It’s times like these

I’ll be honest; renovating has produced so much rubbish I am almost afraid to show it. Quick, look at this cute pic of my daughter playing in our new (still unfinished and unfurnished) living room!


Now while you are still smiling, look at this…


YIKES! And that is just the packaging from the flat pack Ikea kitchen :-O It doesn’t include any of the old kitchen and flooring we had to dispose of. Scary, isn’t it :-/

Times like these there is only one thing to do- reuse as much as we possibly can!

And so we are experimenting with sheet mulching. This is a permaculture method of preparing garden beds where you first lay cardboard, followed by organic matter, then nitrogenous matter, then aged compost. You allow it to break down and are hopefully left with rich soil to plant into next season. We will be trying this around our fruit trees as well.


It’s not just the garden that has benefited from what would have been recycling at best (landfill at worst). Our homeschool has been able to use quite a lot. I know, I know. Who wants to fill their home with rubbish? But just look!


As we sort the pile we are collecting the interesting pieces to add to our art and construction area. We have all sorts of building materials now to use in play, projects, construction and science experiments.


These fantastic ramps were used in a science lesson on slope and gravity. The cat has taken to hiding inside when the kids aren’t busy racing cars all over the board πŸ˜€

We have used large flat pieces to line the lower parts of one wall in this room to create a giant drawing board! Once it is covered it will end up in the garden for next year’s sheet mulching.


My favourite project though has got to be this Montessori-style Multiplication Board. Yes, it is just a 10×10 grid drawn on with a Sharpie, but honestly,  my Little Mathematician is so in love with it and had no idea I had made it from ‘junk’ until I discussed this blog post with him.

Once again, you can find full instructions on how to present the Multiplication Board on InfoMontessori. Basically though, this material is used to learn times tables.


Here is our set up  (please note, the grid should be numbered 1-10 across the top. I added this after taking the photo but you can see it in the picture above). The child chooses which times table to work on. In this case it’s 3 times as noted by the giant die. You then take 3, one time by placing 3 beads in the first column. The child counts the beads and writes the equation 3×1=3 on their paper.


You then take 3, two times by placing 3 beads into the second column, count the beads and write the equation 3×2=6. From here you just continue across the board, using the (yellow) marker at the top to help keep track of where you are (this is where the written numbers help). Once the child reaches the end they can check their answers against a times tables chart.

We keep this material available on our maths shelf for our Little Mathematician to work on whenever he chooses. At the moment it seems to be his favourite activity and gets picked almost daily! Not bad for junk πŸ˜‰

(If junk isn’t your thing, or you don’t have any cardboard going spare, you can order a traditional wooden multiplication board from A2Z Montessori).

This has been a good opportunity for us to talk as a family about junk/rubbish/landfill and the ways we can contribute to either the problem or the solution. For The Mister and I it has been the shock to set us on the path of aiming for zero waste.

Staring at the pile of cardboard we both felt so awful that we had inadvertently caused such a huge amount of rubbish. We just knew that the next logical step from our homemade/homegrown/homecooked/homeschooled lifestyle was to now begin looking at reducing the waste we produce on an everyday basis. Look forward to lots more on that topic in the future!

Are you a (striving for) zero waste home?


4 thoughts on “It’s times like these

  1. Renovations… I know how you feel! But considering how seldom this is done, and the reason for the upgrades are to stay in our homes longer, and love home more, I think we can be ok with being a little extra wasteful – yet mindful – in these times. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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