New use for bubble wrap
For years, I’ve applied plastic to our windows, during winter, to keep the draft out. It’s not a fun job, and the plastic kits get costly. I love the first tip below. Plenty of stores and manufacturers throw it away, so you can probably get it for free by checking your local yellow pages and making a few calls. You can post an ad to Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) or Freecycle (www.freecycle.org), too. It’s easy to install, and you don’t have to worry about ruining your woodwork when you remove it. Best of all, you can reuse it.
WINDOW INSULATION: I have bubble wrapped nearly all of my windows. A lot of our windows are north facing and really suck the heat out, so this is great insulation — even on new windows! I do use clear plastic insulation on my windows that face the street so I can see out, and the sun shines there most of the day. — Dianne, Tennessee
Note from Sara: Visit Build It Solar for pictures and instructions (Build it solar).
FREEZE EGGS: I was sick of throwing out eggs all the time and decided to freeze some. I added one teaspoon salt to five whole eggs and whipped up with a whisk. I did a total of 20 large eggs. When I filled my ice-cube trays, I came up with 40 cubes exactly, so two cubes equals one large egg. They wouldn’t pop out, so next time I’ll spray the ice-cube tray with cooking spray first. — Dee, New York
SCENTED SHEETS: I put five drops of rose essential oil on an old washcloth and threw it in the dryer with my sheets. When I started the dryer, I didn’t think I had enough on the washcloth to make the sheets smell quite as rosy as I wanted. But wow, they sure do smell rosy. — Countrymom, e-mail
RECYCLE CONTAINERS: You can cover Pringles chips cans with contac paper/shelving paper and use them to hold wax-coated paper cups or plastic grocery bags. — Ashley, New Mexico
KIDS’ CUTS: To give toddlers haircuts, seat them in a high chair so they’re limited in movement. I give my son candy or something else he usually doesn’t get to play with or eat to keep him busy. — Sherry, Minnesota
CLEAN OVEN GREASE: For grease that spills in the oven, sprinkle salt over the mess and let it soak it up/dry it up, then brush the salt up. — Heather, New York
HOMEMADE HAIR CARE: A lot of shampoos and conditioners are very “heavy” for most people’s hair. Unless you have coarse, curly or severely processed hair, you don’t need all that so-called moisturizing. Try a dime- or nickel-size drop of olive oil with your shampoo. No need to condition after shampooing. Olive oil also makes a great bath/shower moisturizer for your skin. Just pat yourself dry. Be careful — the tub can get a little slick! — Raven, Maryland
GEL PACK: Make a softer ice pack for children by mixing three parts water and one part rubbing alcohol. Seal it in a freezer bag, then place it in a second bag and put it in the freezer. — Jeanie, Pennsylvania
EASY CLEANUP: Cut a vinyl place mat the shape as the tray on your child’s high chair. When it’s time to clean up, pull up the place mat and wipe the food into the trash. A shower curtain works great for a drop cloth on the floor, too. — Lori, Illinois
EGG TEST: Sometimes during holidays, I forget which eggs in my fridge are hard-boiled or raw. I do the spin test. Hard-boiled eggs spin, and raw eggs don’t. — Melanie, Nebraska