photo by thunderchild
I’ve often looked at the silica-gel packets that come in shoes and wondered what to do with them. I know silica gel is sometimes used to dry fresh flowers, but I never thought to use it for saving seeds. The following tip got me to thinking about other ways to use them. Since they prevent moisture, they would be great to reuse in camera cases, clothes-storage boxes, toolboxes, photograph boxes and jewelry. They can be reactivated once they’re saturated by simply baking them in the oven.
REUSE SILICA PACKETS: Save those tiny silica-crystal packets/capsules from dry goods, medications and electronic equipment. Once I air-dry my seeds in the fall, I add a silica packet to each seed container or envelope. It’s just a bit of insurance to prevent mold growth. Why throw those precious little pouches away when they can have continued use? — Vera P., Pennsylvania
CLEAN BATHROOM TILE: If you have tile on your bathroom floor and use lots of spray hair products, then you have sticky floors like I do. I’ve been trying to find the perfect cleaner to take care of this problem. I’ve used Pine-Sol, vinegar, Scrubbing Bubbles and Lysol liquid without much success. So, one day, not long ago, I thought, ‘OK, now what should work?’ Aha! Shampoo! It worked like a charm. I was thrilled. It was also very frugal, since I use whatever is on sale. — Lisa C., Texas
HOMEMADE WRAPPING PAPER: Go to your nearest newspaper or publishing company, and ask for the end rolls. It is often more durable than wrapping paper, and it is plain white or buff. You can let your children decorate it by tracing shapes and having them color it, or you can make designer paper by buying a pack of paper doilies and a can of spray paint, spreading the doilies out, and lightly spraying over them, letting them dry, moving them further along the paper, and repeating. It dries fast, is cheaper than bought wrap, and is much more durable. And there is usually a lot more on the end roll than on even the largest roll of paper! — Toni, Maryland
CAKE DECORATING: I’m not a fabulous cake baker, but I still like to bake birthday cakes for my kids. You can call your local grocery store’s bakery and ask if you can buy just the cake decorations. They’re not that expensive, and it helps give homemade cakes a professional look. I bought a princess-crown-and-wand kit at our bakery, and it was only a couple of bucks. — Jenny, Ohio
PET-WASTE BAGS: I went to the dollar store, and, in the baby section, they sell 100-pack disposable diaper bags that are scented to neutralize odors with tie-close handles, environmentally friendly. I know a lot of people reuse plastic bags, but I never get plastic bags because I use reusable shopping totes every time I go to a store. These work great and smell great. — wimedtyper, Wisconsin
RIPEN GREEN TOMATOES: Wrap each tomato in black-and-white newspaper, place in a cardboard box, stack so they won’t smash each other, and store in a cool dry place. I check every so often to see if any have ripened. — M. King, Colorado