More Tips for Making it Last Around the House

Cut the cost of your long distance calls as much as 60% by dialing yourself and using the daily and weekend specials. Plan what you need to say and limit talking time. Use e-mail or write a letter!

Strive for a simple lifestyle. This means owning fewer nonessential things and having less to clean and maintain. Buy less clutter and junk.

Be creative use what you have in new and creative ways.

Cut your recreation costs by planning more activities and games at home.

Entertain friends and relatives at home simply.

Use your sewing skills to make gifts: aprons, place mats, linens, hand towels, pillows, needlework. Or, make pictures, wall hangings, chair seat covers, and decorative screens.

Use some of your homemade jams and jellies for gifts.

Plan carefully and thoroughly as the first step in economical decorating.

Consider remodeling rather than buying a new house.

Learn to paint and wallpaper.

Learn to refinish furniture.

Make your own draperies, curtains, spreads, slipcovers, and table covers.

Learn to clean, repair, and restore household items yourself. Learn to maintain and repair the house and equipment.

Decorate your home with items from nature or use family creations.

Take advantage of free or low-cost learning opportunities, trips, community services, such as schools, workshops, fairs, libraries, concerts, hikes, public tennis courts, home shows, extension programs, and other adult education courses.

Hold a garage sale. Sell those items you no longer need, us, or want.

Plan an outdoor area for living. Landscape to beautify and enjoy it.

Buy items that require little maintenance.

Furniture marks on carpet. To remove the indentation marks left by heavy furniture on carpet simply place some ice cubes on top of the indentation area, wait until about half of the ice cubes have melted, about 5 minutes in average temperature. Remove the remaining ice then using a stiff brush simply fluff up the carpet pile so that it looks normal and leave to dry naturally. For short pile carpets a stiff nylon fingernail brush is ideal. The action of the combination of cold and moisture on the carpet has the effect of refreshing the fibres of the pile in the carpet and works very well on most.

Window cleaning tip. Don't pay for expensive glass cleaners. Use vinegar and water(3 parts water, 1 part vinegar). Clean one side of the window e.g. the inside, vertically, and the outside, horizontally. This will enable you to find problems and know if the smear or smudge is on the inside or outside so you can correctly it quickly. For a great finish rub vigorously with dry newspaper. The ink and sizing in the paper will give you a perfect finish with no smearing and no lint. Another alternative is to buy a bottle of wiper fluid (for the car), which usually costs less than one dollar. Get a spray bottle from the store, fill it, and use it to wash your glass.

Polishing tip. If using a spray polish for furniture never apply it directly to the surface, instead apply the polish to a duster and rub on, then polish up in the usual way. This prevents build-up of excess polish, which is wasteful and also difficult to remove.

Cleaning grout in tiled surfaces. Use a 50/50 mixture of lemon juice and hot water. Simply scrub the mixture into the grouting using a toothbrush and rub off using a clean cloth.

Gift giving tip. Avoid expensive wrapping paper. Try wallpaper instead. It lasts forever and there are beautiful designs to choose from. Keep an eye out at thrift stores for inexpensive wallpaper leftovers. For kids gifts comic strips from the newspaper work great. You can also put your paper grocery bags to work and use them as wrapping paper and decorate them with ribbon or fabric strips. When you buy your Christmas paper, right after Christmas we hope, look for paper that can be used at other times during the year. Examples are silver and other patterns or solid colors.

Home decorating tip. If you want to change the look of a room, change the colors of the accessories, such as pillows, flower arrangements, paintings, bedspreads, table clothes, etc. Keeping your walls, carpets, and major furniture pieces neutral in color will make this job cheaper and easier. Also, if you sell your home, you won't be faced with painting all your rooms white so they will appeal to the most people.

I know they say not to do it, but many people have successfully been known to empty vacuum bags and reuse them. Don't do this forever, but a couple of times usually works fine and saves money on replacing bags.

Re-use containers you get at the store. Glass mayonnaise jars have 101 uses, cut cereal boxes at an angle and make magazine holders out of them, empty plastic liners from cereal boxes make good freezer bags or wax paper. Other containers can be used for all kinds of storage from small toy, pasta, and pen and pencil holders.

Make your own postcards from heavy junk mail. Use the lighter pieces for notes.

Make potholders out of old ironing board covers.

Make kitchen towels or table runners out of soiled tablecloths.

Use colorful toy building blocks as handles on children's dressers.

When you boil potatoes, always save the water. Use it in soups and stews, or cool it and use it to fertilize your house plants. Ferns love it.

Roses love crushed egg shells. They help keep snails out of the garden.

Use the tabs off aluminum cans to hang pictures. Just tack them to the back of the frame

Old fashioned doilies in good condition make great artwork. Find them at yard sales or you may have some made by family members. Frame them on a colorful mat board, and hang them on your wall.

Surround yourself with the things you love. Things that have sentimental value are of far more worth than any art objects. Anything looks good in a frame and mat board. Display your children's "art work". Make collections of rocks, shells and other things you can collect together or on trips.

When you buy your furniture, try to buy items that can be used in several rooms. Certain tables, chairs, lamps, etc. will never be wasted if you can move them around.

Don't worry about "matching" things. Things like plates don't have to match. Put interesting colors and textures together, and enjoy the variety.

While out riding around, look behind stores for odd small shelves (when stores are remodeling they sometimes throw away the display shelves), ask if you can have them and then paint them and they are great for the bathroom or kitchen or even a child's room.

Freeze orange, lemon and other citrus fruit leftover pieces and peelings. Use them just like simmering potpourri to freshen the air

Use bleachable rags instead paper towels. Cut up old clothing, or buy something from a second hand store for that purpose. Wash them with towels unless they're really grungy, then wash with rugs, etc., first.

Before you go to the store for spring gardening supplies, check out your kitchen utensil drawer. Old spoons, spatulas and more can be used to dig, smooth and weed plants in pots or small areas.

Never throw out a toothbrush. Use it to dust, clean and scrub small hard to get to places. Use it on dishes, the stove, woodwork. Rub stain remover into laundry with one.
Save old toothbrushes to use in place of other brushes. Use them to scrub corners and wall trim; to apply messy potions; to reach in small jars when washing, and much more. Sanitize by soaking overnight in a quart of water with a little bleach added.

It may seem kind of silly, but gum wrappers - those plain white ones that wrap a stick of gum over the foil wrapper (from the large packages) - are just about the right size to jot a note or short list. Save them and staple them together (or just keep a stack of them). Paper is paper is paper, no matter where it comes from.

If you intend to use an old sheet for a ghost costume on Halloween, you'll wind up with an old sheet with holes in it, so, be sure to save it for the next kid, or the next Halloween, or the next time you paint the kitchen. Or make tea towels or napkins from it, or use it as a tree skirt, with a little 'snow' scattered on it.

Quick clothespin bag: Bend the side ends of a wire hangar upwards, then hang a plastic grocery sack on it. Continue to bend the ends up and over the plastic bag handles to hold it in place. Frugal advice: Use two plastic bags, one inside the other to keep them from tearing.

When the 'urge to shop' hits you, try the local library! Not only can you borrow books, but most libraries have videos, audio tapes and some even have art to hang on your walls. Most frugally, be sure to return the items on time so they won't cost you anything at all.

A frugal way to keep your garden watered without a huge water bill is to bury milk jugs alongside the plants. Poke several holes in the jugs so that water will seep out underground, near the roots. That way, you won't lose water to the sun, and you can water much less often. Tip: Add liquid plant food to the water.

Hang a plastic bag, or cut a gallon milk jug down to hold clean but orphaned socks as you do the laundry. If you never find the mate, cut the toes out of the socks and split along one side to make the most frugal dust cloths or dish cloths. Or cut in a long strip and crochet or knit into bath mats. Or slip your hand in one and dust small crevices or hard to get to places. You can also use the milk jug to hold clothes bins on the clothes line.

There's no need to buy washcloths or dishcloths. When your towels begin to wear, cut out the good parts and hem for washcloths, dishcloths, or hand towels. You can run a zigzag or locking stitch around the edges, or simply put in a regular hem. You can sometimes get a washcloth or two from a worn hand towel, too. Use the leftover scraps for cleaning rags or make potholders from them.

You can usually find bed sheets at second hand stores and garage sales for very little, but often you only find one of a kind. They make great table cloths for those extra large holiday tables, or for every day use. Cut them down to fit your table with a 6-8 inch overhang, plus enough for a hem. Use the excess material to make matching napkins. You don't even need a sewing machine to do this, just hem everything by hand.

Never throw away a shoe box! Use them to hold everything from receipts to knitting needles, cover a sturdy shoe box with an appealing material and use it in the bathroom, the bedroom or kitchen to organize almost anything. Use a covered, decorated shoe box in place of a basket for decorating your home. Or fill them up with tiny gifts, put the top back on and tie on a bow for one of many charities that uses this method during the holidays.

Re-use the plastic bags at the store. Use larger ones to line trash cans. Use them when walking your dog to clean up deposits. With your hand inside the bag, pick up the pile, then turn the bag inside out while still on your hand, tie and drop in the trash.

Remove stubborn stains from marble, Formica or plastic surfaces, scour with a paste of baking soda and water.

Clean your bathroom with dry baking soda on a moist sponge - sink, tub, tiles, shower stall, etc.

Keep your drains clean and free-flowing by putting 4 tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush the soda down with hot water.

Soak your shower curtains in water and baking soda to clean them.