Lest you think I spent the whole month of February entertaining myself, I have some updates on other chores and goals.
I completed one unplanned project.
I have a vast collection of dried herbs and spices, most of which I use regularly. They were all in their original packaging, a combination of jars, tins and plastic pouches. I couldn’t find an affordable spice rack that would hold them all, especially since some spices I always buy in small sizes, and some in large. After scouting out several stores, I bought 40 glass jars at the Dollar Store – 20 large for $1 each and 20 small at 2/$1.25, for a total of $32.50 plus tax. I transferred all of my spices over, and printed (easily removable) inkjet labels for them. OK, I went a little overboard and colour-coded the labels. The green spices have green labels (oregano, basil), the hot spices have red labels (cayenne, chili) and so on. I placed all the small bottles on a cute tray and I still need a tray or shelf large enough to display or stack the large bottles. The new system requires more space but I can see and access everything.
Update to Big House List:
I am paring down the decluttered items that need to leave my house. I have a list of charities and which items they will accept, so I have been sorting and dropping off small lots of items. It is a slow process, but ensures everything will be re-used. For instance, a men’s shelter is happy to receive sketch books and art supplies, and the SPCA will take worn out towels and blankets for pet bedding. I brought old electronics, ink cartridges and batteries to specific recycling sites.
I needed some professional services. I was seriously ticked off when I booked a furnace cleaning appointment and they didn’t show up, so I had to re-book for next week. Meanwhile, I did get the regular maintenance on the car done. I waited in the shop, and they had a clean, comfy waiting room with wireless! I paid to have a pair of jeans hemmed. I can hem pants, but I drew the line at cutting and top-stitching jeans. Speaking of sewing, I threw out a pair of socks with holes in the toes. Although I haven’t done it, I feel capable of darning socks, but decided it’s not worth it for socks that have worn so thin. It made me question whether I shouldn’t buy better-quality socks that last longer and/or are worth saving.
I bought picture frames for my assorted pictures. The frames are all 10 x 13 and the pictures are various irregular sizes such as 9 x 10. I figured that since I am an exacting person, I should be able to figure out how to cut mats. I will buy some scraps to practice. I’ll let you know how I do!
I need to get my collection of robot toys off my desk where they keep getting knocked over, so I bought some cube frames to put them on the wall. It is the only one of my collections that I have on display. Photos to follow when finished!
Update to Garbage Without the Yuck:
I tracked my garbage all month to see how much I could reduce. There were only three more unusual items for the rest of the month.
First of all – twist ties. What evil little things for the environment, since they are bonded materials and sometimes made with plastic! I have too many to reuse, although I do like them to tidy up electrical cords. I will redouble my efforts to bring cloth produce bags (with drawstrings) and other containers from home, or if necessary, just knot any bags I have to take.
Next, I had a broken plastic clothes hanger. They would normally never break, but at one time I succumbed to buying some super-cheap ones, that were almost too flimsy to hold anything but a shirt. Once again, I would have been better off paying for quality.
Finally, I bought clementines (tangerines) and they come in a wooden crate. Do you have those? They are made of cheap wood with a press-board bottom and nylon mesh over the top. I could creatively reuse the box but it would be rather forced. Despite the bargain price on these crates, I probably won’t buy them any more.
Last month I also bought some food wraps from Abeego, which are an alternative to plastic wrap. They are made of fabric treated with waxes and oils, and are washable. You can wrap a food item in them directly (I wrap a muffin in a small one and take it to work) or you can use them to replace lids on bowls or containers. They are useful, with 3 caveats: they stain easily and you can’t wash them with anything harsh, so they won’t look good for long. It took two of the extra-large sheets to wrap just one loaf of bread. And, they are expensive if you buy enough to create a food storage system for yourself. I do think they are an “honourable” product but after buying two sets, I don’t know if I will keep building a collection. They would probably work best if you just used them to cover or wrap clean, dry foods. I would suggest they just make them in a dark colour like brown or red!
Update to Are You the Household Mastermind?
I have taken back doing the laundry for a whole month now. It has given me a break from always being the one to clean the bathroom, the floors and the fridge. So, I decided to make my own powdered laundry detergent using the usual recipe that one finds online. I have always felt uneasy about using the liquid laundry detergent from Costco that is labelled, “Ultimately Biodegradable.” What the heck does that mean? The three ingredients (washing soda, borax and soap bars) cost a total of $12.97 plus tax and it took me maybe 10 minutes to grate the soap and clean up. There is enough washing soda and borax to make several more batches by just adding soap at $1 per bar. I have used the mixture now for 3 weeks in my front-loading machine (tossing it in with the clothes, rather than in the dispenser) and I’ve been 100% happy with it.
Update to Winter Wardrobe Realities:
It took me a while to decide what kind of boots I should buy to replace worn-out ones. I decided on “fashion” rubber boots. They are made from natural rubber with EVA soles and are lined with cotton fleece, so they are warm, tall winter boots. They were on sale for half price and still cost 5 times the price of PVC rain boots! But they make me happy because they are a little more eco-friendly, and besides, they are orange. I am hoping they will last for many seasons.
That sums up my domestic task list for February! Did you try anything new in this last stretch of winter (or summer, for my Australian readers)?