The first step in DIY projects is to decide what you want to try. I started with making Laundry Soap because I had heard several friends mention that they had made their own and it intrigued me. After my first batch, and discovering just how inexpensive it is to make, I gave away jars of it at Christmas. Now, 9 months later, I still have people asking me for the recipe. Your first batch is the most expensive, it is about $10 for a 5 gallon bucket. 5 GALLONS! After that its about $1 to refill your bucket.
From there I decided to try other soaps and cleaning products and ended up stumbling across this wonderful resource: DIY Natural. This site has everything! I love it!
I have also tried toothpaste (though I do not recommend making this before purchasing xylitol, it is quite unpleasant without it), all purpose cleaner(from their book), shampoo and conditioner, and dishwashing detergent.
When I am looking for a project I use several sources. I use Pinterest, You Tube, or a general internet search. The important thing is when something breaks to start with the thought of, “Can I fix this myself?” When doing any project it is important to get advice from those who are more experienced than yourself. When my garage door broke I spoke with several people I know about it and then did a search on the internet for a similar problem. When I am knitting and come across a mistake I will email my sister in law. For making homemade soaps and such I ask several friends who also make their own soaps.
I do need to slip a disclaimer in here though, if you are trying to fix something there are two things that can happen if you make a mistake, you can make it worse, or you can end up spending more money than it would have cost to have a professional do it. Keep these things in mind when assessing projects. Also, if you are dealing with anything dangerous (like fixing your electrical wiring) it is best to leave it to a professional.
Update on 10-14-12: Over the past two weeks I have run out of conditioner and toothpaste. Both of these items were things I have attempted to make in the past and not terribly happy with them. They were also the two items I kept forgetting at the store. So as an emergency substitution I made them to hold me over until the next grocery trip. In the end I liked them after all. The conditioner I thought didn’t work, but it does. The toothpaste I didn’t like without the xylitol but I hadn’t given it much chance after I had xylitol. So now I like it. Sometimes necessity isn’t committing to making your own for the rest of your life, simply ass a substitute for a time. Who knows, in the end you may like it and end up never switching back.
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