking like a pauper at all! I was raised in the time when only poor people would stoop so low as to eat the packaged garbage. Freshly made food has always been a luxury. Composting and having the richest soil that produces the most wonderful plants – does that sound like a pauper? We are enjoying things most people won’t.

      Reply
      1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

        Sorry I’m so late commenting on this, it’s been busy – WHEW! Carole, I don’t think she meant it that way, I think she meant that many people have no problem paying extra for the ‘convenience’ of packaged foods, pre-cut produce or already-cooked frozen foods. To change our way of thinking to that of a person who couldn’t afford to pay for convenience would mean we’re eating more naturally and I don’t know how that couldn’t help but to make us all healthier. ~TMR~

        Reply

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