Things I No Longer Buy At The Store

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for my wallet!

But the thing is, it’s really easy to do, it just takes watching for places to substitute.

Things I no longer buy at the store - trash bags, cleaners, mixes, etc. #TexasHomesteader

I no longer buy cleaning products, trash bags, boxed mixes, etc. The more I learn to make do for myself the easier I find it is. And the easier it is, the more often I’m able to stay out of the store.

Good for my health, our budget, or the earth. Or all three sometimes!

There are so many things that I no longer buy at the store. Many times I’m typically able to make do (quite nicely, actually) with what I already have here at home. I’ve found it just took looking at things in a different way.

I’ll often ask myself: “Do I already have something here at home that will take the place of that thing I used to buy?”

The answer is more & more – YES! Come see what I don’t buy at the store anymore.

Come see a list of things I no longer buy at the store. Things such as bathroom cleaner, window cleaner, trash bags, pancake mixes and MORE. Good for our budget, good for the environment. #TexasHomesteader

I’ve included a pretty complete list of the more natural ways I keep our home clean at the bottom of this post. I encourage you to check it out.

But the biggest ways I’m able to use what we already have to fill a need without going to the store are:

Commercial Cleaners

I used to have a large cache of cleaners under my kitchen and bathroom sinks.

I had toilet cleaners, glass cleaners and tile floor cleaners. It seems there were cleaners specially formulated for cleaning only one specific type of surface.

Cleaners with Chemicals. There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TexasHomesteader

I really never thought about it, just blindly picked up each one and put it in my shopping cart as I danced down the aisles dreaming of the gleaming clean home in my immediate future.

Then reality set in… REALLY??!? A different cleaner for each individual surface?

So I started learning about more basic and natural ways to keep our home clean.

These days to get my household cleaners I don’t need to go to a store. As a matter of fact, I need to look no further than my own kitchen pantry.

  • Homemade Non-Toxic Cleaners

That’s right, my all my Homemade Cleaners are non-toxic & safe! What are my secret weapons? (links below will take you to more information)

A simple trick to get windows and mirrors sparkling and streak free. #TexasHomesteader

      • Dish Soap & Water – Mixed in repurposed spray bottle for dishes, granite countertops & grease-cutting power.

      • Vinegar and Baking Soda – Easy All-Purpose Cleaner. 

      • Simple Homemade Glass Cleaner – Using vinegar and crumpled black/white newspaper

      • Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaners – Baking soda’s mildly abrasive qualities will clean the sink or toilet bowl to a sparkling shine. Vinegar will clean soap scum, mirrors & tile as well as disinfect the toilet bowl.

      • Homemade Carpet Cleanerusing salt, water and distilled white vinegar.

Quit Buying Trash Bags

Trash bags are another thing I no longer need to purchase at the store. Since we now buy fewer cans, boxes and convenience mixes our trash output has been drastically reduced.

So now we only need to empty our trash can every 1-2 weeks. And our main household trash can is tiny – a small bathroom-sized one.

Repurposing Bags For FREE!

But even though I shun plastic, there are still plastic bags that automatically make their way into our home anyway. Things such as our family-sized package of toilet paper or food wrappings and such.

So if plastic is going to come into our home despite my best efforts, I’ll at least make sure they get reused. And I’ll use them to replace a plastic item I used to buy – trash bags.

Now I repurpose those larger plastic wrappers to line our small trash can.

Repurposed Plastic for Trash Can. There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TexasHomesteaderSince our trash can is so tiny I’m able to tuck it away out of sight. This smaller waste basket fits neatly inside a small slide-drawer we had built into one of our bottom kitchen cabinets.

I’m thrilled that I no longer have a large, ugly, bulky trash can pretending to be a mammoth decorator item in my kitchen!

Since I compost my food scraps, and recycle plastics such as milk jugs, etc. this waste basket only needs to be emptied every 1-2 weeks.

Easy Homemade Convenience Mixes

Commercially-produced convenience items are rarely used here now. I’ve found it’s super easy to whip up convenience items on my own

  • Homemade Chocolate Frosting

For instance, I was thrilled to learn that what’s now become my absolute favorite fudge frosting recipe can be whipped up in minutes. And it doesn’t even require cooking! 

My homemade no-cook chocolate frosting stirs together in minutes. #TexasHomesteader

I just stir everything together in only 1 minute! Plus it contains simple ingredients – butter, honey, powdered sugar, coffee, cocoa and vanilla.

And ok, let’s face it – how bad can that recipe be?? It has both cocoa AND coffee in it!  LOL

Plus the taste simply cannot be matched by commercial frosting sold stores in a chunky disposable plastic tub. There’s precious little trash when I make this quick homemade frosting myself.

  • Quick Homemade Chocolate Brownies

I can also whip up the most decadent brownies completely from scratch in about the same time it takes to mix the wet ingredients into boxed ingredients.

I now make all my own 'convenience mixes'. My decadent chocolate brownies mix up in about the same time as opening a box of the commercial stuff. #TexasHomesteader

  • Simple Homemade Pancake Mix

And my pancake recipe takes no longer to mix up than the “premixed” kind in a disposable box or bag.

The benefit here is that all of these items are made with ingredients I already have in my kitchen!

Plus those ingredients are ones I recognize and can pronounce, unlike some of the strange-sounding ingredients on a box of  pre-made mix.

And at substantially less cost both economically and environmentally.

Homemade pancakes. There are many easy ways to make do with what you have, keeping you out of the stores. Good for the environment, good for your wallet! #TexasHomesteader

The kicker here (and believe me this is important)

It takes no more time than the “convenience” mixes!

This homemade breakfast seasoning makes regular ground pork into breakfast sausage. #TexasHomesteader

Any number of homemade seasoning mixes can be mixed together quickly, y’all!

How Can YOU Stay Out Of The Store?

Now I’m not casting stones. I bought into the convenience mindset and didn’t really think about the procedure itself.

It wasn’t until I challenged myself to provide the things that I typically bought at the store that I found out how incredibly easy it was.

The bonus? Fewer runs to the store for household and recipe items. 

Give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!


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40 thoughts on “Things I No Longer Buy At The Store

  1. Ellen C.

    Great article. I decided to make my own dog biscuits and they love them! They are easy and fast. I even use the plastic container the very last purchased dog biscuits came in to store them. All of my food waste ( except meat, fat & bones) is turned into compost smoothies and fed directly to my garden and worm bin. I really try to recycle everything possible. My husband has recently purchased those bathroom plug-in fragrance things UGH!!! He even signed up for auto-refills which I cancelled. I refill the units myself with essential oil and water. I don’t think he knows the difference.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ms. Ellen – YOU are a smart girl with those plug-ins. I hate them too, but you’ve found an awesome way to get around them and probably save money and the environment at the same time. You. GO! ~TxH~

  2. Marla

    I stopped using chemical store bought cleaner quite a while ago due to my chemical sensitivities. At first started with some green cleaners bought from the store but then I started making my own DIY cleaners and using peroxide, vinegar, baking soda as mainly to clean with. I also make my own DIY citrus cleaner which I use for many things with taking orange peels (or any type of citrus peels) and white vinegar and putting in a jar for about a month to work or ferment – its a great cleaner. I use it constantly throughout my house. I use olive oil on my wood furniture to dust with and it lubricates the wood very well. As far as trash I still need to keep working on that – although we only put 1 trash bag out for the trash man once a month or less. which is some cans and odds and ends of old stuff. We burn what paper we have and try to buy in bulk as much as possible. Sharing on article on twitter & pinning. Visiting from #WasteLessWednesdays. I love your recipes too.

  3. Stephanie

    Oh, I’m envious of only emptying trash on a weekly or biweekly basis! We are better than used to be, but still have lots of room for improvement in that area. I desperately want to compost, but don’t have the space for it at this time. I’ve been thinking about freezing food scraps until I get enough to blend a compost tea of sorts…you’ve pushed me to start it now! Visiting from Happiness is Homemade. 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m so glad you stopped by today Stephanie. I used to haul a large trash bag to the curb every week so I’m not casting stones here, I just made some changes over time that were important to me, and reducing my landfill-bound trash was important! I am happy to say that it’s much easier than I thought it would and I find myself challenging myself to do more so it’s almost a game. LOL ~TxH~

  4. Judith C

    I try to make as much as I can from scratch. Probably 90% of our food is made from scratch, yogurt, ranch dressing, baked goods always! Household cleaners to personal items like deodorant, Brazilian wax, tooth paste and lots more. What I don’t like are the skeptics who turn up their noses in disgust. Oh well, it’s their dime…. dollar really.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Us too Judith and ya know, it’s so easy to do. I think many people (myself included in my younger days) have been convinced by the advertising moguls that their complicated chemical-ridden products are the only way. I assumed those scientific-sounding ingredients were the key to an effective product, and of course there’s no way I could obtain them to make my own. Little did I know THOSE are the things I’m trying to avoid in the first place! ~TxH~

  5. lisa lynn

    Very true! I make everything from scratch now too and I love it! Healthier, cheaper, better for the environment…how much better can you get than that? Oh, yeah…tastier too 😉

  6. Kathy

    This is so true! I do love the freshness of homemade cleaners – great post! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  7. Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and tips at The Four Seasons Blog Hop! We all could learn a lesson from you:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  8. Marla

    I only use baking soda, lemons, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and essential oils to clean and try to never buy any processed. Believe totally in organic and local harvest foods. Believe we need to be as self sufficient as possible and agree with your ideas. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Four Seasons Blog Hop.

  9. Jennifer Johnson

    I find I need to be in a habit.. Dawn soap and vinegar are my go tos and baking soda. Every once in a while I find myself buying something super convenient. Thank you for the reminder to keep the course!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Jennifer, I agree it’s just a habit, and so many things are super-easy to implement. But you know for me it’s all about moderation. There are things that work for our home and some things that are tried but just didn’t work. If something doesn’t work for your household just focus on those that do and search for other things to implement that will help both your budget and the environment. Kudos to you! ~TxH~

  10. Ilene

    Greetings from NE Oklahoma!

    I hate to grocery shop, and only go out once a month or so. I keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer. I grow a garden, have planted fruit trees and do my own canning. With all that drought they’re having in California I’m expecting prices to really soar so I’m hoping we won’t have our OWN drought here this summer. Doesn’t look good so far. We already need rain.

    I use a lot of vinegar, I keep some in a spray bottle in the kitchen to wipe down my counters with. I use Borax for the bathroom. It’s gritty enough that it does a good job on bathtub rings. I just don’t like to breathe the fumes that some of those cleaners make, you know?

    “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard this growing up.

  11. Marlies

    I enjoy reading about your blog and all of the wonderful tips. I have also started using a lot more made from scratch recipes for food, cleaners, and even for my health and beauty routine– whatever it is. LOL Not that I concern myself with looking like I just stepped off the runway. It is all about living natural and organic, and most definitely healthier. My dad used to tell me that I was born in the wrong century and now that I am trying to live and eat like my ancestors would have. Keep up the good simple life!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh yes Marlies, I know what you mean, I’ve always felt I was born in the wrong century as well. Plus I think because I’m happy in my own skin I’m not constantly striving to get the approval of everyone else – I think that goes a long way to keeping me satisfied… ~TxH~

  12. Donna

    I too have switched completely over to organic cleaning products they’re wonderful to the furniture polish to the toilet cleaner to the shower cleaner. I think one of my favorites is the orange peel and vinegar. makes the whole house smell refreshed and shiny.
    we compost and recycle everything !
    I love the idea that you have about the trash bags using boxes or anything else that actually would be a waste to hold the trash.
    I for one are those people that have the cloth bag full of the white yellow and blue and grey plastic shopping bags little secret I weave plastic rugs out of them and they hold up forever.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Donna – I’ve seen the shopping-bag woven rug you’re speaking of & I’m so envious – I would LOVE to have one of those! I’d think that it would be an easy task to gather those bags too even if you refused them yourself when shopping – they’re never in short supply from either family or friends, or even the drop-off in front of some grocery stores where they collect them for recycle. But alas, I’m just not talented enough to make one… LOL ~TxH~

  13. The Quintessential Magpie

    Makes a lot of sense!



  14. Jennifer @ Homestead Mania

    I love, love, love everything about this article. I too use all the random bags that come my way instead of buying garbage bags or accepting plastic bags at the store. I also love the concept of staying out stores completely.

  15. Suzanne Lucas

    Great tips on reducing cleaning supplies. Having just moved to the country, I’m forced to watch the type of cleaners that I use to avoid problems with my septic tank. Baking soda and vinegar sound like great alternatives.

    As for reducing garbage, it used to be pretty difficult for me to compost in my previous home. Townhouses really aren’t conducive to composting – the property is too small for an outdoor compost bin (and not ideal due to coyotes and other animals roaming around), and using the city-supplied “green bin” for compostables is a nightmare because it attracts flies and maggots.

    One day I’ll give it another try, now that I’ve got more space.

    Stopping by from the No Rules Weekend blog hop.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Suzanne, you might try the tumbling composter like I have. We have all manner of critters such as coyotes, opossums, raccoons, etc. But we’ve never had a problem with them because it’s enclosed. Just a thought… ~TxH~

  16. Cameron

    Love this! I have also replaced all my cleaners with natural, homemade ones, but I love how little waste you produce! I’d love to get down to that much! Great inspiration, thank you. 🙂

  17. Hannah

    My goal is to shop less and less and less! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope you join us again today! /2013/03/flip-trainer-review-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

  18. Lisa Lynn

    I go to the store once a week and usually don’t get a lot…a few fresh veggies for salad and maybe some cheese. I’m making more things from scratch and we raise our own chickens for eggs and meat, and buy our pork and beef from local farmers. I also go into the store with the idea that I will get in and out and not stray from my list 🙂 Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you tomorrow night at:

  19. Madge @ The View From Right Here

    I agree, soda and vinegar are good cleaners, and so much less toxic… Thank you for joining in ‘Rurality Blog Hop #6’ Hope to see you next Wednesday for #7…

  20. Shosh

    This is impressive. I do believe in this stuff. However, when I find myself short on time, I notice that is when my supplies of those sprays goes up. Household cleaning is like having a child and not spending enough time with it…so there’s the inevitable guilt-shopping. I think that’s it for me.

  21. artmusedog and Carol

    Very informative post ~ am trying to do the same thing myself ~ Great work! ^_^

  22. Jackie

    Everything you said is so true! And I feel especially virtuous when I use the toilet paper packaging as a trash bag! 🙂 Your frosting recipe sounds delicious.

  23. KarenLynn

    I so agree with staying out of the store years ago I found out that making brownies from scratch was the difference of adding like 2 or 3 more ingredients…CRAZY! I am not going to lie though I love Trader Joe’s sage and cedar general multi purpose cleaner but other than that I buy very few cleaners! Less is really more if you would have told me 10 years ago that I would spend most of my summers eating eggs, homemade bread, tomatoes and peppers I would not have believed you! Loved this post what a great reminder to make do with what you have! So glad you linked up this week to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop this week!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I guess in my case it was the ole “with age comes wisdom” KarenLynn. Live and learn. I’ve even made some of my favorites like my brownie mix recipe into a convenience item by mixing all the dry ingredients into a reusable container and placing a note of what wet ingredients to add and how long to bake. Homemade items in a snap with very little (if any) landfill trash. Win/Win! Thanks for stopping by. ~TxH~

  24. Rachel

    It’s amazing after a day of reading posts by encouragers like yourself I feel so motivated to make everything from scratch and be as natural as possible, but then as soon as I visit the store I feel the need to buy a box of this or a packet of that or a cleaner that does everything.

    We need to be constantly encouraged because it is actually quite easy to fulfill a simple lifestyle!

  25. Monique Elisabeth

    Hi, I am so happy I found your blog through Sunny Simple Life !!!
    Your tips are great and the frosting looks so delicious !!
    Have a great day.

  26. mary

    Would you share your homemade recipes? I would like to get away from mixes. Thank you! Mary

  27. Joan @ The Chicken Mama

    I’m not quite brave enough to make the full leap to homemade cleaning products, but I have reduced my cleaning supplies down to one naturally-made cleaning spray. Maybe someday… 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Each family is different Joan, it’s all about comfort level & moderation for each household. These are just things that work for us. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~TxH~

  28. CelloMom

    So cool. Lately I’ve been saying that the way to consume less (to cut your carbon footprint) is to think like a pauper. Not that we are paupers: that, in a way, is exactly the problem. But if we THINK like paupers that would go a long way to help the planet. This means making do with what we’ve got, not running to the store for every little thing, and generally getting creative. It can be a lot of fun! Great post, thank you!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I agree, it’s all about mindset. As I mentioned I never really thought about it before, I just bought because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. But I’ve learned that all that buying is not necessarily better. Thanks for stopping by CelloMom! ~TxH~

    2. Carole

      Its not thinking like a pauper at all! I was raised in the time when only poor people would stoop so low as to eat the packaged garbage. Freshly made food has always been a luxury.

      Composting and having the richest soil that produces the most wonderful plants – does that sound like a pauper?

      We are enjoying things most people won’t.

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Sorry I’m so late commenting on this, it’s been busy – WHEW! Carole, I don’t think she meant it that way, I think she meant that many people have no problem paying extra for the ‘convenience’ of packaged foods, pre-cut produce or already-cooked frozen foods. To change our way of thinking to that of a person who couldn’t afford to pay for convenience would mean we’re eating more naturally and I don’t know how that couldn’t help but to make us all healthier. ~TxH~


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