Seems to me that the biggest impact I can have getting away from mass produced stuff is to switch to handmade for high turnover items and those items which are produced in the worst way - with loads of packaging, high costs to the environment and the labour force or where costs are cut by using cheap ingredients or shoddy work.
I love buying hand made vegetable soaps so I've long wanted to try soap making and this site seems to have loads of info and recipes. There's also good soap stuff here, here, here and these aussie sites sell soap making supplies (as well as stuff for lip balms and all manner of keep yourself nice stuff) and have sections with recipes, links and tutorials. This is a site specifically for aussie soap makers and has lots of resources.
I use lip balm several times a day and this means I'm either inadvertently eating or absorbing most of it. Scary to think I don't really know what's in it! Perhaps I could try making it myself using one of the recipes here, here, here and I will definitely use the tips here and here.
Looking at the soap and lip balm sites also got me thinking about bath bombs (fizzies), bath salts and bath oils, as well as body moisturisers. I'm not sure about making these for the swap - I know some people don't have baths or use such things (even though I'd be happy to have them - my kids are still young enough to do most of their washing in the bath - having something that cleaned them would be good, no?).
I'm also dead keen to try home made deoderant. Don't look at me like that - if it's good enough for Amy, it's good enough for me! There's a heap of people sprouting it's praises - check out this, this, this, this or this.
Moving from the bathroom to the kitchen an obvious target is the kitchen sponge/washer/scrubber. I've tried a few different knitted and crocheted wash clothes (actually you don't need to move rooms - wash clothes are right at home in the bathroom too!) and I'm not even sure how to start choosing links to these since there are an enormous number of patterns out there. In a totally random fashion if you really can't use google for yourself you could try this, this, this, this or this.
But I'm really interested in the idea I might be able to find something that replaces both the scourer as well as the wiper part of the sponge. I have heard mention of using double knitting to make a softer cloth side and a rough string side wash cloth and I can't find a specific link but it seems like a great idea. How about this or the comments on this post, which have some great suggestions for sponge and scourer replacements as well as tips on cleaning them. I like the idea of balling up nylon net produce bags, or even cutting netting into strips and knitting or crocheting it.
And we definitely need air freshner (4 people live here and we only have one combined bathroom/toilet/laundry) but I detest aerosols and chemical florals. I've long made our own using essential oils denatured in alcohol and diluted with distilled water in a spray bottle but I read somewhere that you can use detergent instead of alcohol which would make things easier. I'd be grateful if a perfumier could supply me with an excellent oil mix recipe since D is not into florals and I'm kind of bored of citrus.
I'm sure there's other good ideas out there - come on - suggestions please??