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There are many good reasons to start DIY projects, and the advantages are multiplied when those projects become habits. Doing things on our own equates to a whole lot of savings, and that’s more money in our pockets. It also empowers us with the knowledge and experience to recognize that we indeed still have the skills to do stuff rather than simply buy stuff. Plus, DIY procedures allow us the opportunity to be more ecologically responsible than a large factory might be, and that usually means they are healthier options as well.

As the new year arrives, undoubtedly people have resolutions on their minds, and picking up some DIY routines would be a great route to go in that regard. Not only will they save us money, empower us, protect the environment, and improve our health, but it is also just plain rewarding to accomplish stuff, to say I made that, or I’m doing this because I care. So, here are some fantastic habits to focus on in the coming year.

1. Growing Food

Soon, spring will roll around, and it’ll be the ideal time to get a garden going. Let this year be the year to try producing some food at home. Start with some easy, quick-growing foods and feel the benefits of healthy, homegrown produce. This is a wonderful hobby! It provides something useful, keeps gardeners active, reduces food miles, and improves health. Whether it is container gardens, productive patios, or full-on food forests, this year — any year — is a great time to start growing food.

2. Fermenting Food

As long as growing food is on the agenda, preserving food is a great endeavor to put in the mix. There is canning, pickling, dehydrating, and freezing, but fermenting is the only preservation method that can improve the nutritional value of food. It happens through the probiotic bacteria that go to work in fermentation. This makes our guts healthier, which bolsters our immune systems. It’s super cheap and easy to do. And, it’s lots of fun!

3. (Home)making Toiletries

Sadly, the most commonly used toiletries, chemical-based deodorants, and so on, are increasingly being linked to chronic diseases and disorders. They are also expensive. Fortunately, it’s very simple to make cheap, effective toiletries at home out of natural ingredients. Not only will this save DIY-ers money and benefit their health, but the environmental impact — less packaging, and less reliance on petroleum products — is noteworthy, too.

4. Repurposing Stuff

Repurposing, for many, insinuates craftiness, and while this can be part of it, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all of it. Repurposing can be as simple as looking for goods — lumber, electronics, clothing, appliances, furniture, instruments, etc. — second-hand before buying new ones. For DIY-ers, this can equate to serious savings, interesting creative twists, and rewarding projects, such as building cool items out of pallets.

5. (Home)making Cleaning Products

Much like chemical-based toiletries, it turns out many of the chemical cleaners we commonly use at home are a risk to our health. The fumes can cause respiratory problems, and there are many other lingering effects. Again, the solution is simple, and with only a handful of natural items, an entire host of cleaning products can be easily whipped up to keep the house sparkling and sanitary.

6. Building Soil

For those who are looking to grow a little food or even just general garden enthusiasts, it only makes perfect sense to begin building up healthy soil by making compost. Not only will this enhance fertility in the garden, but it’ll also make good use of biodegradable trash. Instead of sending these things — food scraps, newspapers, documents, boxes, lawn trimmings, etc. —  to the landfill, furthering a growing garbage problem, they can be used to make rich, healthy soil.

7. Conserving Water

It’s time we start doing our best to conserve our freshwater, and while turning off the faucet as we brush our teeth is a good thing, there are lots of good DIY projects that can save much more water. Water taps can be changed to more efficient versions. Toilet tanks can be adjusted to use less water. A lot of the kitchen gray water we create — washing vegetables, rinsing a glass, boiling pasta or potatoes — can be used to water houseplants or gardens. The ultimate DIY project would be to start converting gray water drainage into irrigation.

A matter of a little initiative, idealism, and the DIY lifestyle can have a hugely positive impact on us, our communities, and the environment. Any of these pursuits are a worthy investment of time and effort, and the outcomes are something to be proud of. That’s what everyone wants in the new year.

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