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Composting is a fantastic way to minimize waste. It helps uses up food scraps while creating high quality soil for gardening.

Here’s how you can start composting right now.

Choose a bin and location

There’s a variety of both indoor and outdoor compost options. Some people prefer to buy fancy composters, but all you really need is some wire. I made my compost bins out of rolled fencing wire: I simply formed a circle with the wire and fastened it shut with zip ties.

Choose the right location for your compost bins. I put mine outside to minimize smell, bugs, and mess. Pick a spot that’s out of the way but easily accessible.

Fill it!

Compost is made of three types of materials:

  1. Dirt: you need existing dirt to help your compost form.
  2. Brown materials: These are dry things like leaves, hay, and shredded paper.
  3. Green materials: This includes grass trimmings and veggie leftovers.

Use these three types of materials to layer and fill your compost bin. The key to great compost is layering, so make sure you do this step!

  1. Layer 1: Fill it with six inches of brown materials, and then a layer of good soil on top of that. Hose with water.
  2. Layer 2: On top of layer one, add six inches of green material topped with more dirt. Hose again with water.
  3. Repeat this process until your compost bin is full. Remember to turn the compost every two weeks. This will help the materials break down more quickly by exposing them to air.

Compost is simple, but it can be finicky. Avoid putting these items in your compost or it will be unsafe to use:

  • Fat
  • Dairy
  • Feces
  • Meat
Use it

Composting is a waiting game. Some composts are ready to use in a matter of months, while others take a year to develop. It depends on the materials in your compost and how often you turn it.

Once it’s done, use compost for all your soil needs. It provides essential nutrients to plants and can even improve vegetable and fruit output. Compost whenever possible to prevent waste and grow better plants.

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Beauty Tips from Your Own Backyard

Are you tired of chemically scented cosmetics full of unpronounceable chemicals? Are you worried about what these things may do to your skin? You’re not the only one: more and more people are turning away from commercial products to the healthy, inexpensive alternatives in their own backyards, refrigerators, or supermarkets.

There are many simple ways you can use everyday household materials to supplement your beauty routine. You’ll avoid dangerous chemicals, get a healthy, natural glow, and save a ton of money, all in one go. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Simple, Healthy Beauty Aids

1. Beauty aids for acne

Do you suffer from acne? If so, you know how frustrating it can be. Acne isn’t just unsightly; it can actually cause physical pain. Fortunately, there are some very simple solutions you probably have kicking around the house right now.

-Egg yolk: Blend an egg yolk and smear it onto your face for a surprisingly effective mask. Yes, it feels disgusting, but it really works. Save the leftover yolk so you can repeat this process before bed several nights in a row. When you’ve left it on for about five minutes, wash with soap and water as you normally would.

-Tea tree oil: You can buy tea tree oil at almost any supermarket or pharmacy. A few dabs of this antibacterial oil will make acne shrivel in its tracks. Don’t be scared of the word ‘oil’: this is a totally different type of oil than the kind causing acne in the first place.

-Aloe vera: The best way to get aloe is to have an aloe plant. There’s something satisfying in squeezing the tip off the vine and applying homegrown aloe. Failing that, you can purchase it at most pharmacies. Simply apply it topically. Like tea tree oil, it will fight acne causing bacteria.

2. Beauty aids for your hair

Want beautiful, shiny hair? Of course you do. And here are some simple ways to get it!

-Baking soda: Many people replace their shampoo with a solution of baking soda and water. Although it sounds strange, it’s a very effective alternative to chemical shampoos.

-Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar does a wonderful job of conditioning, detangling, and moisturizing hair. You can use it as an alternative to your regular conditioner or as a leave in spray. Don’t worry – the smell fades as it dries.

-Olive oil: Remember hot oil treatments? They used to be all the rage for your hair – and they can be again, except much cheaper. Pour a small amount (about two tablespoons for medium length hair) of olive oil into a glass and place the glass in a bowl of hot water until the oil reaches a warm (not hot!) temperature. Smooth it through your hair, leave two minutes, and shampoo as usual.

3. Beauty aids for your skin

It’s not just those who suffer from acne who need natural beauty solutions. Whether your skin is dry, oily, or just in need of a pick-me-up, these solutions will work wonders.

-Sugar: Make a homemade sugar scrub from 50% white sugar and 50% natural oil (almond, olive, etc.). You can also add any other ingredients that will dissolve in the mix, such as vitamins, essential oils, or moisturizing creams. Don’t overdo it, though: you want to have a grainy texture. Rub the scrub into your skin to exfoliate gently.

-Olive oil: If you have dry skin, forget the expensive lotions – use a small amount of extra virgin olive oil instead. It might feel strange to rub cooking oil into your body, but actually, people have been using olive oil for this purpose since long before someone invented chemical-laced lotion and cream.

-Oatmeal: Oatmeal is naturally rich in many of the nutrients your skin needs. To make a gross looking but very effective mask, mix equal parts oatmeal and plain yogurt. You can also heat up some honey and stir it in. Spread it over your face and leave it for 5-10 minutes. You may want to keep some aside for a snack, too…

As you can see, there are plenty of beauty aids hiding in your kitchen, your backyard, and your supermarket. Forget overpriced beauty aids containing dangerous chemicals – you can take care of yourself naturally and easily for a fraction of the price!

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