Friday, April 24, 2009
I was back at my Dad's yesterday. My sister and I are in the very slow process of cleaning out his house. In the course of cleaning out a drawer or a shelf or something, my sister said, "Hey Sharon, you might like this."
She'd found a little book titled "Don't Throw That Out!" It's was published by YankeeBooks in 1998. Finding this this book was no big surprise as my Dad was generally a very frugal man and believed strongly in completely using something before throwing it away. Growing up we were frequently admonished to reuse an item or pass it along to someone who could use it before we threw anything away.
There were many tips in the book that I already use. Some were a bit outdated (uses for metal coffee cans); and some were a bit outlandish (in my opinion). But, many were useful. So, today, I thought I'd share 10 tips from this little booklet.
1. When cleaning your fish tank water, save the water for your garden or houseplants. The algae or other waste are good for the plants.
2. Banana peels are good for fertilizing roses, vegetables and houseplants! Let them air dry until crip. Then crumble. Add the pieces of peel to the planting hole or potting soil.
3. A mop or broom handle can be reused as a garden stake or to replace a broken handle on another tool.
4. The bags from cereal boxes can be used to store produce in the fridge.
5. Use wooden chopsticks from Chinese restaurants to stake small seedlings.
6. Orange and lemon rinds will deter cats - and sometimes squirrels - from digging there! Bury the rinds a few feet apart just under the surface of the soil.
7. Old computer mouse pads make good knee pads for working in the yard or garden.
8. Use cotton wads from vitamin or medicine bottles to remove nail polish.
9. Pry the cap off an empty roll-on deodorant bottle. Rinse it out, fill with thinned poster paint, snap the top back on. Let children paint with their new roller! (I thought this one was especially ingenious for those with toddlers.)
10. Cut the end of a drinking straw on a diagonal to make a bubble blower.
What are some of your best tips for reusing common items? For more ideas on reusing cardboard boxes and many other frugal ideas visit LifeAsMom.