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Reuse detergent containers to keep water at the ready

By on May 18, 2008

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Many times, I read a frugal tip and smile because I’m not alone. It’s comforting to know that many people are being less wasteful. I’m happy to pass these tips onto you. My favorite frugal tip this week is a practical way to reuse a laundry-detergent container. I’ll be using that tip this summer.

WATER ON TAP: We have a great big empty laundry-detergent container with a spout that we use when we take the kids on day trips to wash our hands. We fill it with water, and press the spout and voila! Running water! — Mari, Delaware

WATER PLAN: If we are expecting a storm and may lose electricity, I fill up the washing machine with water so we will have it to use for flushing the toilet, washing hands and water for the animals. If the power stays on, I use the water to do a load of laundry and it doesn’t get wasted. — Dana, e-mail

CONSERVE PAPER: I sort Valpak coupons and go through and keep any with blank backs for my grocery-shopping lists. — Katie, e-mail

MINI ICE PACK: When my kids were in day care, they used empty prescription bottles with the labels removed as ice packs. They filled them with water and froze them, and when the little ones got boo-boos, I gave them their own little ice pack. It was easy for them to hold until they felt better. — startingover, e-mail

COFFEE CUBES: Freeze your leftover coffee in an ice-cube tray to reuse for cold coffee drinks. — Kris, e-mail

BAG STORAGE: We use a cookie jar. It is a nice big one (looks like a John Deere lunch box) and holds quite a few plastic grocery bags. It looks nice on my counter and offers easy access. — Adeena K., via e-mail

I found the best storage/use system for plastic bags to be a tennis-ball can. Open both ends, punch a small hole from the inside out near the rim, and use a plastic tie-wrap or twist-tie to secure it to an inside cabinet towel rack. Stuff new ones in the top and take from the bottom. — Alan Hurlbut, Kansas

COMPARE PRICES: I was surprised to find my local Big Lots sells the same bread as my local grocery store, but for more than $2 less per loaf. The bread is delivered fresh five days a week, but because it’s so cheap, they sell out fast. Check all stores for price comparisons. Sometimes even local convenience stores have lower prices. — Staceyy, Pennsylvania

ADDED HUMIDITY: If you need more humidity in your house, run an indoor tabletop water fountain. — Elisbeth, Missouri

REUSE MYLAR BALLOONS: I stick a straw in the hole, flatten them and put them by wrapping paper. I bring them to the balloon store on the next birthday, or whatever, and refill for 20 cents. We give some away to friends or save them for our next birthdays. — lextysmommy, Wisconsin

REUSE DRINK CONTAINERS: I fill them with various soup mixes and put them in gift baskets. I make labels for them on my computer. I also keep some on hand in case of emergencies. I can hand out bottles of soup mix to those in need. I’ve used them for gift wrapping, too. I cut a slit in the side of the bottle (remove the label). Put in a small gift, add shredded paper, etc. Close slit and put a computer-made label over the slit. — Denise, Illinois
Editor’s note: Some plastic containers shouldn’t be reused for food storage. As a substitution, I suggest glass bottles such as the frappuccino bottles or glass jars for food gifts.

SHREDDED PAPER: I put a lot of paper through my shredder and reuse it for kitty litter. — PAVallygrl, Pennsylvania


  1. Dolphin

    5/28/2008 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the awesome tips and ideas! I love the water on the go idea too! I also foresee some “iced coffee” in my future! 🙂

  2. twizlr

    10/3/2011 at 8:57 pm

    I never would have thought about shredded paper for kitty litter! I have been looking for cheap pet solutions when we adopted a stray who turned out to pregnant and ended up keeping all the kittens as well! 6 cats in total! I am definately going to have to try this!

  3. Bev

    6/28/2012 at 9:38 pm

    These are great ideas! I use a large index box in my pantry to put envelopes of taco seasoning and things like that. They are easy to find and they don’t fall behind the shelf never to be seen again. The mylar balloon idea is great! I had never thought of that before!

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