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??!?
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!
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 & water make up my entire list of cleaning supplies.
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 large, ugly, 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.
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 doesn’t even require cooking! Just mix everything together in only 1 minute. And it contains simple ingredients – butter, honey, powdered 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!
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!
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