The Most Eco-Friendly Way to do your Laundry

The biggest change in my living since moving into Casa Container has been the transition into being an environmentally safe & water conservative being, and therefor creating a living space that reflects those values.  Being responsible for a (tiny) household ( & a tiny septic tank) makes you extremely conscious of every litre of fresh water that moves through your pipes.

Since the move I’ve employed many simple ways of conserving/reusing/reducing my water consumption.   Read about all of them here.

I recently revealed on my latest snapchat tour that I hand wash my laundry with recycled greywater.  In doing this i’ve cutback significantly on my water usage & electric bill and extended the life of my clothes by not subjecting them to the roughness of a washer & dryer.

Interested? Learn how below.

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Personally, I use shower water (provided being absolutely filthy isn’t the reason for the shower).  Shower/tub water actually contains minimal organic matter, which means this water is totally fine to wash your clothes in.  I just plug the drain & let it fill up while i shower.  The soap & shampoo i use is also 100% natural and environmentally safe ( most of my products come from a local company purejoynaturals.ca ).

If you don’t want to use greywater you can still use less water than a washing machine by filling a rubbermaid bin (or other bin) with fresh water and using the same process.

I add a few scoops of PJN laundry soap and dump my clothes in.  With this method, I find it’s best to do small loads frequently and not to wait until you have a heaping basket.  I do mine every few days because
1) Water stays cleaner with less clothes
2)I have limited drying space
3)Leaning over the bathtub can be strenuous, and you don’t want do have to do it for a long time.

First, I let everything soak for a couple minutes, then i swish it around to mix with the detergent water, so the soap gets at every part of every garment.  After that I pay any special attention needed to stains, spots, ect.

When you’re ready to take your clothes out, pull them out one at a time and squeeze as much excess water out as possible without wringing them.  Wringing the garments will stretch, weaken and wear down the fabric.

Like i said earlier I have limited drying space because I use one of those wooden drying racks.  Ideally (in the summer) the drying rack is outside on the deck when i lay wet clothes on it because fresh air, breezy, dripping, blah, blah.  In the winter i set up in my living room and put a towel underneath.

Once all your clothes are out and drying, consider bucketing the water for your lawn or non-food garden before you drain it.

And voila! Perfectly clean clothes using NO electricity & NO extra water!
100% doable and you didn’t even have to bring your old Columbus Co. washboard down to the river.

 

 

The Most Eco-Friendly Way to do your Laundry

Reuse Grey Water, Save Water, Save $$$

Maybe my late blog gives me away, but 2016 has started out a little rough.

My first night in the container house was December 23rd…. my first day of running water was 2 days ago.  The 2 weeks in the middle were a little more like squatting in my own house than living in it.  I had been hauling water by the bucket (which I understand is a reality for many people) and showering at my parents’ house.  It wasn’t luxurious, but i gained a lot of perspective in that time.

The majority of us, in the western world, have ample access to clean, running water, mostly right in our very homes.  This is a privilege I can honestly say that in the past, I have absolutely taken for granted.  This experience has prompted me to do some research and look into all the ways we can better use that water, and waste as little as possible.  By doing this we can be respectful of our planet, the global water crisis and communities without such luxuries, as well as being humble first world citizens.

A large portion of unnecessarily wasted water is “Grey Water”. It is the water from our sinks (including dishwater), bathtubs and laundry machines that is not totally unsanitary and could be used again for purposes other than direct consumption.  Think of the places where we use fresh water where it is not required, toilets and gardens for example (these are the big ones in my house).

Disconnecting the j trap under the sinks and allowing the water to run into a bucket is an easy way to save your grey water for repurposing.  It may require a watchful eye to make sure your bucket doesn’t overflow, but being mindful is the name of the game, non? From there you can dump that water in the tank or bowl of your toilet to flush it.  Toilets are responsible for 31% of overall household water consumption.  You could stand to save 31% of your water bill, couldn’t you?

Plants and gardens are also a big one for me.  I love gardening and have many houseplants that at one point i was watering with fresh water until i learned about the grey water method.  As long as you are using environmentally-friendly soaps, dishwater and bathwater are perfectly fine for your plants and gardens (actually they might even be better for them!).  I found a great instructable that shows the easy way that the author rigged her laundry washing machine to drain out to spaghetti lines that water her garden.
But it doesn’t have to be a plumbing project, saving grey water can be as easy as showering with the plug in and scooping it out later.

Besides grey water, the same methods can be used with harvested rain water or snow melt.  If you were raised at the lake, like me then these are probably all methods you have used or at least heard of before.  I didn’t, but could have mentioned the old, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…”…

Reuse Grey Water, Save Water, Save $$$

Tree Stump Tables

It’s the last post of the year! I just want to make a short note of thanks to everyone who as supported me and S&S during the last 6 months of tireless construction and blogging.  2015 has been a year of learning and new experiences and I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store!  Thank you everyone, Happy new year!!!

 
Ive been feeling crafty!  I stumbled upon an awesome side table tutorial and decided to raid my wood pile and make my own!  I made the one below for my bf for Christmas. Here’s how:
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1. Aquire stump.
Any old stump will do.

2. You will have to allow the stump to dry out for about a month or so.  Then the bark will be easy to remove and it will be significantly lighter.  You can tell it is dry enough when you can see the bark separating, like below:20151214_191441

3. You will need a hammer and a chisel thingy.
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Hammering the chisel thingy into where the bark and stump have begun to separate should make it easy to remove the bark.  For me it peeled off without too much difficulty.  It will take a little extra work around the knots, you will have to come at it at different angles with the chisel thingy, or use the prying end of the hammer.
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4. It will look like this.
Sand the crap out of it.
Decide which end will be the top and sand that end as well.  Try to get all the sharp or splintered edges, ends of the knots and all the little wood hairs off.
Use a variety of grits.
20151214_1902425. Wipe it down.
Use a damp rag.
This will get all the dust from sanding off.

6. Put legs on! (Or don’t)
I used  3 inch “Capita” legs i found at IKEA.  I also used longer screws than IKEA gave me due to the big heavy stump i was attaching to them.
A standard side table is about 25 inches tall. If you’re stump doesn’t need legs (or you dont want them, consider putting those little felt stickems on the bottom so the table doesn’t scratch your floor.)
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7.  Seal it.
I used this stuff.
I did 3 or 4 coats on the sides and 5 or 6 on the top, let it dry in between coats.
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Annnnd voila!!
Stump table.
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Tree Stump Tables

How to Bamboo (Pro’s, Con’s, Sealing & Maintenance)

If you have me on snapchat (steequinn) or insta (sticksandspit) you’ve seen my raving about the current love of my life, my new bamboo countertops!

 

When I started looking into countertops, all I knew for sure was that I definitely didnt want your standard laminate kind.  In search of a unique and aesthetically pleasing alternative I learned 3 things:

1. My dream countertop is solid Calacatta Marble and costs more than my 2 year college education
2. Said education isn’t making me enough money to afford said countertop
3. Maybe tuition would have been better spent on dream countertop

After taking a long, hard look at my questionable post-secondary decisions, I pinterested across a “concrete countertop for less than $200” tutorial.  Concrete countertops look AMAZING! I love the look… but I don’t love the weight.  What the tutorial doesn’t tell you is that they are HEAVY!  I would’ve had to reinforce my brand new beautiful cabinets & further delay work and I was not down for that.

So it was purely by chance that one day whilst perusing my local Rona, I came across some gorgeous bamboo planks for non-specific use. Perfect! When I bough them all I knew was that they were going to look great.  I didn’t understand their true value until i did some research.

Pro’s
Eco-friendly:  bamboo is a natural resource that is renewable and sustainable.
Durable: harder than oak or maple. Like wood it can be sanded and resealed if it gets           damaged.
Moderately priced: definitely cheaper than marble, My bamboo cost me just over $400 (not including tung oil or extras)

Cons
Limited: not as many variations in colour or style
Expands & contracts: like wood, it responds to temp and humidity, so there are more factors to account for and extra care to be taken when installing
Glued structure: Bamboo is more like a plant than a wood.  Bamboo planks are strips of the plant’s “trunk” glued and compressed together.  The glue makes it more sensitive to water (even if sealed) and heat (like hot pots or pans) than your average countertop.  Also be sure to check that the glue used is food-safe.

Sealing Bamboo
Bamboo an be sealed with just Tung oil (this is what i did).  It can also be stained, finished with polyurethane, varnish, mineral oil or butcher’s block oil. As long as you use a couple coats of tung oil first to ensure even colour and absorption.
*Tung oil is derived from nuts, and may cause allergic reactions in people allergic to nuts*

Maintenance
You can pretty much use & clean this surface as you normally would, as long as you go easy on the ammonia based products (like Lysol and Windex).  If you didnt polyurethane seal it, you can re-oil it every few weeks, or when it looks dull or gets dry. Or don’t. It’s all good.

Can you see why I’m so in love with the darn things?

How to Bamboo (Pro’s, Con’s, Sealing & Maintenance)