Category Archives: Tip of the Day

(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

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(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#1

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This was going to be Living Small Tips of the Day, but that sounded like an odd STD, so I revised it … and, knowing me, it will probably not be “daily”!

This is a bowl of eggshells:

eggshells

So, why would I care about a big bowl of eggshells?

1.  Most of us eat eggs.

2.  It is an easy adjustment to not throw the shells in the garbage.

She said what?  Don’t throw them away???

This bowl is an accumulation of about 4 dozen shells, collected over 2 weeks or so.  (good grief, we ate 16 for dinner last night …)  It is one of my biggest annoyances to send biodegradable stuff to a landfill.  Eggshells, in particular, are extremely nutritious for our environment.  Did you know that chickens can and should eat eggshells to increase their calcium to produce better eggs?  Google it.

http://www.backyardchickens.com is a great resource if you want to keep chickens in your backyard …

… which I highly recommend.

… But I digress …

OK, so what do I suggest you do with your eggshells?

Trust me, they will NOT smell or attract bugs while they dry out.  Even in my tiny RV, I can spare a little counter space for a bowl or some other vessel to hold the shells.  They need a little breathing room, so try not to stack the halves inside of each other.  After a few days – (or less, if you choose to put the bowl on the hood of your car in the sun for an afternoon or two) – they will be dry enough to pound into tiny pieces.  This activity is an excellent way to work out your frustrations.  Kids love to do it, too.  No fancy tools required:  just use the bottom of a glass, or a jar, or a wooden spoon to pulverize them.  (a mortar and pestle will work better than plastic, but i said “no fancy tools”)  Try to get the pieces as much like powder as possible.

When they are not identifiable as eggshells, you can spread them in ANY flower bed or potted plant without anyone knowing what you are doing!  If you have a worm bin, this is excellent food for them.

**And as a bonus lesson, pay attention to where your eggs come from.  Did you know that “cage-free” isn’t necessarily a good thing?  Farmers can cram thousands of chickens in a barn, where they never see light of day – but they aren’t in CAGES.  Many still use antibiotics and most trim the beaks … and I won’t even tell you how short their lives are …  Start in your backyard, or at least your community.  Yes, they are probably more expensive, but they are BETTER!

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

Love, from your hippie friend,

–janis