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I have a small cleaning business and on a visit to my mom's, it became apparent that she had a hard time taking advantage of quantity purchasing and paid a lot for smaller quantities because she and my dad live alone. We started, in effect, a tiny co-op of non-perishables.
At first, we just shared the cost of the larger quantities. (heck, it's my parents so I didn't even charge them for most of it. just enough to make them happy they were contributing) Well, a couple of other people thought it was such a good idea, they wanted in, so what we did was to have everyone, including me and my parents, put in $25 as a "base". This was to pay for the "stock".
We do use coupons as often as humanly possible to save even more. We also add free samples in and 're-pay' for them to add to our account. Saved quart and pint bottles are filled and the current price put on them. We figure price by the ounce and a .25 charge is added on for each item. You save by the quantity cost alone, but the added .25 is a little boost you'll see below. (If you refill your own container, all the better!)
Now here's the cool part. Aside from getting your smaller quantities at large quantity saving, here are the other advantages. If you want out, you get the $25 back in full. If you are still there at the end of the year, you can opt to take back your savings in cash or, as we usually decide to do, we all go out for a lunch or movie or something as a treat. We call it "on the laundry"!
It almost makes doing chores fun? Well maybe not, but you get a little payback for doing what you normally do. Here's last years tally: 4 ladies, all in, estimated cost savings on products was about 42%, averaged 're-pay' of $1.50 a week each. We ended up with 326.75 in the account. Minus $100 in case we (haha) want to quit. $226.75 was dinner and a movie for all, (we saw "Happy Feet"!) plus one gal was having a tough time so the balance was voted to be given to her, $100 for Christmas presents for her kids! What fun! $3.82 was put back in the account for next time.
In our 'stock' list now : (most items are all varieties like liquid and dry or whatever) laundry detergent, fabric softener, stain products, shampoo and conditioner, toilet paper, body lotion, body soap, powder, liquid cleaners like pine sol and ajax, , sprays like 409, magic erasers, window cleaner, floor wax! Man, the list is too long to list, but almost anything that "won't go bad" is there.
BTW - our 'store' is one wall of metal shelving in my basement and it's all on the honor system. If someone can't stop by, I'm out all the time so I'll bring things by if they are busy and can't make it over. Wow! free pea-pod too? I forgot about that one! LOL, I hope you can use this or adapt it to your needs. Just goes to show you that you don't need a lot of people doing a lot to a lot of good things! We are having 3 more join in the next month too! yay!
By Kathy from Warwick, RI
I find that using much less product works just as well to get good results. For instance, I always buy a good dish detergent but I pour 1/4 of it into an empty bottle and fill the rest with water. I wash my dishes by hand with a washcloth and the diluted detergent works great. Laundry detergent works the same way more on the scale of 1/3 the recommended amount and it rinses cleaner. Shampoo with added water on a scale of 1 part water to 1 part shampoo foams up and cleans faster. I use distilled vinegar for windows and mirrors- 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, also good to thwart mold.
I got tired of throwing a scouring pad away because it rusted so quickly and annoyed that I had to keep buying new boxes. Now when I take one out of the box, I cut it into four pieces and use one piece at a time. It does the trick, and I get four times the use out of one pad.
By Jean Rabe from Craftsbury Common, VT
When at the bottom of a spray bottle's contents and nothing comes out but foam, just drop in a marble. Every last bit of cleaner will be used up. Sometimes I drop in the marble when I first use the cleaner.
Spray cleaning is fast and easy and can save you a lot of time and effort. However it is more expensive than using a bowl of soapy water and a cloth. If you are living on a budget it is worth splashing out on a large bottle of multi purpose concentrated cleaner.
To save cleanser that comes in cans, I never peel off the entire covering over the holes. I only peel off to expose one-two holes.
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I use a lot of these items for cleaning. I've been buying bulk at Costco. Does anyone know if that is the very cheapest option there is?
Try cleaning with vinegar. It's cheap and it does work without the chemicals other things that you are using has. You can read about what vinegar will do for you at your local library. You'll be amazed, I know I was.
Hello, Re: natural non-toxic ways to clean everything and keep it smelling fresh-I too use vinegar with a "twist of lemon":
Every morning I peel one organic lemon, (squeeze the juice from the halves of the lemons, put into 4 oz. of WARM water and drink before eating, at least 20 minutes- it alkalizes your body, gets rid of excess body fluid, regulates you, and 50+ other healthful and great things!)
Put the lemon you just squeezed into a bitty bowl and place in 'fridge -it neutralizes odors, etc.
Well, NOW you can understand why I have so many lemon peels. I place them into plastic/glass jars/bottles and cover with white vinegar-adding more vinegar as I add more peels. When the color of the vinegar is yellowish, transfer to a spray bottle, (then add more vinegar to the container you just poured from, to steep the peels again). Use to clean virtually everything. I try to buy the high (6%) acidity vinegar, but have a hard time finding it. Regular white vinegar works well.
If you get a stubborn toilet stains, don some gloves, halve a lemon, sprinkle with kosher salt and scrub away!
Hope you have fun with these natural, environmentally-safe and holistic ideas!