Storage & Organization & Hacks

Hints For The Frugal Homeowner

Some may think these handy hints are a bit extreme (or even bordering on hoarder territory), but if you’re a frugal homeowner, I bet you’ll appreciate these clever, money-saving ideas for reusing common disposable household items.

Milk Jug Scoop

Repurpose those milk jugs. Cut off the top of an empty gallon or half-gallon milk jug with sharp scissors. It helps to draw the cut line with a marker first. Clean up the cut to make sure there are no sharp or rough edges. Replace the  jug cap and you have a handy and free scoop for pet food, potting soil, etc. Remove the cap and you can use the scoop as a funnel!

Organize Small Cords with Toilet Paper Rolls

You know how much I love repurposing with TP rolls. To keep your small cords organized, fill a shoe box with as many TP rolls that will fit vertically. Then place a small cord in each tube. Keeps your cords free of tangles and in one place.

Greenhouses from the Salad Bar

Greenhouses from the Salad Bar

Repurpose the plastic container from the salad bar as a mini greenhouse for starting seeds . After washing the container, punch a few holes in the top. Fill the bottom with potting soil and plant your seeds. Close the lid and place the container in a sunny spot. It acts like a mini greenhouse, allowing the sun to reach the plants while holding in moisture.

Paper Towel Boot Shaper

What a great idea for those empty paper towel holders. Place them in your boots to keep them in shape.


Tin Can Glue Bottle Storage

Store your glue upside down in a empty can, so the glue will be at the top. Then you won’t have to wait for the glue to slowly reach the top of the bottle in order to squeeze it out.

Cardboard Sawhorses

You know those great appliance boxes? When my sons were small I made forts out of the boxes, so much fun. But, if you don’t have a sawhorse,use cardboard appliance boxes as collapsible sawhorses. They’re lightweight and plenty strong for many tasks. They hold heavy workpieces like doors without wobbling and fold up flat in seconds. You can cut them to a comfortable working height with a utility knife. — Guy Lautard

Oil Change TroughMake changing the oil in your lawn mower, snow thrower and outdoor machines less messy with this handy hint: Cut off a piece of an empty cereal box and fold it into a trough. Then tip the machine and use the trough to guide the oil into the waste pan. The glossy coating on the cereal box keeps the oil from soaking through.

Dish Soap Glue Bottle

You can Reuse an empty dish soap container as a refillable glue bottle. The small size and screw-on top with attached cap are perfect for squeezing out wood glue. Be sure to rinse the inside of the container thoroughly (including the lid) and let it dry completely before filling it with glue.

Milk Jug Furniture Movers

When you have to move heavy furniture on carpeting, don’t just drag it around. That’s hard on carpet and you might damage the furniture legs. Make the job easier with these homemade moving pads. Cut the bottoms off four plastic water or milk jugs with a utility knife and rest each furniture leg on its own slider. The rounded, slippery bottoms make them perfect for furniture moving. Yes, you can buy fancier versions of these things—for 15 bucks or more! But these work just as well, and best of all, they’re free!

Pie Plate Dustpan

Create a quick disposable dustpan out of an aluminum pie plate. Use tin snips or heavy-duty scissors to cut the pie plate in half. Sweep up the mess and toss it in the trash!

Paper Towel Roll Hanger Hack

Make a hanger for storing your dress pants crease-free. Use scissors to cut open an empty paper towel roll.Slip the tube over the bar of the hanger and tape the opening closed.
That’s it—no need to purchase expensive padded hangers!

Grass Seed Broadcaster

When it’s time to clean out the refrigerator, be sure to save those plastic berry containers. Love those berries. Wash and dry the container, it’s perfect for spreading grass seed on your lawn!

Coffee Carryall

You can reuse those takeout coffee four-pack cartons. They’re made of stiff cardboard and offer 3-1/2-in.-wide square bins for jumbo plastic drinking cups. They’re handy storage spots for nails, screws and other small stuff.I loaded my carryall with a 10-year supply of four styles of drywall fasteners—I always need them but can’t find them in my heap of surplus hardware. Heck, now that I think of it, I gotta head out for another four-pack of coffee. I’ll be wired, but I’ll know where my wire spools are for years to come!


Cardboard Drop Cloth

You can save those large cardboard boxes. Store them along a wall in your garage or workshop so they’re at the ready when you’re working on a messy project such as refinishing furniture, or changing your oil in the car. A large cardboard makes a perfect disposable drop cloth.


Grocery Bag Shoe Covers

Use your grocery bags as shoe covers.The plastic keeps dirt and water contained and the handle loops can be tied around your ankles to keep them on when you step inside your house for a break.


Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix

The next time you open a bottle of wine, save the cork! You can use a slice of synthetic cork to brace a wobbly table leg. Just mark the amount of cork needed, slice it off with a utility knife, and glue it in place.


Bread Tabs for Labeling Cords

Label cords in busy power strip with bread tabs. Use permanent marker to write on the tabs: then hook them onto the plugin ends of the cords. You’ll be able to easily identify and move your electrical devices.

To-Go Coffee Cup to Water Plants

Use a clean to-go coffee cup with a lid to water plants. The hole i the lid is small, so the water pours out slowly. It’s especially useful for plants such as aloe vera, succulents, and cacti which don’t require much water and are at risk of overwatering.

Reuse Nursery Containers

Plastic nursery pots have so many uses that it’s a shame to throw them away. Recycling them is good, reusing them is even better! You can save money gardening by reusing plastic nursery pots and cell packs to raise new plants. Larger containers can hold hand tools, you can even sit on one while in your garden. Or you can remove the bottoms and place the pots upside down around prized plants that are prone to rabbit browsing, as seen here.

Photo: Luke Miller


Cardboard Spray Booth

Cardboard Spray Booth

Prevent paint ‘overspray’ with this clever spray booth made from a cardboard box. Cut a hole in the top of the box. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and position a shop light above to illuminate your project. You can use coat hangers, poked through the cardboard, to hold and rotate the objects as you’re painting them. Not only will your shop be neater, but your paint projects will now be thumbprint free.

Toilet Paper Roll Hair Band Organizer

Keep elastic hair bands in one place—not scattered in drawers or in the bathroom sink or all over the floor. Side them onto an empty TP roll, which can be tucked neatly into a drawer.
Plastic Bag Dispenser

To make it easy to stow and reuse plastic bags, make a dispenser from a discarded 2-liter soda bottle. Cut off the top and bottom with a razor knife. Trim any jagged edges so you don’t tear the bags when you pull them out, then screw the dispenser to a cabinet door or closet wall (or attach with hook-and-loop tape).

Rx Bottle for Earplug Storage

These RX bottles are great for storing small stuff. Like earplugs.

Laundry jug watering can

Instead of throwing away empty laundry detergent containers, rinse them out thoroughly and then recycle them for watering plants. Drill 1/8-in. holes in the top of the cap, and a 1/2-in. hole just above the handle to relieve pressure so the water flows freely.

Paper Towel Roll Bag Storage

Having a handful of grocery plastic bags on hand in the shop is useful for cleaning, sealing up rollers and brushes between coats of paint, etc.Keep your stash of bags organized and out of site. Pull one out one at a time when needed.

Egg Carton Painting Props

Keep a few empty egg cartons with the rest of your painting supplies. They’re great for lifting a small project off of a work surface, making it easier to paint nooks and crannies and along the base of the project.

Six-Pack Shop Organizer

Those six-pack cartons  are useful for storing and transporting items like spray paint, lubricants and caulk. — Gerald Fitzgibbon


Tin Can Water Bottle Holder

Keep cold water within reach when mowing the lawn on hot days. Simply attach an empty clean tin can to the handle of your walk behind mower using zip ties. Be sure to select a can that is large enough to fit your water bottle.

Better Bucket Storage

Don’t you hate it when your stacked 5 gallon buckets get stuck together. What a hassle trying to pull them apart. Prevent the problem by placing a large plastic pop bottle (with top on) or milk jug between each pair of buckets. You can still nest the buckets together, but they won’t stick together anymore.

Plastic Bag Holder

Plastic Bag Holder

An empty rectangular tissue box makes a convenient holder for small garbage bags, plastic grocery bags and small rags. Simply thumbtack it to the inside of the door.

Recycle Peanut Butter Jars

Empty peanut butter containers are a fabulous way of keeping your screws, nails, etc where you need them.

So, did any of these Ideas inspire you?  Do you have any you want to share??? Love to hear from you!



2 thoughts on “Hints For The Frugal Homeowner”

  1. I am pretty frugal, but some of these are new to me. I love the painting garage, the disposable dustpan (good for camping), the furniture movers, and more. Great ideas! Thanks for your post.


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