zero waste project: kitchen and basement

by babhoyersh on June 27, 2011

As part of my Zero Waste challenge this summer, I tackled my office with some success over the last 2 weeks. I am enjoying using the electronic planners though I still use paper to some extent. I haven’t been able to switch all my bills to paperless billing, mostly due to lack of time, however, I can work on this as each bill comes in our mail. I’ll be devoting an entire post later this week on how I can make the electronic and paper planning work for our family of 7 with sports schedules, school, and some big events coming up in the next few years like First Holy Communion, school graduations, and high school graduation.

For the next 4 weeks, I’ll be working on the kitchen and the basement. Yes, I’m tackling 2 areas at the same time! In the kitchen, I’ll be reinforcing habits we started this spring, plus looking for ways to minimize the waste that comes in.

Honestly, the basement is one big overwhelming combination of storage and the children’s toys. My goal is to get rid of stuff and simplify storage for our stuff and the children’s toys. I’ve already gone through the art supplies and passed along some to a home school learning coop. I’m hoping to help my husband better organize his work shop. He’s great about recycling hardware from our older home, but not so great about keeping the items organized for later use.

Kitchen – Main Areas to Cover

Zero Waste KitchenAs my inspiration, I’ll be working off the tips from the Zero Waste Home Blog, and the page on the site devoted to the kitchen. As a family of 7 we already recycle and reuse a number of items to save money. We also grow a lot of the vegetables we eat, buy in bulk when we can, compost kitchen scraps, make food from scratch, and keep wasted leftovers to a minimum.

I’m using the challenge to find ways we can improve our habits and routines without costing us more money:

  • buying in bulk – this goes hand in hand with the basement because our pantry is located in the basement
  • minimizing disposables – We can always do better
  • making bread in bulk – this would reduce our use of electricity and maximize my time spent making bread
  • use up unusual items in the cabinets – You’ve got them, I’ve got them – That exotic bottle of avocado oil or the brown rice that 6 out of 7 family members won’t eat.
  • clean up my recipe notebooks and use Springpad to keep my meal planning notes electronically

Basement – Main Areas to Cover

Zero Waste BasementAs I mentioned above, the basement always feels overwhelming. Part of the issue is shelving that just doesn’t work for our needs. However, we have no money in the budget right now to buy new shelving which means making do with what we have and being creative about using the space.

The other part of the issue is the children’s toys. I’ve always used clear containers for storage, however some containers are just too big for my little guys. Some toys are  too young for them and need to be moved on, and other toys simply aren’t played with more than once every six months.

  • declutter toys and rework the containers and storage
  • use up unusual items in pantry or put them in the food collection bag for church
  • declutter items that we’re not using no matter what
  • taking items to Goodwill
  • my husband’s workshop – declutter and organize

I’ll be posting semi-daily updates to keep myself motivated to finish the project. If you decide to tackle your own Zero Waste project in your home, let us know.

Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to:
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coleen June 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Good Luck, Barb. When your finished with your basement, maybe you could come over and do mine!!!!! LOL!!!!!

babhoyersh June 28, 2011 at 3:55 am

I think it will take me all summer! It’s a tough space to work with when one doesn’t have the money to just fix stuff. Time to get creative!

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