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.
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!
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
What a great idea for those empty paper towel holders. Place them in your boots to keep them in shape.
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.
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
Make 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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
These RX bottles are great for storing small stuff. Like earplugs.
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.
Those six-pack cartons are useful for storing and transporting items like spray paint, lubricants and caulk. — Gerald Fitzgibbon
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.
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.