Last year I ended up with two short batches of shavings and bars of Dove that I was reluctant to mix together. I probably could have, but my bucket was already full. At work, it turns out that we go through 36 bars of soap (give or take one or two bars) during the course of the summer months. most of them are used, but a small handful are taken. Coincidentally, the little baskets I store the soap in holds 36 bars of soap. Now, remember, my first batch of soaps I had trouble with the wrapping molding or soaking up the moisture and becoming unsightly. This year, I was still replacing some of those wrappings, so I decided that I wouldn't wrap the soaps I made last year. Those soaps sat in my bucket all last winter (I think I rearranged them a couple different times just to let them breathe); they also stayed in my bucket all summer long. Near the end of this summer, I now had two of those baskets empty.
As I was thinking about moving them, I decided I wouldn't wrap them even after them sitting out for a year. I figured I could wrap them as I put them in the cabin. Using the wax paper I'd bought to keep them from sticking to each other, I packed them into their little baskets. It turns out that even though I packed them laying down, at six per layer, with a little space between each bar, those baskets still held 36 bars. The bars in my bucket (I'd never counted them) filled those two empty baskets plus a little in the next basket. Next summer, I'll be using up the last of my already wrapped soaps and getting into some of those unwrapped soaps. That problem solved.
Back to the results of this year's recycling of soaps.
The first thing I did was weigh my two partial bags and fill them up to two pounds. That left me with enough to make a third batch, and a fourth batch that was like 1.5 pounds. I added the trimmings from the first batch to that fourth batch. The bars I got from that first batch were the perfect size; they actually looked like small bars of soap, being rectangular in shape. I really liked that. Since I wasn't packing the bars into my bucket again (not nearly enough to bother with a container so large), I was packing them back into the OxiClean box I'd brought them home in.
My second batch - well - I should have kept the trimmings for next year, but I decided I'd just add them to the third batch. That was a mistake, but only when it came to the size of the bars. I had to add another half cup of water to the shavings to make them more manageable; the extra volume of soap made the mass something like bread dough. When I got it into my mold, there was more than it could hold - not a lot more, but more. I was really tempted to trim the resulting bars down to the nice size my other two batches turned out to be, but really - chalk it up to a learning experience. I did not trim those bars - they are square, but they are nice and they will do. Next year I won't weigh my batches until I'm ready to cook them up. That way my two pounds will be assured, and I'd only have one bag of leftovers.
My fourth batch did the same thing my third batch did. Too much for my mold, but it is what it is. Next year, I anticipate it working out perfectly. Well - one can hope.