10 Ways to Save More & Waste Less

Everyone loves saving money. I don’t like to generalize, but I’ve never heard someone say “nah, throw that money down the drain!”. Yet, that’s exactly what I was doing when I used to use too much product when cleaning, or when I didn’t know how to take care of my cleaning tools.

Since you probably want to save money too, I want to show you some simple ways that you can waste less, so that you can save more – not to mention it’s also better for the environment, and we all need to be good stewards of the environment right now!

Use Reusable Napkins

Reusable napkins are not just for “fancy” people, they’re for everybody, trust me. I used to think that reusable napkins were going to be a total pain, and extra laundry that I’d have to do, but they are much more convenient in the end. You don’t constantly have to be buying more, because you won’t run out like with paper napkins.

I put my napkins in with my cleaning cloths, so it’s no extra work, and I rest easy knowing it’s a more responsible choice for the environment – after all you can’t recycle paper towel or napkins.

Start a Bag System!

If you research how long it takes for a plastic bag to break down, it’s depressing. Chad and I recently went to the Container Store and picked up a fantastic reusable bag system that we now bring with us whenever we go grocery shopping, so we don’t have to use (or pay for!) plastic bags. We also found a really great mesh bag replacement for produce which we bring with us as well.

cleaning sponges

Make Your Sponge Last

While you might think that you have to get rid of your sponge the second it starts smelling, or if you’ve wiped up something gross… think again! Rather than tossing it, consider cleaning and disinfecting your sponge. There’s an easy way to do it that is more responsible than tossing it away, not only for your wallet but for the environment too.

  1. Fill a bowl with equal parts water and white vinegar.
  2. Immerse the entire sponge in the liquid and microwave it for five minutes.
  3. When it’s done, use tongs to remove it and let it cool.

That’s it! Your sponge is now deodorized, and free of lingering bacteria!

Reuse Paper Towel

You may or may not know this, but paper towel can actually be reused. I wouldn’t advise reusing it for really nasty cleanup jobs, but for day to day cleanups like spills and general cleaning – you can totally reuse that towel! Just rinse it in the sink, ring it out and you’re good to go.

adjust temperature

2° Cooler, 2° Hotter

I always love being cozy in the winter, and cool in the summer, but even I can admit it’s pretty irresponsible to go full out with heating and air conditioning. This year we decided to take the thermostat down/up by two degrees (and I’m surviving!). I throw on a sweater and slippers in the winter, and make sure I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the summer, and frankly, it’s worth it for the positive difference we see on our hydro bill.

In the summer we’re careful about closing window coverings to keep the sun out and the house cool. In the winter we make sure windows are firmly closed and any air leakage gets sealed up.

2° makes a very small difference when living day to day, but a big difference on your energy bill at the end of each month.

Wash In Cold, Hang To Dry

If you want a great way to save money, think about the way that you do your laundry. Unless you absolutely need to do your laundry in hot water, and there are some times where that will be the case, use a cold wash cycle instead.

When it comes to the dryer, unless the dryer is essential, think about hanging your clothes to dry instead. The dryer is a total electricity hog, even the efficient ones are still going to cost you a bunch of money to run every single time.

Pickle Juice Power!

If you like anything that’s pickled, before you toss that liquid down the sink, think again! Pickle juice doesn’t really have a negative environmental impact, but it can have a really positive flavor impact on your food. Case and point – you can brine chicken in pickle juice! This is what one very successful chicken franchise does to make their chicken taste extra amazing. You can add it to hummus and salad dressings, you can throw it in a cocktail, or steam veggies in it. I’ve also heard it works as a meat tenderizer, and you can use it again to pickle other foods. There are a lot of cool things you can do with pickle juice. So, use it, before you toss it.

reuse glass jars

Re-use Jars

On the topic of pickle juice, I’m sure you indulge in pickles and jams and olives and all kinds of other good stuff that comes in jars. Instead of tossing empty food jars, breathe new life into them by cleaning them out and re-using them for leftover storage in the fridge and the freezer (you can also use empty jars for a whole host of storage ideas). I use an old sauce jar for cooling iced tea, and I have soup in an old pickle jar. I also have spices which I’ve contained in old spice jars that I’ve cleaned out, deodorized and then reused.

Switch to Digital Subscriptions

If you currently get your paper or magazines delivered to your home, you gotta get with the times – it’s 2017 (or maybe 2019 when you’re reading this, I don’t know but I’m sure this will still be relevant)! A lot of companies are now offering you the ability to subscribe to their content online. Not only is this easier for you to manage at home because there’s less paper for you to have to deal with, but you can also save content a lot easier, and usually, if you subscribe online, you get offers and access to a lot of other things that you wouldn’t necessarily get from paper deliveries. So seriously think about making that switch.

Turn Your Water Off

Obviously, you’re going to need to use water for things like brushing your teeth and washing your dishes. However, water is a scarce resource and we all need to treat it with respect. Not to mention, we all have to pay for it.

To save on water make sure that when you’re washing dishes, you’re turning water off when you’re not using it to rinse or fill your sink, and the same goes for when you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face. Make the mental note to only use water during those brief moments that you need it, and trust me you will notice the difference on your water bill.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. I have several reusable fabric bags. I wanted to stencil on the plain ones to make not so ugly. I use vinyl reusable bags for meat so they can be cleaned up quick. All bags must be washed.

  2. I’m trying to ditch the plastic bags so I have several reusable. However, in some cases I just end up with a plastic bag. Fortunately in Melbourne most of the big supermarkets have recycling collection bin. When I cannot avoid the plastic bag that’s where it ends eventually!

  3. How can i clean my sponge if I don’t have a microwave? I am use a Skoy…can i just disinfect in the dishwasher? Thanks!

  4. We have a compost ‘pile,’ I recycle like crazy (my mother-in-law actually asked me about how I go about recycling certain things yesterday), I finally have a clothes line just outside our back entry (which is also our laundry area). I use cloths for cleaning instead of paper towel as often as possible, I make reusable disinfecting wipes (disinfecting solution poured into a glass jar that I saved over rags, then after they are used they get tossed in the laundry.)
    Just a few of the things we do to try to save more and waste less. ????

  5. I soak the sponge in water and little clothe detergent (powder) then I bring to boil, for 5 min in a pot. You just have to rinse it up, and you get a clean sponge. The detergent gets out dirt and returns the color, and the boiling water disinfects it.

  6. I’m always cold, so leaving my oven door open after I remove the food is something I usually do to get some extra warmth!

    Thanks for all the neat tips-I’m always open to new suggestions (or reminders to use the ones I forgot about!)!

    Christel G.

  7. In the winter, After using my oven, I leave the door open and let the heat come out instead of wasting it inside the oven.


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