50 Things

So, I sat down last night and created a list of 50 things I want to start doing, continue doing, or start doing again during this year. All of these things on this list will decrease our relying on premade/prepackaged goods, cut down on waste, cut down on “crap”, and help us achieve a more sustainable life style and sense of self-reliance. I’d like to start a posting series, which will show each of these, so for now just the ideas will be here with the directions for them in upcoming posts. These posts will be set up in a category called “Top 50” so if any of these are something you’re interested in, they’ll all be located on a page attached to this one!

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simple things

50 Things to Make, Continue to Make, or Start Making Again!

  1. Laundry Soap- I LOVE my version of powdered laundry soap! I make it as cheaply as I can and will gladly create a post soon with the ratios I use to create my soap.
  2. Homemade Dryer Sheets- I loved these when I made them, and to be really honest, I have no idea why I ever stopped making them… They’ll be making a come back soon too!
  3. Homemade Fabric Softener- So, if you’re going to be making your own dryer sheets, you may as well take it a step further and create your own softener to go with it. So easy, so inexpensive, and I bet you have everything to do this sitting in your cabinet already!
  4. Homemade Baby Wipes- I’m sure you’ve looked and seen a million different ways to make these all over the internet. I’m by no means claiming mine are the best, but for us they’re perfect!
  5. Floor Cleaner Wet Pads- So, once I realized you could buy the knock off version of these at the dollar store, I stopped making my own. Apparently I got lazy, but the more I look at it, the more I realize the cheap knock offs just don’t clean like mine did. So, we’ll add these to the list!
  6. Cleaning Wipes- About a year ago, I realized I’m sensitive to bleach cleaning wipes and bleach in general. I was working at a bar job, and had cleaned and cleaned with the wipes then woke up two days later to skin peeling off of every single one of my fingers. So, I tried making my own and I love these things!
  7. Homemade Room Freshening Spray- I don’t use the stuff that comes in the blue bottle on a regular basis anyway, so I only tend to make this up in very small batches, but when you need it man does it work! And with the number of critters in my house, you know we’re gonna need it from time to time.
  8. Carpet Cleaner/ Spot Cleaner- I introduced my momma to this stuff and she swears by it as well! Hopefully if everything goes according to plan we’re going to be without carpet soon though!
  9. Glass Cleaner
  10. All Purpose Cleaner
  11. Grease Cutting Spray
  12. Shaving Cream- I use this stuff religiously and could never go back to the store bought stuff. I’m not sure if Mr. Smivie has every tried it or not, but maybe it’s time to whip up some guy smelling stuff too!
  13. Awesome Hand Cream- this is actually about the furthest from homemade I could put on this list. With the dry air here and the windy season here though, it’s the only thing I’ve found that gives me any relief at all in the winter.
  14. Body Wash- I’ve made this only once before, and only once because I made so much when I did that it lasted me forever. I’ve been out for a little while, and have just been buying the cheap stuff lately, but maybe it’s about time I got back into the habit again.
  15. Lotion Bars- I have never personally made these before, but I’ve found tons of tutorials online for how to do so. I’ve tried them at certain stores, and really like them they’re just usually WAY out of my price range. So once I can get my hands on the ingredients, I want to give them a shot!
  16. Chap stick- I use this stuff like it’s my religion. Once again, we’re bikers… in the desert… where there’s zero moisture. It becomes your best friend!
  17. Cold Process Soap- There’s been one time in my life I made soap and it turned out to be the biggest disaster I’ve ever attempted in my life. I also have zero clue what I was doing when I attempted. Never know, maybe I’ll get it right finally!
  18. Shampoo Bars- These I find intriguing. I’ve never had a chance to actually try them, but I’ve heard good things… Am I brave?
  19. Make Up Remover- Make up isn’t something that happens often, but there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get it off at the end of the night!
  20. Foaming Hand soap- This is just way too easy, and really doesn’t need a tutorial. The biggest contender here, is the bottle and the pump! Thank you Dollar Tree!
  21. Wax melts, oil burners, and air fresheners- I use things like this constantly here. They’re always out at my house, at least, they were. Then I realized how much I was spending on these damn things when I could just be making them.
  22. Jar Candles- So easy, and you can make them smell how you want… you know… instead of spending 3 hours at the store smelling things over and over that remind you of your grandmothers medicine cabinet.
  23. Homemade Butter- One of the things I still kick myself in the ass for stopping making. Finding quality milk here has just been so damn hard. Once we can get our own goats it’ll be easier. Maybe I can find someone here I can trade with? Never know! The possibilities are endless!
  24. Homemade Bread- Is there anything in the world that smells more like home than fresh baked bread? Mr. Smivie even bought me a bread machine at the thrift store since I just had to have one. Time to break that puppy back out!
  25. Hamburger Helper Mixes- With a little research and experimentation you can easily make these yourself instead of buying the boxed stuff full of crap you can’t pronounce.
  26. Homemade Spice and Soup Mixes- After we were told Mr. Smivie has stage three kidney disease we really have to watch what we eat here at home. Spices are a staple here since I started cooking like crazy, but we really have to watch how much salt is in anything here, so I’ve started making my own!
  27. Homemade Baking Mixes- Pancake mix, all purpose baking mix, biscuit mix, all of it can easily be made for a fraction of what you buy it for.
  28. Drinks- Hi there, my name is Jessica and I’m addicted to soda and energy drinks. I’m fighting to break this habit. I really am, but it’s hard, and as stupid as it sounds I really think the energy drinks has become an addiction of some kind. I literally crave them daily. Time to start making real stuff again, teas, flavored waters, coffee at home, and even blended coffee style drinks and smoothies.
  29. Freezer Meals- My God these are AMAZING! My freezer is like my best friend. Without it, I’m sure we would starve. My momma makes fun of me all the time, seeing as there’s just two of us and I have a commercial quality upright freezer packed to the point stuff falls out when you open the door.
  30. Food In General- Gardening here, has to be one of the HARDEST DAMN THINGS I’VE EVER ATTEMPTED ( no, it’s not frustrating or anything… not in the slightest >.<). It is possible here, but the amount of money and effort that has to go into initial start up is astronomical. Oh, the wonders of living in the middle of HELL… erm… the desert…
  31. Salad Dressings and Condiments- I still have some of these that we bought left in my fridge. I refuse to throw them away while they’re still good. But as I’m running out of things I’m going to start making more from scratch.
  32. Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar- So, I found the instructions for this and everything about it looks simple enough. With the way I use vinegar around here, it may be in my best interest to at least attempt this one.
  33. Medicinals- So, with a little research, it’s pretty easy to find some old tried and true recipes for making things yourself. Cough drops, teas, and even some salves are easily doable with some pretty basic ingredients. I really want to learn more in this area in the coming months/years and hopefully gain more experience with these things.
  34. Critter Toys- When you have the massive amount of critters we have, toys are essential in the every day life. Dog, cat, pig, chicken, rat…. yeah they get bored. And making toys, instead of spending $5, $10, $15 on each one just makes sense.
  35. Critter Treats- Quickest way to a beasts heart, is thru their tummy (unless you’re the cat but that’s a whole different story). And good grief if you can heat up an oven you can make them treats!
  36. Wet Bags- I absolutely love to sew, and all of these remaining things on my list are things that can be sewn to use around the home. Wet bags are a great place to start, I’m looking into making one to keep in my kitchen and one in my bathroom. Then all the wipes I make to clean with will have a home to go into to get washed.
  37. UN-paper towels- These I’m extremely excited about and they will be made ASAP. We go thru paper towels here like it’s no ones business, and I already do about 3 loads of laundry a week, so, why not make my kitchen towel that I can throw in the wash instead of throwing in the trash?
  38. Reusable Shopping Bags- Everyone’s seen the multitude of ideas out there, from t-shirts, to pillow cases, to no sew options. Well, I’m working on designing some of my own to start taking with up on grocery day and to use around the house for other things.
  39. Aprons- I have this unbelievable amount of affection for aprons. These are something I’m going to start making for myself, and for others. If they go well, I may even start selling some. There’s nothing in the world that I can get more use out of than a great apron.
  40. Beard Mats- This is a concept I’ve just discovered and completely fell in love with. I share my house with a man… and a bald man at that. Shaving of the face and shaving of the head both, usually at the same time, leave a DISASTER in the bathroom. Since, we’re currently unable to give him a bathroom all his own, and he’s opposed to me hanging a mirror on the back of the house outside. The idea here is a giant piece of fabric attached to the mirror, then draped over bathroom sinks and counters to catch the hair!
  41. Table Cloths, runners, and Napkins- If it can be thrown in the washer, instead of being thrown away, then it’s going to save you money in the long run. Plus you can really get creative with this!
  42. Hot Pads- Have you seen some of the patterns out here for these little boogers?! So many designs! And, if you’re a klutz like me…. you can never have too many… and if you do have too many, then sell them!
  43. Homemade Rugs- I use to make rugs, never made very many, but I still made them. Really simple, just braided then sewn. They do seem to hold up a million times better to cleaning that ones you buy though, so the effort is totally worth it!
  44. Draft Stoppers and insulated Curtains- draft stoppers go under doors to shut off rooms not in use either in the winter or summer so they don’t have to be heated and cooled. And Insulated curtains are basically thick, quilted pads that go over your windows to help hold heat into the house. 
  45. Curtains- I love making homemade curtains. So much easier and cheaper than buying curtains. I’ve recently been using table cloths to make them with, they hold up much better in the washing machine and can easily be swapped out for little cost, especially when bought on sale.
  46. Decorations- holiday and home decorations are so simple to make and usually ¼ of the cost as store bought ones, not to mention thrift stores and repurposing things. I’m taking on the new mantra of “if it’s not useful or something you find beautiful toss it.
  47. Blankets, quilts, pet beds, chair cushions, etc. – Again so easy to sew, and typically at a quarter of the cost. I’m getting into the habit of buying HUGE shirts when they have the bag sales at the thrift stores. Look at fabrics, not clothes. Cut them apart and use them for things, PLUS SAVE THE BUTTONS!
  48. Furniture- this is boyfriend’s area of expertise. He makes so many things. We’re hoping to turn this into a lucrative business when we move back east and I think he’ll do amazingly well there. I love simple furniture, shaker style, country style, farm house style. Tables, chairs, shelves, tv stands can all be made at a fraction of the cost and last for YEARS as opposed to box store, trash made of particle board that falls apart when wet.
  49. Repurpose- This is one of my favorite things to do, old furniture, old clothes, anything can have a new purpose found for it with a little imagination.
  50. Meal plan and budget- this is a huge deal. Plan meals around what you have, what’s in season, and cook more at home/ eat out less over all. Plus make sure you take care of the essentials first, and then do everything else in CASH so you know exactly how much you have to spend without touching the savings!

How about you? What kind of things are you ready to change this year to start becoming more self sufficient? Let me know in the comments section!