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Bye Bye Birdies
While driving past our local orchard, I noticed something shining throughout the tree branches. It turns out that it was something similar to Christmas garland to keep the birds from eating the fruit. This is a great way to recycle that old garland and keep your fruit at the same time.
Auto Insurance Vacation
I found out that if I go on vacation and my car is parked in my garage unused, and I notify my insurance agent in advance, I get a refund for the time away. The vacation needs to be for a month or more. If the car sits unused, why pay unneeded costs?
Storing Lawn and
An easy and inexpensive solution to organizing lawn tools and the like is empty cans. Use coffee cans, large dry formula cans, large fruit or vegetable cans, etc. Cut both the top and the bottom out of the can with a can opener and then very carefully nail the can to the wall. Place the long handles of the tool into the cans. You'll have instant recycled storage.
Stenciling is a cheap and cheerful way of decorating a room. Stencils, however, are not cheap. Instead of purchasing them from your local do-it-yourself store, use an air freshener container lid instead. These lids often have cut-out floral designs that are perfect for any room.
This is a tip for people who buy makeup regularly. Some products, specifically face powder and liquid-to-powder makeup, are actually cheaper, ounce-for-ounce, if you buy the sample size. I was surprised when I did the math and figured this out, but it makes sense because the sample size does not come packaged in a mirrored compact. You may want that full compact if you carry your makeup around, but if you use the makeup at home, the compact is an unnecessary expense and is ecologically wasteful.
I was taught to clean hairbrushes as a child and was floored when my co-workers said that they throw out hairbrushes when they get dirty and full of hair. To keep hairbrushes clean and like new, use a comb to pull out hair and then throw the brushes in the sink with water and shampoo. Soak for a bit and then rub the bristles of two hairbrushes together to get the dirt out. Rinse and dry on towels. It'll be like a new brush when done.
Finding Storage Space
The best way to double (or triple) your kitchen storage space is to use the "dead space" that's already there. In the kitchen, I've added cup hooks to the undersides of the cabinets and those handy, expandable shelves to give myself two surfaces instead of one. All of my dish and pantry storage is double-decker. Another kitchen space saver is to buy drinking glasses that stack; IKEA sells them very inexpensively! Drawer dividers organize utensils most efficiently. If you have a broom closet somewhere (even if it isn't in the kitchen), consider adding shelves to it to make pantry storage. I keep overflow canned goods and staples in a plastic bin in my basement.
I love the cube tissue dispensers, but I hate the cost. So I decided to try reusing the cubes and refilling them myself. The side panel comes apart easily, and I get refills from one of the large value sized tissue boxes. A small piece of tape reseals the cube discretely. What a money-saver! I refill the cubes several times from one large value box.
Cube designs change seasonally, and I saved the cardinal, snowflake, and Christmas bear designs to refill annually.
Mary Alice C. in Mandeville, Louisiana
Storing Fresh Herbs
I know of a way to store fresh herbs without having to dry them. Take the fresh herb (type doesn't matter) and place it in the small cups in an ice cube tray. Fill the cups with good water (should be filtered or bottled for maximum freshness) and place in the freezer.
After the herb/ice cubes have frozen, take them out of the tray and place in individual plastic baggies by type, combinations for specific recipes, or whatever you choose. The herbs will not lose their potency or color because the ice around the herb is protecting the plant from freezer burn.
Preventing Food Waste
We discovered a way to greatly reduce food waste. Now that we are empty nesters and there are only two of us in the house, we often end up with surplus food at the end of the week. This surplus used to end up on the compost pile or was found months later under a pile of frozen stuff.
Then we discovered the beauty of using a dehydrator. We have a box dehydrator that now sits in the kitchen. When bananas are on their way out, we simply slice them and put them into the dehydrator. Most any fruit or vegetable can be dehydrated, put into glass jars, and used later. So don't throw away that food. Instead, dry it and use it later!