What to do with bubble bath you don’t want to bathe in?

Remember I wrote about the bubble bath I bought in Germany? The one I had fond memories of? The one that wasn’t as I remembered it?

I just can’t stand having a bubble bath with it.

But I can’t abide the waste of tossing it.

It’s not the cost. After all, it only cost a few euros. It’s the environmental cost. The cost of manufacturing. And the cost of tipping it out.

So what to do?

Turn it into foaming handwash. That’s what.

If you have a foaming handwash pump container, don’t toss them. Dilute normal handwash. About one fifth handwash and four-fifths water. Yes, those foaming handwashes are mostly water. Given that normal liquid handwash is mostly water too, the foaming handwash is even more mostlier water, the mostest water, even more mostly?

If it doesn’t come out foaming, but kind of sloppy, the trick is to dilute some more.

Don’t be paying those detergent companies extra dollars for water. Dilute your own.

I still can’t stand the scent of the repurposed bubble bath. And it sticks around on the hands, but what to do? I will use it up, that’s what.

Every time I touch my face (I know, I know, I shouldn’t be doing that) I smell nostalgia, nostalgia one step removed, nostalgia not quite right.

And I get to be frugal, thrifty and do a little bit for the environment.

Use it up in the laundry

Following on from my successful “Use it Up” campaign for beauty products – most of my cosmetics now fits in the bathroom cabinet with only one box in my cupboard, I do not take freebies from hotels, I don’t buy stuff just to have it  – I’m moving onto cleaning products. 

Here’s all the various products we have. 

This lot I bought to make my own cleaning products. I have made various homemade products. They can be cheaper. With essential oils they can smell nice. Clove oil is meant to kill mould – so good for the bathroom whereas bleach just whitens the mould so it is still there but you don’t see it growing away happily. Word of advice, follow Shannon Lush’s recipe. I misread it as made it too strong. Ooo, the smell lasted months. 

Gumption is my go to cleaner for bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, cleaning door frames and doors and other painted surfaces. It really is magic. But do I need three. I had four but decanted one half used lot into another almost empty one as the container had split.  And I use shampoo on my shower screens – gentle, sweet smelling and awesome at getting soap scum off and the glass to sparkle. I also use shampoo in the basin to great sparkly effect. 

Other general cleaning products. I have taken to diluted sugar soap. It is great for walls and wooden doorways and doors.  I never really used the patio cleaner because it didn’t work. Domestos is my fav for the loo and when the mould takes over he shower. I made my own window cleaner to replace the one in the black glass cleaner spray. I seem to recollect it is just sugar soap and water. 

Specialised floor and carpet cleaners. I know these are a take but I like the smell. Actually I don’t like the smell of this one but Mr S bought it so I will use it up before purchasing my favourite one. We have one rug. It started to get a manky smell and a bit dirty so I bought a carpet cleaning powder. What a take! Yes it scented the carpet but it really did nothing but I used it up anyway. Bicarb would probably do the same. And years ago Mr S bought this spray for when one of our dogs vomited in his car. (Our dogs have been gone for over 10 years.)

Laundry products. We used to soak cloth nappies and whites. And I use to add Napisan into my general wash. Now I just buy a good detergent and have a good machine. So these will hang around for ages. Unless I start multi-purposing them. I hate fabric softeners. They are just artificial smelly things that clog your machine. But Mr S liked them. He’s stopped using them except for some winter moleskin pants. We also have delicates and black wash. I very rarely use pre-wash stain removers. 

As to ironing aids, I couldn’t be bother spraying things. More smell. More effort. I don’t know how I ended with this. I think a friend “gifted” it to me as she decluttered her home. I have a super steam iron so I really don’t need this. 

Leather cleaning products for the lounges. These will last for ever as I rarely use them. I think they came with purchase of lounges. The white tub has oil or cloves and is apparently good for hand bags and shoes to stop mould. But I found I don’t want my handbags smelling of cloves! (I stuck another container of sugar soap in this shot as I found it while looking for my leather products.)

Bees wax was for skin amd for wood polish but I am mixing it up with a commercial product to occasionally polish the wooden furniture we have. One its  own the bees wax is too gluggy and leaves sticky spots that attract and trap dust. 

Car cleaning products. Who am I kidding? We don’t wash our cars. Drive through and the rare car cleaning place. But detergent’s detergent, right?

In the kitchen is washing up liquid (which I also use for generally cleaning), tablets for the machine and bleach which I use on the sink occasionally. (Used after gumption, it makes the sink shine.). I also use it to clean the cloths and sponge and get rid of musty smells in them. 

Some of these products have been hanging around in my laundry for years. So no buying new stuff, until I use up all the existing products. There will be some exceptions of course, dishwashing liquid and tablets for the dishwashing machine and washing powder for the laundry. But for general cleaning – bathrooms, toilets, walls, windows, things – I will use it up. And then simplify the number of products I have. 

My god I have enough chemicals here to breach the Geneva Convention. 

I also have a host of microfibre and other cloths that apparently don’t need detergents or chemicals. They may work for those who wipe every day but as a more lacksadaysical haphazard cleaner, I need some grim cutting powerso I use them with gentle cleaners such as gumption. Here’s some of my clothes (I also have a tonne of cut up sheets and t-shirts.)

What about you? What’s lurking in your cabinets? So you use the same products and find others languish in the cupboard? Do you go through products quickly or are you like me, more an occasional cleaner who can live with a bit of dirt? I don’t use anti-bacterial products. Where do you stand on those?

Change of tact

Three months of not buying any products. That’s 93 days of not buying skin and hair care products, not buying makeup, not buying perfume!

I’ve decided to change tact in my Use It Up challenge, though.  

Instead of continuing to use the products I have started using, I am going to use up all the small containers, all the samples, all the hotel freebies. 

I think that will make a big aesthetic difference to decluttering. 

I was hanging onto the little things for travel but they’re not enough for two weeks (our normal length of travel) and we drive anyway so it’s not like we are back packing and need to schlap everything. I’ve been on heaps of trips and most of the freebies have not moved from their spot in my cabinet. In fact the collection is often added to with new travel freebies. 

Next step: no products in my cupboard.


All but one of these products has now been used up. Woo hoo. On my way to containing my products in my bathroom. 

Clean your shower with shampoo

Do you have some shampoo you just don’t really like? Maybe it’s a bit too harsh on your hair; maybe you just don’t like the scent. 

Well here’s a hint. 

Wash your shower screen, bathroom basin and bath with your shampoo. 

You will be amazed at how clean and shiny shampoo makes the bathroom. Better than any bathroom cleaner. 

I buy a nice, cheap, cruelty-free, Australian-made one just to clean my bathroom. 

No harsh chemicals to wreck your clothes or burn your skin. No headaches from overpowering chemicals. No lingering, chemical smell. And you can clean your shower while in the shower. Standing on shampoo doesn’t hurt your feet. 

Gentle enough to be used on human skin. What bathroom cleaner can claim that?

I have all these little hotel freebies and samples to use up but I don’t like the scent and they are a bit harsh for my bleached hair. Silly me! Why haven’t I used these instead of the one I buy especially?

So I am killing two birds – using up my stash and cleaning my bathroom. 

A bit doubtful about the cleaning power? Think you have to use bleach? Or disinfectants? Give shampoo a go and be impressed. As to needing to use bleach or disinfectants, read this, where it says it is more important to clean a surface than use disinfectant. And that’s from the Australian governments National Health and Medical Research Council. 


Use it up, wear it out, out with the boxes

Use it up

68 days without buying a hair care, skin care or makeup product now. 

Perhaps this challenge could also be called “Show us your empties”?  As I am using up my stash. 

Here’s some the lot that have been used up over the last week or two. 

I’ve finally used up an eye makeup remover. I’ve been using it all over my face with a cotton pad after I remove most make up with cleanser and a face washer. I figure if it is gentle enough for eyes it can be used all over my face. Who says I don’t push the boundaries?

More makeup does come off. So I probably wasn’t do enough for my skin when I just used a washer with cleanser and water. 

Now I’ll move onto the non-astringent toner I bought in this range years ago. It will probably last forever – I bought the large container for professionals, not for retail sale. It’s fine for my eyes too. So don’t you stress. I bought the toner because it was so gentle on my skin. Soothing, not just not making me go red. 

I wouldn’t buy the eye makeup remover again but I would defintiely get the toner. Just not until I’ve used up all other products. (Yes, I do have another toner. Unopened full size Clarins. GWP.)

I also used up a 10g night cream sample. Wouldn’t buy this either. Not soothing enough for me. Has AHAs in it. 


Just finished a shower gel/ bubbl bath product I bought in London in March. Whipped out another one I received as a gift a couple of years ago.
Threw out a large sample night cream. Didn’t like it on my face. Thought I would use it on my arms and legs but I really hate the smell. So no use torturing myself. Out! And replaced by rose hip oil for night. I have actually mixed in some of the long ago purchased macadamia oil cause I find the Rose hip oil too yellow and it sits on the skin.  

AND, finished a cleanser. This use it up challenge has been good for my skin. I remember to take off my makeup and clean my skin more thoroughly. 

Sukin is a good brand. Cruelty free, non-irritsting in my skin, with a gentle scent, made in Australia and reasonably priced. So I will probably be sticking with this product. 

My 900ml conditioner has finally gone. This one has blue toner in it to stop my blonde going brassy. This has lasted well over a year. Maybe two. But I have two normal sized conditioners in reserve. And a couple of treatments. 

Wear it out

The skirt I thought would die this season has just died. The back seam which has been mended numerous times, just ripped again as I got out of my car. The material is too frayed to mend again. And there are little holes appearing in the material around the skirt.

It’s had a good life. Regular wearing in autumn, winter and spring to work. Definitely over 10 years old. I can’t actually remember when I bought it. 

I think this makes up for the dress that came in three weeks ago. (Nothing bought since then.)


Ripped seam. But the skirt is not brown; it’s purple.


See? Purple.


And I wore out a top. Does a slip seam count as wearing it out? The top is tight fitted and slinky material. The split seam is under the arm and over-locked so repairing it might rub my skin. I am very sensitive and break out in a rash when my skin is rubbed. By also the top is over nine years old and wearing thin. Anyway, it’s gone. 

Out with the boxes

So it’s simple really. Boxes with writing on them go. 

I like a rule like this. 

Isn’t it funny how our own obsessions seem normal but the obsessions of others are just plain weird. 

One responder to my question about boxes revealed her need to keep pink Napisan plastic containers. Really? A plastic laundry container. 

Mad, people are. 

Me on the other hand, completely normal and my need to keep boxes, completely understandable. 

So imagine my joy when I find that the writing over one of my boxes was an outer cover. Look!

It was folded around the base as if it was the box, not a slip cover into which the box fitted. I’m not that stupid. So I ripped it off and now I have a plain pink base of a solid box. The lid has a small print stating the brand of cosmetics that were inside. But I can live with this, especially as the box currently holds much cosmetic product awaiting use. 

But wait, there’s more

In the interests of honesty, and perhaps to make you feel better, I present for you photos of some more of the cosmetic products I have in my stash. 

I say some because I cannot guarantee that I have unearthed every thing. So sit back and gape into the dark recesses of my cupboards and soul, remembering this is in addition to the photos of stuff already shown. 


Recognise the shape of the container in the front? It’s part of the set of products I bought for the shape. I am using the shower gel up. Behind in a 1 litre container of body oil. It’s taking forever to empty. 


A container of stuff. 


My makeup bag of stuff in current use – shadows, eye liners, mascara, primer etc


Current cleanser and ocassional use body lotion. 


Bag of rarely used or not yet used makeup.


One litre of macadamia oil. This stuff is meant to be a miracle product. Have had it for ages. Not yet used. 


Polishes which are occasionally used. 


Most of my lipsticks, balms and lip glosses. A friend thinks this isn’t excessive. 

Let’s see how long it takes to get my products down to a minimal, organisable amount that fits in the bathroom cabinet. 

Use it up slip up

Opps. Bought a magazine. It came with a mascara. Not any mascara. THE mascara I use. It costs $52. But the magazine cost $10. They claim the mascara is full size.


So is this a slip up? Or a frugal decision?
Should I buy more copies of the magazine?
I could argue that I didn’t slip up and only bought a magazine but …

I don’t buy magazines. Hardly ever. Maybe one a year. If that. I only bought it for the mascara. I know there are woman who buy plenty. Not my thing. Clothes and cosmetics are, as we know. I have a friend who buys heaps of magazines and passes them to me to skim through.

I ONLY bought the magazine because of the mascara.

Susan, on the simple living forum said, “OK, well, it was a slip technically …. BUT….. how could you pass up a $50 mascara for $10!!! However, in saying that it does make you wonder what mark-ups they make if they can attach it free to a magazine.”

What do you think? 

Use it up Update 4 – Death to sachets


  • For degree of difficulty in opening 

I used to think I’d keep the little sachets, you know the ones in magazines or that Avon sales people give you, for travelling but I keep a couple of little bottles that I refill. So as part of this challenge I decided to use sachets up early in the challenge. 

If they go then it might make a larger dent in the appearance of clutter. Possibly?

So off I went to use  sachets of shampoo and conditioner. 

Well, I remembered why I hate those little sachets. They can be impossible to open. Got the shampoo open easily. No hassles. The conditioner decided to not play. Couldn’t open it. (Had to cut it and use a later time.)

Then I got out of the shower and the sachet of face cream opened easily!

No rhyme nor reason.

  • For product serving size

And really, all that packaging for so little product. Sometimes too much for one use and not enough for two. 

  • For unknown scent

It is always a risk opening and using a sachet as scent is very important to me. I can get headaches and nausea from some, others I just hate and others I love. I am especially fussy with hair product cause it is so close to my nose and mouth. But I can’t bear to throw them out without using. Must stop them coming into my house. 

  • For unknown colour

I used a sample of Avon foundation, thinking it was OK in the dull morning light, only to find I looked like an ommpa lumpa in the toilet at work. Such fun!

And here’s some more of my stash:


Bought the iconic No 7 from Boots in London, March 2015. Not touched yet.


GWP of magazine. Years ago. Not used.


Use it up Update 3 – Throw stuff away

Products, products, products. 

Some more from my store in my cupboard. 

 Here’s some apparently contrary advice in a use it up challenge. Throw stuff away. 

  • If it’s seriously expired. 

I was checking through some of my stash, dreaming of how nice it will be to have a clear shelf in my bathroom cabinet, and picked up some lice shampoo. Now we haven’t had lice in this household for years but I held onto the shampoo just in case.

Well, it expired in 2008. Tells you how long ago we had an infestation. When youngest darling son was in primary.

Time to toss. And with a chemist 5 min walk up the road, I don’t need to be a chemist warehouse myself, especially not for expired products with serious chemical ingredients. 

  • If your skin reacts to it

Threw out a sample cream that made my face flushed. I’m not so obsessive that I will use up samples I react badly to.

  • If it is annoying 

I threw out, and didn’t use up, a lip gloss. One of those apparently plumping glosses. I think all they have is the ingredient from capsicum so your lips tingle and you think they are plumping. I don’t need my lips to be irritated and I have enough lip glosses to not need to hang on to this one.

  • If it’s smelly

Threw away another lipgloss that was a bit wiffy. Sign all is not well with the ingredients. 

Goodbye smelly lip gloss

Use it up Update 1

[* imagine I wrote the first post on Use it Up a month and a half ago and this post came a fortnight after that. I actually started this challenge while on my blogging hiatus.]

I’ve been successful in not buying any products for the last fortnight, with encouragement from other Use-it-uppers on a simple living forum I belong to. 

Here’s some thoughts from my first fortnight of not buying cosmetic products. 

1. Avoiding special deals – find your previous “special deals” buys that you haven’t used

I nearly weakened when the new Priceline bag came out. A bag of full size products FREE if you buy $60 worth of products. I could stock up on my usual stuff and get a useable bag FULL, literally bursting, with goodies. And if I spend $100 I get free delivery which means I don’t have to go into the shop which I don’t have time for anyway. 

Luckily the Internet froze before I could press buy. And then I remembered my previous Priceline bag purchases.

Mm ah! You guessed it. I haven’t used them up yet. 

So I unearthed the two previous Pricelone bags – the hair one and the one before which was cosmetics. Maybe I should use these up first?


The two Priceline bags with SOME of the products

2. Use up the samples when travelling and don’t collect more. 

Remember to take your stash of samples! On a recent trip I took day cream and night cream samples. About a week’s worth in both. And for body lotion, another free gift with product I received – this time a full size product. Soap was a bar I bought as a decorative item to go with the containers seen in the previous post. Shampoo and conditioners were the products I bought to get the Priceline hair bag. All these were unopened before our trip.

Cleanser and toner were decanted into travel size containers from products I bought a while ago. One set of these small containers is enough. I can refill as needed. 

I didn’t collect the guest products at the BnB we stayed in. Who needs more products? It’s not frugal, if you don’t use the stuff. And most of the stuff is from China. I won’t buy cosmetics from China. They test on animals and don’t have the product control and environmental laws we have. 


Two hotel minis with containers that I refill

3. When friends encourage you to buy: remember the bigger goals 

Anyone have to combat the efforts of friends?

I have fiends/friends who try to get me to buy cosmetics.

“Hey,Strawberrynet have 10% off.”

“I’m selling Avon now.”

“You’ll be able to get some good stuff at Sephora when it opens.”

“You should try this product.”

Some are OK when I tell them I’m not buying anything until I use my stashup, others think I should just chuck things away and continue to try to encourage me to spend. The “just a few dollars” argument and the “you deserve it” one. 

Funnily enough, one friend who tried to get me to buy, bemoans not being able to afford to buy a house and how much she hates renting and wishes she could replace broken whitegoods. OK, a lipstick won’t buy a house, but something has to give. My bigger goals are mortgage, travel, house and garden.