Buy Nothing Project
The Kitchen
We can all create our dream kitchen via the BuyNothing app. 
We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home, where people tend to gather, and life happens. Kitchens are also the spaces in our homes that tend to have the most stuff. Take stock in what you have, why, and whether you can put those items to use in new ways. Here are our Buy Nothing kitchen inspirations. Find your own next action – Pick one that feels do-able, start with that, see how it feels, and then move on to another:
Do a dishes and glasses review
If you find you have excess dishes, glasses and cups you don’t need, give them a new life by posting them on BuyNothing! You’ll enjoy having more space in your cupboards and you can always ask for what you need if you find you need more. This is an experiment in knowing you’ll be able to find what you want by letting go of the excess you’ve been storing over the years. It’ll simplify your life, make room for what you have, and connect you with those around you.
Clean out your small appliance cupboards
Do you struggle to find things in your kitchen because it’s too full of gadgets? Do an impromptu cleanout of your appliances and only keep the ones you truly use! Have faith that if you need that small appliance again, you can just ask for it in your local gift economy. When you’ve removed the excess that you don’t need, you’ll have plenty of space to store what you do use, and you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for! Now, take the items you no longer use and post them in your BuyNothing community! Take photos of each item, tell folks how you used it and what condition it’s in and set it free. If you need it again someday, trust in abundance and just ask for it in your local BuyNothing gift economy. You’ll likely get an upgraded version. There’s plenty of everything you need for your kitchen out there in your neighbors’ kitchens, looking for new homes. Borrowing the items you only use once or twice a year also helps keep us connected to each other. 

Start using your fancy dishes
Next, if you have fancy dishes you save for only special occasions….let’s rethink that! Try pulling them out more often to enjoy them everyday. We believe you’re worth it! Utilizing your special set might help you to gauge if you have too many special sets stashed away that you know you’ll never have time to use. Think about passing those along to someone who will be sure to use them and appreciate them.
Cut down on paper towels
Keep a basket of small washcloths or towel pieces on your kitchen counter or wherever you can reach it easily. If you don’t have any, ask for some in the BuyNothing app! Old towels turned into smaller cleanup towels are great for these tasks. If you have young children, keep a stack of these small cleanup towels where they can be reached and used without adult assistance – Kids love to be in charge of mopping up their own spills when it’s easy and guilt-free. Check in your local gift economy for a collection of washcloths or tea towels in colors that you enjoy. Run the dirty cloths through a regular wash cycle, dry them, and they’ll be good to go for the next mess. When they’re finally worn out, toss them into your compost pile or use them as weed barrier fabric in your garden. When you do use a paper towel, do try to compost it instead of sending it to your local landfill or incinerator.
Use alternatives to plastic wrap
Find substitutes to cover food in your fridge or on your counter tops. Natural waxed paper can be composted when it wears out; to keep it in place over a casserole or tray of food, weight the top with a table knife or spoon. Plates can be inverted to cover bowls.
DIY cloth bags for shopping and home storage
These don’t need to be fancy, just stitch up some simple pillowcase style rectangles, with or without a drawstring at the top; you can tie string or yarn around the neck for a customizable, removable and reusable closure. Get bags slightly damp to store delicate greens in the fridge, use them dry for fruit such as apples, brown rice, etc. If you don’t have a sheet ready to become bags, check your local Buy Nothing gift economy.
Eat seasonal foods
Things that are in season locally are fresher, less expensive, and frequently transported shorter distances which requires less packaging. It means no strawberries in January for most of us, but when you eat the berries that are ripened on farms closer to your home later in the  year, they really will taste better (much better), and they’ll likely be available in paper baskets instead of plastic clamshell boxes, and will cost less. And some foods that taste the best might be right under your nose, easy for you to forage. Try the 100 foot diet, undertaken by Liesl’s family last spring; to their delight they enjoyed the fruit of their land in ways they had never done before! And in your BuyNothing group on the app, you’ll find that neighbors are more than happy to share the abundance from their gardens and fruit trees, so they don’t go to waste. Just ask!
Double your Ziplocs as freezer bags
If you freeze many of your fruits and veggies in the summer, one trick, rather than buying freezer bags, is to simply double bag your produce into your very own Ziploc bags. We reuse Ziploc-style bags from our favorite tortilla maker and use them as doubled-up freezer bags.
Aspire to a plastic-free sink
We love our all-natural sink accoutrements: A natural compostable sponge, a hand-knit organic cotton scrubby, a bamboo brush, a copper scrubber for tough stuff, liquid castile soap in a glass bottle, and baking soda in a stainless steel shaker. Wads of used tin foil can always substitute the copper scrubber for a great abrasive against baked-on food. And the baking soda is our most reliable hard-working abrasive scrubber for pots and pans. It starts its magic on your cookware as soon as its sprinkled on.
Do an icebox review
If you have weird and wonderful sauces you’ve just never really made a dent in, give them away before they become a science project in the fridge. There are lots of goodies in there your neighbors will likely be happy to take off your hands. Some folks with chickens will also love you for your strange foodstuffs. Even pickle juice is worth sharing! Nothing really ever needs to be tossed when you have your BuyNothing community standing by.
Clean out your junk drawer
This one’s fun, especially if you can turn it into an activity you challenge everyone else in your BuyNothing group to do. Here’s a sample post you can post in the app, to get your neighbors to participate: “JUNK DRAWER CHALLENGE: We all have a junk drawer. Some of us have more than one. Pull all of the things you haven’t used lately and wouldn’t mind parting with out of your junk drawer, and lay them on your table. Take one photo and post it in a new post. Someone might see something they could really use!”
Go micro-local
Shrink your sharing radius in the app and get micro-local with neighbors. This is the best way to start building relationships with the neighbors closest to you. You'll meet each other and start making connections so whenever they (or you) have an immediate need, you can be there for each other! To reduce your sharing radius to a 1/2 mile, go to your "Me" page, "Change Community Settings, and hit that "urban" setting. You'll now have a chance to see who's around you, what they're asking for, and create a true neighborhood feel for yourself. Go ahead, ask for that proverbial cup of sugar and see what happens.

Easy Scrappy Vegetable Broth
Save up all of your veggie scraps (you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days or longer in the freezer) and try making a vegetable broth from the bits and bobs, scraps and ends of vegetables you have laying around. As you clean out your refrigerator of the tired veggies and herbs that are getting old, simply throw them into the soup pot. Paper skins of onions and garlic can go in there, along with all sorts of unsightly vegetable scraps that are headed to the compost pile or chicken yard. Add water and let it all boil for about 40 minutes to an hour and you’ll have a delicious vegetable broth you can use for soup bases or other recipes! 
Citrus Power Cleaner
Do your own citizen science experiment and make this amazing citrus cleaner by just saving your orange peels (or ask your neighbors for theirs) in a jar and covering them with white vinegar. This stuff is a strong cleaner that’ll cut through any grease or mineral build-up out there. It’ll help you save money on fancy cleaners and cut down on plastic waste as you can reuse your old spray bottles for this citrus spray.  Here’s how to make it: Throw your orange peels into a mason jar and pour in some distilled white vinegar to cover the orange rind. Keep adding orange peels until the jar is filled, adding vinegar to totally cover over the peels. Screw a lid on the jar, and let it sit for a month with all of the peels totally submerged. Remove the orange peels and the remaining liquid is your all-purpose citrus cleaner that’ll work wonders in your home. For tough cleaning jobs, a 1:1 ratio of the citrus vinegar to water in a spray bottle will do the trick.
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