Zero-Waste Moving

Wow. Summer this year seemed to fly past. Among all the craziness of summer winding down, my husband and I spontaneously moved. We did not plan on moving this quickly, but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Long story short, we wanted to move with as little environmental impact as possible. At first this seemed like an impossible task, but with a little persistence, it was manageable. Here are some of the tips and tricks we learned:

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1.) Reuse bins and boxes. We asked to borrow several friends moving bins. We also reached out to local stores to get a few extra boxes. They were free, and the stores were happy to give them to us. Pro-tip: use your suit cases to move books. Books are heavy, and the suit case makes them easier to move.

2.) Unload as you go. Now, this might seem like common sense, but I have always packed everything up and moved in one day. This time around, my husband and I  did not have that option. Instead, we would pack up as many bins that would fit in our vehicles, take them to the new place, unload, and repeat the next day. In the long run, it required less moving materials. Plus, our new place is right down the road from where we work; so, we did not add any extra fuel emissions.

3.) Get creative with packing material. You don’t need bubble wrap, or other packing material. YOU ALREADY HAVE IT! Put down the bubble wrap. Now, step away. Use your sweatshirts, other clothing items, towels, scarves, really anything fabric, to pack away valuables. I found, we could fit 3 plates per 1 sweatshirt. We used blankets to wrap small decorations. Use sham covers to move your extra blankets and pillow cases. Get creative. You already have all the packing material you need. Plus the stuff you have is free.

4.) Pack lunches/snacks. Bring a box with a few plates, eating utensils,  and a way to wash your dishes in one of the first boxes you unpack. This way, you have all you need to eat at your new place  Plus, packing your own food helps you save money during the process, and cuts down on your waste.  BRING YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE. That is just a pro-tip for life.

5.) Donate. Donate. Donate. Nothing makes you feel more like a hoarder than trying to downsize. Have a “donate box” in every room. Get yo’ self that tax deduction! Pro-tip: get some friends together and organize a clothing swap. You can bring your old, unwanted clothes, and get new-to-you stuff for free! Donate the unwanted items after the event.

BONUS TIP: Save ripped, old jeans to make a rug for your new home. That will be featured in one of my up coming blogs. So, stay tuned.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful, and your moving is quick and painless.

 

Love, Liv

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I like to eat off clean plates, I mean who doesn’t? Unfortunately, many of the cleaners we put in our dishwasher are more toxic than the stuck on food we are trying to remove. So, if you want a non-toxic alternative to your dishwasher detergent, give these a try.

Ingredients:

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  • 1/2 c. Washing Soda
  • 1/4 c. Citric Acid
  • 3 tbsp. Vinegar
  • 10 drops On Guard Essential Oil.

Combine all ingredients, and press into an ice cube tray. Leave dry for 24 hours. I add a cup of vinegar into every load to help boost the cleaning power.

I really wanted to see how strong these pods are, and to see if they really work. So, one night I decided not to rinse my plates (do not do this at home), and let the food dry on them overnight. Gross, I know, but I do gross things so you don’t have to. I was shocked on how well these worked! After running the dishwasher.

All. Of. The. Plates. Were. CLEAN.

After the first wash! WHAT?! Not only do these work better than any dishwashing detergent I have ever used, they are cheaper, easy to make, and best of all, non toxic.

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Let me know how yours turn out!

Love, Liv

Composting in an Apartment

I have wanting to start composting for a while, but I live in an apartment. I always thought I wouldn’t have space, or it would be really difficult. Good news for everyone: I was wrong! Composting can be done anywhere, and is way easier than you think.

First off, composting is not just letting your food rot in a container. It does take some work. You can use worms to help break down your food, but I want to figure out what I am doing; otherwise, we might have a worm massacre on our hands.  Instead I used some news paper. Newspaper breaks down really easily, and gets the process going.

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I decided to use a standard 5 gallon bucket to start, I figured I can always go up in size. I normally cook for two people. So far, the 5 gallon bucket is a perfect size for the amount of compostable waste my husband and I produce. You will need to drill a bunch of holes all over the bucket and lid. You will want a lot of air flow through your compost bin. The more air flow the better. Air flow does not mean dry, I keep a spray bottle near my compost bucket. When I go and mix the compost, I give it a spritz if the compost is looking dry. Healthy compost should always be slightly damp.

I keep my compost bin out side under our porch. Do not keep your bin in direct sunlight. Whenever I am cooking, I grab the bin, bring it in the house, and put all my kitchen scraps in. I keep a brick on the top to help keep pests out of the bin. Get a bin that has an easy lid to remove. You will want to mix your compost every day.

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I started my compost with a few vegetable scraps that had seen better days.  You can cut the scraps down to a smaller size to make the compost process faster. Kitchen scraps are great to start composting; they will give the end result a hearty mix of carbon and nitrogen. Which is what helps makes a healthy soil. Egg shells are quick to break down, and get the composting process started. Since I am vegan, I don’t have egg shells. That is where the news paper comes in. It works very similar to the egg shells, and it breaks down quickly.

Here are a few ideas to start your compost:

  • Vegetable scraps/peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea
  • Dried leaves and twigs
  • Grass clippings
  • Untreated wood scraps/sawdust

Let’s talk about things not to compost:

  • Poop-just don’t do it. Poop, especially from critters, can contain organisms caring diseases, and can be transferred to whatever you use your compost on.
  • Dairy products: although they break down, when the bacteria in dairy spoils it can become toxic, and make people very sick. Because the bacteria is not being denatured, it will become toxic. Assuming you will want to use your compost in a garden, or around plants you will eat, just be safe and keep dairy out of your compost.
  • Meat, fat, bone, animal products: composting can actually preserve animal products, and attract critters to your compost.
  • Glossy paper: unlike news paper, glossy paper does not break down, and will remain in your compost.
  • Plants treated with pesticides: the pesticides will not break down, and will transfer to your compost.
  • Metal, tin, plastic: Things that are not biodegradable

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Happy Composting!

 

Love, Liv

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

What is if your all-purpose cleaning spray? Most cleaning product containers have to be thoroughly cleaned before being recycled because they are so toxic. If you want to kick those toxins out of your home, this is the cleaner for you.

About a year ago, I cleaned my bathtub. I grabbed what everyone does to clean my tub. Bleach based products, straight bleach, and of course a “natural” cleaner. Not long after I was done with cleaning, one of my cats jumped into the tub. I started thinking about what his little paws were absorbing. So, I started really looking into the ingredients in those cleaners under my kitchen sink. It. Was. Disgusting. I was at a loss for words.

Most environmental experts estimate the average house hold has 62 toxic chemicals in their home. 62. We think we are “cleaning” out homes, but end up spreading toxins that are even worse for our bodies. Household cleaning products can include any amount of toxins because big corporations can re-name them as “antibacterial” or “fragrance” without having to disclose the actual ingredients in the product. There are potential neurotoxins in your home; potential endocrine disruptors, and a laundry list of other potential carcinogens. We think of our homes as a safe place where we can relax after a long day, but the things we are using to clean our homes with should have us running for the hills.

I was fed up. I didn’t want to introduce anymore toxins to myself, my husband, or my adorable fur babies. Enough was enough.

This cleaner has replaced EVERYTHING that I previously used for cleaning my home. It cleans everything from: floors, to counter tops, and leaves a streak free shine on windows or mirrors. It cost $2.78 to make (including the spray bottle). Best part, I know and can pronounce every ingredient in the cleaner. Talk about a win-win.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 10 drops On Guard Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil

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Make sure to use a stainless steel or glass container for your all-purpose cleaning spray. If you want to get your own on-guard, you can find it here.

That is it. So simple. It smells amazing. Plus, if you husband is like mine, he loves the smell, and started cleaning the house more because he loves to smell the cleaner. (No complains coming from me).

Here is how well this works:

In Wisconsin, sometimes we get 30 inches of snow in the the middle of April. So, after brushing off cars, shoveling, and crying about the weather, there can be a wet mess left on the floor from boots and outdoor apparel. That is what you see below.

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This is after using the all-purpose cleaner I made.

Seriously, this stuff is the real deal. It is amazing on any surface. Let me know how it works for you!

Love, Liv

Straws

Straws suck. Seriously. Most straws end up in the trash, when they could be easily recycled. It is SO easy to live without them. When you are out to eat, ask for your drink without a straw. If you need your iced coffee with a straw, look into re-usable options.

There are several options online for reusable straws. This option has 6 silicone and 2 metal straws with brushes for $14.95. It is an awesome deal.

Cats

Nilla and Meekah want you to know it is SUPER easy going strawless, and you can totally do it!

If you want more info, or want to sign a pledge to go strawless, check out No Straw Please . Try it for a month, and let me know how easy it is!

#NoPlasticStraws

Love, Liv