One the the easiest places we can conserve water is in the bathroom. It only makes sense because we use lots of water there too. Baths, showers, washing faces, brushing teeth, flushing waste…we use lots of water in the loo. One very simple trick that I learned long ago from a friend though is to keep a clean bucket in the bathroom. You can use a plastic one that you already have or you can get a nice metal bucket/pail so that it looks nice when sitting out.
Every morning when you turn the shower on and wait for the water to warm you are letting perfectly good water go down the drain. If you let the shower run for even a single minute you are wasting two gallons or more. Use the bucket to catch that water for use elsewhere in the home. Just think about how much water you can save if you do this every day!
Here are nine ways you can reuse the water you catch…
1. Use it to flush the toilet. Keep the bucket next to the toilet and the next time you flush, refill the reservoir manually with your captured water instead of letting it fill automatically.
2. Use it to clean – Add some soap and you have soapy water for cleaning the toothpaste off the sink, scrubbing the shower, washing your car, mopping the floor, cleaning fruits and veggies, or cleaning virtually anywhere in the home.
3. Water plants – Houseplants and also outdoor plants can be watered with this re-use water. If they don’t need any water, toss the bucket in your rain barrel.
4. Wash your delicates – Got some hand wash only lingerie or play silks? Add your favorite detergent or soap and get to washing.
5. Clean muddy boots and gloves – Your wash bucket comes in handy in the mud room to help scrub a little dirt and mud off work boots, rain boots, and any shoes that happen to see a bit of mud and grime. Works great for dirty garden gloves too!
6. Foot Soak – Add some magnesium flakes and some essential oils and you have a relaxing and healthy foot soak.
7. Refill your bird bath – Forget the garden hose, grab your re-use bucket.
8. Wet your washcloth – If you like to use a wash cloth to clean your face or wash off makeup simply dip the wash cloth in your re-use bucket to soak it. If it needs to be warm and you happen to have a microwave, 10-20 seconds ought to do it.
9. Do the laundry – Pour your bucket in your top loading washing machine to cut down on the amount of water used during the wash.
Saving a bit of water from washing down the drain is simple and easy to do and there are many ways you can reuse that water and if you can, why not?
Do you have a clever reuse idea for greywater or recaptured water? Please share!
The bundle of the week for this week is all about homemaking. This is actually one of my favorite topics and not because I just love homemaking that much (because I don’t) but because it is one of those parts of life that are a given. I need to take care of my home and the more mundane aspects of family care and doing everything as efficiently as I can just means more time carved out for the stuff I do love. I am all for tips, advice, and printables that help me keep the home ship sailing smooth and make tasks like cooking, laundry, and cleaning easier and more efficient.
In this bundle you get:
Planner Perfect – Helps you become a master manager and play to your strengths and weakness to find ways to stay organized.
Plan a Fabulous Party – Step by step preparation.
10 Steps to Organized Paper – Boy do I need this one right about now. I am spending less time at home this summer and that means the mail and papers I need to act on or organize in some way are getting away from me. Looking forward to reading up on how create a system I can easily keep up with.
Homestead Simplicity – How to cook from scratch, use homemade cleaners, and use more homesteading skills without sacrificing family time or sanity.
Life Your Way Printable Packs – Over 300 home management printables, cheat sheets, holiday planners and more, plus free monthly updates with new printables. Some great stuff here!
Summer is in full swing, and if your house is anything like ours sometimes it feels as if summer sucks the money right out of the front door. Between the high costs of water, air conditioning, having the kids’ home from school and everyone wanting to go places and do things it can seem as if there is never quite enough money for everyone who is demanding it. But how would you like to actually save money this summer?
I know that it may seem impossible, but you really can save money this summer simply by using these three simple ideas to get started saving and let yourself get creative. Why only three? Because you are busy this summer and it is easier to stick to smaller, defined goals than a broad range of tips of and ideas. Once you get started though you’ll find yourself coming up with even more ways that you can save.
Save Money on Your Energy Bills
One of the easiest ways to save the most significant amount of money this summer is to acclimate your home and family to the natural cycles of heat and humidity. The best way to do this is slowly adjust your air conditioning to higher settings during the day. Take about a week and slowly adjust your settings each day. You may find that your weather is too hot and humid to go without AC altogether, but this method can significantly reduce the amount you spend on air conditioning. In addition, try turning the AC off altogether in the evenings and use ceiling fans, floor fans, and window box fans to keep the cooler outside air circulating through the house. Also instead of running the dryer do all your laundry on sunny days and hang outside to dry on Urban Clothelines. They don’t have to be permanent or bulky structures either. Many are portable so that picky homeowner’s associations won’t have a reason to cite you. Plus, kids can help you hang and remove laundry.
Save Money on Your Water Bills
Water bills can be prohibitively expensive during the summer, especially if you are trying to keep your yard green and also allowing your kids to play in the sprinklers. Well, there are several ways to cut down on your water bills. First off is to reuse all of your water, and I do mean all of your water. Save the water from your baths and showers as well as your dishwater. Mind you, you’ll have to switch to biodegradable soaps and shampoos, but believe it or not, your shrubs, flowers, houseplants and even garden vegetables seem to thrive on recycled water, so don’t be shy!
Another way to save money on water is to buy a kiddie pool instead of letting your children play in the sprinkler. Buy a pool with a cover or rig a mesh cover that will prevent leaves and bugs from getting into the water so that you don’t have to refill the pool as often.
Saving Money by Skipping the Vacation
The idea of not going on a vacation can seem absolutely depressing to most people. After all, isn’t getting away from it all what summer vacations are all about? Now I’m not suggesting that you not take a vacation, but that you don’t go anywhere on your vacation. No mind you, you have to do some preparation for this kind of vacation so that you won’t slip into your usual home routine. You can choose a theme (such as a Caribbean cruise or a Tour de France) and plan your meals and activities accordingly. You can schedule a number of day trips to local attractions that will keep you out of the house. The point is to enjoy your time off without having to pay the ridiculous hotel, restaurant and resort fees. Just using this idea alone you’ll end up with money leftover at the end of the summer; money you normally would have spent on something else.
While there are dozens of ways to save money over the summer, hopefully these three have given you a place to start so that you can get through the holidays without feeling as if your budget has been sucked dry and you can head into autumn with a little jingle in your pocket.
Dryer sheets have become one of those mass marketed products that we have become convinced we need. We need them to make our laundry smell fresh or we need them to keep static cling at bay. We need them to make our clothes soft and wrinkle free. Or do we? I used to be a die hard dryer sheet user. I was absolutely convinced once upon a time that any good housekeeper and laundry aficionado MUST use dryer sheets.
Then of course I learned the hard truth. Dryer sheets are rather toxic with some really nasty chemicals that we ought not to have any contact. We certainly should not allow them to marinate with our clothing and bed sheets, which then sit in close contact with our biggest bodily organ (our skin), for hours upon hours each day. When we use dryer sheets in the high temperatures of our dryers we are dispersing all their chemical nastiness into the air (via the vent) and into our clothing. That fresh smell and any perceived benefit come at a steep cost.
Here are some common dryer sheet ingredients…
> Alpha-Terpineol – linked to depression, headaches, and disorders of the nervous system and brain
> Quaternary ammonium – linked to asthma
> Acetone – linked to nervous system issues like headaches or dizziness
> Chloroform - Neurotoxic and carcinogenic
> Ethyl Acetate – linked to headaches and is on EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
> Benzyl acetate – linked to cancer
> Ethanol- Another EPA Hazardous Waste list offender and linked to brain and nervous system disorders
> Pentane – linked to headaches, nausea, fatigue, and depression
> Fragrance – Many ingredients in fragrances are kept secret but many that we know of are linked to asthma and other serious health issues
When we read up on some of these ingredients we can only be left to wonder if it is really worth it. Of course the answer is NO. Our health is our wealth and once we know better it makes no sense to be spending good money on toxic products. This is especially true when there are cost effective and more natural ways to accomplish the same thing… fresh smelling, wrinkle free, and static free laundry.
Dryer sheets are also single use which makes them incredibly wasteful. So even though there are some more natural brands on the market I think it is still time to let them go for good.
Natural Alternatives to Dryer Sheets
Wool Balls – They roll around with your laundry and pound the stuffing out of them, making them soft and supple. Many like to add essential oils to them for scented laundry.
Dryer Sachets – Get some small cotton or muslin drawstring bags and fill them with dried herbs like Lavender. They can be reused many times before they lose their scent and effectiveness. Once they do lose their luster simply add new herbs and compost the old ones.
Vinegar – Wet a washcloth with vinegar and put in the dryer along with the wet clothing. This is cheap and REALLY effective.
Essential Oils – Put several drops of your favorite essential oils on a washcloth, clothing scrap, or orphaned sock and then add to dryer along with dry or nearly dry laundry. Use a no heat setting and let it run for 10 minutes for sweet smelling laundry.
DIY Fabric Softener Sheets – If like some of the more natural fabric softeners on the market (ie Mrs Meyer’s or Seventh Generation) you can use those to make homemade dryer sheets using fabric scraps like old t-shirts, cut into squares. Put the fabric scraps inside a glass refrigerator or food storage dish (or a plastic one if that is what you have) and saturate them with the fabric softener. Add one to the dryer along with the wet clothing with each load. You will likely find you can reuse them more than once.
Want to keep your laundry soft, fresh smelling, snuggle worthy, and static-free all without using conventional dryer sheets? Try these alternatives.
Have a great weekend all! I slept in on this glorious Saturday morning and then made everyone a sweet and salty breakfast combo, muskmelon and bacon. It is cold and dreary here in Ohio so maybe it is a movie day? A laundry day most likely. I hope the weather warms up a bit tomorrow. We want to break in our annual passes to our local zoo.
Today is the last day to buy the new Herb Fairies series/set. I have now read the first book in the series and OH MY GOODNESS it is great. My 7 year old son and 9 year old daughter will be over the moon for it I think. The main characters are some really empowered children who grew up with herbalist parents. Yet there are also some child characters who not have quite their comfort level with the great outdoors so it is a fun mix. This set goes away tonight at midnight and won’t be available again until 2014 so don’t delay.
I wrote two articles elsewhere this week and wanted to share them…
I am a member of the Green Sisterhood. which is a group of amazing green women bloggers and business owners who have banded together to work towards our goals, both environmental and personal. They say everyone needs to find their tribe and the Green Sisterhood is an amazing tribe. I knew most of the women involved previously but getting together in this more intimate group has been so rewarding. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together. You can follow the blog for more great, green and conscious content as well. This week I wrote a post there about Unplugging the Family for Screen-Free Week, which is coming up at the end of April. It is a week when we are encouraged to unplug the TVs and computers and reconnect to real life, family, and nature. Will you join?
I also wrote over at Fit Frugal Fabulous about an issue that keeps many up at night…health insurance woes. If you cannot afford health insurance or you have a less than desirable plan there ARE still ways you can take charge of your healthcare. Traditional health care is really sick care and we CAN take steps to make sure we don’t need sick care. THAT is real health care! Read A ‘Do It Yourself’ Healthcare Plan When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance.
Other worthwhile links…
Good Girl Gone Green’s amazing Almond Pulp Bars - a delicious way to use up almond pulp leftover from making almond milk.
Litterati – This is an AMAZING site and idea. Basically when you are out and about, picking up library books or taking your kids to the park and you see a piece of litter, you take a photo with your camera and upload it to Instgram (follow me here) and tag it #Litterati. Then you recycle or throw away the litter. It creates a platform for people to unite and clean up the earth one piece of garbage at a time and the site tracks everyone’s efforts via a global map. The kids are actually loving this process and finding it game-like. Here is a piece we tagged this week, found along a roadway as we were walking.. Who throws an empty bottle of laundry detergent out of their car?!?
Books I am Reading:
Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You - FREE right now. It is an excellent book about being more productive.
You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too - A great read about a couple who live in one of those tiny houses and have very little by way of belongings.
Soap Maker’s Workshop: The Art and Craft of Natural Homemade Soap - Yep, I really, really want to try my hand at making my own soap. I have wanted to for years. One of these days….