Clever Ideas for Living Smarter/Leaner/Cheaper/Safer?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by sweetpea, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mischief has been a real inspiration on how to live leaner, finding clever ways to make things go farther, finally get rid of things that we're on the fence about.

    I was hoping you all could chime in and tell us what you've discovered you can do with less or do without, or homemade replacements for everyday things.

    A famous phrase always makes me think: Do I Own My Stuff, or Does My Stuff Own Me? And when it starts to take up too much time dealing with stuff I want to simplify. But I am a really sentimental stuff owner, so it's a tough decision sometimes.

    Vinegar cleaner

    One of my favorites is a vinegar/lemon peel kitchen/bathroom cleaner. Fill a large jar half way with lemon peels, then fill it full of white vinegar. Put the lid on and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Remove the lemon peels, discard. Then dilute it in a spray bottle with half water, half vinegar mix. Cleans counters, soap scum, windows (one area of my windows under a pine tree gets some blotches of mold on them, and this keeps it away) . It should be stored in a cool, dark place. Don't use it on wooden cabinets or marble.

    Spice Mixes

    I realized that a lot of what was filling up my refrigerator was bottled sauces (which can get expensive) that I thought would make dinners faster and a little more exotic, but they sat there more than I reached for them, taking up space and then spoiling. So instead I make spice mixes that I store in resealable plastic bags and I do use them all the time. Just used a mild curry/hot pepper mix in egg salad, which turned out great. I've also found that buying spices in ethnic grocery stores is way cheaper than the little expensive bottles in major grocery stores.

    One spice mix I really like is to copy the rotisserie chicken that the grocery store sells, which is one of my favorites but is apparently very processed and not good for us. So this mix comes pretty close and is great on lots of things:

    Spice Mix:

    4 tsp salt or salt substitute
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp dried basil
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp curry powder
    1 tsp dried taragon *pinch and roll with fingers to make it as small as possible*
    1 tsp cayenne pepper (opt)
    1 tsp curry powder
    1/4 tsp dry dill *pinch and roll with fingers as above*

    1. Wash and dry whole chicken inside and out

    2. Rub olive oil over skin inside and out

    3. Cover with spice rub inside and out (if you make twice the amount,
    pour half into a bowl and use it separately.
    DO NOT put fingers that have touched raw chicken back into the
    spice mix you intend to save for another time.)

    4. Stuff chest cavity with 1 large onion cut into quarters

    5. Put chicken in plastic bag and marinate overnight OR 4-6 hours in fridge

    6. Preheat Over to 250F (or go to Crockpot method)

    7. Remove plastic bag and throw it away. Place chicken in roasting pan
    so chicken is up away from juices

    8. Cook for 5 hours until internal temp is 180 F or a twist at the joint of the leg
    separates effortlessly with a fork
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I do a similar thing to your vinegar cleaner but my recipe is methylated spirits and citrus peel. Soak until the peels start to lose their colour. Great for cleaning grease off stuff and for windows. Smells purty too!

    I was introduced to the delights of vinegar to replace fabric softener at the end of the wash cycle by Garden Len. Now that I am used to it when I go to other peoples places and sleep on their heavily fragranced sheets - they smell weird and make me sneeze. It also stops mildew growing on the door seals of the washing machine.
     
  3. bluesapphire

    bluesapphire Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I'll try some of these cleaners with the rootstock bush lemons I have heaps of.
    Thanks
    Cathy
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
  5. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Dried orange peel (any citrus) for fire lighters!
     
  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Andrew, I had no idea! I have a lot of those sitting around, drying out, my trying to figure out what to do with them!!

    Another thing I do, make really nice Red Wine Vinegar from bad wine. Either wine that was a mistake to buy, or sits around too long and already starts to taste like vinegar, mixing it 50/50 with apple cider vinegar and a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, seal it tightly, put in a cool, dark place for a couple of months.
     
  7. Robsy

    Robsy Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have been wanting to make my own cleaning products. I find that I have so many bottles of cleaners for this and that. It would be nice to simplify and have just a few that I can use for everything.
     
  8. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
  9. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mischief mentioned that all you really need is a pea-sized bit of toothpaste on a toothbrush to do the job! I've been trying it and it's great! And I alternate with baking soda/hydrogen peroxide brushing as well.
     
  10. 4G's

    4G's Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I have been making my own toothpaste with organic coconut oil, baking soda and a few drops of peppermint oil. I love the feeling afterwards as they are smooth, and find my teeth feel cleaner in the morning.
     
  11. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What a great combination! Coconut oil is becoming more and more interesting as a healthful addition, and it sounds like this mixture could be made ahead of time, and not every time you go to brush :)
     
  12. Bangyee

    Bangyee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My only issue with coconut oil is that it's bound to have thousands of transport miles on them (at least for me living in Europe). If possible I try to avoid relying on stuff that needs to be shipped from far away; due to the carbon footprint and you are more resilient on the long term if you don't rely on things outside your reach ("what if they stopp shipping palm oil" scenario).
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    :blush:Oh Sweetpea!!:blush:

    One thing I just learnt, is that the boxes(um plastic unfortunately) of nails once you have used up all the nails, are great to re use as mini greenhouses for your seedlings.
    If you are into doing your own renovations, its cheaper to buy nails and screws by the box load rather than the tiny little packets and you arent just throwing away the packaging afterwards. You get to use them for years afterwards cos they are quite sturdy.

    I am having to grow luffas again cos mine are all just about worn out. Normally, I would have to wait for the weather to warm up little to get them going, but these mini warming houses have got them sprouting really well.
    At the moment I have small pots inside these, but have put holes in the bottom so next time I can just fill them up half way with homemade compost and sow straight into that. When it gets cold, you close the lid and open it during the day.
     
  14. LeeWilde

    LeeWilde Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I brush my teeth with aloe vera. I read about it in Isabel Shipard's herb book. Take a leaf, smoosh the toothbrush into the cut end (or smoosh some gel out onto your bush maybe), and brush. It is supposedly great for gum health. It doesn't taste GREAT, but it is okay, and it sometimes lathers nicely too.
     
  15. 4G's

    4G's Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Nice one. I am going to try it, since the weather here is almost at 40•c my coconut oil toothpaste is very runny. :)
     
  16. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mischief, that's great!! We don't get nails in plastic boxes, but there is lots of plastic packaging around that could be used in this way.

    What do you do with your gourds? I've seen some slices of gourds used in soap as an exfoliant, do you ever do that?

    I have asked my neighbors to give me all of the plastic buckets that the clumping cat litter comes in. These buckets last way longer than any plastic bucket I've bought, and have much more comfortable handles.

    Bangyee, yes, it's true about the nonlocal products. Don't you wonder how they can ship these vegetables from distant countries thousands of miles away and yet still sell them for hardly anything? That's scary. At least here they have to put stickers on everything that show the point of origin, so we can see where it comes from.
     
  17. greentechcenter

    greentechcenter Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for your great advices. I will use vinegar starting from today. :)
     
  18. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Hi Sweetpea, sorry for taking so long getting back to you.
    I use the luffas in the shower to scrub me pink and clean. I love my back being scratched!! and found the the blunt end is just perfect for that.

    I dont bother to cut them up, just use them as they grew.They dont come out white like shop bought ones, rather a nice golden colour.
    I did learn that once they have been dried and the skin and seeds removed, you need to wash them, otherwise, you get coated in a slippery,slimey goo. Wasnt too bad cos it washed off straight away and who knows may even have been good for the skin.
    They get used in the kitchen as well so I dont have to buy those horrible plastic dish brushes. I do find that I have to soak hard stuck on stuff before they can cope with that.
    Eventually they wear out and they then become fire starters once they get coated with fry pan grease.
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Toilet rolls. No longer PC to cover them with crepe paper and fill with coconut ice for the kids any more, but still great for starting off your seedlings. I found the compost/seed sowing mix stays put when the bottom end is pressed (twice) to close it off.
    One problem I did have was them drying out. Putting them in old ice cream containers sorted that out.
    If you prefer square pots, just squash them in half twice and they square up nicely.

    When its time to plant out, just pop in the whole thing, no disturbing the roots taking them out like you do with punnets or normal reusable pots.
    And best of all, you arent sending them off to the dump.

    Milk bottles can be used for lots of things- pots for larger seedling when the tops are cut off.
    The tops can then be used as scoops or mini cloches, or the bottoms can be cut off for larger cloches and little bottom bits can then become drip trays for smaller pots/toilet roll pots- havent actually tried that one yet, I just thought of it.
     
  20. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Plant markers, I discovered that cutting up the plastic wall of a yogurt or cottage cheese container into strips makes great plant markers and holds permanent pen lettering really well. I just cut out the bottom and it's easy to cut the strips.

    4G's, that sounds really nice! :)
     

Share This Page

-->