Create an ideabook for your next remodeling project!
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1. Deal with excuses. This is a great first step to take, no matter which habit you are trying to change. Think about what has been stopping you from taking up a new habit you want to try, and brainstorm potential solutions.
Let's take using cloth towels instead of paper towels for cleanup:
Excuse: "Some things are just too gross to wipe up with cloth."
Solution: Use really cheap rags for messy chores and throw them right in a hamper in the kitchen. Also, don't be afraid to replace old rags from time to time — and go ahead and keep a roll of paper towels hidden away for emergencies. No one said you have to go cold turkey.
4. Gradually replace plastics. Any time you notice a plastic container that has lost its lid, has stains or cracks, take the opportunity to toss it in favor of a glass container. I am a big fan of glass nesting bowls with lids — they can be used for meal prep and storing leftovers, and can be safely microwaved, too (remove lids first).
5. Reduce your reliance on paper towels. If you find yourself reaching for a paper towel to clean up every last spill and drip, this may be a tough step to tackle. I recommend stocking up on a huge bundle of dish towels and placing them in strategic spots throughout your kitchen. Even if you keep a roll of paper towels in the closet for extra-messy scenarios, if you can use a cloth towel 75 percent of the time, you will be doing great.
6. Cut down on packaging. Requiring a bit more attention than the ideas up to this point, becoming aware of packaging on everyday items you purchase is something that can be developed over time. A great place to start is by choosing a few ingredients from the bulk bins rather than the aisles of the supermarket. You will usually save money by buying in bulk, and storing grains and beans in glass jars in the pantry is easy, pretty and practical.
8. Reduce waste. If you managed to cut down on some packaging waste per tip number six, bravo! The next step is to think about reducing the food waste that usually gets tossed in the bin. Composting is easier than you might think, and once you start creating your own "black gold" (compost), your garden will thank you. Learn how to get started making compost and make your own DIY compost bin for $15 on Simple Mom.
Don't have a garden? Some cities provide food waste containers that are collected along with other recycling bins and used in a city composting program. Contact your town to see if there is a program in your area.
10. Replace old nonstick cookware. There has been conflicting evidence about the safety of nonstick cookware containing Teflon. To be on the safe side, if you notice an older nonstick pan getting scratched up, toss it. Replace the old nonstick with stainless steel, cast iron or enameled cast iron pans.
Bonus: 11. Plant a kitchen garden. If you have the room, consider giving up some of your lawn space for a productive potager, also known as a kitchen garden. Start small, in a raised bed with just a few plants each of your favorite things to eat.
Grow Your Own Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables
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