Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Ode to Baking Soda

Is there anything baking soda can't do?

My mission for last week was to do a green spring clean. I was moving house, so it wasn't exactly a fun mission but I did learn more uses for baking soda than I thought possible.

Here are some of the things I used baking soda for last week: to clean my bathroom, to clean the stains off my white canvas shoes, and in with my washing to freshen up the load. I also tried brushing my teeth with it (not sure my dentist would recommend this, but according to 'the internet' it's safe), and I did find they were sparkling white afterwards! Apparently you can even use it instead of shampoo - so that's one for me to try some time I think.

I have a few other spring cleaning and packing tips that I picked up along the way...
1) Use egg cartons as padding. I read this tip on my egg carton actually and it really worked - use old egg cartons to pack small objects in, or to pad items instead of bubble wrap.
2) Google 'electronics recycling' in your area. I found so many old electronics (why did I have 4 old phones?), so I did a search for my local area and found that I could actually mail my old phones to be recycled, how easy. If you happen to be in the UK Oxfam also has a recycling programme which recycles electronics while contributing to their work - double the feel good factor.

Now there's nothing like a frustrating week of packing and moving to remind me of just how much 'stuff' I have. So many of the items that I packed away seemed to be things that I neither needed or loved. I had to ask myself why I bought these things in the first place, and how can I stop the flow of useless things into my household.

Which leads me to my mission for this week, which I think will probably be one of my most difficult but rewarding things I do to 'go green'. This week I'm going to start the 100 Thing Challenge.

The 100 Thing Challenge is basically a challenge to live with 100 items or less. It sounds like very few items, but I guess each person can define their own rules. I've decided that my 100 things will exclude kitchen and bathroom items for example. The real purpose of the challenge for me is to relook at everything I own, to assess and prioritise what I need and love, and to then work very hard not to increase the number of things I possess.

My goal is to do the 100 Thing Challenge for 6 months - so until October 31st I will live with 100 items or less. Hopefully by then I would have gone a long way towards breaking the buying cycle, and not want to buy more stuff after that!

Now I have to admit that this challenge will be a tad easier for me than most people as I'm moving overseas in 2 weeks, so I can force myself to take only a few things with me. But moving to London, the shopping mecca, will be a challenge itself. Next week I'll have my list of my 100 top things ready to go (and my suitcase packed hopefully), can't wait to see how it goes!


  1. This challenge sounds intense! I'm not sure that i could live with only 100 items (clothes etc???) but i can (and am going to shortly) be paring down a lot of what we own. We moved into a house and were left with a WHOLE lot of the previous owners belongings, so we're ready to sell some things, recycle some things, give things away, and generally live with less!

  2. It does sound very intense - but I do love a challenge! I've already started on my list and prioritising my clothes is a hard one... I'll post my full list of 100 items in my comments next week if you're curious.

    Good luck clearing the house out!