12+ Easy Homemaking Tips for the Busy Homesteader

12+ Homemaking tips and tricks to keep the clutter under control and make things a little tidier and easier to use. Save time and money, reuse and repurpose.

I am not a super awesome housekeeper.  Every so often I rehome rarely used items and do more thorough cleanings, but for the most part our home is unlikely to end up in a photoshoot for Better Homes and Gardens.  That said, I do use a number of homemaking tips and tricks to keep the clutter under control and make things a little tidier and easier to use.   A minute saved here and there; reusing, repurposing and extending the life of items so we don’t need to buy replacements so quickly – every little thing adds up to make a difference.  Plus – a new study has linked clutter with depression, so keeping things neater may help improve your mood! [Read more…]

5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know,Plus a Review

5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know, Plus FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer Review. Vacuum Sealers protect more than just food.

I’ve owned a Foodsaver® Vacuum Sealer of one type or another for a couple of decades now, and I can’t imagine my kitchen and pantry without a vacuum sealer.  Okay – that’s not really true.  I can imagine it, and I don’t like it.  During harvest season, my vacuum sealer lives on the counter.  It simply can’t be beat for extending the freezer life of produce.  (It works great for meat, too.  We always get our bulk meat purchases vacuum sealed at the butcher.) 

I can easily carry over food items for a year or more if needed, which is great if we have a bumper crop of something one year and a crop failure the next.  Two year old vacuum sealed berries look like they were picked and frozen the day before.  Try that with produce in a regular zipper bag, and you’ll end up with a block of ice.  Below is a comparison of two packages of broccoli, one vacuum sealed, one not.  I thought I’d use the second package up quickly, so I didn’t take the time to vacuum seal.  Big mistake.

vacuum sealer comparison - vacuum sealed bag versus zipper bag

I put together a quick list of five uses for a vacuum sealer everyone should know, just to highlight some of the cool stuff that these sealers can do.  We also have a review and giveaway of the new Foodsaver® FM2000 vacuum sealer, which reminds me of the original vacuum sealer I had for over 10 years, except it’s black and the old one was white. [Read more…]

DIY Natural Cleaners – 7 Easy Recipes to Help You Clean Everything from Windows to Grout

DIY Natural Cleaners Made with Essential Oils - 7 Easy Recipes to Help You Clean Everything from Windows to Grout - Includes Printable Recipe Sheet

This is a guest post by Christy Fechser and contains affiliate links.

Is the cleaner you’re using to spray your counters, your fridge, your stove, or even your baby’s high chair safe to use?

Several years ago I was cleaning my kitchen and happened to glance at the label of a cleaner that I used for everything. It said “Do not use on kitchen surfaces.

I was horrified! I can’t use it on my kitchen surfaces?? I had used that particular cleaner to clean EVERYTHING, as did my Mom when I was growing up. It dawned on me in that moment that just because they kill germs it does not make them safe (which I probably should have realized sooner).

You cook on those surfaces and your kids drop food on those surfaces and then eat that food. Topical exposure isn’t the only worry though. When you spray a surface you are dispersing those chemicals into the air for everyone to inhale. They can do a lot of damage to our lungs and other organs.

Often times we think that we are using household cleaners to “clean” but take no mind of what they are leaving behind. I’m not sure which is more dangerous, the germs on the counter or the chemicals that killed the germs. Of course, we want the surfaces in our home to be clean but we want them to be clean of chemicals as well. So what do we do?

We can make our own cleaners that are very effective at killing germs while not causing harm to our family members.

I have an easy to make and easy to use list of DIY natural cleaners that smell good and work great!

[Read more…]

Easy, No Sew Kitchen Scrubbies from Produce Bags

Don't toss those mesh produce bags! Upcycle them into free, easy to make, no sew kitchen scrubbies.

So many types of produce come in mesh bags – from onion sets to citrus fruits.  I hate to just throw them out, and I can only reuse so many for storage, so I decided to upcycle some of the produce bags into easy, no sew kitchen scrubbies.  If you have more than you can use yourself, they also make a nice addition to a natural cleaning gift basket.  I found that four mesh bags from oranges made a firm scrubbie that fit well in my hand.

How to Make Kitchen Scrubbies from Produce Bags

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No More Cold Feet in Bed – My Favorite Winter Foot Warmers

No More Cold Feet in Bed - 6 Ways to Keep Your Feet Warm in Winter

When the thermometer drops into the single digits and we keep the house temps on the chilly side to help save energy, I’m sometimes stuck with cold feet in bed. I don’t know about you, but if my feet are cold, I have an awfully hard time falling asleep.  If my husband comes to bed after I do, I can’t always cheat and warm my feet up on him.  :-)  Since I figured others might be in the same boat, I made up this list of winter foot warming ideas to help you keep your feet toasty, too. [Read more…]