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I love sparkling clean windows. I use white vinegar mixed one part to three parts water and yesterday's newspaper to get them that way. I no longer have to buy glass cleaner and paper towels.
Instead of paying for mulch for your garden/yard, I lay down old newspapers (free from my library) and then spread grass clippings (free from my yard) over the papers. This holds in moisture and prevents weeds/grass from coming through. With two orchards, a vegetable garden, and a flower garden, I've found this to be nice to look at, and it's absolutely free.
Need Sturdy Boxes?
Late July, August, and early September, as well as late November, December, and early January, are the best times to ask at college stores for empty boxes. They have tons of strong but manageably sized ones from stocking new start of the semester textbooks.
I found one more good use for the abundance of old tube socks left over from when I had teens in the house. I use pint-sized glass jars for freezer storage instead of plastic, but without some kind of protection around the jar, they are easily broken and can make a big mess. I cut up the old, but clean tube sock and slip a jar into it before filling. I cut the sock short enough so it doesn't cover the lid. I then put my label on the lid. While thawing, I leave the jar in the sock.
The "Special Supper"
My husband and I came up with a way to get our young children to eat leftovers with no complaints. Once a week, we have a "special supper" night. Instead of serving the food at the table, we fix a plate for each with about seven or eight different things. For instance, we might give them a slice of leftover ham, a spoon full of each leftover side dish, and surprises like a few peanuts, two or three crackers, a chunk of cheese, piece of fruit, etc. They love it!
My oldest daughter has really thick hair, but expensive de-tangling sprays are not in our budget. Inspiration struck and I filled a spray bottle with about 1/3 conditioner to 2/3 water and sprayed a bit on her hair. It worked wonderfully at de-tangling her hair, and it was much shinier and more manageable the next day.
The Essential Shower
One of my favorite luxuries is to put a few shakes of essential oil in a safe place on the shower wall before I turn on the water. Once the warm water hits the wall, it creates a spa like atmosphere in my shower. I particularly like geranium oil that has mood lifting effects or eucalyptus oil. You can indulge and revive yourself for just pennies per use. Essential oils be purchased online or at your favorite health food store.
Lisa in CA
The Gift Exchange
I go to garage sales throughout the spring and summer. I buy all the new, still-in-the-box things they have to offer. I also purchase gift paper and gift bags. You can buy them cheaply then. Most were gifts they could not use. Then in October or November, when people start thinking about Christmas, I have an "in the house" sale. They look much better there than in a garage, and people pay twice to three times what you purchased them for.
Pat H. in Independence, MO
Know the mesh produce bags that our potatoes, onions, and oranges come in? They are good for more than holding produce. Once the veggies are gone, slip the bags over everyday kitchen sponges (that you can get at the dollar store) and tie a knot at the end of the bag and at the end of the sponge. This will give you scrubbing power when scrubbing pots and pans!
Arlene D. in Raleigh, NC
If you have a hobby or a project that requires a template, use your empty gallon or half-gallon plastic jugs. Simply cut them apart into flat surfaces and cut out your template. These are free templates for quilters or other hobbyists.
The jugs also make great luminaries at Christmas. Just cut out a design, fill it with sand and a candle, and viola! You have a luminary! If you start now, you will have enough for your yard without the fire danger you have with lighting paper bags.