Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cleaning, Wasting and Garbage

I must admit that this is a rather strange title for a blog post but I have recently come across some interesting posts on my daily trip through my favorite blogs. Rhonda talks about not wasting food and Leila had a very interesting article about cleaning (actually two, since she posted a follow-up to her first one). This got me to thinking about how we do things around here (while I was washing dishes).
I am pleased to say that we do not waste food. Except for the occasional forgotten slice of bread or carrot we use up what we buy and make. I cook dinner every day and if there are leftovers I have them for lunch the next day, Del is brown-bagging, or rather reusable-plastic-boxing for lunch. I have a few pantry staples but I usually buy what I need for the week every Friday. I make a menu for each week and a shopping list and I am surprisingly good at sticking to it. I am also very good at keeping within the weekly budget. If anybody would have told me 10 years ago that I would ever be doing that and be good at it as well, I would have laughed at them. But alas, here I am.
Cleaning, oh, one of my favorite things to do. I keep my cleaning supplies (baking soda, vinegar and a bottle of Windex that just don't want to get empty) under the sink, unless I am having a bad day and attempt to put them into the refrigerator (like I did on Tuesday). My tea towels and kitchen hand towels are in the bottom part of the little cabinet in the pantry. Thanks to a tendency to hoarding in my younger years (it runs in the family) I have an enormous amount of them. The top part holds some cookbooks, my tea collection, our everyday teapot and some cups.

I use knitted dishcloths for washing dished. I knitted a whole bunch of Deb's Aunt May dishcloths last year. I gave some of them away as Christmas gifts and kept the rest for myself.

I recently demoted all my old dishcloths to cleaning rags and they are now in a basket in the pantry together with the terry cloth washcloths and bar towels I also use for cleaning. Paper towels are used to drain bacon and soak up the bacon grease from the pan for disposal, usually the same two sheets are used for both. I also use paper towels to clean up cat barf  Miss K.'s hairballs.

I usually wash the white cloths with the whites and a dash of bleach, the dishcloths go in with the tea towels. I use home made laundry detergent.

We do not produce an awful lot of garbage. Usually one bag from the kitchen and a small one from the bathroom per week, which contains mainly the used cat litter after the weekly cat box emptying and bleaching. I confess to using trash bags after having had to clean maggots from the big trash can once, which was an experience I am not too keen to repeat (bleach works wonders on the little buggers, yuck!). We recycle plastic, cans and paper and maybe one day I can afford a composter.

And now that I got that off my chest it is back to finishing the rest of the dishes - I swear the multiply everytime I turn my back on them.

1 comment:

mybabyjohn said...

Well, we can certainly all learn from your experiences. I have to admit I don't come within the city limits of your success. I use a dishwasher (although they do say that you use less water that way) and we have done our best to make our house energy efficient (windows doors roof insulation appliances) but when it comes to cleaning I use the commercial products and I admit that we do waste food. We usually toss out one or two full blue recycling bags every week, two or three small green kitchen bags and one clear bag every other week of genuine trash. (our city has a 3 stream garbage system for recyling/composting/trash) ((most of us hate it)) I didn't use to waste food when there was three or more of us, but now that we're down to two people, I'm finding it hard to judge how much I need. Hopefully I'll get better. You are most definitely an inspiration.