reuse http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7054/all en-US 12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eraser stamp.jpg" alt="eraser stamp" title="eraser stamp" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love finding dual purposes for everyday items. It's a sneaky way of getting more bang for my buck. And &mdash; chances are &mdash; if anyone in your family is in school, you have quite a collection of school and office supplies handy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>Break out your pencil boxes and your craft paper and let's get started!</p> <h2>1. Pencil Eraser Designs</h2> <p>For a custom <a href="http://cutesycrafts.com/2014/06/diy-eraser-stamped-4th-july-shirt.html">stamped shirt</a>, use your eraser. Cut out a simple shape or design using freezer paper, place it on a clean cotton shirt, and then dip an unused pencil eraser in fabric paint and get creative.</p> <h2>2. Large Eraser Stamps</h2> <p>For those bigger erasers, carve out a design and make a <a href="http://www.wardi.dk/2009/05/eraser-stamp-tutorial-part-5.html">smart stamp</a> for personalizing stationery or just plain fun. Don't forget: If you're going to use lettering, you'll need to write it backwards to make sense once stamped.</p> <h2>3. Pencil Beads</h2> <p>For a cute back-to-school accessory, look no farther than your pencil box. Colored pencils make wonderful, <a href="http://www.designmom.com/2011/08/diy-colored-pencil-jewelry/">vibrant beads</a> that can be drilled for use in necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and more.</p> <h2>4. Mega-Crayons</h2> <p>Turn those old crayon bits into a <a href="http://www.mollymoocrafts.com/for-crayon-out-loud/">great gift or party favor</a>. Simply take off any leftover paper, place remnant into a silicone mold, and bake at around 200 degrees for just five minutes (baking time will vary depending on your oven). Let cool before packaging.</p> <h2>5. Paper Clip Ornaments</h2> <p>For a super frugal way to decorate your tree this year, try these <a href="http://craftyjournal.com/easy-paperclip-angel-ornament/?cuid=b1dfac24b37c30de8b94cd5b618fecc6">paper clip ornaments</a>. All you need are butterfly flips, a bit of ribbon, and pearl beads. Once you get the hang, you can make dozens an hour for stocking stuffers!</p> <h2>6. Post-It Planner</h2> <p>I'm a big fan of Post-It notes, and I love this idea to use those little squares in a big way. Turn yours into a <a href="http://tatertotsandjello.com/2013/08/free-printables-easy-post-it-note-school-planning-wall.html">wall planning system</a> by arranging each square like a box on a calendar.</p> <h2>7. Three Ring Genius</h2> <p>Use a three ring binder to organize more than just class notes. You can use a variety of <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Neat-Electrical-Component-Organizing-in-Binders/">plastic inserts and baggies</a> to hold your memory cards, jump drives, etc. I use a similar method to organize my coupons, store punch cards, gift cards, and more.</p> <h2>8. Upcycled Hooks</h2> <p>Or you can use that old binder's insides for a <a href="http://upcycleus.blogspot.com/2011/07/upcycling-threering-binder-with-easy.html">quick hook system</a>. Once you get the metal out of the plastic cover, use screws to fasten the hooks to a wall or fence for instant hanging.</p> <h2>9. Rubber Band Remedy</h2> <p>Need to dry your makeup brushes? Try <a href="http://glossedintranslation.com/2012/01/11/bleurgh-its-french-and-brush-drying/">tethering them to a towel rod</a> using rubber bands. No towel rod? Easy &mdash; just use a hanger for the same purpose.</p> <h2>10. Clipboard Decor</h2> <p>Arrange various sizes and styles of clipboards into a gorgeous wall of art with these <a href="http://www.craft-o-maniac.com/2014/05/clipboard-wall-art-free-printables.html">free printables</a>. You could also clip photos, your child's artwork, and even use this trick to organize an office the chic way with important documents and to-do lists.</p> <h2>11. Clip Cord Holder</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L50GfLlhy70"></iframe></p> <p>If you've ever tried charging your devices at your desk, only to have all those cords fall straight to the floor &mdash; this trick is for you. Loop the end of your computer or phone charger cords through <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L50GfLlhy70">binder clips</a> and clamp onto your table or desk to hold steady.</p> <h2>12. Sharpie China</h2> <p>To upgrade basic dinnerware into something beautiful, try <a href="http://alwayswearyour-invisiblecrown.blogspot.nl/2013/09/the-one-with-sharpie-and-plate.html">drawing geometric designs</a> with Sharpie markers. To set, just bake the dish for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This projects lets you freshen your kitchen for less or give great gifts on the cheap.</p> <p><em>How do you upcycle school and office supplies into cool tools and decor? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house">9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY crafts recycle reuse school supplies upcycle Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1211250 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tea-tin.jpg" alt="tea tins" title="tea tins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever the seasons change, I get this itch to do a total cleaning to our drawers, kitchen shelves, and closets. Over the years, though, I've learned that sometimes my brain gets ahead of me with all this cathartic purging. I'm not advocating that you hold onto these things to the bitter end, but definitely give yourself some time before you decide to toss or donate them for good. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <p>You can repurpose a variety of items to meet your current needs &mdash; all while saving yourself money and more clutter in the process. Here are 10 items you might want to toss away with some smart ideas for how to use them in new ways.</p> <h2>1. Old T-Shirts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/old%20tshirts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Before you take an armful of old t-shirts to the donation center, consider other ways you can use them in your home. You can cut them up into wash rags to save you cash on paper towels, for example. And if you're crafty, there are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-stylish-diy-clothing-projects-for-women">upcycled clothing projects</a> you can make, from fabric scarves to skirts.</p> <h2>2. Crib</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-crib.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Even if you don't plan to have any more babies, resist the urge to place that crib on the curb. You can make an awesome <a href="http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html">desk for your big kids</a> using a little chalkboard paint and creativity. Simply cut a piece of particle board to the size of the mattress and adjust to the correct height. Add a chair plus some hanging accessories, and you're done!</p> <h2>3. Baby Gate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-gate2.jpg" /></p> <p>And that baby gate that's collecting dust? Keep it around if you suspect you might ever want to add a puppy to your family. If that's not the case, you can also use it <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/reusing-cribs-and-baby-gates-in-the-garden-170442">in the garden</a> as a frugal trellis.</p> <h2>4. Wine Corks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/wine-corks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you haven't heard, there's quite an assortment of wine cork crafts that are as functional as they are pretty. I love this <a href="http://stephanieteaches.blogspot.com/2014/03/wine-dont-whine.html">wine cork kitchen mat</a> that took over 240 corks and a lot of patience to make. If that project is a bit too advanced, start small with this wine cork <a href="http://www.adventuresintrying.com/2011/07/25/flashback-diy-wine-cork-board/">bulletin board</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">15 Common Kitchen Castoffs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wooden Crates</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/fruit-crate.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fruit crates &mdash; old and new &mdash; can be reused for a variety of purposes. My favorite is this stylish <a href="http://www.remodelista.com/posts/diy-crate-shelves-on-wheels">rolling cart</a> made from three crates on their sides. Just fasten together and add the casters, which you can find inexpensively at most hardware stores.</p> <h2>6. Plastic Spray Bottles</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/spray-bottle.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've finished your window cleaner or all-purpose suds, save those spray bottles and try making your own green cleaners to fill them with using ingredients like vinegar, water, and castile soap. You'll save money and improve your home's health &mdash; all while being green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>7. Tea Tins</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/tea-tin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm a tea fanatic, so I have quite my share of colorful tins of all shapes and sizes. I use them to house supplies like paper clips and pushpins. I've also seen some cute indoor herb gardens or even candles made by melting wax into the container and adding a wick.</p> <h2>8. Picture Frame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/picture-frame.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We all have an old picture frame somewhere lurking in our closets. Put it to good use painting over the glass and making a functional <a href="http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2013/03/07/how-to-make-a-diy-chalkboard-from-an-old-picture-frame/">DIY chalkboard</a>. You can use it in your office or even incorporate it into your home holiday decor.</p> <h2>9. Window Shade</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/window-shade.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Changed your window dressings? No problem. Before tossing that old window shade, consider giving it to your kids as a <a href="http://www.fromgardners2bergers.com/2014/02/diy-restoration-hardware-chalkboard.html">roll-up blackboard</a>. You can also use it for some sophisticated decor in much the same way. All you do is paint with chalkboard paint and draw on your desired image.</p> <h2>10. Toothbrush</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/toothbrush.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>According to the American Dental Association, you should be changing out your toothbrush every <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-">three to four months</a>. Use the discarded brushes for cleaning your home. They work especially well in the bathroom on tough grout stains and other hard-to-reach areas that need a little scrubbing.</p> <p><em>What do you regularly keep and re-purpose? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living crafts DIY recycle reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1209318 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Saved $30,000 and Helped the Earth at the Same Time http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/environmental-superhero-470863339-small.jpg" alt="environmental superhero" title="environmental superhero" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="194" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over seven years ago, I joined <a href="http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-years-resolution.html">The Compact</a>&nbsp;out of <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/march-madness-compact-free-stuff-edition/">green guilt</a> (and because everything I do in my life has to be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used">dare</a>).</p> <p>In brief, The Compact is an environmental movement that challenges members to step away from the consumer grid and take as few <em>new</em> resources out of the planet as possible for one calendar year. Compactors pledge to buy only used goods for twelve months, with obvious exceptions for things like food and health care products.</p> <p>I've stayed with The Compact for longer than one year because, in addition to allowing me to live closer to my environmental values, it's also a super fun challenge.</p> <p>As it turns out, The Compact is also a massive money saver.</p> <p>This week's horrible personal project is purging the filing cabinet. I have gone through all sorts of boring paperwork, fiddling with old receipts. Along the way, I've also been doing a little math (always a dangerous thing for me) and discovered that my effort to save the planet has saved me at least $30,000. $30,000! That savings is spread over 7.5 years, but still. $30,000! And that's a conservative estimate.</p> <p>Here are 22 ways I saved at least $30,000 while also saving the planet.</p> <h2>1. I Make Every Effort to Buy Only Used Goods</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/yard-sale-83590593-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Since I happen to like vintage clothes, old houses, and classic cars, only buying used goods is hardly deprivation &mdash; it's my aesthetic. That said, about once a year, I'll get dinged financially for buying used. For example, I could have bought a new, cheap pair of boots for less than the price I paid to resole my old ones. However, for most purchases, buying used is far cheaper than buying new.</p> <h2>2. I Spend Consciously</h2> <p>I can no longer shop without intention. When I buy something, I don't just think about how I will use that item, but how I will eventually dispose of it. This extra environmental awareness saves me a lot of money, because I can't unlearn my good shopping habits and go back to the days of mindless spending. The extra bit of inconvenience sourcing used versions of everything I want also gives me time to consider how badly I need something. Is it something I really need or can I get by with something I already own?</p> <h2>3. I Shrank My Living Space</h2> <p>One of the fastest ways I shrank my carbon footprint was to share my house with other people. When I lived alone in my 1000 square foot house, I took up all 1000 square feet. I also paid for the entire mortgage. While living alone was something I considered an adult achievement, having roommates, renting my house out as a B&amp;B, and ultimately moving in with my husband have all saved me money and helped lighten the load on the planet.</p> <h2>4. I Cut My Car Use to Under 5000 Miles a Year</h2> <p>To a lot of city folk I know, this doesn't sound impressive. But in Los Angeles, a gigantic metropolis, with iffy public transit, this is a huge challenge. My rule? If the destination is less than three miles from my house on surface streets, I have to walk or bike instead of getting in the car. In addition to cutting my gas costs by more than half, I also saved money on tire replacement, car servicing, and insurance. Also, because I now walk anywhere from three to 10 miles daily, I was able to cut my $40 a month gym membership.</p> <h2>5. I Bought a Used Car</h2> <p>As much as I'd love a gas-sipping Prius, the resource cost of creating a new car is much greater than the resources I will use to drive and keep up the 1989 Volvo station wagon my husband and I just bought from a friend for $3500. It's hard to see on the surface, but an old gas-guzzler, driven less often, can be lighter on the planet than the creation of a brand new car. Also, to quote my mechanic, &quot;You cannot buy a new car of this quality for $3500.&quot;</p> <p>I should note, too, that my parent's first generation Prius just died after 200,000 miles, and there is no way repair the hybrid engine. 200,000 miles on a Volvo 240 is nothing. Our other car is a Volvo 240 sedan that is still rolling strong after almost 400,000 miles of driving.</p> <h2>6. I Realized That Car Preservation Was Smarter Than Car Repair</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/car-polish-78751334-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My husband's Polish relatives drive &quot;The Machine,&quot; the name they gave to their Iron Curtain-era compact automobile because it is so lacking in amenities. The Machine is in its 4th decade but still running smoothly because the family treats the car like it's the only car they will ever own. (And it is.) They do everything from driving the speed limit to regularly washing The Machine (to maintain its original 1970's paint job) to ensure that they put as little wear and tear on the car as possible. It's preventative medicine for automobiles.</p> <p>I used to drive, everywhere, like the cops where chasing me. Now I drive like an old lady. It's annoying to my speed-demon friends, but it saves wear and tear on my car and gives me superior gas mileage.</p> <h2>7. I Pay Attention to My Tire Pressure</h2> <p>The average driver who drives 12,000 miles a year on under-inflated tires uses an extra 144 gallons of gas and adds an additional 2880 pounds of green house gases to the environment annually!</p> <p>Properly inflating my tires saves me about $240 a year in gasoline costs, but it also extends the life of my tires. Under-inflation causes more rolling resistance, which adds substantially more wear and tear to the tires. This is also a safety hazard. A badly timed blow-out can kill.</p> <h2>8. I Became a Black Belt Composter</h2> <p>Dirty cardboard food containers cannot be recycled. However, the greasy pizza box, the butter wrappers, the take-out containers, and the wax paper from the cheese can all be put into the compost as the &quot;brown&quot; ingredient. In addition to dramatically cutting down on food related trash, the resulting light and fluffy compost is the perfect amendment for my clay garden soil, adding both nutrients and friability. Better soil equals a more productive garden. Beyond the food savings of a victory garden, using my homemade compost has saved me several hundred dollars in fertilizer and soil amendment costs.</p> <h2>9. I Mulched The Yard</h2> <p>California is in the middle of a severe drought. As a result, our water bill is sky high. To suppress weeds and keep our garden soil moist, I first laid down a layer of &quot;liquor store mulch,&quot; aka flattened cardboard boxes procured for free from my corner liquor store. For the delivery cost of $30, the stables at my local racetrack were more than happy to supply me with an entire truckload of wood chips and horse poop as a garden topcoat. Not only did this organic buffer cut the amount of water used in the garden by 50%, three years later we are still enjoying the results. The cardboard and topcoat have composted down to rich topsoil, and we have 90% fewer weeds.</p> <h2>10. I Got Hardcore About Wastewater</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/bucket-water-187371073-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Because fresh water is becoming scarcer and more expensive with each passing year, I am constantly on the hunt for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-water">more ways to save water</a>. One major component of this is recycling my waste water. Sadly, my home and yard is poorly configured to use the gray water from my washing machine. That said, I've gotten into the habit of cleaning my floors and my car with buckets of leftover bathwater, and watering my ornamental plants with leftover dishwater.</p> <h2>11. I Started Using Homemade Cleansers</h2> <p>Reusing my gray water got me thinking about how I clean my house. If a cleanser was too poisonous to pour into my garden, isn't it also too poisonous to pour down the drain leading to the ocean? Cleaning with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesomeness-of-sodium-bicarbonate-27-uses-for-baking-soda">baking soda</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">white vinegar</a>, or removing the soap scum out of my bathtub with table salt and a grapefruit rind, is not only less toxic than any of the commercial cleansers, it is also far cheaper. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>12. I Bought a Small (Used) Refrigerator</h2> <p>Every new home now seems to feature double wide, French door refrigerators. Unless you have a gigantic family, it is impossible to eat through 20+ cubic feet of food before it goes bad. This leads to poor shopping and eating habits.</p> <p>When <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-refrigerators">shopping for a refrigerator</a>, read the fine print on the energy usage. There are many smaller refrigerators that don't get an Energy Star rating but use less energy than the bigger refrigerators that do.</p> <p>Also, refrigerators and freezers run more efficiently when they are full rather than empty. Why pay extra to cool unused space? Consider ignoring the signage inside the fridge and arrange your food in the most space-saving way (like using the crisper drawer for canned drinks instead of vegetables), using every nook and cranny. My small refrigerator enforces smart shopping habits and saves me money on my energy bill all year long. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>13. I Exorcised the Phantom Load and the Vampire Draw From My Home</h2> <p>Here's a terrible secret: Many modern appliances <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise">leak energy</a> even when they are turned off. The Dust Buster, the phone charger, the video game console&hellip;I love them, but they were sucking up $20 a month in electricity while I slept. Those little monsters. To combat phantom load, I plugged my entertainment system into a power strip and then I put the power strip on a timer. From 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., the TV, the DVD player, and the game consoles get switched off automatically at the plug. All other small electronics are unplugged manually and religiously when they are not in use.</p> <h2>14. I Became a Beekeeper</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/beekeeper-178850019-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Beekeeping, unlike gardening, takes up very little space. I know over a hundred yard-less, urban beekeepers who keep bees on their tiny balconies, on the rooftops of their office buildings, or at community gardens. Honeybees increase the yield of gardens by 30% to 60%. This dramatic increase in productivity is an obvious money saver for the home gardener. More produce for less work!</p> <p>Since bees are in decline all over the world, giving a safe home to pollinators is good for the planet. My new skill set also gave me two more revenue streams: selling honey and doing live bee removal from public buildings and peoples' private homes. Keeping bees is a fascinating hobby job, and I learn something new about beekeeping every day. That said, the youngest member of my local bee club is five years old and the oldest is 96. It's an activity that people of all ages can learn and enjoy.</p> <h2>15. I Learned How to Preserve Food</h2> <p>Canning is the new knitting. And, as with knitting, canning is a fake frugal activity if you are paying retail for your supplies. Canning really only saves money if you are preserving <em>surplus</em> produce. Even though I have my own garden, I have yet to grow enough food that I can't eat it all myself.</p> <p>When I learned to can, instead of buying fruit for jam at the store, I put a want ad on my local <a href="https://www.freecycle.org/">Freecycle</a> group for surplus fruit. I got an insane response from my neighbors. The first year, I collected over 2000 pounds of free fruit. In exchange for gleaning privileges, I give my fruit-donating neighbors a jar of every new batch of preserves. My neighbors love being members of my Jam of the Month Club, and I've met so many new friends this way.</p> <p>Because I have access to so much free produce, I've started canning the surplus to sell and barter. I trade my jam with my neighbor for eggs and fresh poultry. I also make several hundred dollars a year selling my preserves at local craft fairs.</p> <p>Beyond my own grocery savings, making homemade preserves has saved me hundreds of dollars on gift purchases. People make birthday jam requests now!</p> <p>After the ingredients, the next most expensive aspect of canning is the jars. New jelly jars cost $1 each. I accidentally fell into a free source of canning jars last year when my friends got married. Apparently, the new trend in frugal summer weddings is to use eight-ounce jelly jars instead of buying or renting glassware for the wedding. After the wedding party, my friends offered to give me the dirty jars for free. For the cost of elbow grease I got 340 jars with new, unused lids, my friends had one less thing to deal with after the wedding, and the reusable jars stayed out of the waste stream for that much longer.</p> <p>It's old-fashioned etiquette to return jars to the cook when you finish eating the jam. My customers actually love this green aspect of my business, and I get about a 30% return rate of jars every year.</p> <h2>16. I Decided to Take Bottle and Can Recycling Seriously</h2> <p>Los Angeles has the largest recycling program in the country. I used to just throw my bottles and cans into the recycling bin without another thought. It's so easy. But then I realized that my laziness was costing me about $300 a year in easy money!</p> <p>While recycling for money versus letting the city recycle for money had a net impact of zero on the environment, the time spent dropping off bottles and cans at the recycling center myself pays for one entire month of water and power. For me, this is a huge deal.</p> <h2>17. I Became a Hard Core Trash Picker</h2> <p>Last week I made $120 at a garage sale. Most of the merchandise I'd found on the curb while walking through the neighborhood on trash day. I kept fifty items out of the waste stream for a little longer by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">literally selling garbage</a> back to my neighbors.</p> <h2>18. I Moved The Cats Indoors</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/kitten-482462371.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our two cats used to be indoor/outdoor cats. Although the cats loved the freedom, the injuries that they sustained from running around outside were costing upwards of $800 a pop at the vet.</p> <p>The most obvious way to save on medical costs and medical waste is to stay in good health. Veterinary waste might be smaller than human medical waste, but just like at the people version of ER, very few medical supplies at an animal hospital can be recycled or reused legally. All the tubes, syringes, and medications are single use items, and even washable equipment uses a lot of resources to keep clean.</p> <p>Although the cats still lurk by the door, hoping they can sneak outside without me noticing, I am resolute in my decision to keep them indoors. The <a href="http://www.cat-world.com.au/indoor-vs-outdoor-cats">average lifespan</a> of an indoor cat is 12 years, while outside cats often live less than five.</p> <h2>19. I Split the Cost of Tools With My Friends</h2> <p>I share a china pattern with my brother-in-law. I share a weed whacker with my friend Laura. I share luggage with my sister. I share a Cuisinart with my neighbor Alexandra. Why do I need to buy and store an entire set of tools that aren't in constant, daily use when I can split the cost and the storage space with other people?</p> <h2>20. I Stopped Eating Meat During the Week</h2> <p>Eating a vegetarian diet is an easy way to live light on the planet and light on my body. My husband and I eat meat twice a week, usually when we are dining out with friends. Eating meat is now an event for us, which is how it was for humankind for most of history. Monday through Friday we eat vegetarian meals. Cutting out meat during the week has allowed us to spend more money on organic produce and dry goods. As part-time vegetarians, we actually eat better quality food, and still have money left over to eat dinner at a restaurant twice a week.</p> <h2>21. I Reuse Paper Before I Recycle</h2> <p>American businesses throw away 175 pounds of paper per worker per year. Even though I run my business from my home, it would take me over a decade to use that amount of paper as I make an effort to use both sides of every sheet of paper that crosses my desk.</p> <p>In addition to making double-sided printing the default setting on my printer, I save myself a lot of hassle and misprinted documents by carefully labeling my printer, so I know exactly how to insert paper, envelopes, and labels for perfect print outs every time.</p> <p>I never use virgin paper as scratch paper.</p> <p>I can get two extra uses out of used envelopes! First, I like to write grocery lists on the back of used envelopes. That way I can store my coupons inside for easy access while I'm shopping. Once both sides of an envelope are used, I carefully pull apart the envelope and refold it inside out for reuse a third, or even fourth time! A little glue stick is all that's needed to glue everything back together.</p> <h2>22. I Use Second Hand Packing Material</h2> <p>I sell a lot of vintage goods on Etsy and a lot of books on <a href="http://www.half.ebay.com/">half.com</a>. I get all of my padded envelopes for shipping books and records from my local college radio station. College radio stations, with their eclectic music programming, receive hundreds of CDs and records from musicians and record labels for play on air every month. If you don't have this type of radio station in your area, think of what local businesses might receive a lot of packing material they aren't reusing. It never hurts to ask.</p> <p>My go-to source for small, heavy-duty boxes is my local hardware store. Hardware stores have a huge variety of boxes of all shapes and sizes because their merchandise selection is so broad. Every day, the owner of my local mom-and-pop hardware store puts all the unwanted cardboard boxes next to the dumpster in their back parking lot. The hardware store pays less for trash pickup, and my neighbors and I get the pick of free storage and shipping containers.</p> <p>Has anyone else had this sticker shock, but in a good way?</p> <p><em>What do-gooder things for the environment did you do that ended up saving you a lot of money? Please share in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">12 Ways to Cut Down on Garbage and Save Money Too!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dumpster-diving-101-6-strategies-for-success">Dumpster-Diving 101: 6 Strategies for Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority">Why Recycling Is My Lowest Priority</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-recycler-utah-man-saves-70-000-beer-cans">The ultimate recycler - Utah man saves 70,000 beer cans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle buying used recycling reuse saving upcycling Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:43:34 +0000 Max Wong 1141613 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-450745419.jpg" alt="groceries" title="groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average person generates <a href="http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">4.3 pounds of waste</a> every day, and well over half of this waste (about 220 million tons) ends up in a landfill. Not only is this rate of trash production terrible for the planet, it wastes lots of your hard-earned money. While that single-use item or throw-away packaging feels convenient, disposable items are the same as throwing money in the trash. Save money, and be kind to the planet, by switching to one of these cost-effective reusable replacements instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Rechargeable Batteries</h2> <p>While rechargeable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-long-lasting-aa-batteries">batteries</a> cost more initially, they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, if used properly. At the end of their life cycle, rechargeable batteries can be recycled to keep toxic chemicals out of the landfill.</p> <h2>2. Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water has to be the biggest scam ever. Despite what the industry says, <a href="http://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/">bottled water</a> isn't any cleaner or healthier than tap water. The production of one plastic bottle uses more water to produce than actually put into the bottle for drinking! Skip the scam and carry tap water in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle">a non-BPA water bottle</a> instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Diva Cup</h2> <p>Disposable pads and tampons aren't the only option. Ladies, if you'd like to save money and be kind to the planet during your time of the month, consider a reusable option like <a href="http://matadornetwork.com/goods/no-tampons-no-problem-alternative-products-for-female-travelers/">menstrual cups or washable pads</a>.</p> <h2>4. Glass Food Storage Containers</h2> <p>Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and cheap plastic containers are all money in the trash. If you've got leftovers, or want to bring your lunch to work, store food in reusable glass containers instead (glass is better than plastic because it won't leach toxins into your food or retain food residue).</p> <h2>5. Cloth Shopping Bags</h2> <p>Those plastic bags they give you at the store aren't free. You pay for them in the form of increased food prices. They also take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill, often becoming microscopic plastic waste in the ocean. Buy or make your own cloth shopping bags, and you could receive a nice credit at the register. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans?ref=seealso">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a>)</p> <h2>6. DIY Swiffer Pads</h2> <p>If (like me) you've only got a small uncarpeted area, a full size mop and bucket are unnecessary. With a Swiffer you can give your kitchen and bathroom a quick once over without all the fuss. Instead of constantly buying disposable pads, make your own <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Swiffer-Mop-Pad-a-reusable-one!/">Swiffer pad</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=tag_title&amp;search_query=swiffer">washable one</a> on Etsy.</p> <h2>7. Safety Razor</h2> <p>Most of us shave at least one body part, and disposable razor heads are astronomically expensive. There are lots of <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-greener-alternatives-to-disposable-razors.html">greener alternatives to disposable razors</a>, however, including some that can be sharpened repeatedly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money On Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cloth Napkins and Cleaning Wipes</h2> <p>Paper napkins, paper towels, tissues, and disposable cleaning wipes are convenient, but incredibly wasteful. Using washable cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, and turning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">old t-shirts</a> into reusable cleaning cloths, will save heaps of money and drastically reduce your garbage production.</p> <h2>9. Permanent Coffee Filter</h2> <p>Still using bleached paper coffee filters to brew your morning java? Save lots of money with a permanent, reusable coffee filter instead. When dirty, simply run it through the dishwasher.</p> <h2>10. Diapers and Baby Wipes</h2> <p>Unlike disposable diapers, which cost a fortune, cloth diapers are softer, less-toxic, and result in zero landfill waste. Same thing goes for baby wipes. Consider using <a href="http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php">cloth diapers</a> and making your own reusable <a href="http://www.inhabitots.com/how-to-make-a-reusable-cloth-baby-wipe-kit/">cloth baby wipes kit</a>.</p> <h2>11. Dryer Balls</h2> <p>Fabric softener and dryer sheets are an expensive way to get the soft, clean-smelling clothes that you want. Save time, money, and energy with these <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/09/save-time-money-and-energy-make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html">DIY wool dryer balls</a> instead (tennis balls also work in a pinch, but they're loud).</p> <h2>12. Reusable Straws</h2> <p>Unless you're a baby (or have a physical condition that makes drinking difficult) I'm not really sure why you need a straw. Nevertheless, using a washable <a href="http://glassdharma.com/">glass</a> or <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/coffee-tea-and-drink-preparation/rsvp-international-stainless-steel-drinking-straws-wide-set-of-4.htm">metal straw</a> instead of the plastic ones drastically reduces waste.</p> <h2>13. Permanent Air Filter</h2> <p>To keep your home and car running efficiently, you need a clean air filter. Many people simply replace these disposable filters every few months, not realizing there are permanent alternatives.</p> <h2>14. Wrapping Paper</h2> <p>Paper wrappings and gift bags look good, but are often only used for minutes before being tossed in the trash. Save money and reduce paper waste with <a href="http://inhabitat.com/6-eco-friendly-gift-wrap-alternatives/">eco-friendly alternatives</a> like cloth gift bags and upcycled wrappings.</p> <h2>15. Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils</h2> <p>Whether you're planning a picnic (or simply packing a lunch) strive to use traditional metal cutlery that can be washed repeatedly. Really need a disposable option? Try compostable alternatives made from corn or bamboo.</p> <h2>16. Toothbrush</h2> <p>Toothbrush bristles wear out quickly, so to maintain a healthy smile, they've got to be replaced. This doesn't mean the entire toothbrush needs to end up in the trash, however. You can reduce 93% of toothbrush waste by using toothbrush handles with <a href="http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/sourcetoothbrush.aspx">replaceable heads</a>.</p> <h2>17. Vacuum Bags</h2> <p>Vacuums that require disposable bags are, well, vintage to say the least. Upgrade to a vacuum that features an easy-to-empty canister and washable air filter, and never waste money on vacuum bags again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-vacuums?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums</a>)</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Use the reusable comments box below to share your favorite reusables!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home green living recycle reuse Tue, 13 May 2014 08:24:22 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1138731 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Teeny-Tiny Ways to Save http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/biking_family.jpg" alt="Biking family" title="Biking family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="120" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say it&rsquo;s the little things in life that have the biggest impact &mdash; and that&rsquo;s quite true in the context of money matters. While making massive changes to the way you spend can help boost your bottom line, so too can minute measures that you may not have considered. Starting today, keep more cash in your pocket by instituting these teeny tiny ways to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Sign Up for the Keep the Change Program</h3> <p>The Keep the Change program is exclusive to Bank of America, but there are other banks that have similar programs that round every debit-card purchase up to the nearest dollar and deposit that amount of change into your savings account. If you use your debit card frequently &mdash; I sure do &mdash; the savings can add up quickly.</p> <h3>2. Dress Warmer Around the House When It&rsquo;s Cold</h3> <p>No need to turn up the heat when there&rsquo;s a nip in the air. Head to your closet and put on socks, sweatpants, and a nice warm top to stay cozy instead of cranking up the thermostat.</p> <h3>3. Use Natural Light Whenever Possible</h3> <p>During the daytime, rely on natural light around your home and office when you&rsquo;re working. You&rsquo;ll save electricity, of course, but you&rsquo;ll also prevent your bulbs from burning out faster.</p> <h3>4. Eat More Leftovers</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t let perfectly <a href="http://www.quickquid.co.uk/quid-corner/2012/07/12/8-ways-to-prevent-fresh-food-waste/">good food go to waste</a> by stuffing it in a plastic container to rot in the fridge. Eat the leftovers for lunch or incorporate them into a new dish the next night.</p> <h3>5. Raise Your Insurance Deductibles</h3> <p>If you raise your insurance deductible, your premium will go down. Of course, then you&rsquo;ll have a high deductible, but if you're confident that you won&rsquo;t get into an accident anytime soon, this money-saving idea can save you a nice chunk of change.</p> <h3>6. Pay Down Credit Card Debt</h3> <p>If you have a credit card, stay on top of the payments &mdash; and try to pay them down quickly &mdash; so you&rsquo;re not charged the high interest rate that&rsquo;s attached to them.</p> <h3>7. Walk or Bike Instead of Driving</h3> <p>Put the car in park and travel by foot or bike to run errands that are near enough. Even once or twice a week will preserve a generous amount of gas throughout the year.</p> <h3>8. Bundle Your Media Services</h3> <p>If you don&rsquo;t already have a package deal for cable, phone, and Internet, call your provider to inquire about a bundle. Savings for bundling all three products could result in a decent reduction on your monthly bill.</p> <h3>9. Use Your FSA If Your Employer Offers It&nbsp;</h3> <p>If your workplace offers a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-free-medical-supplies-with-flex-spending">Flex Spending Account</a>, take advantage of it for co-pays and other eligible medical expenses and health products.</p> <h3>10. Use a Grocery Store Club Card</h3> <p>Many grocery store reward loyal customers with exclusive savings that are only given to those shoppers with club cards. It only takes a minute to sign up, and you&rsquo;ll see just how valuable it is on the bottom of your receipt.</p> <h3>11. Open the Windows When It&rsquo;s Cool Out</h3> <p>Instead of blasting the air conditioner or fan, open the windows to cool off if the weather outside is conducive.</p> <h3>12. Examine Your Bills Closely</h3> <p>This is one of my favorites on the list because so many people take their bills for granted. The billing entities (probably) aren&rsquo;t trying to rip you off on purpose, but mistakes happen, whether it&rsquo;s human error or a computer glitch. Take a look at your bills closely each month to make sure that all charges are correct. If something seems to be off, inquire about it &mdash; it could mean more money in your pocket.</p> <h3>13. Brew Your Own Coffee</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re a frequent coffee-shop patron, you&rsquo;ll save money when you switch to a regular regimen of home-brewed coffee. Just be sure you're making the appropriate amount of coffee for those drinking it; don&rsquo;t brew a whole pot if you only intend to drink a cup or two. You&rsquo;ll also lessen your carbon footprint by investing in a reusable travel cup &mdash; I prefer these barista-approved <a href="http://www.keepcup.com/">KeepCups</a> &mdash; which will save you a few cents off your coffee shop purchase on those sporadic days when you choose to indulge.</p> <h3>14. Unplug Electronics and Appliances When Not in Use</h3> <p>&quot;Vampire voltage&quot; is when electricity is being consumed by electronics that are plugged into an outlet but not in use. It&rsquo;s called that because it&rsquo;s literally sucking money out of your pocket. When you&rsquo;re not using an electrical item, unplug it to avoid being bled dry.</p> <h3>15. Record Movies on Your DVR</h3> <p>Have you noticed that there aren&rsquo;t many good DVDs available lately? Unhappy with the current rental selection, I&rsquo;ve starting scrolling future screenings on my premiums channels to find movies that I&rsquo;d like to watch later. When they're in my queue on a Friday night, I can skip the potential On Demand or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">DVD kiosk</a> purchase and put a few bucks back in my budget.</p> <h3>16. Reuse Paper</h3> <p>Every sheet of paper has two sides. If you can use the other for notes or for printing, do it. That&rsquo;s less waste in the recycling bin, fewer trips to the office store, and a savings of up to 50% on paper each year if you make this a habitual practice.</p> <h3>17. Visit the Library for New Books</h3> <p>When you&rsquo;re in the mood for a new book, visit your local library (yes, these still exist) instead of purchasing a hard copy or digital download.</p> <h3>18. Pay Your Bills Online</h3> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t noticed, stamps aren&rsquo;t cheap. You can save a few dollars a month on stamps and a few dollars a year on envelopes by paying your bills online instead of through the regular mail.</p> <h3>19. Just Say No to Newspapers and Magazines</h3> <p>We live in an age where information is disseminated almost immediately. By the time those print editions come out, someone in cyberspace has already let the cat out of the bag. Drop the newspaper and mag subscriptions &mdash; and avoid them in the checkout lanes &mdash; to save money.</p> <h3>20. Save Loose Change</h3> <p>Put the change in your pocket in a jug at the end of each day. Every few months or so, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">roll the change</a> and either deposit it in your savings account or treat yourself to something special.</p> <h3>21. Buy Store Brand Food</h3> <p>Switching just one of your name-brand favorites to the store brand will save you anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or so. Imagine how much you can save if you switch several.</p> <p><em>What other small ways can you think or to save a few bucks here and there? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-a-better-relationship-with-money-make-plans">For a Better Relationship With Money, Make Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hand-me-down-cell-phones">Hand-me-down Cell Phones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/old-stuff-how-to-kindly-receive-and-reuse">Old Stuff: How to Kindly Receive and Reuse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living easy ways to save reduce electricity reuse small changes Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:24:40 +0000 Mikey Rox 952260 at http://www.wisebread.com 30 Signs That You Were Raised by Frugal Parents http://www.wisebread.com/30-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vintage_family_photo.jpg" alt="Vintage family photo" title="Vintage family photo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugal folks come from all sorts of backgrounds. Some were raised in typical American families with traditional buying and spending habits and came to embrace frugality much later in life. Others were raised by parents or grandparents who made simplicity part of everyday life &mdash; from the way they cooked and cleaned to the way they fixed their cars and celebrated holidays. For those of us in the latter group, we can spot another member a mile off. There&rsquo;s a sort of unspoken but common shorthand that comes from years of shared experiences. What follows is my tongue-in-cheek way to tell if you were raised by frugal parents (or if you might be on the way to becoming one yourself). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach&nbsp;Their Children</a>)</p> <p>1. You skip the headlines in the Sunday paper and head straight for the sales inserts.</p> <p>2. You&rsquo;ve washed (or seriously considered washing) tin foil to use it a second time.</p> <p>3. You remember smuggling homemade snacks into the Saturday matinee.</p> <p>4. You know how to buff your shoes to high shine by adding a bit of water or heat to the polish.</p> <p>5. You&rsquo;ll still stop to pick up a penny.</p> <p>6. You ignore the suggested use or recommended quantity directions on most products.</p> <p>7. There&rsquo;s a coupon organizer in your purse or car (extra credit if it includes a calculator).</p> <p>8. You save rubber bands or twist-ties.</p> <p>9. The chocolate milk you were served as a kid was heavily diluted with regular milk.</p> <p>10. You have a loyalty card to any thrift store chain.</p> <p>11. You can sew a button, darn a sock, or repair a seam.</p> <p>12. You firmly believe that vinegar and bleach are the only two household cleaning products anyone really needs.</p> <p>13. Your family holds a contest to guess how much money is in the change jar every six months.</p> <p>14. A little mold on bread or cheese doesn&rsquo;t cause you to immediately toss it.</p> <p>15. There&rsquo;s an almanac somewhere in your home.</p> <p>16. You know the technique for properly canning food.</p> <p>17. You know what Green Stamps are.</p> <p>18. Your medicine chest has at least two hotel soaps or bottles of shampoo in it.</p> <p>19. You know how to change the oil in your car (even if you don&rsquo;t always do it yourself).</p> <p>20. The primary toys of your childhood were wooden blocks, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">the great outdoors</a>, and a tire swing.</p> <p>21. You know the balance of your checking account (within $5.00) at all times and without looking.</p> <p>22. Negotiating the price of a used car inspires a sense of adventure and thrill.</p> <p>23. You know the secret magic that&rsquo;s contained in every bottle of furniture scratch cover.</p> <p>24. You have a secret stash of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">used, neatly folded gift wrap</a> from previous holidays and birthdays.</p> <p>25. You regard empty butter and yogurt containers as a reuse challenge, not trash.</p> <p>26. At least three pieces of your household furniture were acquired through dumpster-diving, a yard sale, an estate sale, or thrift store.</p> <p>27. You brag to friends about how much you saved instead of how much you spent.</p> <p>28. You can calculate any product&rsquo;s price-per-ounce in mere seconds.</p> <p>29. Your dryer sheets have three times the life expectancy of other people&rsquo;s.</p> <p>30. You rinse out laundry detergent bottles and cut open toothpaste tubes to get at the last bit of product.</p> <p>Though these signs are offered with a bit of humor, there&rsquo;s a grain of wisdom that guides each. Our modern-day mantra of &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority">reduce, reuse, recycle</a>&quot; is just a new spin on an old refrain. For many of our frugal mentors, there was simply no other way to live. The tips and tricks they taught us are recounted here with as much respect as comedy &mdash; and with a gratitude that comes from rediscovering best lessons of our childhood.</p> <p><em>What other signs suggest that you might have been raised by frugal folks? What favorite or quirky saving technique have you unwittingly adopted and passed on to your own kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time">How I Saved $30,000 and Helped the Earth at the Same Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twenty-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-true-money-savers">20 Signs That You Were Raised By TRUE Money-Savers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-helped-you-become-financially-aware">What Helped You Become Financially Aware?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle kids and money parents reuse Mon, 20 Aug 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Kentin Waits 951219 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Creative Uses for K-Cups http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-uses-for-k-cups <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-creative-uses-for-k-cups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5560838973_e8d2e85cfb_z.jpg" alt="k-cups" title="k-cups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although I love our <a href="http://www.shopstyle.com/browse/Keurig?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=sugar-brand&amp;utm_campaign=24158156&amp;pid=22161&amp;pdata=onsugar1922441,24158156" auto_link_filter="" title="Shop for Keurig">Keurig</a> single-cup brewing system at Sugar HQ, I do feel a little bothered by how many K-Cups we use and throw away every day without recycling. Turns out, there are many ways we can recycle K-Cups on our own; all it takes is a little creativity!</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Uses-Tape-24068485">RELATED: 13 Cool Uses for Tape</a></p> <h2>Jell-O Shots</h2> <p>Instead of buying plastic shot glasses, use your old K-Cups. They are the perfect size for shots &mdash; not too big and not too small!</p> <h2>Freeze Leftover Sauces</h2> <p>If you want to store some leftover or homemade sauces but have nowhere to put them, pour them into K-Cups, cover with plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer. What's great about using these small plastic cups is that if you make a lot of sauce, you can freeze it in small servings. That way, you can defrost just enough for one dinner.</p> <h2>Freeze Specialty Ice</h2> <p>Want really cool-looking ices for your Summer cocktails? Freeze them in K-Cups! They will be bigger and have a more unique shape than ices made from a regular ice tray. Put fruits or flowers in them to make them really special. Experiment with different liquids like juices and 7-UP.</p> <h2>Jewelry Holder</h2> <p>If you have small pieces of jewelry lying around, then keep them organized by grouping them in little K-Cups. You can organize them by color and type.</p> <h2>Elevate Items</h2> <p>Do you need help elevating items like dishes for your dinner party? Use K-Cups to raise the plates. You can also elevate things like place settings.</p> <h2>Place-Card Holder</h2> <p>Make your own place-card holders for parties by wrapping cute paper around K-Cups. Cut slits on the bottom to hold the cards. Your guests will marvel at your eco-savvy and craftiness!</p> <h2>Garden Starters</h2> <p>Use K-Cups for seed starters. Fill one halfway with soil, dig a little hole, put some seeds in it, and cover it up. If you're growing different plants, then be sure to label them!</p> <h2>Garlands</h2> <p>Cover the K-Cups with pretty paper and string them together with some holiday lights. For inspiration, check out this post on how to make <a href="http://www.flor.com/blog/a-diy-dixie-cup-garland/">garland made from Dixie cups</a>.</p> <p>Remember you can also reuse the coffee grounds left over in your K-Cups&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Uses-Old-Coffee-Grounds-23866390">with these ideas</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brewing coffee with K-Cups is delicious and easy...and it uses LOTS of little containers. Get more life out of your K-Cups with these projects. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Items-Buy-New-23918595">7 Items You&nbsp;Should Always Buy&nbsp;New</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Eco-Concious-2953675">9&nbsp;Simple Ways to&nbsp;Go Green and Save Green</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Uses-Newspaper-23601810">7&nbsp;Uses for Newspaper<br /> </a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-uses-for-k-cups">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living coffee crafts reuse Tue, 31 Jul 2012 10:00:42 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 945757 at http://www.wisebread.com 19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/525162040_61d10193ba_z.jpeg" alt="Child in a towel" title="Child in a towel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a young lad in college, this article would have made no sense to me. I had one towel. I washed it often. The idea of having so many towels that I would need to find creative ways to use the old ones, well, that didn't occur to me.</p> <p>Then I got married. And the towels multiplied like Tribbles on the Starship Enterprise. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m writing this article now. If you&rsquo;re like me, you have a cupboard devoted to towels.&nbsp;Beach towels, bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths &mdash; you name it. But on a regular basis, towels become a little too frayed and raggedy to be effective and comfortable. That&rsquo;s when you usually throw them out.</p> <p>But wait &mdash; why throw them away? Here are 19 different uses for old towels. You&rsquo;ll be amazed at what the humble towel can be turned into, if you use a little imagination. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-uses-for-sheets">11 Smart Uses for Sheets</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cleaning Rags</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s start with the most obvious and the easiest to do. If you do a lot of work in the garage or just need a bunch of inexpensive cleaning rags for household chores, an old towel can save you a chunk of money. I recently bought a bag of 12 terrycloth shop rags for $6.99. I could have gotten the same 12 for nothing if I had raided the towel closet for an old towel. It takes seconds to cut them up, and they last a long time.</p> <h2>2. The Big Picnic Blanket</h2> <p>Old towels can be sewn together to make a huge picnic blanket. Take four to six bigger bath towels, and then using a sewing machine or an old-fashioned needle and thread, create a blanket two towels wide by three towels deep. Roll it up, store it in the back of the car, and next time you have an impromptu picnic, you&rsquo;re all prepared.</p> <h2>3. Dishtowels</h2> <p>The old towels may not be all that good for drying you, but they&rsquo;re still perfectly good for drying dishes. Cut them into dishtowel sizes, and hem the edges. They really soak up the water when you&rsquo;re drying dishes.</p> <h2>4. Spa Slippers</h2> <p>This one takes a little more creativity and requires a few more materials, but it&rsquo;s worth it. You also get to revive an old pair of slippers or flip flops that were destined for the trashcan. By tracing around the slippers and doing some careful sewing, you&rsquo;ll get a great pair of spa slippers for almost nothing. <a href="http://www.craftynest.com/2009/02/old-flip-flops-bath-towel-slippers/">Spa slipper instructions</a> are available over at Crafty Nest.</p> <h2>5. Ironing Board Pads and Covers</h2> <p>The ironing board in our home gets some abuse, and after a while, it gets stained and old. You can easily make a <a href="http://carolynkeenepseudonym.blogspot.com/2012/02/tutorial-ironing-board-pad-and-cover.html">new ironing board cover</a> by using towels and an old bed sheet. Cut the towels to size, then cut the sheet larger than the board so you have extra space to wrap around and create a drawstring pouch. It takes basic sewing skills and a little time, and it&rsquo;s way cheaper than buying a new cover.</p> <h2>6. A Child&rsquo;s Pool Robe</h2> <p>I won't lie; this one is not for me. My wife, yes &mdash; my sewing skills do not go too far beyond sewing in a straight line. However, if you have the aptitude, it is apparently &ldquo;quite easy&rdquo; to turn old towels into a robe for your child. Full <a href="http://www.sewmamasew.com/store/media/blog/childspoolrobe.pdf">robe instructions</a> (PDF) are available from <a href="http://www.sewmamasew.com">Sew Mama Sew</a>.</p> <h2>7. Baby Bibs</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s amazing &mdash; the food that doesn&rsquo;t end up in your baby&rsquo;s mouth could feed a small army. It instead ends up covering the bib, which is why it&rsquo;s good to have a decent supply of them. One towel can boast as many as 15 bibs. Just cut a bib shape, hem the edges (or sew a bias tape edge) and leave room for ties. Very simple.</p> <h2>8. Bath Scrubber</h2> <p>I personally have a manly scrubber made of plastic and something resembling blue concrete. It&rsquo;s not pleasant, but it gets the job done. If you want something a little softer, old towels can easily be transformed into bath scrubbers (also known as poufs). <a href="http://www.rufflesandstuff.com/2010/02/bath-pouf-that-um-looks-like-rose.html">Bath pouf instructions</a> are available from Ruffles and Stuff.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/dog_in_a_towel.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>9. Pet Shelter Supplies</h2> <p>Your local pet shelters are always in need of donations, and towels are very useful. They can be used for bedding, hand towels, cleaning rags, toys, bathing, and more. Keep a box in your basement or garage for towels that have outlived their usefulness at home. When it's full, take it to your local pet shelter, and they will love you for it.</p> <h2>10. Swiffer Sweeper Pads</h2> <p>A box of 12 Swiffer pads can cost you around $8-$12, and they are not reusable. You can cut old towels to shape, do a little sewing, and you have great Swiffer pads that cost you nothing and are also washable. <a href="http://www.saving4six.com/2012/01/homemade-swiffer-sweeper-and-duster.html ">Create a stack of Swiffer pads</a>, and you&rsquo;ll never have to buy new ones again.</p> <h2>11. Baby Wipes</h2> <p>New parents know how expensive supplies can be. Diapers, wipes, baby powder, formula &mdash; the list goes on. You can at least make a dent in that list by recycling your old towels and using them as baby wipes. Cut them into small squares and keep them by the changing table. When it&rsquo;s time to change a diaper, soak it in a little warm water, wring out the excess moisture, and wipe away. Keep a pail by the side of the changing table to drop the used wipes into. If you do cloth diapering, you can wash them at the same time as those. Otherwise, put them in a separate wash when the bin is full.&nbsp;</p> <h2>12. Knee Pads</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re a gardener or you do jobs that require a lot of kneeling (flooring, cleaning etc), then old towels can be turned into some very handy knee pads. All you need to do is cut them into six-inch squares, sew 4-5 of them together, and apply some strong elastic. Kneeling is no longer hard on your knees, and it&rsquo;s also easy on your wallet. If you really don&rsquo;t want to do any work at all, just fold an old towel several times and kneel on that. Not as handy, but still effective.</p> <h2>13. Draft Excluder</h2> <p>When the winter comes and the wind finds its way beneath your doors, stop it in its tracks with an old towel. Simply roll a towel along its longest edge into a sausage shape, and put it at the base of the offending door. No more draft, and it cost you nothing to defeat it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>14. Reusable Sanitary Pads</h2> <p>First, an obvious admission &mdash; I&rsquo;m not a lady, and I&rsquo;ve never had a need for these. The whole idea of reusing something for such a purpose seems to be pushing frugality to its limits, at least when I first heard about it. But it seems like there are many ladies out there who have transformed old towels and flannels sheets into <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Reusable-Menstrual-Pads">washable sanitary pads</a>.</p> <h2>15. A Great New Mop Head</h2> <p>If you still wash the floor with a more traditional mop (rather than the Swiffer varieties), then old towels can be turned into great mop heads. In fact, according to this Instructables tutorial, it's the <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/HOW-TO-MAKE-%22THE-BEST-MOP-IN-THE-WORLD%22/">best mop in the world</a>. Just cut your towel into lots and lots of strips of equal width and length, secure them together, and start mopping!</p> <h2>16. Pillow Covers</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to throw away really good-looking, well-designed towels. If most of the towel is in good condition, but it&rsquo;s showing signs of wear and tear around the edges, you can still make use of the nice pattern. Simply cut two squares out of the towel, roughly 10-12 inches square, and stuff with batting (or put an old pillow inside). Then either sew up the towel, or add a zipper or buttons to close it up. This can be a great way to coordinate with your current bedroom/bathroom decor.</p> <h2>17. Dog Toy</h2> <p>I've talked about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies ">cheap dog toys</a> in the past. The old towel works great. Just cut it into strips about an inch or two wide by about a foot long. Knot them all together, and you&rsquo;ve got something tough that will last for months. Note &mdash; several readers in the past commented on some homemade dog toys not being good for dogs. As always, if you&rsquo;re in any doubt, don't do it, or keep an eye on your pooch when he or she is playing.</p> <h2>18. Packing Material</h2> <p>When you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-abc-s-of-diy-moving">move house</a>, old towels can really help you protect your fragile items. Wrap crockery in them, use them to pad awkward spaces in boxes, and or wrap them around furniture to prevent scratches.</p> <p><img width="286" height="350" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/towel_cape.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>19. The Superhero Cape!</h2> <p>Every kid out there knows that a towel's main purpose is for tying around the neck and being Batman, Supergirl, or any other hero of choice. Well, why not make it official with an old towel? You can easily modify an old towel by adding ties to one end, and perhaps a colorful insignia or patch from scrap material. It's cheap, and the hours of fun it will bring are priceless.</p> <p>There are 19 uses. I&rsquo;m sure you can think of more, and I'd love to hear about them. Leave your great uses for old towels in the comments, and let&rsquo;s see how far we can push the humble towel beyond the regular shelf life.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style">DIY Berlin Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-diy-clothing-projects-for-men">13 DIY Clothing Projects for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-basic-sewing-tricks-that-will-save-you-money">7 Basic Sewing Tricks That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY arts and crafts reduce waste reuse sewing towels Tue, 01 May 2012 10:24:19 +0000 Paul Michael 926046 at http://www.wisebread.com 19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4153157634_0874116d90_z_0.jpg" alt="cereal box hats" title="cereal box hats" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a kid, I loved going to the supermarket with my mom. My favorite aisle? Cereal!</p> <p>All those colors and flavors and prizes inside &mdash; it was hard to pick just one box. Of course, while I was eating the cereal, I didn&rsquo;t care about the box at all (except to play the games on the back).</p> <p>My, how times have changed. I still eat cereal from time to time (my favorite is Fruity Pebbles), but instead of disregarding and discarding the box, I repurpose it.</p> <p>Think you can&rsquo;t do anything with an empty cereal box? Think again. Here are 19 ways you can satisfy your craving for the sweet stuff while also saving money and the environment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Notepads</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll need a few more supplies to make a notepad out of a cereal box &mdash; like Modge Podge, binder clips, and an X-ACTO knife &mdash; but when you&rsquo;re finished you&rsquo;ll have one-of-a-kind pads that your school- or office-mates will envy. Check out instructions to make cereal box notepads at <a href="http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2011/04/cereal-box-crafts-notepads.html">Infarrantly Creative</a>. Very cool, indeed. If you want <a href="http://makingmemorieswithyourkids.blogspot.com/2010/09/spiral-notebook-make-over.html">cereal-box notebooks to match</a>, you can learn how to make those in a few easy steps too.</p> <h2>2. Gift Boxes</h2> <p>No, you&rsquo;re not just stuffing a gift into a cereal box and handing it over as is &mdash; don&rsquo;t be lazy. Rather, turn the cereal box inside out and decorate the unprinted side however you want &mdash; with paper, ribbons, bows, buttons, or whatever you can think of, really. The recipient will appreciate the thought that went into your handmade masterpiece. Plus, they can re-gift using it.</p> <h2>3. Gift Tags</h2> <p>Cut out whatever shape you want from a cereal box (you can trace a cookie cutter for fun shapes), punch a hole at the top, and address the tag to the recipient. Tie it to the gift with ribbon or string. Easy as that.</p> <h2>4. Bookmarks</h2> <p>Use an X-ACTO knife to cut two rectangular shapes from the same cereal box. Glue them together on the unprinted side. Done in under two minutes.</p> <h2>5. Magazine Holder</h2> <p>Cereal boxes are the perfect size to store your magazines &mdash; and you don&rsquo;t have to do much to the box beside cut it diagonally. Follow these easy instructions on <a href="http://www.allfreecrafts.com/recycling-crafts/magazine-holder.shtml">how to make a cereal box magazine holder.</a> You can leave the holder as is for a quirky bit of nostalgia, or you can spray paint it and redecorate to match your current décor.</p> <h2>6. Placemats</h2> <p>Use the entire front or back of a large cereal box and spray paint it white. Once it&rsquo;s dry, let your kids decorate it themselves using markers. When they&rsquo;re finished, have their personalized placemats laminated at your local Staples or FedEx store. They&rsquo;ll love eating their meals off of something they made.</p> <h2>7. Masks</h2> <p>Cereal boxes are great for <a href="https://www.tinkatolli.me/blog/2010/04/attention-kids-this-is-the-way-to-create-an-awesome-mask/">making masks for kids</a> to decorate, because the cardboard is rather thin and pliable. Parents should cut out the shape since it could be difficult for small hands, but when they&rsquo;re ready, kids can decorate them with crayons, markers, tissue paper, ribbons, and lots of other small items you keep in the craft box.</p> <h2>8. Shipping Boxes</h2> <p>Cereal boxes as shipping containers are especially useful if you sell stuff on eBay or Amazon. Turn the box inside out and glue the seams back together. Put your item inside (along with stuffing if there&rsquo;s room for the item move around), and address and stamp it.</p> <h2>9. Shipping Envelopes</h2> <p>These require a little more work than cereal-box shipping containers, but they're easily accomplished by laying the entire cereal box flat and cutting a large enough piece to cover the enter document along with flaps. Check out this <a href="http://www.newgreenmama.com/2009/10/tutorial-cereal-box-shipping-envelope.html">tutorial for cereal-box shipping envelopes</a> at New Green Mama.</p> <h2>10. Business Cards</h2> <p>OK, so these aren&rsquo;t for everybody, but if you have a creative profession, like art, cereal box business cards are a cool way to let people know how you operate. You could also use these cards to write down important numbers and information and have them laminated to keep in your wallet.</p> <h2>11. Luggage Tags</h2> <p>This is the same concept as the gift tags, expect you&rsquo;ll put your personal information on the unprinted side (paint it white beforehand to make it more visible if you want). To make sure they last, have them laminated. I promise, everyone will ask where you bought them.</p> <h2>12. Postcards</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-importance-of-friendly-letters">Say hello to a friend</a> by cutting out a 4&quot; x 6&quot; piece of cereal box then writing, addressing, and stamping the unprinted side. Pop it in the mail to send a nice surprise.</p> <h2>13. Painter's Palette</h2> <p>If you or your kids like to paint, use a cereal box to put out the colors.</p> <h2>14. Craft Tray</h2> <p>Cut a cereal box down the middle from top to bottom, and reinforce the flaps with glue. You&rsquo;ve got an instant tray to hold craft projects that you&rsquo;re working on.</p> <h2>15. Flash Cards</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t buy expensive flash cards from the store. Cut out cards from cereal boxes.</p> <h2>16. Binder Separators</h2> <p>Want to separate sections in a binder? Just cut out a portion of a cereal box that&rsquo;s half an inch wider than your loose-leaf paper and punch holes on the left side using a three-hole punch. Stick them in your binder to easily identify which section is which.</p> <h2>17. In/Out Paper Organizers</h2> <p>Employ the same method as the craft tray above, but this time use both sides of the cut box. Put finished papers in one half and to-do items in the other.</p> <h2>18. Scratch Paper</h2> <p>Stop wasting perfectly good (and expensive) printer paper. Open up your empty cereal boxes to use as scratch paper for notes and doodles.</p> <h2>19. Disposable Cutting Board</h2> <p>Ah, never thought of this one, did you? The cardboard is food safe &mdash; there was cereal in the box, after all &mdash; so you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">use it as a cutting board</a> if your others are in use or you just don&rsquo;t feel like washing them when you&rsquo;re done cooking.</p> <p><em>Have even more uses for empty cereal boxes? Also, what&rsquo;s your favorite kind of cereal? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style">DIY Berlin Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-things-you-can-make-with-an-ice-cube-tray">14 Cool Things You Can Make With an Ice Cube Tray</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink arts and crafts cereal gift wrap reuse Thu, 26 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 925454 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Things to Do With Reusable Water Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-reusable-water-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-things-to-do-with-reusable-water-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/water_bottles_outside.jpg" alt="Water bottles outside" title="Water bottles outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While putting away dishes, cups, and other kitchen items, I noticed that I was accumulating water bottles. Some have been purchased outright, a couple were gifts, and some were acquired as a result of participating in athletic events. My family&rsquo;s collection includes:</p> <ul> <li>Plastic sports water bottles</li> <li>Camping water bottles acquired for a backpacking trip</li> <li>Stainless steel water bottles</li> </ul> <p>Most are used on hiking and camping trips or for bike rides and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class">spin classes</a>. The more we have, the more we use them, and the more I have considered additional purposes. Here are a few ideas for using your water bottles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly&nbsp;Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h3>1. Measure Liquid</h3> <p>Our camping bottles have printed measurements indicating ounces and millimeters. Use these to measure water, broth, milk, or other liquids when cooking.</p> <h3>2. Make Tea</h3> <p>You can make a cool glass of tea by placing a tea bag in a water bottle, adding filtered water or tap water, and waiting about 30 minutes. During this time, the tea should steep naturally. Add some sweetener and/or ice for iced tea. For flavored tea, add a splash of fruit drink or a bit of powdered drink mix.</p> <h3>3. Carry Dry Food Mixes</h3> <p>Campers can fill up extra water bottles with dry goods that require only water (carried in a separate container). On a camping trip with another family, a friend made pancakes using a dry mix he prepared for the trip. His <a href="http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/Pancake-Mix-L1714.html">pancake mix</a> would fit well in a water bottle. At the campsite, add water to the mix, shake, and pour in 1/4 cup increments on a hot skillet to prepare. Similarly, bring <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/potato-soup-mix/detail.aspx">potato soup mix</a> and add boiling water to make hot soup.</p> <h3>4. Mix Up a Drink Without a Spoon or Stirrer</h3> <p>If you are mixing a drink (I&rsquo;m thinking of a sports-type drink, but other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-a-month-cooking-for-the-bar">types of drinks</a> could work as well), use a water bottle alone instead of a glass with a stirrer or iced tea spoon. Pour water in the bottle, add the right portion of the powdered drink mix, close the lid securely, and shake.</p> <h3>5. Split a Drink</h3> <p>On a somewhat regular basis, I would like to share a drink &mdash; but not germs &mdash; with someone. Having a water bottle at hand makes it easy to split a cold drink, like a soda, tea, or even bottled water. Buy your drink, pour a portion in the water bottle (being careful not to touch the drink lid to the bottle opening), and give the other person the remainder in the original container. This approach saves some money and cuts down on waste.</p> <h3>6. Refill Water Bowls for Your Pets</h3> <p>Designate a water bottle for your cat or dog, label the bottle with a permanent marker, and use it to fill your pet&rsquo;s water bowl.</p> <h3>7. Water Plants</h3> <p>Just as Paul suggested as a new purpose of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">used detergent bottles</a>, a water bottle can be useful for transporting water from the kitchen sink or spigot to your plants, inside and outside the house. For a smaller version of the drip irrigation method, fill a sports bottle (with a pull top) and turn upside down to water your plants.</p> <h3>8. Hold Fresh-Cut Flowers or Greenery</h3> <p>It's quirky but functional &mdash; your water bottle can serve as a vase when transporting fresh-cut flowers or as a centerpiece on your dining room table. Fill the bottom of the bottle with water and add the flowers.</p> <h3>9. Hold Household Stuff</h3> <p>Clear bottles with wide mouths are especially useful as holders of certain household items, like paper clips, nuts and bolts, or pens and pencils. If you are fond of a commemorative water bottle, then repurposing will let you keep it without it gathering dust or clogging up your kitchen cabinet.</p> <h3>10. Hold Coin Change</h3> <p>Toss <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">coin change</a> in a water bottle and keep the bottle in one of your cup holders in your car or on your dresser in your dorm room. This way, you&rsquo;ll have quick access to spare change. Or you can easily take a filled-up bottle to your bank or credit union and trade for cash.</p> <h3>11. Clean Wounds</h3> <p>On a few occasions, I have reached for an extra water bottle to clean a wound after a minor accident. Though not sterile, the water was clean enough as it came from a reliable source (my home's water supply) and had been placed in an uncontaminated bottle.</p> <p>The water can help wash out debris such as small stones or dirt until you have time to get sterile water, antibiotic cream, and bandages.</p> <h3>12. Substitute for a Sippy Cup</h3> <p>You could use a water bottle to serve a similar purpose as a kid&rsquo;s sippy cup &mdash; give your kids something to drink without fear that they&rsquo;ll accidentally spill the entire contents on the dining room table or living room floor within a few seconds. These wouldn&rsquo;t work well for younger kids, but for those who have mostly graduated to regular cups, having a water bottle available to help avoid drink-related catastrophes could be handy at times.</p> <h3>13. Freeze Liquids</h3> <p>Just as you might <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ice-cube-trays-your-passport-to-huge-savings">freeze small quantities of soup stock in ice cube trays</a>, use your water bottle to contain leftover liquid for future use.</p> <h3>14. Help Keep Other Stuff Cold</h3> <p>A frozen water bottle can serve as an <a href="http://www.geartalkwithjasonklass.com/2008/04/other-uses-for-nalgene-bottles.html">ice pack</a> when placed in a cooler with food and drinks.</p> <h3>15. Play</h3> <p>Squeezable water bottles can be filled and used as a substitute for toy water guns.</p> <h3>16. Give as a Hostess Gift</h3> <p>One of the reasons I noticed that my kitchen cabinets were overflowing with water bottles was because I received one as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-hostess-gift-ideas-for-the-holiday-season">hostess gift</a>. To jazz up the present, fill with drink mix packets.</p> <h3>17. Help the Homeless</h3> <p>My oldest son volunteers some with the homeless, and I accompanied him to a &ldquo;block party&rdquo; that involved a free cookout with drinks, haircuts, and fellowship. Not knowing quite what to do while he talked sports with the guests, I decided to serve drinks and discovered that many of the homeless could benefit from having an extra cup or water bottle.</p> <p>Having something to contain a drink enables them to use public facilities (like the water fountain at the public library) more readily, rather than having to buy a bottle of water or soda whenever they were thirsty. &nbsp;</p> <h3>18. Have a Cheap Drink at School or the Office</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s taken a while, but I have finally got my kids (now teenagers) to see the value in filling water bottles and taking those to school rather than buying water there. Fortunately, they shun sodas and most sweetened drinks. But for a while, they bought water in the cafeteria or from the drink machines for afterschool sessions. Now, they take the water bottles.</p> <p>Likewise, my husband takes water bottles to his office.</p> <h3>19. Stay Safe When Working Out of Your Element</h3> <p>You already know that you should stay hydrated on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/close-to-home-outdoor-adventure-basics">outdoor adventures</a> but may not think of needing enough water during special work-related events. Carrying your own water can be useful when you are working at a busy trade show or helping customers in an outdoor setting all day, especially if you are accustomed to a predictable, climate-controlled work environment.</p> <h3>20. Make Money</h3> <p>Decorate the bottles (extra ones you've acquired, rather than used ones) and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/97381358/personalized-sport-bottle-for-girls?ref=sr_gallery_4&amp;sref=sr_50b488692ff171b5c3b746d6911b765dade6c5a99a3a86eaf032c2dffbc76202_1334592090_14238319_bottle&amp;ga_includes%5B%5D=tags&amp;ga_search_query=water+bottle&amp;ga_search_type=all&amp;ga_view_type=gallery">sell on Etsy</a> or another craftsy retail outlet.</p> <h3>21. Serve as a Lantern</h3> <p>Replace your standard lid with a solar powered LED cap, and your water bottle can serve as a lantern. The cap isn&rsquo;t cheap (I found one for <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/b4ad/">$19.99 from ThinkGeek</a>) but could be useful when camping in the wilderness.</p> <h3>22. Carry Snacks</h3> <p>Fill the bottle with snacks, like pretzels or nuts. Carrying these items in a bottle should keep them dry plus make it easy to carry on your bike, haul in your car, or tote in a bag.</p> <h3>23. Carry Gear</h3> <p>If you happen to have outdoor apparel that is compactable, put it in a water bottle to make it easy to carry. Likewise, carry small-but-important items like <a href="http://earthministry.blogspot.com/2008/06/alternative-uses-for-polycarbonate.html">first aid supplies</a> in a bottle rather than letting them roll around loose in your luggage or tote bag.</p> <h3>24. Cut Cookie Dough or Biscuit Dough</h3> <p>Either the water bottle lid or the top of the water bottle could be used to cut out cookies or biscuits, according to a commenter on <a href="http://www.fatcyclist.com/2010/01/21/alternative-uses-for-water-bottles/">Fat Cyclist's uses for water bottles</a> article. Dust the lid or top with flour before using, just as you would with traditional types of cutters.</p> <h3>25. Make a Toy Hovercraft</h3> <p>Use a sports water bottle lid (described as a &quot;pull-top water bottle cap&quot; in the comments section of the <a href="http://www.fatcyclist.com/2010/01/21/alternative-uses-for-water-bottles/">alternative uses of water bottles</a> article) along with a blank CD and balloon to make a hovercraft.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YPHIUAzLm48" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/YPHIUAzLm48">Watch video</a></p> <p><em>Do you have any clever and practical uses for reusable water bottles? Share them in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-reusable-water-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-saving-ways-to-reuse-old-pantyhose">20 Money-Saving Ways to Reuse Old Pantyhose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Green Living repurpose reuse water bottles Wed, 18 Apr 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Julie Rains 919297 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3841316451_4f7780e92c_z.jpg" alt="woman on vintage sofa" title="woman on vintage sofa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're pretty accustomed to an economy that encourages us to buy, use, and dispose of things. Furniture, clothing, electronics &mdash; nothing really seems to LAST anymore, does it?</p> <p>Well, let's say that you have something you really like &mdash; maybe an heirloom armoire or a pair of shoes or an old Datsun, and you WANT that thing to last. There's nothing wrong with that. You just need to be schooled in the art of repair. Here are 18 ways to make old stuff feel like new. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You&nbsp;Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Clean It</h2> <p>Well, this one seems perfectly obvious, doesn't it? From patios to cars to clothing, a good deep cleaning can make almost any old thing seem new again. Have you ever power-washed a driveway? There is nothing more Zen that that. Oh, sure, it's kind of a waste of water, but seeing that perfectly new, shiny concrete staring back at you? Bliss.</p> <p>I recently dropped my wedding ring into a little jar of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Connoisseurs-Jewelry-Cleaner-Revitalizing-oz/dp/B000QA2IHC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1333047527&amp;sr=8-2">jewelry cleaner</a>, waited the required 30 seconds, then cleaned it with a little brush and let it dry. I was absolutely amazed at how beautiful it looked. Before the cleaning, my ring was looking dull, and I was even struggling to remember why I wanted it in the first place. Now, it's brilliantly shiny and looks as good as new.</p> <p>A good deep-cleaning of your car can probably make it feel less junky, too &mdash; if you need the carpets cleaned, you can outsource that, but do the other detailing yourself. It's not hard to get those vents clean with some Q-Tips and a little Windex.</p> <h2>2. Polish It</h2> <p>Polishing is such a great way to make old things look new &mdash; probably the easiest, actually. Some Murphy's oil soap will make an old oak table gleam like new. Have a pair of lace-up Oxfords that have seen better days? Learn <a href="http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/29/how-to-get-the-best-shoe-shine/">how to polish your shoes</a>, a long-lost art that even my dad finally stopped doing sometime in 2002.</p> <p>Waxing and polishing a car, even one whose paint job has seen better days, can make you feel better about driving that old Mazda to work every day. My mom seems to enjoy <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/dusting-polishing/polish-silver-00000000002298/index.html">polishing silver</a>, which I guess can be a form of meditation.</p> <p>Not everything that acquires a patina of age has to be polished &mdash; maybe you LIKE your silver to look tarnished, and that's perfectly fine.</p> <h2>3. Paint It</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint can make almost anything seem new and exciting. Whether you're <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/before-after-refinished-dresser-card-catalog.html">sprucing up old furniture</a>, <a href="http://theinspiredroom.net/2012/01/05/painting-stripes/">redecorating a room</a>, trying to <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_12030235_decorate-colors-brighten-hallway.html">brighten a hallway</a>, or improving the appearance of a <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-paint-a-concrete-floor/index.html">stained concrete floor</a>, paint is your friend. Although this isn't something I would recommend as a DIY, sometimes paying to have your car repainted can make an old clunker feel like something a bit more special.</p> <h2>4. Oil It</h2> <p>You know how the little annoyances in life can really add up and <a href="http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html">make you hate stuff?</a> One of the things that drives me bonkers is a squeaky door. It's nothing a little WD-40 can't handle, but since everyone keeps their WD-40 in the garage, how often do we get around to oiling squeaky hinges, cleaning garden tools and bicycle parts, or removing rust from metal stuff like cars and gates? I've started keeping a can of WD-40 on every floor of my house (there are three stupid floors in my townhouse), so I never have an excuse not to oil things that need it.</p> <h2>5. Re-cover It</h2> <p>Sometimes you don't really need a new couch, you just need a new cover for the couch. While removable covers are easy to wash, they don't always fit well and tend to wrinkle. Maybe you have a love seat that you adore, but it's old and faded. If the bones are still good, why not just give it a facelift with some new fabric?</p> <p>Reupholstering performed by a professional isn't cheap, but if you have a piece of heirloom furniture that you don't want to part with, it's an excellent option. Or maybe you found some antique stools on Craigslist that have seen better days &mdash; you can probably do a little <a href="http://myeverydayexceptional.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-recovering-stool.html">DIY reupholstering</a> and not only save money, but have also gain bragging rights.</p> <h2>6. Sand It</h2> <p>Sometimes, before you even get to the painting or the re-staining, old wooden stuff just needs a good sanding. Whether it's a door that you're turning into a table, or a wooden deck that puts splinters into bare feet, or an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3jNLW6LCc">original wood floor</a> that you found under all your old carpets, a good power sander can take old wood from craggy to perfect.</p> <p>If you've never sanded anything before (and don't have a sander), you can rent all the tools that you will need from your local hardware store. Be sure to ask for lots of advice and be very specific about your project. Sanding is somewhere between art and science, but if you have the patience for it, it will make every wood-based project work out better in the end.</p> <h2>7. Mend It</h2> <p>How many of you even know how to sew a basting stitch? Raise your hand if you do. I don't. Well, OK, I have a general idea, because I used to know <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/mendingandalterations/tp/Repair_and_Mend_Clothing.htm">how to sew</a>, but my technique has faltered over the years, and now I'm lucky if I don't end up stabbing myself in the cheek with a needle whenever I break out the ol' sewing kit. But mending small tears in fabric can keep your favorite t-shirt from hitting the rag pile. The sooner you attend to rips and snags, the better your chance of keeping a garment in wearable condition.</p> <h2>8. Repair It</h2> <p>When your favorite watch stops working, do you throw it away? Of course not. You change the battery and/or get it fixed. Most people aren't schooled in the art of watch repair, but there are other less-technical fixes that you can perform yourself. Whether you are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">repairing household items</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">working on your car</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat">your bike</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it">redesigning your website</a>, there are a plethora of ways to keep old stuff functioning.</p> <h2>9. Patch It</h2> <p>Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to part with a beloved item of clothing. &quot;But I've had this since college!&quot; you howl to your wife as she attempts to throw away your acid-washed, high-waisted, pleated, tapered jeans that don't fit you anymore anyway. &quot;There's a hole in the butt!&quot; counters your wife, who is a reasonable woman with good taste in clothes and just wants you to look like you didn't step out of a John Hughes film. &quot;I can patch that!&quot; you counter, delighted with your ability to <a href="http://www.ironpatches.co/">apply a stick-on denim patch</a>.</p> <h2>10. Hem It</h2> <p>Hemlines seem to go up and down at random, and while I would never advocate blindly following trends, hemming a pair of pants can be a good way to get more mileage out of clothing that might have seen better days. A few years ago, really long hems were in style, so that women walked around with no visible feet. After a while, such pants lose their bloom, because the long length means that the pant legs become scuffed and dirty from brushing against the ground so often. Such a pair of pants would benefit from a professional or <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/diyfashion101/ss/HemPants.htm">DIY hemming</a> &mdash; have them taken up to a couple of inches above the ankle. It's a good summery look that will be fashionable for at least a few more years to come.</p> <h2>11. Bleach It/Dye It</h2> <p>Have a white shirt that really flatters your waist but is hopelessly marred by a tomato stain? If <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_2305232_bleach-clothes-white.html">bleaching a stained shirt</a> doesn't do the trick, <a href="http://shirt.woot.com/blog/viewentry.aspx?id=4944">try dying your shirt</a> the color of the stain. Tie-dying is a fun way to update old t-shirts, if you enjoy looking like a Grateful Dead fan (or ARE a Grateful Dead fan). You can also use <a href="http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Ombre-Dip-Dye-116422238">dip-dye methods</a> if you like today's ombre styles.</p> <h2>12. Embellish It</h2> <p>You can turn an old headband into a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/90871710/great-gatsby-goes-green-feather-sequin?ref=sr_gallery_6&amp;ga_search_query=sequin+fascinator&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=handmade">fancy-schmancy fascinator</a> using a sequin applique and some hot glue. And bedazzling isn't just for your ladybits anymore &mdash; you can create <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-jeweled-heels/">snazzy-looking heels</a> or <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-sneakers-vans-giveaway/">dazzling sneakers</a> with some powerful epoxy and fake jewels. If you have a pair of jeans that you want to take from dull to punk, let me introduce you to studs.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iAP2LSEdQRY" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/iAP2LSEdQRY">Watch video</a></p> <h2>13. Repurpose/Upcycle It</h2> <p>&quot;Upcycling&quot; is a term that gets a fair amount of mockery these days &mdash; it basically involves taking something old, like a sweater, and creating something new out of it, like a teddy bear or a pair of leg warmers. If you spend time on <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&amp;q=upcycled&amp;order=most_relevant&amp;ship_to=US&amp;view_type=gallery">Etsy </a>(or <a href="http://www.regretsy.com/?s=upcycled">Regretsy</a>), you'll know that there is almost no stopping the &quot;upcyling&quot; trend, sometimes for the worse. However, <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274800/repurposed-furniture-and-decor/@center/277003/home-smarts">repurposing old goods</a> can result in some stunning (and useful!) projects. Take this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/storyteller-by-isabel-quiroga-93022">workspace created from old coffee tables</a>. If you do have a knack for sewing, then you might find your calling in <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/style/seven-smooches-repurposed-clothing-for-kids.html">repurposed kids' clothing</a> or <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/from-the-closet-to-the-couch-w-98922">accessories for the home</a>.</p> <p>The original repurposed project, the <a href="http://www.tshirtquilts.com/">homemade t-shirt quilt</a>, can be outsourced now, so even if you can't sew worth a darn (heh), you can still find a comfy use for your old alma mater sweatshirts.</p> <h2>14. Stain It</h2> <p>My dad is a bit obsessive when it comes to decks. He always builds them himself, and keeps them swept, washed, and perfectly stained. It's an annual event at our household &mdash; the 24 hours or so when we all have to use the front door instead of the back. I'll say this, though &mdash; our deck is well over 25 years old, but still looks great.</p> <p>In a similar spirit, my mom seems to have a gift for renewing old furniture. First, she strips the old varnish off using Jasco or something equally toxic. Next, she fixes any dings or dents with filler. Lastly, she carefully applies one to three new coats of stain, and then a final coat of varnish. <a href="http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/how-to-refinish-furniture.htm">Refinishing old furniture</a> is quite a bit of work, and you need a good, well-ventilated space to do it in, but it can really improve the overall look of your vintage pieces.</p> <h2>15. Accept It</h2> <p>Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Sometimes, it's easier to accept that you don't have the skills or the time to actually return your stuff to a minty-new condition, so you either accept that it's old, or you....</p> <h2>16. Sell It/Donate It</h2> <p>After all, someone, somewhere, will have the time and the energy to turn your old apple crates into an <a href="http://www.recyclart.org/2009/03/apple-crates-shelves/">awesome set of media shelves</a>. There's not always virtue in holding on to stuff you don't need or aren't using or are simply tired of. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">Get rid of your junk</a>, and keep the things that really matter.</p> <h2>17. Put a Bird On It</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0XM3vWJmpfo" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/0XM3vWJmpfo">Watch video</a></p> <h2>18. Stick a Plant In It</h2> <p>There are very few objects that you CAN'T use as a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/15-repurposed-planters-just-ad-142393">planter</a>, it turns out. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/46959088@N03/4776576877/">Old tea kettle</a>? <a href="http://greenscrafts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ah-that-tin.html">Old tin</a>? <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf34031043.tip.html">Pink toilet</a>? <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_10075912_wooden-homemade-cowboy-boot-flower-planter.html">Cowboy boots</a>? <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5888327/repurpose-a-wooden-wine-crate-into-a-planter">Wine crate</a>? You can plant anything in these and get away with it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Style buying used recycle repairs reuse Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Andrea Karim 876943 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Great Uses for Old Ties http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-great-uses-for-old-ties" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_tie.jpg" alt="Man with tie" title="Man with tie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="194" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the casualties of our more informal work world is a surplus of neckties. Visit any thrift store of a respectable size, and you&rsquo;ll find whole nests of colorful old ties coiled and tangled in bins and snaked through hangers. Exploring them is a history lesson in fashion and in the vagaries of style. They come in paisleys, college stripes, argyles, and checks; in wool, acetate, polyester, and silk; in skinny, wide, and extra wide. They wait to be reclaimed and repurposed. But if you&rsquo;re not a vintage clothing hound with a penchant for formal wear, what can be done with these cast-offs? Here are ten ideas that can give new life to old ties.</p> <h2>1. Napkin Rings</h2> <p>Ties with classic designs can be cut hemmed and stitched into small rings to create unique matched or mismatched napkin rings. Since napkin rings seldom get dirty, choose more expensive tie fabrics like silk or wool.</p> <h2>2. Tab Tops for Caf&eacute; Curtains</h2> <p>Restaurant owners I know in Portland, Oregon fashioned the tabs of their tab-top caf&eacute; curtains from old ties. First, they removed and saved the narrow section of each tie, and then created a loop from it. Next they sewed each loop neatly to the curtain at 4&rdquo; intervals and embellished each new tab with a vintage button. Since curtains are in direct sunlight and prone to fading, choose more durable necktie fabrics like polyester or acetate.</p> <h2>3. Curtain Tie-Backs</h2> <p>Add a unique accent to your curtains by using thin or medium width ties as curtain tie-backs. Just cut to fit, add a button or piece of Velcro, and voila!</p> <h2>4. Belts</h2> <p>Narrow wool or cotton ties (especially in argyle or plaid) make great belts. Add a D-ring style buckle and pair with dark-wash jeans for a casual look.</p> <h2>5. Quilts and Throws</h2> <p>If you have the skills and are up for an intricate and challenging project, try creating a quilt or throw crafted from neckties. When sewing ties together or using cut pieces of tie fabric, be sure to pay attention to the weft and warp of the material. Each fabric has not only a distinct weight, but a particular weave that affects how it stretches. Choosing fabrics with similar warp and weft characteristics will prevent misshaping or unnecessarily stress on a particular section. For a good tutorial on how make a quilt from old ties, check out eHow&rsquo;s step-by-step <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_2085817_make-necktie-quilt.html">tie quilt overview</a>.</p> <h2>6. Rugs</h2> <p>Apply the same method used in the quilt creation to make a rug from polyester or cotton ties. If you like to knit or crochet, experiment with crafting a rug using ties as the yarn. Just cut the ties to a uniform width and sew the strips end-to-end. Add a non-skid backing or pad for safety.</p> <h2>7. Scarves</h2> <p>Wool or cotton ties staggered and sewn together end-to-end can create a unique and durable scarf. Leave the edges natural or finish with velvet or denim.</p> <h2>8. Table Runners</h2> <p>Use rich paisley patterns in silk to create a distinctive table runner using the same method as the scarf. Finish with tassels or some simple beadwork.</p> <h2>9. Dish Towel Ties</h2> <p>Remember when every kitchen had those little dish towels with the tab that fit through a drawer handle and buttoned in the front? Maybe I&rsquo;m showing my age, but it seemed like every kitchen in the 1970&rsquo;s had one hanging at the sink or from the oven handle. It was a great little utilitarian craft project that could be reinvented to include old neckties. Using the widest part of the tie, hem and sew one end to the back of a dish towel or hand towel and attach the pointed end to the front with a button or piece of Velcro. Because these will be used and washed frequently, choose a durable polyester or cotton tie.</p> <h2>10. Custom Pillows</h2> <p>Add a unique and custom look to your accent pillows by centering and sewing a tie vertically and another horizontally to create a &quot;gift wrapped&quot; look. This works especially well with white pillows and deeply patterned bold black ties or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twenty-five-things-to-do-with-old-jeans">denim</a> pillows and vintage plaid ties.</p> <p>So, the next time you&rsquo;re thrift shopping or hitting the yard sales, keep an eye out for those old orphaned ties &mdash; there&rsquo;s still a lot of life in them. With a little creativity and craftsmanship, you can turn something that was a pain in the neck to the fellas of yesteryear into something that&rsquo;s inspired and practical.</p> <p><em>Do you have a closet full of old ties? How have you repurposed and recycled them? What ideas have I missed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-diy-clothing-projects-for-men">13 DIY Clothing Projects for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Style crafts men's clothing reuse Wed, 22 Feb 2012 11:24:18 +0000 Kentin Waits 902723 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tree huggers.jpg" alt="25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today" title="25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&rsquo;t need to be told to turn the lights off, but what else can you do to reduce your carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly today? Sometimes changing a small bad habit is all it takes to make a positive change for the environment. Other changes require a little more work, but the effort is worth it both for your wallet and the planet. Check out our big list of easy eco-friendly changes you can make right now.</p> <h3>1. Wash Clothes in Cold Water</h3> <p>Much of the energy used to wash clothing is spent on heating the water. Doing the laundry in cold water is effective for all but the most heavily soiled clothing, helps to prevent shrinking, and won&rsquo;t wear your clothes out as quickly. Another great way to save energy &mdash; hang dry your clothes! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kilowatts-a-killer-tips-for-air-drying-clothes">Tips for Air-Drying Clothes</a>)</p> <h3>2. Open or Close the Blinds</h3> <p>In the winter, harness the sun&rsquo;s energy by opening the curtains during the day and letting the sun warm your house. In the summer, close the blinds while you&rsquo;re away to keep the house cool.</p> <h3>3. Recycle!</h3> <p>The amount of paper and cardboard that goes into our landfills is disgusting. A lot of product packaging (cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles) can be recycled, so the next time you find yourself dumping that cookie box in the trash, think again. If in doubt, check with your local recycling program to see what can and cannot be recycled.</p> <h3>4. Don&rsquo;t Leave the Water Running</h3> <p>Hopefully (since you&rsquo;re reading this), you&rsquo;re not one of those people who leaves the water running when you&rsquo;re brushing your teeth. Also, don&rsquo;t wash a pile of dishes under constantly running water. Fill the sink instead, and then rinse the dishes in a fresh sink of water.</p> <h3>5. Use Natural Cleaners</h3> <p>Use vinegar, baking soda, and other natural cleaning solutions instead of conventional cleaners. Alternatively, buy an eco-friendly brand of cleaner or detergent (such as Clorox GreenWorks, Seventh Generation, Method, or Mrs. Meyers).</p> <h3>6. Turn Down and Insulate Your Water Heater</h3> <p>If your water heater isn&rsquo;t adequately insulated (it feels warm to the touch), you can save energy by insulating it to prevent heat loss. Insulating jackets or blankets are cheap to buy, and if you have an electric water heater, you can install it yourself. Read more about it at <a href="http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070">EnergySavers.Gov</a>. While you&rsquo;re at it, turn down the thermostat to 120⁰F on your water heater to prevent water from being heated until scalding hot (it&rsquo;s safer too).</p> <h3>7. Start Composting</h3> <p>Start a <a href="http://www.wholeliving.com/article/how-to-start-composting?backto=true&amp;backtourl=/photogallery/easy-ways-to-be-more-green#slide_21">compost bin</a> with kitchen scraps, old newspaper, and other organic materials. Use this fertile compost in your garden instead of commercial fertilizer.</p> <h3>8. Buy Pre-Owned Stuff</h3> <p>Shop on Craigslist, on eBay, and at local consignment and thrift stores for furniture, housewares, and clothing. Buy used books instead of new ones.</p> <h3>9. Buy Local Produce</h3> <p>Reduce your carbon footprint by buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farms. Even if you shop at a big grocery store, produce should be labeled with its place of origin. Buying locally reduces emissions from fuel used to transport food to you and supports local farmers.</p> <h3>10. Buy Music Online</h3> <p>Instead of buying CDs, buy digital files of the newest music. It's cheap and easy, and you reduce the amount of material used to produce a physical CD as well as the gas required to drive to the music store.</p> <h3>11. Carpool to Work or School</h3> <p>Save money and the environment at the same time by carpooling to work or school. As an added bonus, you&rsquo;ll get to use the carpool lane. Even better, bike or walk to work if possible.</p> <h3>12. Unplug Electronic Devices</h3> <p>Computers and other electronic devices continue to use energy even when they&rsquo;re turned off. Unplug them when you&rsquo;re not using them to save energy. Try using a power strip for your home electronics that you can switch off when not in use.</p> <h3>13. Reuse Scrap Paper</h3> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re taking notes for a class or letting your toddler go nuts with the crayons, never recycle a piece of office paper until it has been used on both sides.</p> <h3>14. Go Paper-Free</h3> <p>Cancel your newspaper subscription and subscribe to the online version instead. Send <a href="http://new.evite.com/#home">Evites </a>instead of paper invitations. Use email instead of the fax machine.</p> <h3>15. Get a Reusable Water Bottle</h3> <p>Get a stainless-steel or BPA-free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">reusable water bottle</a> instead of keeping a case of bottled water around.</p> <h3>16. Install a Water-Saving Showerhead</h3> <p>Today&rsquo;s low-flow showerheads have come a long way, and many of them have excellent water pressure, meaning you don&rsquo;t have to sacrifice comfort for the environment.</p> <h3>17. Eat Sustainable Seafood</h3> <p>Check out the <a href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx">Monterey Bay Aquarium&rsquo;s guides</a> to sustainable seafood. Some popular types of fish, such as Chilean sea bass, imported mahi-mahi, farmed salmon, red snapper, and certain types of tuna, are being overfished or are caught/farmed in ways that are harmful to the environment. They even have a sustainable guide to sushi!</p> <h3>18. Use a Reusable Shopping Bag</h3> <p>Plastic grocery bags are recyclable, but usually you have to bring them to special collection points (check if your local grocery store has one). Avoid the waste and the hassle by getting yourself a reusable shopping bag, which will be sturdier and more stylish anyway. Be sure to wash your bag periodically to prevent bacteria buildup.</p> <h3>19. Change the Lightbulbs</h3> <p>Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use a quarter of the wattage of regular bulbs and last way longer. These days, they come in a range of colors (from warm yellow to cool white) and don&rsquo;t flicker like they used to. Be sure to recycle them properly when they burn out though &mdash; CFLs contain mercury and shouldn&rsquo;t be dumped in a landfill.</p> <h3>20. Switch to Cloth Diapers</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got a little one, you might want to consider trying cloth diapers. Think of the mountain of disposable diapers your child has produced by the time he/she is a toddler!&nbsp; Today&rsquo;s cloth diapers, such as the <a href="http://stinkerpants.com/weblog/post/being-a-hippy-mama-step-1-cloth-diapers-and-wipes">gDiaper</a>, are designed to be user-friendly, and with modern high-efficiency washing machines, don&rsquo;t take a lot of water and energy to wash. If it&rsquo;s easier, try a combination of cloth and disposable diapers as your needs allow.</p> <h3>21. Be Green When Traveling</h3> <p>Many hotels have figured out that being more environmentally conscious can save them money. Follow hotel guidelines for reducing water use by reusing your towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day. Choose to support hotels and tours that minimize their carbon footprint. Airplane travel is very polluting; if possible, minimize plane travel and pack light to reduce fuel consumption.</p> <h3>22. Drive Smart</h3> <p>Do your best to save energy and reduce emissions when driving. Don&rsquo;t idle your car (a pet peeve of mine!). Make sure tires are properly inflated and aligned, and maintain your car (worn out spark plugs, clogged air filters, and other problems can lower gas mileage). Avoid driving aggressively with sudden stops and speeding, both of which also lower gas mileage.</p> <h3>23. Plug Leaks in Your Home</h3> <p>Caulking windows and weather-stripping doors is cheap and easy enough to do yourself. Preventing leaks in your home can save you money and reduce energy consumption.</p> <h3>24. Turn Down (or Up) the Thermostat</h3> <p>Having grown up in Canada, I&rsquo;ve noticed that often I&rsquo;ve come in from the freezing cold outside into a steamy hot house. I have to immediately peel off layers of sweaty clothing. Why not just wear a sweater inside the house, and turn the heat down a degree or two? If you live in a hot climate, try the opposite.</p> <h3>25. Sell or Donate Used Stuff</h3> <p>Instead of dumping old clothes and other reusable stuff in the trash, sell it at a yard sale or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">donate it to the local Goodwill</a>. Someone else will benefit from your unwanted possessions.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for greening your lifestyle? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/old-calendars-never-really-go-out-of-date">Old calendars never really go out of date.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living 25 changes energy efficiency recycle reuse Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:24:16 +0000 Camilla Cheung 766486 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Household Uses for Pantyhose http://www.wisebread.com/20-household-uses-for-pantyhose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-household-uses-for-pantyhose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tights_3.jpg" alt="Ballerinas in tights" title="Ballerinas in tights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have extra pantyhose or stockings lying around your closet? If you&rsquo;re anything like my fiancée, you have at least 30 pairs of unworn nylon stockings clogging up your drawer. Here are 20 great ways to use them around the house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a>)</p> <h3>1. Remove Nail Polish</h3> <p>Cut your pantyhose into small strips and substitute for cotton balls.</p> <h3>2. Find Lost Small Objects</h3> <p>Cut one leg of the stockings off, and place it over the nozzle of the vacuum. Turn the vacuum on and carefully clean the carpet. The small objects will be trapped in the nylon filter that you have created.</p> <h3>3. Make a Citrus-Scented Bath</h3> <p>Dry and grind up lemon or orange peels, and pour them into the foot of a nylon stocking. Make a knot so the peels can&rsquo;t escape. Place the pouch into the bath and let the aroma soothe you.</p> <h3>4. Keep Your Hairbrush Clean</h3> <p>Stretch a strip of stocking over your brush, poking the bristles through. Remove pantyhose strip when brush fills up with hair and lint, and replace it with a clean stocking strip to collect future build up.</p> <h3>5. Hold Potpourri</h3> <p>Fill the foot of the pantyhose with potpourri, tying a knot to keep the contents inside. Store in dresser drawers to make your sheets and clothes smell great.</p> <h3>6. Dust</h3> <p>Use pantyhose to dust in hard-to-reach places. Tie pantyhose to a coat hanger or long object, and the dust will cling to the pantyhose and can easily be cleaned off.</p> <h3>7. Buff Shoes</h3> <p>Pantyhose are great for shining shoes! Just cut a strip off your old pair of stockings and begin to buff.</p> <h3>8. Replace Loose Stuffing</h3> <p>Stuffing in animals and dolls that have lost their fluff can be replaced with balls of old pantyhose.</p> <h3>9. Store Flower Bulbs</h3> <p>Place bulbs in the foot of stockings, cut, and tie a knot to keep the bulbs from falling out. The nylon material will let air circulate, keeping mold and mildew from growing on the bulb. Keep the bulbs in a dry, but cool space until you are ready to plant them.</p> <h3>10. Clean Your Pool</h3> <p>Cut and fit the leg of a pair of pantyhose over a bucket and skim the top of your pool. The stockings will catch debris and tiny dirt particles that clog your pool drainer.</p> <h3>11. Paint Strainer</h3> <p>Similar to the pool strainer, cut and fit the leg of your old stockings over a bucket. The pantyhose serve as a great way to remove lumps from paint. Pour the paint into your pantyhose strainer, remove the pantyhose once you have finished, and begin painting with lump-free paint!</p> <h3>12. Prevent Erosion in Potted Plants</h3> <p>Put a piece of nylon stocking at the bottom of a pot, which will let water flow out without draining the soil.</p> <h3>13. Scrub Dishes</h3> <p>Just scrunch part of the stockings, add water and soap, and scrub away!</p> <h3>14. Prevent a Rolling Pin From Sticking</h3> <p>Rather than using water or flour to prevent dough from sticking to your rolling pin, wrap part of a nylon stocking around a rolling pin and roll out your dough. The dough won't stick to the nylon.</p> <h3>15. Tie Trash Bags</h3> <p>Cut up strips of your pantyhose, and use them to tie your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-affordable-alternatives-to-small-plastic-trash-bags">trash bags</a>.</p> <h3>16. Make Bungee Cords</h3> <p>Stockings are very elastic and can be used as straps to tie objects down. If you get a couple &quot;S&quot; hooks from a hardware store, you have your very own bungee cord.</p> <h3>17. Protect Growing Vegetables</h3> <p>Don't like using pesticides in the garden? Put stockings over growing vegetables to prevent pest damage without the harmful chemicals.</p> <h3>18. Make Your Own Loofah &mdash; and Save Soap</h3> <p>Save those last bits of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nine-frugal-suggestions-for-a-humble-bar-of-soap">soap</a> from your bars, put them in the foot of your pantyhose, and scrub out those bubbles!</p> <h3>19. Scrub Floors and Metals Without Scratching</h3> <p>Whether you're applying polish to your silver or gold or simply scrubbing your kitchen tiles, try using a pair of stockings instead of sponges that could harm your valuables.</p> <h3>20. Save Money on Heating</h3> <p>Fill one leg of a nylon stocking with sand, and tie it shut. Put it at the bottom of your door during the winter to prevent the cold air from getting inside.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-packer">Daniel Packer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-household-uses-for-pantyhose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-more-detergent-make-for-more-clean">Does More Detergent Make for More Clean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning pantyhose reuse Wed, 19 Oct 2011 10:36:11 +0000 Daniel Packer 747625 at http://www.wisebread.com Another 36 Uses for Tin Foil http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/foil_cat_3.jpg" alt="Cat in a foil outfit" title="Cat in a foil outfit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A while back, Jeff wrote a great post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-ways-to-reuse-aluminum-foil">surprising ways to reuse foil</a>, such as sharpening scissors and knives, reducing static cling, and repairing stripped threads. Here are 36 more ways to use the shiny stuff!</p> <p>Note &mdash; make sure you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">reuse</a>, rewash, and recycle your foil whenever possible. This helps your money go further and reduces unnecessary waste. Also, instead of ripping off a sheet larger than you need, cut your foil to suit your exact size requirements (this has the added benefit of sharpening your scissors too).</p> <h2>Kitchen</h2> <p>Foil is usually kept in the kitchen, so let&rsquo;s start there. It&rsquo;s good for so much more than you might think!</p> <h3>1. Storing Food</h3> <p>The reason foil is good for food storage is because it creates a total barrier against light, oxygen, odors, flavors, moisture, and bacteria. Fats &mdash; for example &mdash; won&rsquo;t oxidize and become rancid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-strategies-for-using-your-leftover-food">Simple Strategies for Using Your Leftover Food</a>)</p> <h3>2. Cooking</h3> <p>Along the premise of foil being a barrier against moisture, it also holds it in. Wrap food in foil (especially handy before chucking it on the barbecue), and get creative by making little foil packets with combinations of veggies and spices. You can also use foil to finish cooking something (like meat) that has been mostly cooked and is still hot, but needs a little bit longer to tenderize. (This works well for timing a meal if the other components aren't ready yet).</p> <h3>3. Funnel</h3> <p>Roll a double-thickness of foil (ideally the heavy duty kind) into a cone shape and snip off the end.</p> <h3>4. Pastry/Piping Bag</h3> <p>Start with the funnel (make sure the hole at the end is small). Fill the cone with icing and twist or fold the top closed so it doesn&rsquo;t seep out. Use heavy-duty foil and get creative cutting designs or patterns into the end to shape how the icing comes out. (This might take a trial run or three).</p> <h3>5. Novelty Cake Shapes</h3> <p>As long as you&rsquo;re icing a cake with foil as an aid, why not bake one with it? Don&rsquo;t buy a heart-shaped cake pan &mdash; make one! Use several thicknesses of foil to create whatever shape of a cake pan you desire, and place it inside a regular cake pan or on a baking sheet. Every cake can be a work of creative genius, without having to spend money on specialty cake pans.</p> <h3>6. Oven Rack Spill Catcher</h3> <p>Although pizzas may cook best when placed directly on the rack, I have no interest in watching cheese drip over the edges and turn into a blackened mess on the oven bottom. Cover your oven rack with foil, and you have a spill-catcher and pretty much the same cooking conditions as if it were on the rack itself.</p> <h3>7. Oven Liner</h3> <p>As long as you&rsquo;re worried about spillage, you can line the whole bottom of your oven with foil as well. However, as pointed out in this article on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-tips-to-cut-costs-by-using-your-oven-efficiently">oven efficiency</a>, don't make a habit of leaving foil on the rack or the bottom of the oven, as it reduces air flow.</p> <h3>8. Burner Catchers</h3> <p>Use foil to line the bowl-shaped catchers underneath each stove element, and you&rsquo;ll save quite a bit of scrubbing. Replace as necessary.</p> <h3>9. Oven-Cleaning Aid</h3> <p>If you can&rsquo;t remove the elements from your oven before spraying cleaner, just cover them in foil to protect them from the spray.</p> <h3>10. Soften Brown Sugar</h3> <p>Wrap your unwitting brick of brown sugar in foil and bake for five minutes at 300&deg;F to soften it. Leave it in the foil and store in an air-tight plastic bag to keep it soft.</p> <h3>11. Bake Pies With Perfect Crusts</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve burned many a pie crust waiting for the filling to finish cooking. Save yourself the agony by covering the edge of the crust with foil once it&rsquo;s golden brown to prevent it from burning.</p> <h3>12. Make a Solar Cooker</h3> <p>This takes a little more than foil alone, but if you&rsquo;ve got sunshine, you may as well make full use of it with a <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cooker">solar cooker</a>&nbsp;and save money on energy costs.</p> <h3>13. Keep Rolls Hot</h3> <p>Want to serve perfectly warmed dinner rolls even if guests are slow to the table? Line a bread basket with foil, put your warm rolls in, and cover them with a napkin.</p> <h2>Camping</h2> <p>Foil is a light and easily portable tool that has many handy uses when camping.</p> <h3>14. Keep Things Dry</h3> <p>As a barrier against moisture, foil is a great way to keep things dry. For example, if you have a cooler full of ice, you can wrap sandwiches in foil to keep them cool and prevent sogginess. Or if you&rsquo;re headed off the trails, wrapping your lunch in foil could protect it from being destroyed during that wonky river crossing.</p> <h3>15. Cooking</h3> <p>As stated in the kitchen section, making creative packets of goodies and cooking them can be fun for the whole family. This is especially handy if you&rsquo;re cooking over a campfire.</p> <p>Craving a grilled cheese sandwich? Wrap your bread and cheese in foil and cook it over the fire. (And if you&rsquo;re &ldquo;camped out&rdquo; at a hotel, you can even make these sandwiches by using an iron to grill your sandwich. Yup. An iron).</p> <h2>Beauty</h2> <p>I couldn't find too many beauty uses for tin foil &mdash; not like you can for other unlikely suspects like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paint-a-room-and-wash-your-face-more-uses-for-powdered-milk-than-you-ever-imagined">powdered milk</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-dozen-uses-for-toothpaste-aside-from-cleaning-your-teeth">toothpaste</a>, or even <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">banana peels</a>.&nbsp;But below is one I tested when I performed in a musical requiring curly locks &mdash; it really works.</p> <h3>16. Curl Your Hair</h3> <p>While your hair is still damp, wrap sections lengthwise in foil, and roll the foil around your fingers as tight or loose as you choose. Sleep well, and awake to super-curly locks!</p> <h2>Household</h2> <p>Oh, there are so many household uses for foil! Where to begin?</p> <h3>17. Rust Remover</h3> <p>Got rust? Use a crumpled piece of foil to rub it off. Rumor has it if you dip the foil in cola first, it works even better.</p> <h3>18. Polish Steel</h3> <p>Using the principle of oxidization, dip a piece of foil in water and use it to remove rust from and polish your steel.</p> <h3>19. Polish Silver</h3> <p>See this article on how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">clean silver naturally</a> for more on this nifty and easy technique.</p> <h3>20. Soap Saver</h3> <p>By putting a piece of foil on the bottom of a bar of soap, it won't sit in a puddle of water, and will last longer.</p> <h3>21. Plant Rescue</h3> <p>Cut the side out of a cardboard box and line the inside with foil. Put your sun-starved plant inside the box, and place it in a window with the open side facing the window/sun. The sun reflecting off the foil will give your plant a boost of light and will help it to grow straighter too.</p> <h3>22. Line Fireplaces and Grills</h3> <p>To protect your fireplace or grill from soot damage, you can line the bottom with foil.</p> <h3>23. Furniture Protector</h3> <p>Shampooing your carpets? Protect furniture legs by covering them in foil to keep the shampoo off and save you (and your back) from playing Tetris with heavy furniture.</p> <h3>24. Sculptures</h3> <p>When struck with a bout of creativity, foil can be loads of fun for making sculptures and other crafty items.</p> <h3>25. Improve TV Reception</h3> <p>No, I'm not talking about creating foil rabbit ears (though this helps too). If your DVD player lives atop your TV, the picture might be fuzzy. Put a sheet of foil between the two to reduce interference.</p> <h3>26. Iron Both Sides at Once</h3> <p>Putting foil underneath your ironing board cover doubles the effectiveness of your iron by reflecting the heat back up and helping you to iron both sides at once.</p> <h3>27. Steam Delicate Garments</h3> <p>Don't put that iron away yet! Put a piece of foil under your garment and hold the iron a few inches above the garment while holding down the steam button. Voila &mdash; you've de-wrinkled your delicates without using direct heat.</p> <h3>28. Wrapping Paper</h3> <p>In a pinch, foil does the trick as wrapping paper, especially for those awkwardly shaped gifts. You can also cut out custom pictures and shapes and incorporate a creative sculpture or two!</p> <h3>29. Heat Your Home</h3> <p>Placing foil on the wall behind your radiator will direct heat back into the room, making it more efficient. (Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">six other ways to reduce your heating expenses and stay warm</a>.)</p> <h3>30. Keep It Cold</h3> <p>Conversely, on a really hot day you can keep your drinks cold for longer by wrapping your cup or glass in foil.</p> <h3>31. Makeshift Washer</h3> <p>Jeff mentions how foil can be used to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-ways-to-reuse-aluminum-foil">repair stripped threads on screws</a>; you can also twist a small strip of foil around a bolt as a makeshift washer. Tighten the nut down and the foil works its way into uneven spots between metal surfaces.</p> <h3>32. Paint Brush Preserver</h3> <p>Painting a room or three? Instead of laboriously washing your brushes each night, just wrap them in foil and refrigerate. They'll remain soft and ready for further use for up to four days.</p> <h3>33. Cat Toy</h3> <p>Roll some foil into a small ball and teach your cats to play fetch (good luck with that, by the way). Attach the ball to a string and hang it from a door handle, and your kitty has hours of self-directed entertainment.</p> <h3>34. Rim Cleaner</h3> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">If your car rims are full of brake dust, use foil and a little dish soap to remove the gunk and shine those puppies up.</p> <h3>35. Keep Batteries in Place</h3> <p>If the battery compartment is a little loose and the battery isn't always in proper contact with the connectors, pad out the spring side with some foil. The batteries will stay in place and keep a solid connection.</p> <h3>36. Photography Reflector</h3> <p>Fancy a photo shoot? Covering a piece of cardboard with foil gives you an excellent reflector to give your subject the perfect lighting.</p> <p><em>What uses do you have for this shiny stuff?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time">10 Homemade Baking Mixes That Save Money and Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-uses-for-sheets">11 Smart Uses for Sheets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips Home aluminium foil household hacks reuse tin foil Tue, 04 Oct 2011 10:24:12 +0000 Nora Dunn 729888 at http://www.wisebread.com