Weekend Projects

Add One of These 11 Resourceful Kitchen Habits to Your Routine This Weekend

updated Jul 21, 2020
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Resourcefulness feels good on so many levels. Finding an unexpected way to solve a problem or meet a need makes you feel like an empowered problem-solver. You smile and want to pat yourself on the back. (Or find someone to tell so they can pat you on the back!)

Not only do you feel proud of yourself, but on a much more practical level, being resourceful saves, well, resources. Coming up with creative ways to reuse everyday things keeps money from going down the drain (sometimes literally).

In addition, there’s another benefit to resourcefulness that may not be as obvious. Resourcefulness often creates an unexpected interplay between two previously unrelated tasks. The water left in the salad spinner after rinsing romaine for dinner can be the trigger that inspires you to perform another task that needs to get done, like watering your plants. This interdependency builds smart habits into our daily lives.

A perfect example of this kind of money-saving, habit-generating resourcefulness is making use of kitchen scraps. Now that you’re cooking at home more, you probably generate plenty of kitchen scraps—and they can be useful in a variety of applications.

This weekend you’re going to remind yourself of some of the many useful ways kitchen scraps can be put to good use and choose one way to redirect kitchen cast-offs into our daily routines.

Credit: Cat Meschia

This Weekend: Find one way to reuse your kitchen scraps.

Your goal isn’t to completely streamline your kitchen into a waste-free zone. Just use this weekend to identify one thing you normally throw away, and find a way to repurpose it. Focus on one effort, and make it a habit you can sustain week after week.

If you need some ideas, here is a list of ways you might be able to use some common kitchen scraps around the house:

  1. Use a banana peel to dust your plants’ leaves. A piece of banana peel can be used to swipe up dust from plant leaves.
  2. Use “banana peel water” to water your plants. Soak banana peels in water for a few days and use the water with the leeched nutrients to water your plants. Roses especially appreciate the drink.
  3. Water your plants with the water you used for hard-boiled eggs. Similar to the banana peel trick, the water you use to boil your eggs has more nutrients than plain water. Your plants will enjoy the extra boost and you’ll rescue that water from going down the drain.
  4. Use water from washing lettuce or any produce to water your plants. Again, kitchen wastewater (that’s free of soap) is great for watering plants. And a salad spinner full of water is the perfect reminder that those ferns need a soak.
  5. Start seedlings in citrus peel halves. Cut your citrus in half before you peel it and use the halves to start sprouts. Once your seedlings are ready to be planted, the peel can be set straight into the soil.
  6. Sprinkle crushed eggshells on plants’ soil. It will provide nutrients and deter pests.
  7. Use eggshells as seed starters. Just like with citrus peels, seedlings can be transplanted straight into the soil along with their eggshell.
  8. Use crushed eggshells to help tackle a scrubbing job. The shells are abrasive enough to help dislodge burnt-on food, but won’t scratch delicate surfaces.
  9. Save rice water for cleaning. Don’t dump the water you use to wash your rice. Its mildly abrasive properties help make surfaces shine. Try it on bathroom fixtures with hard water spots, for instance.
  10. Add used coffee grounds to the top of your houseplants’ soil. Lower pH-loving plants relish the boost of acidity.
  11. Use water you use for boiling vegetables or pasta to water your plants. Again, don’t let it go down the drain. Let it cool and put it to good use.

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Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.