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Many of us would like to consume less stuff. In our world, the first reflex most people have when they have a problem or an unmet need is to buy their way out of it, but making things ourselves can procure lots of satisfaction and

The problem is that we too often lack imagination. So today, let's look at some things that you could make yourself instead of buying. I hope that this will inspire you; even if you don't find something you want to make in the suggestions below, at least keep your mind receptive to new ideas. It might change your life!

1.Growing Food & Gardening

To many people, few things are more satisfying than tending a garden. To feel good about eating food you grew yourself is as old as human agriculture, and the supermarket can't touch that feeling!

A good place to start is Planet Green's How to Go Green: Gardening guide

If you want to start small, you can turn a simple basket into an herb garden or grow food indoors perfect for urban dwellers.

2.Cooking from Scratch

The next logical thing to do yourself instead of buying is food. Bonus points if you are cooking from scratch with food that you grew yourself, but even with (preferably organic) food form the store, cooking is an art that more people should learn to enjoy. Ready-made foods are usually worse for both your health and the planet; they often have more fat, salt, sugar, and fewer vitamins, and use more packaging materials.

A good place to start is the Food section on Planet Green: All Natural Recipes and Economical Dinners. Also make sure to check out Emeril Green on Planet Green TV.

3.Home-Made Gifts There are many occasions to give gifts to our loved ones. For example, it was Valentine's Day a few days ago, and we wrote about how to make a paperless valentine's and how to take boudoir photos. But home-made gifts can work for all occasions and be good both for our financial sanity and for the planet. Giving a home-made coupon for a massage or an evening of babysitting can often be more appreciated than the latest trendy gizmo that will end up unused in the closet anyway... 4.Make Your Own Beer, Cider, or Wine There isn't enough space here to explain how to make your own beer, cider or wine; the goal is simply to remind you that it's possible, and a very nice challenge that can be quite enjoyable (both the making and drinking!). If you want to learn how to make your own beer, cider or wine, the best source of information to get started is probably your local public library. Some towns also have clubs that you can join, and they'll allow you to learn directly from people who are already making their own. Just remember that to make organic beer, you have to use organic ingredients. Some of the things we've covered on Planet Green: Make Your Own Organic Hard Cider and Start Brewing Your Own Beer Now. 5.Shaving Cream & Soap Shaving cream. Soap. These might seem like small things, but collectively we use literally tons. By making your own instead of buying, you can save mostly on packaging (especially those metal cans that shaving cream often comes in) but also on the energy required for shipping if you use locally produced source materials. We wrote about how to make your own shaving cream and how to make your own organic soap at home. 6.Hair Products Hair products fall in the same category as shaving cream and soap, but there's an even bigger variety that you can make yourself: - Top Five DIY Eco Hair Conditioners - DIY Organic Hair Remedies for: Brittle, Tight Curls - DIY Organic Hair Remedies for: Itchy/Flaky Scalp - DIY Organic Hair Remedies for: Dry & Dull Hair - DIY Organic Hair Remedies for: Damaged & Over-processed Hair - DIY Organic Hair Remedies: Deep Conditioning Mask 7.Candles Candles can be an inexpensive way to add a great mood to a room. By making your own, you can have candles that are both more environmentally friendly than the regular kind usually bought, and they can also be much more beautiful and original. Here is a guide that explains how to make beautiful candles with citrus fruits. 8.Mittens Spring is approaching, but if you live up North, there are still many months of cold weather ahead. But even if you are further South, it's never too early to get ready for next year! Nobody likes freezing their hands off, and most of us have old sweaters lying around. Why not recycle them into great mittens? 9.Homemade Recycled Laptop Case Laptop computers are getting more popular all the time and now almost everybody has one. Making your own is of course out of the question (though if your needs are basic—web-surfing, email, word processing—we recommend looking at a second-hand one), but the case in which to put your laptop can certainly be made from recycled materials instead of buying a new one. Here are 7 clever ways to make a recycled laptop case. 10.Lip Gloss We all know someone who's constantly applying lip gloss. I sometimes wonder if scientists have made studies to see if that movement is addictive (or maybe it's the rubbing sensation?)...In any case, it is possible to make great DIY eco-friendly lip gloss using beeswax. One less thing you need to buy.