Journey to Zero Waste – Eliminating Excess

I started reading through a book on organizing while I was at Urban Outfitters called, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever” by Marie Kondo.  Since I was thinking about going Zero Waste when I found this book, I thought now is the best time to start getting rid of stuff and having a better method of organization.  One take away from that book that just makes complete sense, is to organize by category, and not by room.  Over the past month I have picked a few categories of stuff to go through: coats, towels, bedding, etc.  

Today’s task was to finally go through my clothes.  I have SO much and the thought of tackling this overwhelmed me.  I knew I hung on to clothes I didn’t wear at all or often enough to keep, but I always think that eventually it will go with something so I don’t want get rid of it quite yet.

I eventually found the guts to begin.  I started with emptying my entire closet.  Everything I own came out and onto the bed.  It took about 30 minutes to sort each article of clothing by type: cardigans, t-shifts, pants, etc.  It’s good to see everything you own in this category as you will see that I obviously have too many t-shirts.


I did struggle on a few decisions.  Below are questions I thought of when I was hesitating on letting go:

  1.  Does it bring me happiness?

2.  How does it feel when I wear it?  There were a couple of tops that I didn’t wear because it was itchy, or I didn’t like the pockets.  So they were easy to let go.

3.  Am I keeping it for sentimental value only?   I found I had lots of sadness thinking about getting rid of a dress my grandma (who passed away 5 years ago) made for me when I was about 15-16.   But I had never worn it.  I decided to take a picture for memory sake and to donate it to our local thrift store.  I pray someone will like wearing it.  I also have attachment to anything with a cat on it.  I forced myself to get rid of t-shirts with kitties on it.  Someone else will find just as much joy in owning them as I did.


4.  When is the last time I wore it? When is the next time I will wear it?   If I can’t remember or I don’t know, it’s time to get rid of it.

5.  Does it fit?  If not, why are you keeping it?

I notice when I dress myself for work I tend to wear the same things over and over, so why do I have so much clothes.  I want to make getting dressed easier by having less options.  Cutting back will make that happen.

Homemade Laundry Soap

I am now on my second batch of laundry detergent.  I have never thought powdered detergent would be effective.  But this stuff IS.   I found the recipe here.  I have a very messy husband who stains every shirt he wears daily, so I require something powerful.   Honestly, I don’t know why he owns anything but black t-shirts.

The hardest part of this recipe is shredding the Fels Naptha soap.  You need 1 bar of Fels Naptha.  You may actually get carpal tunnel shredding this thing.  I shred mine very fine; almost like a dust consistency.

Homemade Laundry Soap

Then you stir in 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.    Stir it really well.  And that’s it!  Easy Peasey!  I store mine in a glass jar with a clamp locking lid.  I shake it a bit every once in a while to ensure it is mixed thoroughly.  When it’s laundry day, all you need is one tablespoon per load.  This stuff works amazingly!

Homemade Granola

I have been looking for healthy snacks while I am at work.  My wonderful friend made me some plain yogurt, topped with fresh fruit and granola while on vacation and I wanted to make some homemade granola for this.  I came across a health granola recipe which I HAD to try since I had all of the ingredients.  That never happens at all.

Go check out Elizabeth Rider’s blog here for the recipe.  It’s easy and quick to make.

Journey to Zero Waste

I have been following a Zero-Waster, Lauren Singer at her blog Trash is for Tossers.  I was inspired by knowing that I have an option to use products that are non toxic.  I have for a long time bought good beauty products like Dr Bonner’s soaps and Beauty Without Cruelty shampoos.  But I didn’t realize you have another option.  Homemade beauty products.  Being less toxic is not the only reason I am researching and learning more about being zero-waste.  I don’t like throwing things away either.  I get a ping of guilt when I find I don’t have any option but taking something that is individually wrapped or I have to take my produce home in a plastic bag because it’s more sanitary.  By making smart choices in your shopping you can reduce your waste too.  I plan to document things I am doing by going waste free so hopefully I can inspire you as well.

My husband and I don’t produce much waste as it is.  Honestly, my 3 cats produce more waste than both of us combined.  Having three cats makes it more difficult to go completely waste free.  I definitely don’t plan on toilet training then, but we can still try our best to reduce our what goes to the landfill.

Another blog that inspires me is Zero Waste Home.  I love how assertive she is in maintaining her goal of being a waste free home.  Something she says that I will never forget is, “shopping is voting,” and that couldn’t be more true. What we buy creates demand for more products.  I don’t want to buy individually wrapped products enclosed in shopping.   Unfortunately, I live in a place that doesn’t have lots of bulk options.  One of our local grocery store did however add more bulk bins recently, but they could definitely improve their selection even more.

A couple of things I plan to do to improve my waste production:

  1.  Sew produce and bulk bags to bring with me to the grocery store.
  2. Learn to make more homemade products.  I currently have made my own toothpaste and have used it a few months now.  I have made my own laundry soap.   I have bought ingredients to make my own dish detergent and shampoo.
  3. Become more conscience about my purchase decisions.

I would love to hear how you reduce your waste.  Please leave me a comment below.

DIY Toothpaste

Every year around Earth Day I get inspired to make a change to be more environmental.  I happened to find this awesome website Trash is for Tossers, which is just what I was looking for this year.  I have always been intrigued at creating Zero Waste so to find this website right before Earth Day was perfect timing.  I am going to try making my own stuff to eliminate packaging from entering the landfill and also to save a little money and control the chemical ingredients that come in contact with my body.  Below is the recipe for making your own toothpaste right from Trash is for Tossers:

Toothpaste Ingredients: (feel free to double or triple recipe)

2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil

1 Tablespoon baking soda

15-20 drops food grade mint extract

Directions:  Mix it all together.  Store in your medicine cabinet in a cute mason jar.  Run under warm water if too hard, or put in the fridge if too soft.

“Green” Wrapping Paper

I am always trying to find ways to making Christmas greener.  I haven’t used new wrapping paper in such a long time.  Wrapping paper typically isn’t recyclable so most if not all ends up in the trash can.  This year I tried something different.

With all of the Amazon online ordering I did this year for Christmas I ended up with a lot of Kraft paper that was box filler.  This is good wrapping paper that you can decorate with your own artwork and it’s recyclable too.  I used ribbon that I have had from past Christmases so I didn’t use any virgin materials this year for Christmas.

I did have a little help wrapping presents this year.


Next year, I plan to Christmas shop using a new trend – subscription boxes.  There is one for everyone.

DIY Landscaping – Weed Prevention

I read once that if you lay down newspaper in your garden, and then place soil on top and garden as usual, you will prevent weeds in a natural way.  Since I don’t subscribe to the local newspaper, I figured I would just use magazines that were in the recycling.

DIY Gardening 1

I am adding pea gravel between the garden boarders and the walking path stones.  I plan on planting some succulents next year on the pea gravel within the boarder stones.

DIY Gardening 3

It’s going to be winter in no time so I am trying to get my landscape ready for hibernation and getting the perennials in so they acclimate enough prior to dying back.  My garden is very rough right now as I only really have an outline of where the flowers will go next year.  But I have a vision.

DIY Gardening 2

Above is a photo of the whole space I am updating.  It is very narrow and long.  Awkward for a lawn so I tore it up to create a garden.  I am getting the hardscaping installed this week and more perennials as well.

When ever I work on a garden I use green or natural materials.  I use homemade compost, I dig up my garden with old fashioned gardening tools like a hoe or rake, use magazines or newspaper as weed repellent.  I don’t use pesticides or chemicals on my flowers.  I love spending time in my garden and am excited to see how it comes together next year.

Origami Butterflies

Origami is a great way to create a unique backdrop or centerpiece with just using a bit of paper.   I am in love with butterflies so I found this easy origami technique and had to try it myself.  I am a visual learner so here are simple instructions with photos:

PicMonkey Collage Row One 1

1.  First you have to start with a perfect square.  I had some already cut paper in long strips so I just folded one edge over to meet the other to form a triangle, then cut.

2.  Fold it diagonally both ways, then in half both ways as above.

3.  Fold the left and right sides inwards as above.  It will turn into a triangle when flattened out.

PicMonkey Collage 22

4.  Start with the triangle so the flat edge is at top.  Then pull down the left and right edge towards the bottom center (left photo).

5.  Flip butterfly to other side and pull down the center top so the tip overhangs the flat bottom.

6.  Flip butterfly over again and fold the tip over to the other side.  Slightly bend inwards the sets of wings.  This will separate the bottom wings a bit.

Once you get the folding steps down you can do one of these in 15 seconds or less.

Now you can place a dot of glue over that little tab you folded over so everything stays in place, but if you do, it’s no longer origami, but Kirigami.


Ways you can use origami butterflies:

1.  Baby mobile or hang them from the ceiling in a kids room.

2.  Artwork – use a few of different sizes and use pins to adhere them to the back so they pop.

3.  A backdrop for a wedding or implement them into place settings or table numbers.

4.  In replace of a bow for wrapped presents.

5.  Window displays in stores.

6.  As a cat wand toy.

7.  Get a bare branch and paint it a metallic color or black.  Glue some brightly colored butterflies to the branch.  Can be used as art in the house.

8.  Christmas ornaments (used wrapping paper).

9.  Wedding cake toppers/decor.

10.  Party garland.

I used scrapbook paper, but you can also use homemade paper, newspaper,  wrapping paper, book or magazine pages.  Each of these different papers will create a way different look.

Decorate With Your Favorite Books

Many people assume books are made for bookshelves.  Think outside the box and design with books throughout your home, not just in your library.  Use the below pictures as inspiration.  And, by using the books you already have, this is a way to change up your space without spending money.

On a shelf

Against the wall


Waterfall Art

Book 1

On a staircase:



Antique books or sorted by same color:


On a ladder:


As an end table:


Reduce Waste and Save Money

I put on a pair of slipper socks the other day and I realized that I have had those socks since I was in elementary school.   This is 20 years.  This got me thinking to what else I have held on to without replacing.  I see a lot of us wanting to get the newest and greatest thing when it comes out.   Here is my golden list of things that I have had for a LONG time.

  1. My car.  It is a 2000 Saturn and has just over 90,000 miles.  I barely drive and bike as often as possible.   It would be cool to get a new car, but that would also mean a car payment and possibly higher insurance.
  2. My cellphone.  Verizon told me that I have had my cell phone since January 2011.  I do not have a smart phone.  I am okay with that.  My phone is much cheaper and it does what I need.  I am online enough, I don’t need another distraction.
  3. My slipper socks.  20 + years old.  I actually don’t think I have bought socks my entire adult life.
  4. My tennis shoes.  I found a picture with them that was over 4 years old.  I don’t run and they fit like a glove.
  5. My winter coat.  I think I got it in 2000.  It’s showing it’s age, but I love it, it doesn’t look like it belongs to a homeless person yet, I will hold on to it a bit longer.

Replacing things frequently costs money and I don’t like spending money.  Plus, lots of things that are replaceable generally still have life in them.  Consider holding on to your things a bit longer to reduce waste.

Sunday Waffles

Martha Stewart is a genius.  She helped make the best brunch I ever have.  Why go out for Sunday Brunch when you can make it at home:

Waffles by Martha Stewart


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Maple syrup and butter, as desired, for serving


  • Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and eggs; pour over flour mixture, and whisk gently to combine (don’t overmix). Gently whisk in butter.
  • Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook waffles until deep brown and crisp. (For a standard waffle iron, pour a generous 1/2 cup of batter into center, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges, and close; waffle will cook in 2 to 3 minutes.) Serve warm, with maple syrup and butter, as desired.  *I used the blueberry sauce instead (below)

Blueberry Sauce by Martha Stewart


  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (I used blueberries instead)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt


  • Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small, nonreactive saucepan over low heat. Cook until berries release their juice and just start to break down, about 5 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to press berries through a fine sieve; discard solids. Let cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Butterfly Art

I went through all of my greeting cards this past weekend.  I sorted into piles of crafting and piles of keep and piles for garbage.  The kept more than I probably should have but they had sentimental value.  The crafting ones I am using for this art project.  The cost of this project was minimal.  The cards were free.  The butterfly paper punch was maybe $2.99, clearance at a stationary store.  The frame I had laying around, and I couldn’t find anything to do with it.  I bought a double mat at 40% off.  The rest was stuff I already had.

I went to work cutting out a whole lot of butterflies.  I selected the portion of the card I thought was the most colorful or decorative.  Some had sparkles, some had pattern and some had embossing.  I wanted to get an assortment of colors as well.

butterflies for blog

The next thing I did was get a scrap piece of paper that I drew my grid on.  I measured the opening of the mat board, then measured rows and columns to my liking.  After that, I transferred the cross marks using a needle so what was left were little holes where I was going to glue my butterflies.

PicMonkey Collage20I wanted my butterflies to pop up a little.  I made sure I had enough room in the frame, that is why I chose a double mat.   Everywhere I had a hole, I glued down a small bead.  I’ve had these beads since I was in elementary school.  I am glad I am finally finding a use for them.


Once the glue was dry I started gluing my butterflies to the beads.  I assorted my colors so they would be mixed in the finished art.  I first glued all of the blue, then the green, then magenta and so on.

DSC_0055 2

Once everything is glued on and dried, assemble the frame and you are done!


Ta-da!  Nice, eh?  I love this so much I might make a couple more.

Gift of Love

Valentine’s Day might be over but it is never too late to show your love to your significant other.  I did this for my husband a few years ago and I wanted to share it.

Literally all you need is a box (I had one laying around), paper and pen.  I wanted to pack this box with as many reasons that I love my husband so when he opened it, it exploded.  *Which I hear it did.  I put it in his lunch box so he saw it while at work.  Who doesn’t like mid-day surprises like this?

All you need is $0 and a bit of time and you will have a wonderful keepsake forever.

Reuse Birthday/Christmas Cards

When I need to do some cleaning in my house, I first put on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive for a bit of motivation.   I find it works great.  After an episode this past week, I decided to put all of my cards together and store them.  I figured one photo-box would suffice.  Nope.  Maybe two or three would have done better.   I have some when I was a kid from my grandma so those hold some sentimental value.   There are so many cool cards that I have saved but I was thinking what else I could do with them in order to re-purpose them more thoughtfully than sticking them in a box.  Here are a couple of ways to reuse your hoarded cards:

1.   Cut of the front and use as a postcard.

2.  Use patterns for scrap-booking.

3.  Use a circle punch and make gift tags.

4.  Make bookmarks.

5.  Make into coasters or place mat. -> here.  My grandma had these.  Brings back wonderful memories.

6.  Canning jar toppers.  -> here.  I like this idea.

7.  Make garland.  ->  here.  Very creative idea and chic.

8.  Artwork.  ->  here.   I am going to try the butterfly one.  Love it.  Include the personal messages if you want to showcase in your artwork.

9.  Frame your favorites.

10.  Pine cone ornament for next Christmas. -> here.

Do you have additional ideas?  I would love to hear about them.  I am looking to do a couple of these soon!

DIY Covered Bulletin Board

When I shop at our local thrift stores, I will often find really cheap artwork that either has no glass or damaged somehow.  Mostly really ugly artwork.  But, the frames can really be in good shape, and that’s what I look for.  I bought one for $4.99 maybe and it’s approximately 2 foot by 3 foot.

You can really do a lot with these.   I decided to make a bulletin board covered in a cool funky fabric.  Chevron is in style so I picked some up at Hobby Lobby, and used a 40% off coupon, maybe costing $4.00 in the end.  The rest is just a bit of labor and assembly.

I first pulled off the paper backing to reveal the staples that held it all together.  Usually you will find some cardboard that fills the frame, behind the artwork.  This is what I glued the cork to (also purchased the cork at the craft store).  There are different thicknesses, I went with the 3/8th inch thickness.  I glued the cork directly to the cardboard backing.

I had to iron the fabric because it had creases.  I wrapped it around the cork and left about a 1.5 inch margin, enough to glue it to the back.   I don’t have a glue gun yet, so I used Aleenes Craft glue and used the paperclips to hold it down until dries.


Then, just fold the corners so they look nice, this is optional.   Assemble  the cork inside the frame, and push back the staples so it’s secure.  I will need to mount some hooks to the back, then all done.

Probably a total cost of $15 tops, I got a cool inspirational board.  Now I have a tough decision on where to put it.

Green Christmas Wrapping

I vow to not use any new wrapping paper for this Christmas.   I still have some used wrapping paper from last year that I saved.  I also saved a lot of bags that I have reused for many years.  But you don’t have to stop there.  There are a whole bunch of ways to “wrap” your Christmas presents without wrapping paper.

1.  Christmas tins.

Christnas tims

2.  Photo box.

3.  Wicker basket.

4.  Scarf.

5.  Magazine pages.

6.  Comics.

newsprint wrap

7.  Small gifts in a coffee mug.

8.  Wrap just in tissue paper.

9.  Towels.

10.  Tupperwear.

11. Egg cartons.


Lavender Extract

Today I was due to pull out all of my dead flowers for winter.  It’s said to snow this weekend so I wanted to make some lavender extract before the flowers went bad.

All you need to make lavender extract is the flower heads of lavender and vodka.

Separate the flower heads from the stalk and place them in a container with a lid.

Cover with just enough vodka and let sit for a couple of weeks.

Shake once every other day.

Then use it in cooking.  I have never used lavender extract in any cooking before but I look forward to experimenting.

Homemade Lavender Extract

Making Life More Efficient

I always thought that decluttering would make life less stressed.  We own bigger homes than decades ago just so we can fill it up with stuff.  I think half of it is the thrill of shopping.  Buying something new makes us feel good.  These things clutter our lives and add stress.

So my husband and I had a rummage sale and tried our best to rid our lives of as much stuff that wasn’t needed.  We definitely could have got rid of more.  But, by even doing this…we continue to get frustrated by how cluttered and messy our lives are even with less stuff.

We had an ah-ha moment.  Yes, it’s nice to get rid of things and declutter, but it’s more about our home is organized.  We made a plan.  We figured out what frustrated us the most and drilled down to see why it was a problem.  Here is what we discovered and how we made it better.

1.  We always had garbage all over our counter top.  We decided that the location to our garbage can was not working for us.  We originally had it in a closet…out of sight, out of mind.  Having to open a door every time to throw away something was a hassel  By buying a new garbage with a lid, and putting it out in the kitchen has kept our counters clean.

2.  We always misplaced our keys.  I didn’t want to install a key holder because our sun room had nice wood paneling (not the 80’s style – more like cabin style) and I didn’t want to mess it up.  So I installed those adhesive hooks that you can pull a tab and it releases.  This was an efficiency that requires a new habit but so far it’s working.

3.  We put a garbage in the bathroom.  This made a huge difference.  I didn’t realize how much garbage we created in this room.

4.  We put a laundry hamper in the bathroom as well.  We would always have piles of dirty clothes on the floor and just putting it in a bin has made our house so much cleaner.

5.  We always had issues with one of us opening mail and leaving it all over the table.  We are still working this one out.  We need to find a way to remove consistently putting waste in the recycling.   This will require a new habit.

We do have a long way to go, but we are finding ways to make our household easier to live in.  So far, it’s making a huge difference.

Make Your Own Hairballs

Do you have lots of cat fur laying around?

I do – so I make hairballs to keep my cats busy.

Just take a bunch of pet fur from brushing (the Furminator works wonders) and roll into a ball.  Roll for a few minutes.

Then roll across the floor and watch your cats chase!

cat balls
Homemade Cat Toys

Or just lay on top of it, like my cats do.

Reuse Bed Linen Zippered Pouch

Use these little clear zippered pouches that you get when you purchase bedding for your craft supplies.

I use one from pillow cases to store all of my stamps and ink pads.

Other things you can store in these things:

  1. sewing supplies (needles, thimbles, zippers, string, buttons, etc.)
  2. scrapbook stuff (rub on stickers, ribbon, scissors, pictures, glue, etc.)
  3. hair accessories (hair ties, combs, brushes, curling irons, straighteners, etc.)
  4. make up and nail polishes
  5. kids craft stuff (markers, crayons, paints, etc.)

All of these ideas you won’t have to throw them away again!


Travel Shadow Box

After returning from our trip to Europe, I had to go through all of the crap that I brought home with me.  I kept everything…bus/train tickets, brochures of the tours we went on, receipts to tours, maps, etc..  I planned on filing this in our filing cabinet, but I wanted a better way to showcase our trips.

shadow box

I had this shadow box laying around.  I pulled out our past travel keepsakes, then threw them in the shadow box.  Simple as that.  What a showpiece this is to have along with your pictures on your mantle.  If ever you want to go down memory road, open up the shadow box and reminisce.

You can also include pictures, found objects (seashells, leaves, rocks), your passports or anything that triggers a memory of your travels.

You can have multiple of these.  What about having a shadow box for any big trip you take?  Or even a big event, like a wedding, child memorabilia (their softball years or younger years).

Shadow boxes are so versatile.  Let your creativity go wild!

DIY Composter: Take 2

I blogged in 2012 about making a homemade composter.  But I made one on such a small scale it didn’t make sense.  I am moving up in size ladies and gentlemen!  I am just going to use a garbage pail, one that is small enough to roll around on the ground, but not large enough for it to be bulky and difficult to hide.  I have seen a lot of cool composters people have made and designed it with a door, and on 2 by 4’s so you just have to turn a knob to mix it:

composter 1With my vacation coming up I don’t have the time to make this so I made a simpler one.

This is what you will need:

Round Garbage Pail with a lid (one that locks in place if possible).

Food Scraps/Yard Waste (I will get into more detail below on what you need here).


Electric Screwdriver

Soil or finished compost

In order to make good compost you need a good combination of green ingredients, brown ingredients, water and air.  Green ingredients are things like, fresh cut grass, fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, plant trimmings, coffee grounds and filters and hair (I had 3 cats so I have an abundance of cat fur)  Brown ingredients are dead grass (if you need to rake, this will give you a lot of brown ingredients you can stock pile), saw dust, newspaper, pine needles and straw.   I mixed mine in layers.  I started with brown, mixed in some green, soil, greens and brown.  Add just enough water so it’s as wet as a damp sponge that has been wrung out.

Make sure you drill enough holes in the lid to get good air flow.  This mixture should create heat, but you don’t want it to get too hot.

Pop on the lid and secure and you are done.  I will keep adding food scraps and yard waste until it is full.  In the mean time I will ensure it is properly mixed every few days by rolling it over the ground on it’s side.  This will be easy that the garbage pail is round.   I will update on the progress as it gets closer to complete compost.

One Mans Trash is My Treasure

Spring cleaning is next week and people are loading up there boulevards with as much crap as they have been collecting up until this time of the year.   I end up seeing a lot of stuff that can be repurposed, if the right person comes along.  Enter me.  I found this!

box 1

I am not sure what I will do with it yet, but for now I absolutely love the texture of the wood, and the old look of the brackets.  I am pretty sure I can put it to use somewhere.  I am looking forward to finding some other cool things this week.  I spied a saw horse in a neighbors lawn and I was thinking about carrying it home to see if it could be of use for me, or my dad.  The City of Fargo suddenly changed back the Spring Cleaning week to this week so I won’t have much  time to search for treasures.

We also see a lot of people collect metals of all sorts to trade in for cash.  I honestly love seeing this, because some people make a ton of money from this, and it also prevents a lot of metal from going to the landfill.  An article I had read recently in our local paper stated that our landfill has about 11 more years left before it’s at capacity.  This is happening in a lot of more cities than Fargo.  If we can all be a bit more mindful of what we throw away we can extend the life of the landfill.   The city collects food scraps with it’s yard waste during the warm months, Fargo has electronic recycling day where we can turn in computers and TV’s and also has free curbside recycling.  There should be no reason why we have to put our trash can on the boulevard filled to the brim each week.

10 Things to Do With Toilet Paper Rolls

Last week I found out that the spring cleanup week will be postponed until September because of the Fargo Moorhead flood fight.  The flood crest prediction has been lowered and cleanup of the city afterwards will start sooner than we all predicted so the city announced spring cleanup will resume as the first week of May.  This is great news because I like to garbage pick for reusable items and things I can blog about.  I am hoping I can find some old wood to make furniture with.  In the mean time…while people are loading their boulevards with other people’s treasures, I am going to compile a list of things you can do with toilet paper rolls.

1.  Hamsters/Gerbils love them.  See: picture of hamster loving toilet paper rolls.

2.  Make Fire Starters.

3.  DIY compostable peat pots.

4.  Artwork: Creativity 1, Creativity 2, Creativity 3 (and my favorite)

5.  Add to your compost pile.

6.  Make bird house mobile.

7.  Crafts for children.

8.  Chic Christmas Ornaments.

9.  Use as a stencil.

10.  Christmas garland.

If you had 260 square foot of living space…

What would you keep?  What would you donate?  Would you get bored with only the small amount of things around you?  Is our livelihood, happiness and popularity defined by what we own, or how little we own?

I live with my husband and 3 cats in a home the size of about 1400 square feet, included in that a 2 floor sunroom-loft and living space above the garage.  I believe I can live with half this amount of space.  If I did not have the loft or the garage living space I wouldn’t miss it.   The space we spend the most amount of time is the living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.  These to me are the only required spaces and they do not need to be large.  More space makes us believe that we require more stuff to fill it.

Check out this link.  I could live here.  You can pick where you want to live (it’s on wheels).  We ought to spend more time in the outdoors, rather than indoors anyways.  Do you think you would be happy living in a house this small?

Media Inspiration

I am inspired by a lot of things.  My interests in the environment and being healthy have been formed by many things that I have seen on the internet, watched or read.  I am even inspired by others.  I watched a really inspirational documentary last night and I wanted to share with you all.  Living On One Dollar is the name of the film and it is about Americans spending time in Guatemala living on very little income and trying to survive.  They show the difficulties local families endure deciding on whether to buy food or to educate their children.  It’s quite sad.  But it makes me want to do something.   I want to be happy with what I have and seeing these families happy yet struggling to get by makes me really think about all that I have and why I constantly want more.  If you want more information on this documentary or to donate, check out this link.

I have also seen several other documentaries that you should check out if you have not already:

  1. An Inconvenient Truth-you all probably have heard of this one by Al Gore.  This is the science behind global warming.
  2. No Impact Man-a small family spends one year without environmental impact.
  3. Supersize Me-made me swear of fast food.
  4. Food Inc.-overview on corporate farming.

Also, if you have a chance, you should read the book, Not Buying It by Judith Levine.  A woman goes one year buying only the specific list of agreed upon essentials prior to starting the year.  This means not eating out, going to movies or going shopping.  Wine is not a necessity, neither is travel.  To me, these types of videos and books are inspirational to me.  They make me want to make a change, as I hope they will inspire you to make simple changes.

Paper Pulp Planters

Do you a simple project to use all of that junk mail, newspapers or wrapping paper?  These planters are easy and you can repurpose waste that is otherwise destined for the trash or recycling into planters that you can plant right in the ground once it thaws.

All you need is:

Newspaper/Paper or Wrapping paper



Cupcake tin

Flour sack or wax paper


1.  Put half a blender full of torn up paper shreds into the blender and add enough water to saturate it.  Blend until it looks like paper pulp and you can’t see much of what the paper used to look like.

2.  Strain the pulp in the colander and let drain until much of the water is out.  You can wring it out a bit to get more of the water out.

3.  I applied the pulp to the cupcake tins without anything between the pulp and the tin and most of then got stuck.  Next time I will try a flour sack and wedge it down into the groves before I apply the pulp.  Or you can try wax paper or even butter to grease the sides.

4.  Allow to dry for a couple of days.  Once fully dry, lift the flour sack off the tin.

5.  Plant seeds in each cup using soil and some homemade compost.  Plant in garden once ready and water accordingly.

If you are like me and can’t wait for spring, these will be a nice way to start early.

Blog Spotlight: Refashionista

I absolutely love the idea of this blog.  She buys the really ugly clothes at thrift stores for mere dollars if that, then turns them into beautiful outfits.  A lot of times she has a inspiration outfit she likes, then cuts, pins and sews the “ugly” garment into the magnificent new one.

refasiIf I knew anything about making clothes I would try some of these redesigns.  This is re-purposing at its finest.  You definitely need to check out this blog.

Get Rid of Cable and Satellite

Our decision to cut satellite service was an easy one.  I wanted to save money.  On top of  money, we are still getting all of the shows that we want anyways.  Some shows are not as easy to get as others, but with the internet, you can see almost all shows just a day later if that.

My husband told me about Roku.  It is a little box you buy from Best Buy, or online and it works as a link between the computer and TV.  I think it cost about $60 (approximately $2.50/month if you assume an upgrade in 2 years).  You even get a little remote.  You then subscribe to Hulu, Amazon Prime and/or Netflix streaming.   $7.99 for Hulu Plus, Amazon is $79 per year ($6.58/month) and you get movies, shows and 2 day free shipping from Amazon.  Netflix I haven’t signed up for yet, but will soon.    With that all tallied up the approximate cost for all of this streaming is $17.07 per month.  Previously we were paying just over $70 for satellite service for the same TV.  We are saving over $50 per month.   If we add Netflix streaming it would be $7.99 per month in addition.

I find the quality of the TV is better.  There is limited commercials, maybe 30 seconds tops.  The only difference between Roku and having satellite is you have to know what you are going to watch.  You can’t just turn on a channel and just watch whatever is live.  All of these shows are previously aired and you essentially pick what you want to watch.  The only other thing is you never watch anything live.  So watch out for spoilers.

Is saving $600 per year worth waiting a day to watch your favorite programs?  What does $600 buy or pay for?  It pays for 1 entire month of mortgage payment on one of our properties.  Or it would pay for 5 full gas tanks worth of gas.  Or 3-4 nights stay at a fairly good hotel.  A lot of nice clothes.  20 meals out with your significant other.  Pretty tempting, eh?  Why not do some research on streaming and give up the bill!