On Second Thought – New Uses for Common Household Items

I’m a bit of a rebel. Maybe you are, too? When everything we see tells us to buy, buy, BUY, we can take impish delight in creatively using what we already have. Below are some tips for using common household items in new ways:

Pillowcase Fan Blade Cleaners – It can be tough to clean ceiling fans without re-depositing that dust all over our rooms. An old pillowcase will not only remove the dust but also keep it from falling on us. Simply wrap the pillowcase around a blade and slide the dust off. When finished with the fan, take the pillowcase outside and shake out any large particles. After a run through the wash, it’s ready for the next cleaning. There’s no used product for us to throw in the trash, and the dust is out of our homes.

Window Blind Card Holders – Years ago someone recommended keeping a folder of notes, emails, and cards to be an encouragement an on low days. This week I learned an improvement to this method – putting cards on window blinds where they can be seen.  Simply hang the cards between the slats, and we can easily see and read our greetings. With the holidays approaching this is also a great way to display Christmas cards or other seasonal greetings. (To read a great post on the value of handwritten notes and see where I got this tip, check out Heirlooms Come in Hard Copy on the new Christian Communicators website.)

Paperclip bookmarks – Clip together the last 5-10 pages you’ve read with a large paperclip. When you open your book, the clip is always on your left and you are ready to continue reading. Bonus- paperclips never accidentally fall out. Plastic coated clips work well without leaving marks, and a short ribbon can be added to easily see your spot.

Plastic Bowl Greenhouses – Home improvement stores sell a variety of seed starter kits with clear covers and black plastic bases, but we can get free versions by collecting large plastic containers (16 or more ounces) from sour cream, yogurt, whipped cream, and other products. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the container, add a coffee filter to keep soil from leaking out the holes, and fill with soil. Once the seeds are planted and watered, cover the container. If it came with a clear lid, use that. Otherwise, cut off a soda bottle that matches the size of your bowl, and voila – a free seed starter kit. FYI – use extra lids or a tray to catch any excess water from the holes in your bowl.

For more tips on using or re-using household items, check out:

RecycleThis – a UK blog on how to re-use or recycle all kinds of items. Readers can submit questions about what they are trying to re-use.

FreeCycle – a non-profit organization who’s website helps connect people looking for and willing to give away free items. Website is organized by city.

So, how do you use things around your home in unexpected ways?

Simplicity Tip of the Day:  Consider the wisdom of this motto our grandparents knew by heart – Use it up. Wear it out. Make do or do without.

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3 Responses to On Second Thought – New Uses for Common Household Items

  1. Great ideas, Cynthia. I love saving money!

  2. Thanks for sharing the simple and wise way to clean ceiling fans. I’ll be using a pillow case from now on. Bagging the dust from the sourse is a great idea.
    Keep sharing information to safe time, money, and work.

  3. The pillowcase fan blade cleaner is one of the most original things I’ve ever seen.
    We have our own version of card holders, very similar to yours. We have folding doors in front of the utility shelves. At Christmas we hang the cards in the slots. All the slots are filled in no time.

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