Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff
Before recycling became popular, reducing and reusing were the key methods of keeping our stuff out of landfills. But long before overflowing landfills were an issue, our forefathers were masters at the age-old art of reusing. Ingenious and creative, their ways of putting old things to new uses were practical and well and truly frugal. We could all stand to learn some lessons from them and rekindle the art of reusing by breathing new life into old stuff.
So before you chuck that tattered trinket in the bin, here are a few ways we can reuse our tired toys right now.
The sock monster visits most homes, illicitly leaving us with missing and mis-matched socks. Here are a few things you can do with those lonely left-over socks.
This is a great way to reuse two things that would otherwise wend their way to the garbage bin: used socks and pencil shavings. Stuff those pencil shavings into an unmatched sock, tie off the end, and store it with your sweaters to keep the moths away.
Fill an old sock with baking soda, and stuff it in the toe of a stinky shoe overnight for de-smellification.
Do you use solid soap? If so, you know how difficult it is to put those last slivers of bar soap to good use. Fill an old (clean) sock with these soap slivers, and you have a soapy washcloth. This takes “soap on a rope” to new levels.
This is probably my favorite piece of reusing brilliance: fill that old sock (the bigger the better) with rice. Tie or sew off the end, microwave for one minute, and melt away your stress with your homemade hot pack. Add some lavender or essential oils and your hot pack will have aroma therapeutic effects too.
Filling a long sock with rice and/or (even better) dryer lint or any other material you have for reusing and putting the sock along the bottom of doors will keep the cool drafts out and the warmth in.
Although not exactly fashionable, an old tube sock with the foot cut off makes for a handy beer cozy.
If keeping your drink insulated is not a priority(!), then use your tube socks (again, with the foot cut off) as a tube dress for your kids’ dolls. Decorate it with fabric paint or markers and buttons, and your kids will enjoy expanding their dolls’ wardrobes.
Tie an old sock on to the end of a broom handle, and now you have a way to dust under the fridge, behind the stove, and other hard to reach places.
Any household with children has probably seen its share of little crayon pieces. Once they are small enough, these well-loved crayons seem to wend their way to all manner of nooks and crannies in the house, if not the garbage can itself. Never throw another crayon away! Here are a few things you can do to breathe new life into these colorful tools.
Peel the paper off your collection of crayon pieces, and break the larger remnants into smaller pieces. Fill an old muffin tin with the crayon pieces, and bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, or until the wax melts. Allow to cool, and enjoy your multicolored creation.
Alternately, you can use pie plates or ice cube trays instead of a muffin tin, and you can use the microwave or a double boiler instead of the oven.
Instead of using muffin tins, melt the crayons using a double boiler or microwave, and pour the melted wax into candy molds. Insert a candy stick, and allow to cool. These rainbow-colored “candy crayons” look good enough to eat, and will be like new toys for your kids. They also make fabulous gifts, and are even something easy and inexpensive to make that enterprising kids can sell at the local craft fair.
Miscellaneous Household Hacks
Stop floor scratches in their tracks by cutting up old mouse pads or carpet pieces, and gluing them to the bottoms of chair and furniture legs.
Once cold season is over, use extra or expired vapor rub on clothes and skin to repel ticks and mosquitoes.
Once a paintbrush is caked in dried paint and is hard as a rock, it is tough to believe that it can be restored. But in fact it can, and without any harsh solvents. Simply soak the brush in vinegar for five minutes, then massage the bristles while you rinse.
Instead of letting your child gorge on their Halloween take, freeze some of the candy. When Christmas season rolls around, use the Halloween candy to decorate a gingerbread house.
After making a batch of apple pie or applesauce, you undoubtedly have the peels and cores to contend with. Before you throw them into the compost bin, put them into a pot, cover with water, and boil on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. The strained juice can be used for drinking, or as a flavorful broth for cooking grains like oatmeal and rice.