How to Care For Cast Iron

Afraid of using cast iron? Here is a simple way to wash, season and care for your cast iron at home.

How to care for cast iron
Courtesy of Unsplash

I was always intimidated to use cast iron even though it is probably the least sophisticated of all cookware. When I was about twenty, I bought a cast iron skillet and rusted it out after just a few weeks of cooking. I had no idea how to care for it. So I shrieked back from every using it. That is until about eight years later when I discovered that scratch cooking on cast iron is amazing!

Cast Iron is the work horse of all kitchen tools. It never breaks down. It can take a beating and it can cook everything. Iron is an amazing conductor of heat and evenly distributes it around the pan.

Tried and Tested

It is the first of it’s kind when it comes to non-stick cookware. In fact, England has been using cast iron cookware since the late 600’s and it predates that time in Asia, particularly in the Orient.

Cast iron cookery comes in just about every vessel you can think of. Waffle makers, panini presses, Dutch ovens, woks, deep fryers, skillets, and grills. It’s extremely versatile. I love my Dutch oven. You can use it for soups and stews and even go from stovetop to oven (be careful, it’s heavy and hot) and it can double as an oven and slow cooker. I’ve even made bread, cake, and cobblers in my Dutch oven. Going camping? Use your cast iron cookware by putting it strait on the hot coals.

Teflon came into use in the 1940’s and over the next couple of decades cast iron slowly lost it’s appeal because of the convenience of Teflon. There is a lot of question as to how safe Teflon is, but most agree that it is non-toxic under 500 degrees F. That means that Teflon is potentially toxic for certain oils like avocado oil and safflower oil.

How To Care For Cast Iron

How to Wash Cast Iron

Cast iron should never be washed like other dishes. First, lets start with the basics. Iron can actually rust naturally in the air without ever applying water. That’s why it’s necessary to protect it carefully.

Wash your pan using warm water and rough scrubber. Add kosher salt to help with stuck on food.

cast iron
Courtesy of Unsplash

How to Season Cast Iron

You may have heard the term “seasoning” before when it comes to cast iron. No this doesn’t mean spices. Haha. It refers to the process in which you protect your iron from rust and create a non-stick surface.

How To Season Cast Iron

  1. Wash Your Cast Iron

    Use steel wool and warm water (not hot) and wash the oil excess oils away.

  2. Dry your pan

    Wipe your iron dry and put on the stove to remove and remaining water. Once done, let your pan cool down.

  3. Oven

    Place an oven liner or tin foil on the lower rack to catch drips. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

  4. Oil Your Pan

    Apply a thin coat of oil to your pan. Rub excess off with a soft cloth.

  5. Bake Your Cast Iron

    Place your cast iron in the oven upside down so any excess oil drips off the pan. Cure your pan for an hour in the oven. Take care removing from the oven, remember, its heavy and hot! Let cool to room temperature and store.

Pro Tip: If your iron is sticky, it is from excess oil that did not finishing seasoning when it was heated.

Before You Go

Take a look at some of my recipes!

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Also, I’d love if you subscribed to my blog. Never miss a post!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

The newness of Spring makes us all want a fresh, clean house. Today, I’m providing a 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge. You’ll do just one task every day for a month to get your house in shape.

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

If you’re anything like me your house gets out of shape during the holidays. Things like ceiling fans, windows and other things get neglected. Besides, just getting all the holiday stuff back in tubs and stored is already a huge chore! But after a few weeks, I begin to notice just how gross and filthy my house gets.

Did you ever notice how dusty ceiling fans get? Even windows and their screens get full of dead bugs, spider webs and other gross things. I’m always shocked how just washing windows can totally change the feel of your house from the inside!

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Therefore, today I’m providing a simple way to handle Spring Cleaning. I found that doing just one chore a day over a month works fairly well. Today, I’m providing a 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge with a FREE printable. Print it out and get started whenever you want. Let’s do this together!

  • Day 1: Wipe down all ceiling fans and chandeliers
  • Day 2: Dust all baseboards
  • Day 3: Wipe down doors and disinfect the doorknobs
  • Day 4: Vacuum drapery and/or blinds
  • Day 5: Clean grill / BBQ pit
  • Day 6: Purge unnecessary paperwork
  • Day 7: Shampoo Carpets
  • Day 8: Dust out all area rugs
  • Day 9: Reseal grout in bathrooms and kitchen
  • Day 10: Polish wood floors / Clean grout on tiles
  • Day 11: Clean porch / patio
  • Day 12: Clean outdoor furniture
  • Day 13: Wash windows
  • Day 14: Defrost Your Freezer
  • Day 15: Clean your garbage disposal
  • Day 16: Descale shower heads
  • Day 17: Clean oven
  • Day 18: Flip and rotate mattresses
  • Day 19: Disinfect children’s toys
  • Day 20: Change batteries in smoke detectors
  • Day 21: Clean dryer lint trap
  • Day 22: Wash indoor wastebaskets
  • Day 23: Wash bathroom rugs
  • Day 24: Clean refrigerator shelves and drawers
  • Day 25: Sweep out the fireplace
  • Day 26: Polish silver or other metals that tarnish
  • Day 27: Rotate seasonal wardrobe
  • Day 28: Vacuum stairs and wipe down spindles
  • Day 29: Reseal granite
  • Day 30: Clean scuffs and handprints off walls

That’s it! I sincerely hope that this 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge helps you enjoy your house more! For the most part, Spring cleaning can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it to have a clean, peaceful home.

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Before you dump your items off at a donation bin, try these 8 places to cash in clutter!

8 places to cash in clutter

It’s a never ending battle to declutter. I struggle with decluttering. I paid good money for something, thus I have a hard time just giving something away. Over this past year, I’ve been trying to sell things before I just dump it at Goodwill. I’ve been surprised at what people are willing to buy. Today I’m sharing 8 places to cash in clutter.

Just this month, I made over $100 selling things I would have otherwise donated. For example, I sold an old roaster ($10) and rice cooker ($20) that was taking up space in my kitchen cabinets. I sold a corn hole game ($40) I had made for my son’s first birthday. Then I let go of a car seat ($25) left at our house by a guest. Lastly, I sold some box fans ($10) that had been sitting in my guest room for 5 years!

I’m not bragging! My point is that just because you don’t find it valuable anymore, doesn’t mean no one does. If you’re like me, you’re tired of garage sales. You have to gather tons of items to make it worth while. As a rule, you need a city permit. Usually, you sit for days in the cold or heat only to argue with someone who wants to give you a quarter for your brand new Ralph Lauren blouse you wore once. It’s not worth it, right? That’s why today, I’m going to show you 8 places to cash in clutter – that’s actually worth it!

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Etsy

If you haven’t discovered Etsy, I’m sad for you. Just kidding…sort of. Seriously, Etsy is an absolute great find for people who love to buy and sell handmade things. If you have something unique, one-of-a-kind, or something that is antique or collectible, Etsy is a great market for you! By the way, check out my shop where I sell my handmade greeting cards and digital printables. You do need to set up a shop, but once you have it set up, it’s very easy to add items.

It’s free to create an Etsy store. However, Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for every item you list, making it one of the most affordable places that charges. Furthermore, Etsy allows multiple ways for customers to pay, including PayPal.

Ebay

Ebay has long been a trusted source of selling used items. Even though the big Ebay boom is over, it continues to have a strong marketplace. Last year, I made $200 back selling baby clothes. (Tip: the best way to sell baby clothes is in large lots.) Ebay has a wide array of categories and the selling fee structure is a little complicated.

First, Ebay offers various ways to sell. You can sell it as an auction. You can sell it at a flat price (Buy It Now) which can also include “best offer” flexibility. The charges depend on the category, but as a rule Ebay charges about 10% of the amount you were paid (that includes shipping). Also, if they buyer is paying through PayPal (which is typical), you’ll incur an additional 2.9% fee for the transaction. So you’ll need to carefully choose what you sell. Ebay is known for shipping items and has a super easy, built in way to print labels once your item sells. However, they also have a local pickup option which is especially helpful for large items.

Facebook Marketplace

This is where I have had some of my best success. I am shocked to see how easy it is to sell things. Best of all – it’s completely 100% FREE to sell. You get every penny. No store setup. Just find Marketplace within Facebook and list your items by following the prompts. Customers can pay through Marketplace or they can give you cash. You can also accept PayPal or Venmo if you want to guide them that way.

It’s up to you, but people will ask you to hold things until a certain day. I caution you from doing that. I’ve been burned more than once. There are lots of flakey people out there! I’ve held something for someone who flaked out, meanwhile I turned down 5 other interested buyers. Now I specify in the description that it is “no holds.” This means that if they can’t come until Thursday and someone is willing to buy it and pick it up before then, I won’t hold it. You can choose whether you have the buyer pick up the item or whether you deliver it. You must specify in the description. People will always try to get you to deliver otherwise.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups is another one of the places I’ve had good success. Like Marketplace, you can post pictures and description of what you’re selling. There are lots of pages that are designed for your city, area of town, or neighborhood. Find some, follow the selling rules and make money.

Like Marketplace, you will need to specify whether the buyer need to pickup or if you’ll deliver. If they pay in advance like through PayPal or Venmo. Incidentally, I recommend posting directly in Marketplace. Facebook now has a feature where if you post in Marketplace, you’ll have the options of sharing in the Facebook selling groups of which you’re a member. There are no selling fees involved with Facebook groups.

Pro Tip #1: If you are posting on multiple sites, be sure to include the acronym “POMS” in your description.

LetGo

The LetGo mobile app has slowly been gaining popularity (30 million users have downloaded it) after Google listed it as the Best of 2016 apps. It still has a fairly good reputation. It’s most attractive feature is that there are absolutely no selling fees – you set your price and get every penny! You choose how the customer pays and the app has a review system (don’t worry – you can dispute negative reviews).

LetGo doesn’t have a way to make payment. You will need to work that out between the buyer. Also, you are restricted to selling within your geographical location. Similarly to Craigslist, you’ll need to meet up with buyers to exchange goods and money – and anyone can sign up for it without any kind of check into who they are. So always be careful when meeting up with strangers.

Just Between Friends

So as I started to get rid of baby things, I tried local consignment shops. I was surprised at how little they offered. Pennies on the dollar. It was honestly, a little insulting. What they offered, wasn’t even worth my time to drive down there! That’s when a friend introduced this awesome bi-annual sale to me. If you’re willing to live with the items for a few months, this can bring in some money for all your maternity, baby, child, and teen items.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment organization. Search their website to see if they have a sale in your area. They are in most major cities and have two sales per year – Spring and Fall. They will only accept seasonal appropriate items. Items are inspected to make sure they are not broken or stained. They will reject items that have a safety recall on them.

You will tag them using their online tagging system. As a rule, clothing must be on hangers. You have the option to put your items half off as a ditch effort to sell them. Additionally, they have an option to donate items that are unsold, so you never have to deal with them again. The day before the sale, you will need to check-in and put out all your merchandise on the sales floor. During the sale, you can see live results of your items selling. You set your own prices. You get 60% of the selling price. If you volunteer at the sale, you 70% of your sale, plus your $12 consignor fee is waived. Last year was my first year selling, I didn’t take a ton of stuff, but what I did netted be a couple hundred dollars – and I didn’t volunteer.

Amazon

Wait….you can sell old things on Amazon? Yes, you can. Amazon offers an individual seller account where you can sell gently used items. In my experience, books do well, but other things can be listed. However, it only permits forty items per month. After that, you’ll be directed to upgrade your account to a Professional selling plan. It is a monthly subscription of $39.99 and you have the awesome Amazon name and traffic behind your goods. So depending how much you plan to sell depends on how much it costs. The individual plan costs $0.99 per listing (some categories include additional fees).

Pro-tip #2: The acronym PPU stands for Porch Pick Up – a way of the buyer picking up without having to physically interact with them.

Offer up

Offer up is available on both online and a mobile app. It is fairly easy to use and even offers selling solutions for the private selling of vehicles.

It is free to use for buyers and sellers. However, just recently they included a shipping service so sellers could reach a wider audience. You decide wether you want to offer shipping or not. If you do offer shipping, they charge a 7.9% fee when the item sells. If you want to avoid seller fees, consider doing pickup only.

That’s it. In conclusion, yard sales are almost a thing of the past. Yes, it takes some time to list items individually. But, the return you get from these 8 places to cash in clutter, has proven to be worth it!

The post, 8 Places to Cash in Clutter, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Learn about other decluttering tips in the post 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Don’t fret. Here are 50 things to throw away right now.

Confession time: I’m a recovering hoarder. Okay, well maybe not that extreme, but I was definitely a clutter bug. I have a hard time letting go of things. What if I need it later? What if I finally get around to fixing it? After all, I paid good money for this! I totally get it.

Saying goodbye to things can be difficult and it’s very easy to start justifying why you should keep something. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are 50 things to throw away right now.

There are definitely things of value you may very well try to sell. But today, we’re just going to focus us on what can go into a trash can right now. These are things that have lost their usefulness and can therefore be tossed strait into a trash can.

Once you get into the habit of decluttering, I’m sure you’ll find it liberating!

So grab a trash bag and let’s begin!

50 Things to Throw Away

  1. Old Magazines
  2. Stationery you no longer use
  3. Developed photos that are blurry, bad shots, or are duplicated
  4. Goopy nail polish
  5. Wrinkled / torn gift wrap
  6. Old party supplies
  7. Tattered gift bags
  8. Financial paperwork older than 5 years
  9. Instruction manuals & out-of-date warranties
  10. Old phone cases
  11. Pens that no longer write
  12. Coupons, mailers, etc.
  13. Glasses and contact lenses that are not your prescription anymore
  14. Old Checkbooks
  15. Broken jewelry
  16. Scratched sunglasses
  17. Stained or torn clothes
  18. Cosmetics older the 3 months
  19. Bath loofahs & sponges that are looking worn
  20. Newspapers
  21. Earrings that don’t have a pair
  22. Socks with holes or no partner
  23. Frayed device-charging cords
  24. Old sponges and dish wands
  25. Phone books
  26. Catalogs
  27. Expired food in your pantry
  28. Out-of-date batteries
  29. Puzzles and games that are missing pieces
  30. Warped food storage containers or ones that have no lids
  31. Toiletries with old or very little product left
  32. Expired medicine
  33. Worn out hair ties & accessories
  34. VHS tapes or Cassettes that you can’t play
  35. Old toothbrushes
  36. Stockings or nylons with runs
  37. Old underwear or bras
  38. Empty Bottles
  39. Expired vitamins and supplements
  40. Receipts
  41. Old invitations and greeting cards
  42. Planners and calendars from previous years
  43. Brochures
  44. Business cards
  45. Spent gift cards
  46. Dried up paint
  47. Free return address labels
  48. Notepads you don’t use
  49. Pet supplies you don’t use
  50. Gloves with no pair

Looking for other decluttering tips? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books

The post, 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent For Pennies

This post, Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this post, I may receive a small percentage at no cost you

Have you ever noticed how ridiculously expensive laundry detergent is? Making your own detergent is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about five years now. It is just as good as any commercially made detergent, but it is a fraction of the cost! Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own laundry detergent for pennies! I’ve figured out it costs about 5-10 cents per load based on where you buy your ingredients!

This 100 year-old recipe is tried and proven to clean clothes. You can make it in both liquid and powder form. Today, I will show you the easiest way to do it – powder form. I prefer powdered form because it is faster to make. The liquid form requires cooking and is a slower process. 

The greatest thing about this recipe is that you need very little for a load of laundry. Only two tablespoons for a large laundry load! I have found the cheapest place to get these supplies are at Wal-mart. Many grocery stores carry the ingredients, however they are often obscured on the bottom or top shelf since they aren’t as common. For your convenience, I’ve also included an Amazon link. 

About the Ingredients

Fels-Naptha can also be used on it’s own as a pre-wash stain treatment or to hand wash delicates and sweaters. In existence since 1893, Fels-Naptha is a home remedy for poison ivy, poison oak, and other skin irritants. As a result, it is suitable even for people with sensitive skin. Most importantly, it is a powerful stain remover, particularly for tough stains like oil and grass.

Borax is a natural, mild alkaline salt. It works as a gentle abrasive, therefore making it a great cleaning product outside of laundry. Firstly, it’s already in many cleaning products and cosmetics you may already use. In laundry, it has a wide variety of uses! For example, it stops dyes from transferring or bleeding. In addition, Borax softens water as well as enhances bleach and stain removing. Furthermore, it also works as an additional agitent. Lastly, Borax also works as a natural mildicide and fungicide, by retarding bacteria growth.

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda is also an amazing cleaning product! It has so many uses! For example, in laundry, it increases detergents cleaning power and it eliminates and neutralizes odors. In addition, you can also use it with warm water to clean tubs, sinks, cookware, even silver, copper and brass.

Now lets get started making laundry detergent!

Supplies

  • Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 20 Mule Team Borax
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Cheese Grater
  • Large container to store your soap
Borax, Fels Naptha and Washing Soda

Recipe

  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha. This takes some elbow grease!
  • Add one cup of washing soda, followed by 1 cup borax. 
  • Gently stir until evenly combined. Transfer into storage container.
  • Repeat as necessary for more laundry detergent.
Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
Make your own laundry soap for pennies

That’s it! Making your own laundry detergent for pennies is that easy! Save money and lower your grocery bill by making this quick, low-cost detergent. I’ve been pleased with the stain-removing power of this recipe and I know you will be too! I’d love to hear what you do to save money in your household. 

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other ways to be organized? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books