Monthly Archives: March 2013

(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#3

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photo-5Paper or Plastic?  That was the question of the 90s.

Today, it is become increasingly more normal to BYOB, but how many of us do?

Really, how hard is it to bring a bag?  I think it takes me a whole 30 seconds to open the back door and grab a few on my way into the store.

I guess the hardest part is getting them INTO the car.  The key to remembering that is having a LOT of bags.  Over the years, I have accumulated a very random assortment.  My personal favorites are canvas, but the grocery store bags are getting more and more popular and are usually no more than $1.  Buy 2 or 3 each time you forget to bring yours, and you will have plenty, lickety-split!

  • The plastic ones from grocery stores are often made from virgin plastic, so look for the plastic content.  Recycled is better.
  • If the bag gets dirty, wash it!  Yes, even the plastic ones.  Just don’t put it in the drier.
  • Designate one bag for meat and don’t cross-contaminate it with anything else.

People tell themselves that plastic bags can be used for many different things to avoid guilt on this issue:

  • Dog poop …  You can use bread bags, veggie bags, chip bags, used zip locks … I’m sure you have a lot of “other” bags in your trash …
  • Trash can liner …  I guess this is reasonable, but I bet you have a large stash already, which will keep your trash cans lined until Doomsday.
  • Car trash … another seemingly reasonable use, but be honest with yourself about how many bags you really need.
  • Wet swimming suits … Wrap it in a towel.  You are going to wash it all, anyway.
  • Recycle them … Unfortunately, all of the factors that are considered with recycling make plastic bag recycling mostly cost-prohibitive.  Many places still send plastic bags to the landfills.

Plastic Bag Facts from InspirationGreen.com
Plastic Bag Facts from Reuseit.com

So, make a commitment today to avoid single-use bags.

**Note about compostable bags:  NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING will decompose in a landfill because you need sun, oxygen and microorganisms for decomposition.  Compostable bags are not worth the extra money, unless you are using them in a compost pile.

bag2B

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Shameless Plug:  I sell t-shirt bags and knitted market bags.

And, let me leave you with a parting thought:  You have hands.  Use them.  Bags are (mostly) unnecessary.

Hooray!  Look what you learned on the internet today!!  🙂

Love, from your hippie friend,

–janis

(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#2

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Vinegar.

Oh, how I love thee.

I  could go on for days about how many things I do with vinegar, but I am going to start “small.”   Primarily, I use it as a fabric softener in the washer.  There are several ways to do this, and the benefits are numerous.  Vinegar evaporates very quickly, so your laundry will NOT smell like pickles.

photo-4What:  regular household variety white vinegar

How:  Fill the fabric softener compartment.  You really can’t use too much.  Ideally, aim for about 1/4 cup.  It can be put in the initial wash cycle if you don’t have a special dispenser, but it won’t work quite as well.  (like in a laundromat)  Ideally, you can wait and add it to the rinse cycle manually.  Or fill a “Downey ball” about half full of vinegar.

  •  If you really object to the smell of vinegar, put some essential oil on a wet washcloth and toss that in the dryer.

Why:  Vinegar acts as a rinse aid to help remove soap residue from the water.  Most people use too much laundry soap, and that builds up in the seams of your clothing.  Fabric softener will build up residue, too.  Vinegar also helps reduce static, but usually the biggest cause of static is nylon fiber.  (don’t dry polyester with cotton)

  • If you need one more reason, consider cost:  this gallon jug costs less than $2 in most places!

The internet has lots of websites that extoll the virtues of vinegar.  I haven’t tried it for everything on this list, but I do keep a spray bottle of straight vinegar on hand for many things, including

  • spritz fruits and veggies instead of a “vegetable wash” solution
  • spray on a spot where a pet has urinated
  • spray with hydrogen peroxide for use as a disinfectant (more on that use another day)
  • polish chrome fixtures
  • clean mirrors and windows

And, when the jug is empty, fill it with water to use as a weight with a nifty handle.

Hooray!  Look what you learned on the internet today!!

Love, from your hippie friend,

–janis