sink in white kitchen with greenery and oranges in the background.

The Ultimate Guide to a Resourceful Kitchen

We’ve made a guide to help your kitchen become more cost efficient! Feel free to print it out and never be hindered again when inspiration strikes. From everyday substitutes to reusing – we’ve got you covered!

Ever looked in your cabinets and made a meal from whatever you could find, only to discover you’re missing a key ingredient? You were trying to be frugal and resourceful, and now you’re hungry. Don’t worry, we’ve been there.

Below are some easy ways to reduce trips to the store and shop better!

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Here are some easy ways to make your kitchen more efficient!
  • Ingredient Substitutes  –

Vinegar = lemon or lime juice

Corn syrup = honey or maple syrup

Red wine = beef, chicken, or vegetable stock

Mayo/ Sour Cream = Greek yogurt

Egg = ½ mashed banana or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce per egg

Buttermilk = milk and vinegar

Heavy cream = milk and butter

Self-Rising Flour = all purpose flour, baking powder, salt

Kitchen Necessities and Storage

  • Need glassware or leftover containers? Start checking your fridge or your pantry! Those glass jars are one wash away from making a unique glassware set! Wash out pickle jars, jelly jars, or any other glass jars for free cups! Also, keep the lids and you’ve got a travel cup or a container! Jars can be reused for food containers, too. If you get a sturdy plastic container from a takeout meal, you can clean it out and use it again and again! Personally, I find that soup or sauce containers from takeout meals work great to store leftovers or snacks in. If they are sturdy, they are typically dishwasher safe on the top rack too.
  • Need more space? Better organization is just a door away…literally! If you’ve got a door in your kitchen, you can use a shoe organizer or any over-the-door organizer to keep spices, sauce mixes, or big utensils organized. You can also hang your pots and pans up on any wall to free up some cabinet space, with hooks or simply with nails!
pots hung up on barn door slider for storage.
  • Need ideas for meal planning? One of my favorite ways to meal prep is cooking enough for leftovers for at least one extra meal, it just makes life that much simpler. I love making extra dinner and bringing it for lunch the next day! If you’re looking for a simple, on-the-go, nutritious breakfast, I highly recommend overnight oats.
Farmers Market Workshop 6
Planting herbs is easy and you can have them in your kitchen!
  • Need some fresh herbs for a recipe? Grow your own! Basil and Rosemary are relatively easy to grow, and they are in lots of dishes. Research best practices on how to plant and care for them. Most can be put in boxes or pots, or any unique containers for fun. What’s better than fresh ingredients!?
  • Need utensil holders? When you’re finished with the containers for items like breadcrumbs and oatmeal – reuse them! You can either keep them as they are or cover them with colorful paper and glue it to the container for cute additions to your kitchen for little to no cost.
  • Need to keep your produce fresh longer? It’s hard to use all your fruits and veggies before they go bad. There are many tips and tricks to keep produce fresh longer, many items can be frozen and used later, and some items can even be regrown, like green onions!

Interested in more resourceful kitchen ideas?

Give Me More Ideas!

Preloved items on table to sell

Treasure Hunting Tips for Garage Sales

Do you enjoy the thrill of the hunt for great deals on secondhand items? Garage/Yard/Estate sales are a great place to find hidden, used gems. Whether you are looking for appliances, home décor, furniture, clothing, or kids toys you can find them at the right sale. There are many tips that will help you have a successful drive around town. Where do we start? Research!

  • Research before you head out
    • Use Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Estatesales.net to find sales near you.
      • Look closely at the images to make sure it’s worth your time and the drive. This will help you plan your route later.
    • Check the best days and times to visit. Some sales are so good that people will show up and line up well before the sale even starts. If you have your eye on something special, chances are someone else does too so get there early if you can.
      • Typically, sales start on Thursdays or Fridays and commonly end on Saturday or sometimes even Sundays.
      • They usually start at 9am and can run till 4pm or until they run out of items to sell. If you start at 12pm, you may find slim pickings.
    • How much cash should you bring?
      • This can depend on what you are looking for.
        • Furniture and electronics: take a couple hundred in cash
        • All other items: take at least $20. This amount will go a lot further than you think, but it never hurts to take more if you can. Make sure you bring small bills since sellers can underestimate how many small bills they should have gotten for the sale. 
      • Some estate sales use Venmo or even have card readers but take cash just in case.
    • Bring a measuring tape along with you.
      • This is vital in making sure that sofa you really want fits in your space.
      • Sometimes sellers won’t let you try on clothes so it’s good to know your measurements and then check when you get there.
  • While out driving around
    • Make sure to save all the addresses in Google/Apple maps so you can decide where you centrally want to spend your time.
    • If you have saved sales and there is one that you really want to check out, go to that one first so you don’t miss out.
    • Newer neighborhoods are more likely to find common family items especially for kids (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.).
    • Older neighborhoods will likely have older residents so if you are looking for vintage and antique items, these neighborhoods are a gold mine.
Vintage frames on a table
  • While at the sale
    • It’s best not to go with a specific idea of what you want. Keep your expectations open since you’re not guaranteed to find exactly what you want.
    • If you are there on the first day of the sale, prices aren’t going to be very negotiable because they have an entire weekend to sell the item.
    • The best but also the riskiest day to check out a sale is on the last day. Items are typically priced half off, easily negotiable, or closer to the end of the day may be FREE!! Don’t be afraid to haggle or make an offer on the item.
    • If you are interested in an item but on the fence about it a great resource is using Google Lens on your phone to take a picture of the item. It will pull up all relevant places they exist on the internet. This is great for price checking to see if the seller is price gouging.
    • Don’t just do one walk around the tables. Walk around and look a second time since you may have missed an item upon first glance.
    • Do your due diligence on inspecting and testing the item you are interested in. The last thing you want is to get home and find something majorly wrong with it.
    • Bundle deals- instead of negotiating your item’s prices individually, offer a bundle price. You may end up getting a better deal this way.
    • See the potential in that fixer upper piece. For the right price, you may be able to take it home and give it a new life with a little work.

Going to a sale to look for secondhand goods can be so much fun and having these tips on hand can give some ease to your experience. Now it’s time to get out there and enjoy your weekend hunting for treasures. Don’t forget to throw in some visits to some thrift stores afterwards!

Caught the thrifting bug and looking for some home décor? Check this out!

Decor Thrifting Tips!

woman looking through clothes in her closet

How to Reuse 5 Everyday Items

We have so many options with recycling. You might have a recycling bin at your house that your city picks up. Or you might have your own bin you take to a recycling center. With gently used items, you can always donate them to a local resale store or to someone you know would get good use out of them. But what about the items that don’t fit into either category?

It can be hard to figure out what to do with those items. So, we’ll be looking at how to reuse items that you can’t recycle but aren’t good for the trash either.

Some items can’t be tossed due to a chemical or chemicals in their makeup. For these items many recyclers and re-users recommend not burning items you can’t throw away because burning usually releases the chemicals quickly into the air. So what can you do with these objects?

Reusing is a good alternative as it allows the product to stay intact and not fill a landfill. Check out these solution suggestions for 5 common items on how to reuse them!

  1. Tires. Tires are a necessity if you have a car and if you don’t want to pay to have them collected, you’ll probably be left with some over time. Instead of just letting them pile up, why not find a creative way to give them new life? Check out some of these fun ideas:
    Teeter totter, tree swing, climbers, etc.
    Ottomans (outdoor)
    Flower planter
    Outdoor stairs / edging for garden
  2. Old clothes and/or towels (that aren’t donatable). If your clothes are too old to donate, but you don’t want to throw them away – these solutions may be good for you!
    • Cut them up into rags for cleaning/ various projects
    • Make them into blankets
    Make reusable bags out them
  3. Scrap wood. Reusing wood is a great idea, especially for outside projects. Depending on age and if the wood is treated or not can dictate what project you reuse it for. Typically, most woods are fine to be reused outside for a project.
    • Outdoor bench / table
    • Planter box for flowers
  4. Mirrors. These are a great way to add perceived space or light. Whether broken (wear gloves and take care using) or whole mirrors can add personality to any space.
    • Use various sizes and tie them or hook them along your fence or outdoor space for added flair
    • Make a mosaic (concreate steppers, on flower pots)
    More great ideas
  5. Hardback books. Old books or ones you’re not interested in reading or donating can be a perfect project! They require a little more creativity, but you can find a good use for them!
    • Paint the pages and reuse it as a journal
    • Use pages as a garland
    Tons of more projects here!

We hope that this post helps you think through how to creatively reuse some stubborn items. However, more than that, we hope this helps you get into the mindset of thinking through what you purchase and how you can use it long term when the original function is no longer applicable. Thinking this way helps us all to be resourceful consumers.

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Make Your Kitchen Sustainable

Homemade Air Freshener Methods

You’re spending more time indoors. You might be turning the heat on and enjoying cozy evenings. Chances are you’re probably also enduring some unwanted smells. From the trash, to getting behind on cleaning, to the effect of closed doors – this season is strong on the senses. Why not make it smell great? Make your home rich with inviting, company worthy scents!

Below are some homemade remedies to get you started! Your nose is going to thank you! Make your house smell amazing with some of these methods!

Stove top – Quick and easy! All you have to do is grab a pot, fill it with water and add something fragrant. Fruits and spices make a great combination! Cinnamon, cranberry, and lemon make for a great holiday blend! Create your own combination – perfect for your home!

Spray – Homemade air fresheners are a great gift for Christmas or to take to your family at Thanksgiving. Most sites suggest a bottle with a spray nozzle, water, some type of rubbing alcohol agent, and drops of your favorite scented oil.

Spray bottle with essential oils and fruit slices in view.

Deodorizer – If you’re more interested in getting rid of a smell instead of adding a scent – try a deodorizing technique. Setting out baking soda or a dish of vinegar will do the trick.

Gel – This is the same method as making the spray air freshener, but you use gel. Gel candles are also great fresheners as they last a while.

Natural remedies – Coffee beans, fresh rosemary, and plants in general seem to clean the air around you and purify the senses. Try them out! Rosemary works great if you put it in the shower and let it release its perfume!

BAKE COOKIES!

Freshen Up Your Walls With New Paint!

We hope these ideas have been easy and cost efficient! Take these ideas to your family for Thanksgiving and give the kids or adults something fun to do while some people are cooking!

Giving Back this Thanksgiving without Spending a Dime

It’s easy to get lost in the bustle of life. Holidays are great, but for many they are a time of financial stress, reflecting on loss, or feeling alone. Maybe you fall into one of these categories yourself. If so, it’s all the more reason to give back. In a time of year where we look to our families, travel, and gifts, let us not forget our neighbors.

Giving to those around us doesn’t mean giving a lot of money, or any money really. It’s more about resources, time, and thoughtfulness. We encourage you to give this Thanksgiving. Below we’ve got some ideas to help you get started.

  • Check your pantry Do you have some canned goods, dry foods, or supplies you don’t need or use that are in date? Consider donating some to a local food bank. You could also organize a neighborhood or street-wide food drive and ask people to donate along with you!
  • Make baked goods for community workers Are you thankful for firefighters, police, librarians, teachers, etc.? Make them some cookies with a card and thank them for what they do to better your community.
  • Volunteer Help with a marathon, visit a nursing home, or a hospital. Your time and effort are the best gift you can give.
  • Become a tutor or mentor Do you know a child who needs some help with reading? Ask area non-profits in your city if they have a program you can help in tutoring kids or volunteer your time at a local school. Do you know someone who needs support or guidance or do you just feel you have skills you could offer? Consider becoming a mentor.
Man cleaning sink in a mobile home.
  • Clean someone’s house/car Do you know someone who just had a baby? Do you have a friend that needs a break? Offer to clean their house or help them do so.
  • Invite someone over for dinner You’re already making dinner. Why not everyone eat a little less or skip the leftovers so a friend in need can feel loved and supported?
  • Offer to babysit or dog sit for someone Everyone needs a break or a night out! Have a friend going a way for a while? Offer to watch their dog so they don’t have to pay money to board them.

Does all this giving back have you feeling thankful?

Try a Gratitude Journal!

Family outside in the mountains

10 Spend Free Fall Weekend Ideas

It’s my opinion, but I wear it proudly – Autumn is worth the whole year. In other words, I seriously love fall and wait for it each year with expectation. I enjoy the other seasons as they come, but there’s nothing like the season of fall to me. If I had to peg the one underlying reason I love this time of year it’d have to be that the outdoors turn into the perfect playground, from gorgeous colors, to perfect temperatures, football games, etc. it’s all so inviting!

So since the outdoors are gearing up to create the ideal backdrop for all your family fun, why not enjoy it all without the cost? That’s right, here’s how to have the best fall weekend without breaking the bank!

  • Go hiking: If you need an all-day event, or your looking to spend some energy with your older kids or your pets this option is made for you! You can stay active and enjoy the scenery – talk about the best of both worlds!
  • Host a scary viewing party! Get your favorite spooky show or movie and invite your friends over! Borrow a projector and take it outside or watch on your deck or screened in porch.
  • Use fall foliage for décor: Acorns, pinecones, and leaves make for beautiful décor pieces! No need to go out and buy what you can find in your backyard. If you are nervous they are filled with bugs, dry them out or try one of the many cleaning options on Pinterest!
  • Take lunch to the park: Instead of staying inside, take lunch outside! Heck, it can be your own backyard!
  • Have a candlelit story time: Put the phones and electronics away. Light some candles and turn the lights off. Read the kids a book by candle light. You’ll feel like your back in the day and get to focus on one thing at a time for change! 

Cup of coffee with whip cream and caramel on a table next to fall leaves.
Enjoy a cup with a friend!
  • Make tea or coffee and invite a friend over: Enjoy a low-key chat without having to go out and spend money. A warm cup of hospitality is just as sweet as friendship.
  • Volunteer: Easy, free, and it helps someone else! This is the best one on the list. It’s never too early to teach your kids to put others’ and their needs first. It is the season of gratefulness after all!
  • Clean/Organize: Open the windows and freshen up the house for the season! Organize the kids’ toys, the kitchen, or make a box to donate. Does a room in your home need a good scrub, too? Get some kitchen cleaning inspiration!
  • Break out the board games: Work together or enjoy a little friendly competition playing some games. This is great for those kiddos that need a little break from technology.
  • Go outside and draw what you see: Take another look at your backyard or your front yard. Draw your best rendition! Be sure to include all the color you see!

Get More Frugal Ideas!

Enjoy the best season of all! Remember, fun can be free!

Oakbur Quill Co.

Affordable Holiday Gifts That You Can Add Your Own Flair To

It’s true that the thoughtfulness of the gift is what makes the impact. With that in mind, it makes me think of how adding a little time and personal touches to your gift does just that. I’ll be looking at things people enjoy getting, are practical, or just add some pizzazz to everyday life. Of course you know who you are gifting better than me, so go with your gut if these ideas don’t fit.

All the ideas below you can embellish, personalize, or make from scratch. Pinterest has tons of ‘how tos’ surrounding each idea. Or you can just follow your own inspiration. Here are some personalization ideas:

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• Add some color with paint/washi tape
• Monogram it
• Add patches
• Add stickers/vinyl
• Stamp it
• Add photos
• Add ribbons

Here are some gift idea categories:

Kitchen gifts: If you’ve got a friend or family member that’s a new homeowner or a new renter – a gift for their kitchen can be fun and useful! You also can’t go wrong unless they don’t love cooking and even in that case you could make something that makes their life easier and inspires them in the kitchen.

Ideas:
• Wooden spoons
• Mugs
• Cannisters
• Food mix (hot chocolate/soup/dip)
• Spices (mix up your own blend)
• Aprons
• Soaps
• Reusable grocery tote bag

Accessory gifts: Everyone likes something that helps them keep their stuff together and/or gives them some flair. These ideas are great for the organizer, teenagers, or just someone you want to treat with something fun!

Ideas:
• Ring holders
• Jewelry
• Lotion
• Wallet / money clip
• Keychain
• Notebook
• Tie clip

Home gifts: Every home needs a little warming. These gifts are perfect for the homebody and the one who loves to entertain in their home.

Ideas:
• Blankets
• Coasters
• Magnets
• Flower / plant pot with plant

Try Something From Our Pinterest Board!

There are endless options – these are just a few to get you started. I hope these help you brainstorm on some amazing gifts you can give this year without the big price tag.

How to Make Your Kitchen More Eco-friendly and Affordable

Maintaining a kitchen can get pricey. Especially with a big family or if you cook and pack lunches frequently. We also can build up a lot of waste. Luckily for us, there are plenty of items we can replace with reusable options. While some of them can be purchased, most items can be made too!

Let’s explore some of the options! Here’s to less waste and less money in the long run!

    1. Napkins: Ditch paper napkins and get some reusable cloth napkins. Thrift stores are crawling with them!
    2. Paper towels: There are tons of how to’s on making reusable rolls out of towels and fabric.
    3. Baggies: Ditch them! Put your lunch items in glass containers, invest in some reusable wax wraps or reusable silicon wraps!
    4. Try your hand at compost: It’s pretty easy! Keep your scraps from veggies, egg shells, potato peelings, etc., (no meat), and add them to a small pile of soil outside near your garden. Mix it up every now and then and let it break down – then you can mix it in to your garden! There are many methods – try whatever fits your needs!
    5. Replace foil/ plastic wrap: Try making your own bowl covers with a stretchy band and fabric, or you can buy silicon lids!
    6. Mop pads: Make your own with a towel and some sewing to save on waste.
    7. Shopping: Purchase reusable bags or make your own. You also can use cardboard boxes or clean bins if you prefer!
       

Give Your Kitchen A Facelift!

There are tons of other options, too! If you don’t do any environment friendly things in your kitchen, start slow. Try incorporating one at a time and mastering it before moving on to another one. These ideas will cut back on trash, and after the first initial investment of purchasing or making your own items, you’ll save money with not having to buy disposable items often. That means less shopping, too!

Remember, you don’t have to conquer the world. Just one of these ways is helpful! Try one today and see the change!

Decorating Ideas for Fall

Happy Harvest! Well, almost! We’re only a few weeks away!  We are ready to welcome in the changing season with some great decorating ideas. After the heat of summer – fall offers a breath of fresh air. It’s a moment to reflect and soak up the colors around you. We’ve compiled ideas that we love, and we hope you love them too!

Put the tea kettle on, wrap up in some plaid, and get ready to celebrate the harvest! These ideas are easy, cheap, and look gorgeous!

Fall is ALL about 2 things:

  1. Being outside
  2. Bringing the outside, inside

When decorating use:

  1. Leaves
  2. Branches
  3. Acorns
  4. Corn husk
  5. Pumpkins
  6. Greenery
  7. Moss
  8. Wood

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    Making a beautiful harvest centerpiece is easy and doesn’t have to cost a lot!

Go on a walk with the kids or the dogs and gather some of the things above to decorate with.

CENTERPIECES: Put vases around the house and on your kitchen table. Fill them with what you gathered on your walk! You’ve added instant fall to your house – without the cost! You can also add bird seed or coffee beans to jars or vases for a beautiful look that warms the mood of your home! For a more rustic look, place wooden slabs on the table and arrange some moss on top of it.

Make kid-friendly centerpieces!

DOORS/ ENTRY-WAYS: Make a wreath or garland with any of the items above. You can purchase a Styrofoam/wire ring and add anything you like to it for an easy wreath! If you’re not the crafty type, simply tie some branches together with an orange or brown ribbon and put it over the door.

HOME ACCENTS: Have some old glass bottles or aluminum cans? Wash them and paint them orange, red, or brown. Place them around the house in clusters for a great pop of color. Tea lights add warmth to any corner – place them in the containers you’ve painted for a beautiful votive.

FIREPLACE/ MANTLE: Grab some string and close pins – put it across the mantle. Gather your family to write what they are thankful for on some fall colored paper. Hang them up! You can even cut them out into pumpkins or fun fall shapes. Cover the top of your mantle with acorns and place a couple candles in the middle.

That was easy, right?! We hope these ideas have got you thinking! Your home can have that touch of fall with little effort and cost involved. Here’s to nights of football, apple cider, and savoring every moment.

Happy Fall, Y’all!