DIY Cheaper Laundry Detergent

Two and a half years ago I came across this tutorial on Pinterest to make your own laundry detergent.  Since laundry detergent is so expensive I decided to give it a try since it claimed to be cheaper and much longer lasting.  So I went around town gathering the ingredients because I couldn’t find them all at one store.  I made the detergent and it lasted us two and a half years!  The best part was that it was only about $35!  We just ran out yesterday so I set out to make a new batch today.

(Full credit for the recipe to the blog linked above.  All photos in this post are mine.)

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Here’s what you need:

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax– You can find this in the detergent aisle.  I got this from Target.

1 (3 lb 7 oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda– This can also be found in the detergent aisle.  I found this at Cub Foods (local grocery store)

1 (3 lb) container of OxyClean– This is optional but really helps to get any stains out.  Can be found in the detergent aisle.  I got this at Target

2 (14.1 oz) bars of Zote Soap– This can be found in the detergent aisle.  I found these at Kmart.  The pink Zote soap smells great, especially when mixed with the lavender Purex crystals.  If you can’t find Zote soap you can also use Fels Naptha.

1 (4 lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda– If you can’t find a 4 lb. box, just by two 2lb. boxes.  Can be found in the baking aisle.

1 (55 oz) bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener – This is optional but makes your clothes softer and smells great.  You could substitute any other brand of fabric softener crystals.

This makes a really big batch (a little less than 9 quarts) so make sure you have plenty of storage containers, preferably ones that have an air tight seal.  The detergent may clump up but all you need to do is break apart the clumps and it’s fine.  The most time consuming part is grating the Zote soap.

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Get a large mixing bowl, set yourself in front of the TV and just go nuts grating both bars of soap.  It takes a little over an hour to fully grate both bars.

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This is what the soap looks like after it is grated.  You can leave it this way or you can run the gratings through a food processor to make the soap easier to dissolve in the water, especially cold water.  This isn’t a necessary step as the soap dissolves just fine when finely grated.

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Here are the gratings after being run through a food processor.  It doesn’t take very long to do this extra step.  I just have a small Ninja 16 oz. food processor so I had to do it in batches but it only takes 5-10 pulses to get it this fine.

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Next step is to get a large 3-5 gallon bucket to mix the ingredients.  I used a paint stirring stick to mix everything.  Add 1/4 of each ingredient to the bucket and thoroughly mix.  Once fully mixed, repeat the process until all ingredients are in the bucket.  Give it a few final stirs and then you’re all set to fill your storage containers.

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Our main container is this large glass jar.  It holds 2 quarts.  Then I put the excess in a Rubbermaid cereal container and two Ikea containers.  The Rubbermaid container holds 1.5 gallons and the two Ikea containers hold 1 quart each.

You only need to use 1-2 tablespoons per load depending on the size of the load.  It works great using just cold water and it is safe to use in HE machines.  We have a front load HE and our clothes come out clean, fresh and smelling great!

So if you’re tired of paying for expensive liquid detergents, give this a try!  I will continue to use this recipe to make laundry soap for as long as I can foresee.

 

Book Journal Project

I have been neglecting this blog and I apologize for that!  I’ve been so busy with personal things lately and projects around the house that I haven’t had a lot of free time to devote to this.  I see that a lot of people are viewing my KonMari posts and I promise that I will be diving back into that process soon!  My little brother is getting married next month so once all of the craziness dies down there will be more KonMari posts!  For now, check out my most recent project that I originally posted on my book blog, The Worn Bookmark.


11329862_957687869263_6909989782567211323_nI have finally completed my book journal project.  Although it’s not so much a book journal as it is a binder with different sections to keep track of things like my wishlist and my collections.  If the ring size had been bigger I may have had more room to keep a section with an area to take notes on the book I’m reading at the moment.  I am extremely happy with how this project came out!  Like I mentioned in my original post about this (see that here), I had been looking to make something like this for a long time but could never figure out exactly how I wanted to do it.  I was searching on Pinterest for what seemed like the millionth time when I finally came across two pins that in combination would make exactly what I was looking for.  I will have the links for those two posts at the bottom of this post.  This post is going to have a lot of photos!  I’m only going to use the medium size so you can get the general idea but feel free to click on any of them to see the full size image! 🙂

I got the materials I needed at Target and on Amazon.  In total it cost around $25 to make.  I would have loved to make it in a Filofax type binder like the original blogs but I just don’t have that kind of money right now.

IMG_20150526_192208I got this super cute binder at Target for only $3.99.  They also had a pink one with flamingoes and a salmon colored one with pineapples on it.  I’m not a huge fan of pink so I went with the mintish green with zebras.  It’s not a full size binder, it fits 5.5 X 8.5 sheets of paper.

IMG_20150526_192229I added 4 sections using Avery dividers that I got from Amazon.  You can write on the tabs.  On each divider I put a graphic that I either made or found online that I felt went perfectly with whatever that section was for.IMG_20150526_192238The first section I have is my wishlist.  I also have a wishlist started on my Goodreads page but I wanted to have a physical copy as well.

IMG_20150526_192246I added a column to check off when I get the book, a column for the title and author, then a final column for the format that I want the book in.

IMG_20150526_192301My next section is my Acquisitions section.  I found this fun quote graphic on Pinterest and decided it would go perfectly for this section!  I used the word Acquisitions because I will also be including any ARCs I receive and also any gifts from friends or family so not everything written down will be a book I purchase.

IMG_20150526_192310I have 5 columns for this section.  First is the date, then title, then place (or person if gift), $ amount and format.  I am trying to be better about buying books so I think this will help me keep an eye on how much I am spending.

IMG_20150526_192326The next one is my Daily Reads section.  I want to try and get in the habit of reading everyday, even if I can only get in half hour or less.

IMG_20150526_192334At the front of this section I will keep a list of every book I read for the entire year.

IMG_20150526_192354Then each month has a page and I numbered it down the side.  One line per day.  Every day that I read, I write down the title of the book I read that day.  If I didn’t read at all then it stays blank.  I want to have as few blank days as I can manage.

IMG_20150526_192403The final section is My Collection.  For this one there are really two parts to the section.  The first part is for my physical books and the second is for my Kindle books.  I got two sets of the A-Z labeled tabs from Avery.

IMG_20150526_192410I totally love this graphic that I found on Pinterest so I had to use that for my physical books section.

IMG_20150526_192417Each letter gets a page (or two depending on how many books I have).  I have organized them by the author’s last name.  Then I added a column in the front to cross it off if I have read the book.

IMG_20150526_192429For my Kindle section, I just used the Kindle logo.

IMG_20150526_192437Rather than have a list of the titles, I felt like I needed to have photos to remind myself of what the cover looked like.  I tend to forget all about the Kindle books I own and it’s easier for me to remember what the book is about if I can see the cover.  Then to mark if I have read the book I got these cute little smiley face stickers.  If I have read the book, I put the sticker in the upper left corner of the cover.

IMG_20150526_192540And I have a little folder to keep the sheets of stickers in the binder.

To make the cover photo pages I copy and pasted the photos from Goodreads into a Word document, shrank them down so they are all 1.5 inches long.  Then I changed the margin setting so that they would fit easily onto the 5.5 x 8.5 paper.  Since each lettered tab has two (and occasionally three) on it I decided to just combine the two letters onto one sheet.  For these I decided to organize them by title rather than author. IMG_20150526_184930After I printed them out, I cut them to size and used double sided tape to adhere them to the paper.IMG_20150526_185501Then I went through and marked them with the smiley stickers if I had read the books.

You might have noticed that each of the pieces of paper is a colored border on the side with the holes punched.  Originally the paper was all white but I love color so I wanted to add a splash of color to each sheet while also protecting the holes from getting torn.  So I used my washi tape collection to make that happen.

IMG_20150525_201830First, I laid down a blank sheet of the paper on the table.

IMG_20150525_201903Then I added a strip of the washi tape, getting it as close to the edge of the long side as possible.

IMG_20150525_201917Then I flipped the sheet over to add another strip of washi to the other side.

IMG_20150525_201957When both sides had the washi tape on, I trimmed the edges with my scissors.

IMG_20150525_202037To re-punch the holes I took another blank sheet and laid it over the top to make sure I had the holes lined up perfectly.  Some of the washi tape was transparent enough to see where the holes but some were more opaque.  Then I used my single hole punch to re-punch the holes through the washi tape.  I opted for the single punch instead of buying an actual 7-hole punch because of the price difference.  A single hole punch cost me less than $3 whereas the 7-hole punches run closer to $30.  So it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

IMG_20150525_202658So that is how I got all of the fun colors while also protecting the holes from tearing off the rings.

And so there you have it!  My book journal-ish binder is now complete and I absolutely love it!

Here are the links to my inspiration:

It’s My Life! – Book Journal

Incarnations of Organization – Books, Books and more Books.

New Computer

As I mentioned in my last post, my laptop has not been working properly anymore so I needed a new computer.  Instead of another laptop, I decided I wanted to get a desktop computer this time.  I wanted to get a computer that would last me longer than 3 years before starting to crap out.  I don’t know a lot about computers so I’m lucky that my husband is a total computer geek!  I say that with love 🙂  His nerdiness came in handy!  He has built a few computers before and they have always lasted a long time so I decided I wanted him to help me build one.  We spent almost an entire day picking out parts on Tiger Direct and Newegg.  Finally we had what we needed and I paid for everything.  Luckily I didn’t have to buy everything.  Ethan had an extra monitor and graphics card that I could have.  A few of the parts I bought were on sale AND had rebates so I got pretty lucky with the total price!

IMG_1434Here is a breakdown of everything I got, their prices and how much I saved.

Case: Rosewill Blackbone midtower – $29.99 (after savings of $20.00)

PSU: XFX 550 Bronze – $25.99 (after savings, including a rebate, $54.00)

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 (bundled with motherboard and RAM) – $309.99 (after savings, including rebate, $134.00)

MB: MSI B85m-P33 V2 mATX

RAM: 8 GB DDR3 1866 Kingston HyperX Fury

Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB Blue, 7200 RPM – $54.99 (after savings of $25.00)

Tiger Direct Discount: $15.00

TOTAL: $405.96                   Total Savings: $248.00

I originally got my keyboard, speakers and surge strip from Walmart but have since returned the keyboard and speakers.  The keyboard had a TINY backspace button and that just didn’t work for me.  The speakers I realized were the same ones I have at work and I have had nothing but problems from them.  The surge strip was $19.98.

I got different speakers from Target that were $24.99.  They are much better quality!  I ended up getting my keyboard on Amazon.  It is Microsoft brand that has the right sized backspace button AND it was $2 less than the crappy keyboard from Walmart!  WIN!  Ethan ended up buying the wireless card for me on Tiger Direct after we found out that Walmart doesn’t sell cards anymore, only dongles.  That was $14.00 on sale.  We had an old copy of Windows 7 to put on but found out it was only 32-bit.  That would have been fine except 32-bit has a limit of 4GB of RAM and I have 8GB so that would have been wasting RAM.  So we ended up upgrading to Windows 8.1.  I was not looking forward to having Windows 8 but at least I can make it look more like Windows 7 by switching the screen to desktop mode instead of the modular screen.  We got the Windows 8.1 upgrade from G2A for $15.00.

I already had a mouse, mousepad, monitor and graphics card so I saved there as well!

So all in all, my total was around $487.92!  I looked around for a desktop that came already built with similar specs and found I spent less than half than many of the options out there!

I’ve been using the computer for a few days now and I love it!  Everything is so much smoother and faster than my laptop.  I’m now able to play Sims 3 again without it crashing!  I want Sims 4 really badly but after spending almost $500 on the computer itself, I think I should wait a little while before shelling out more cash.

Here are a few photos from the build on Saturday!

The build begins!

The build begins!

PSU and motherboard are in!

PSU and motherboard are in!

She thinks that she is helping...

She thinks that she is helping…

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Computer nerd at work!

Computer nerd at work!

Everything is now in the case!

Everything is now in the case!

Running!  And very quiet!

Running! And very quiet!

First stage of setting up the OS

First stage of setting up the OS

I just had to have Gone With The Wind for my desktop picture!

I just had to have Gone With The Wind for my desktop picture!

Ok!  So now that I have a working computer, I won’t disappear for so long.  Now, it’s time to go play with my new toy!

Moleskine Planner DIY

My Moleskine Planner

My Moleskine Planner

I always seem to be on the lookout for the perfect planner but can NEVER find exactly what I want.  So I did some checking around on Pinterest for some good ideas on making my own planner.  I didn’t want a ring binder because those always get bent out of shape.  Anything with a soft cover would get junky pretty fast, too.  So I needed something with a hardcover but nothing too expensive.  I’ve seen a lot of organization bloggers create planners and sell them but they are always so expensive, at least for me anyways.  So I was happy to find a couple examples of people making their own planners with Moleskine notebooks!  I’ve always loved the look of them.  Of all the blog posts about creating a planner from a Moleskine was from Charmingly Modern.  I really liked her weekly layout.  That was always the main section of a planner I could never find one that I liked.  I had a few features that I added to make mine meet my needs and left out some of the sections she created in hers.

You Will Need:

  • Moleskine Notebook – click for the one I used
  • A ruler
  • A black pen
  • Highlighters in multiple colors
  • washi tape (optional)
Month Page Layout

Month Page Layout

I didn’t change anything from her month layout.  I left 3 squares at the top and bottom to leave room for notes.  Each square is 7×7.  With the size notebook I have, that made 5 rows.  For the long months, some of the last squares will have to be cut in half.  My color code helps keeps different events and appointments in order.  Green is for my personal things.  Blue is for Ethan’s.  Yellow is for our bills.  Only the ones I have to remember to pay.  Any bill that is automatic I don’t write in the planner.  Orange is for family events.  Pink is for events with our friends.  The washi tape on the side doesn’t really represent anything.  Just another splash of color.

Weekly Page Layout

Weekly Page Layout

My weekly page layout is where I made my personal touches to her layout.  I started 3 squares from the top.  Monday through Friday are 9 x 26.  Saturday and Sunday are 7 x 13.  Within the days I sectioned off two 9 x 3 chunks.  The first chunk is to record my Fitbit stats for the day.  I record my daily activity minutes, steps and flights of stairs.  In the second chunk I plan out our meals for dinner.  I try and do this ahead of time but sometimes it doesn’t happen until the day of.  Saturday and Sunday have smaller chunks.  Fitbit stats: 7 x 3 and dinner plan 7 x 2.

At the bottom of the pages I have the left side for my To-Do List and the right side for my weekly goals.

I’ve been using this planner since April and I really like it!  I actually use it everyday unlike other planners that I have purchased in the past.

Have you found a planner that you like?  Or have you made one of your own?