Photo credit: mypurlsofwisdom.wordpress.com

The three R’s:  Reduce, Recycle and Re-use.  I’m fairly good at reducing, I’m great at recycling but I have to remind myself to choose to re-use.

Making my own cleaning products, mostly from baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, citrus oils, Tea Tree Oil and colloidal silver has been fun. I’ve also made my own bar soaps from glycerin, oatmeal and Tea Tree Oil. But I’ve had to resist the temptation to go out and buy all new matching plastic spray bottles, containers and soap molds. I seem to be a natural consumer. I enjoy shopping. I like buying new things. I like having cute coordinating sets and pretty patterns. But I’m slowly changing my habits.

Over the years I’ve brought hundreds of bottles of all-purpose spray cleaners, window cleaners, disinfectants.  And as long as I’ve been able, I’ve recycled the containers they came in but now that I need a spray bottle or two of my own, I’m thinking “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with this spray bottle. I’ll just rinse it out, peel off the label if I can and Voila!” I just save myself a dollar or two and resisted the temptation to be a conspicuous consumer.

The All-Purpose cleaning spray that I’ve been making takes two steps, the first of which is to soak orange rinds in vinegar in sealed glass jar for two weeks. It just so happens that the pasta sauce I use comes in a very nice glass jar with a screw-top lid.  After a little scrounging in the old recycle bin and I was ready to go. After two weeks, I strained the citrus vinegar mixture, added about a third of it to my re-used plastic spray bottle, added some water, and about fifteen drops of Colloidal Silver as an antimicrobial/disinfectant and my cleaning spray was ready to use.

I also made some home-made laundry detergent (for our clothes, not our cloth diapers). I made a big batch of this and I’m using a very sturdy yellow pail with a lid that once held (drum roll, please) kitty litter! (I’ll let you know when I’m officially trying it out and will provide the recipe once I know whether it’s any good). I’m still finishing off some all natural laundry detergent that I bought in bulk.

And what do I use to spray on my homemade facial toner (witch hazel and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil)? Why a small bottle that originally held some Thirsties Booty Luster diaper spray! Do you find and re-use things from around the house? Please share how you find new uses for old items.

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