Wow, What a Monday!

Sitting here after 11pm I can’t believe all I did today!
I spent a lot of time online the last few days trying to find some new ways to save money in the kitchen and on household expenses to keep clean & organized. I was looking to avoid out of pocket expenses up front since there isn’t anything to take out of the pocket to spend ;o)
One site I found that sucked me in immediately was Heart, Hands, Home. She has clean, crisp photos, super simple ideas & recipes. The Mixes are what did it for me.  When I saw her calculations on how much money she had saved by having some simple, pre-made mixes on hand I knew I would have to give it a whirl & hope it works as well for us.
Three kitchen recipes I will prep tomorrow are the Quick Mix for biscuits, scones, etc, Pancake Mix, & Tortilla Mix.
Since all 3 kids have found the joy of Josh’s soft tacos we have been going through 24 tortillas a week, that is $4 a week. It doesn’t seem like much but when I am trying to keep our weekly grocery bill to around $70 that $4 adds up fast! It’s double what we buy in bread. So if her calculations are correct and I can make 10 for 25cents then I will be one happy girl!
If you know my family at all you know that pancakes & waffles are a go to meal for the kids. Trevor will mix up an entire batch of Krusteaz, bake all the waffles himself, eat a few, share a few, freeze the rest for later. Smart boy. Now we’ll be able to make up large batches of Pancake Mix for only pennies on the dollar!
With tonight’s shopping trip to Sam’s Club for flour and sugar, plus this morning’s supply run for another recipe I will share in a moment, I have spent a total of $23. It is hard to calculate how much I have saved with that $23 but I can tell you about this morning’s supply run and the creation that ensued…

Laundry Detergent!!
I know, right?!?! It’s so exciting!
I understand if you may not be as excited as I am about cooking up your own laundry detergent but when it only takes 10 minutes to make, 3 ingredients that cost me $8 total, smells great but leaves your clothes without too much scent (which is how we like it, sensitive noses) & cleans just as well as what I had been using that cost me $12.90 for 90ish loads, you may be a convert!!
Now, you may be thinking that a savings of only a couple of dollars isn’t worth any kind of hassle. BUT! I said the supplies cost me $8. The cost of what I used to make an approx. 90 load batch is…drumroll please…
*92 CENTS!!


One more bonus, no need for fabric softener or dryer sheets any longer. Oh, and yet another bonus, it’s perfect for HE front load washers with it’s very low sudsing.  I stopped using liquid fabric softener once I saw how much it gums up the works in a washing machine. I realized if it wasn’t being cleaned out of the washer and nasty residue was left behind then it had to be on my clothes too. I just didn’t like that thought at all; gummy, sticky, smelly stuff rubbing up on my skin as I wear it. Blech.

*Yes, I am a total nerd and figured out cost per ounce per ingredient to get my total for the batch…including tax.

After I finished up with that it was only 9:30am and time to get down to laundry! I had been out of detergent for 2 days and in this house that is 4 loads of laundry that I was behind. And you know how it is when you have something new, you want to try it out on everything you can get your hands on so I am still awake at almost 1am moving laundry around and writing this post.
After I got the piles sorted and in the basement I found myself all over the place starting little projects then getting pulled in another direction when I needed to put something away or find it a new home.
In the basement of our lovely 1952 home there are many, many treasures. One area that I have only scratched the surface of is the far end of the laundry area and under the basement stairs.

These cabinets are along the far wall and obviously have not been used in years & years. The boxes are full of mason jars & glass jars that the original owner of the house (I believe it was just one owner prior to my nephew buying it after her death 4 years ago) collected and used for canning. I don’t believe there was a glass jar that went through her kitchen that didn’t get stripped of labels, washed, and reused.

Things are a bit unorganized at the moment. There is quite a bit of baby stuff in that jumble of bins that I am pretending doesn’t exist. On the other side of the washer & dryer back towards that corner on the left there is a vintage dryer from the 60’s…maybe even earlier I just haven’t looked at it since it’s turned around and in a spot I avoid. There is also a metal cabinet, there are 2 of them but one was easy to get to when we moved in and just needed a good cleaning to be used.  Right now it’s an entertainment center for the kids just around the corner in the basement (the rest of the basement is for another post).

This is with my back against the washer & dryer looking at the stairwell. There is actually quite a bit of space for storage under the stairs. Right now that is where our Christmas tree and decoration bins are. Plus storm windows and screens so they are out of the way. I have a few more things that need to come down from the garage and go under there.

Boxes of jars.
These poor boxes. There is a window behind the cupboard above and it looks like it’s been leaking for a while. We had one storm before the new year that flooded the laundry room all the way out to the stairs. Somehow it only happened the one time this winter. The last few weeks we have had pretty consistent rain storms and not one single drop of water in the basement. I need to do some serious dusting in this corner, the cabinets are absolutely worth cleaning up and using. Of course, the Pepto pink won’t stay long. I wish I had the money to pay someone to come and seal the walls and paint the entire basement a nice light color…not pink.

One thing I did get done was to empty the jars all out of the deteriorating, rotting, moldy boxes and at least take an inventory of what I have to play with.
I didn’t have the energy, and it wasn’t even in my plan yesterday to be in that area cleaning, to do a good deep clean on the cabinets.

Those last 2 boxes sitting there have all the same size/make jars in them and I didn’t want to take them out just to have to move them again when I needed to clean the cupboards.

Whew, and that isn’t all I did yesterday but I think I am going to break my posts up a bit.
Happy Spring Cleaning!


5 responses »

  1. First, way jealous of the mason jars. I am scrounging around here looking for every glass jar I can find to use for storage. Thankfully we made spaghetti last night (using spaghetti squash instead of noodles) so I have two more jars. I could always walk over to Alpha Thrift but I am sure they will cost a pretty penny over there.
    Okay, the detergent really works?? The laundry detergent? On stinky clothes as well? I am contemplating making it myself, partly because it feels so thrifty and crafty. And the food mixes! Jason is as big of a pancake/waffle lover as Trevor is so the mix isn’t a bad idea either. I need to do some serious thinking over here. 🙂

    • Tracy, for your hard water in SB you may want to use the white vinegar lemon fabric softener recipe from the same site as the detergent but yes, it really does work! I keep smelling everything I take out of the washer and then out of the dryer and nothing has a scent. It’s just clean. And fluffy! I just took out the first load of all towels and they are soft and thicker than before with zero static. I am interested to see how they do line dried with this detergent, I bet they don’t get crunchy. You should see the piles of bedding ready to be washed just because I can do it so inexpensively, even double the detergent for teen boys bedding if I want and I won’t feel guilty or wasteful.
      I don’t think people realize that you can use so very many of the containers that our foods come in for storage; sauces, lunch meats (I will never have to buy small ziploc containers again), snacks & nuts in plastic containers.
      If I wanted to buy glass jars like the ones she uses on Heart, Hands, Home they would be super expensive. But if I continue to look for groceries in extra large glass jars (think dill pickles from Costco) that we usually buy in a smaller size I win on the bulk food side and not having to buy a jar for mixes. Of course, it takes a long time to go through foods in giant jars like that lol Just something to look for when you shop, pretty glass jars.
      Get on freecycle there, I was a member and it’s a good group. Post a wanted ad for glass jars. You may find more than expect.

      • I haven’t. I do wash them (on the longest cycle) in cold water and hang them to dry. Good idea on the pre-treat though. Although…if I make the detergent (and I like the idea of making it dry! Thanks Rachel!) it may not matter.

        I haven’t had a chance to check out her site yet, I didn’t even know there were more laundry recipes!

        Good idea on the freecycle glass jars. I have saved all wine bottles to do ‘something’ with and we’ve used all available glass jar. We also have a lot of plastic jars that we use, they just aren’t nearly as pretty.

  2. I’ve been using the recipe for years for laundry detergent. Here’s the kicker that I just discovered about 6 months ago. You don’t have to do all the adding water, boiling, dissolving — just add it by the tablespoon dry! I have an HE washer and 95% of the time use cold waster to wash and rinse and it still works great I. I pretreat stains and stinky shirt armpits with the fels-naptha bar rubbed directly on the offending part (after getting the clothing wet with a squirt bottle filled with water). Another trick — you really can use any kind of soap bar you want (though I’d shy away from anything that claims to be moisturizing as I’d be afraid of the residue). I’ll throw in little hotel bars sometimes, and once I acquired a bunch of Ivory and used that and it worked fine.

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