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Find frugal home improvement supplies

By on June 1, 2012
countertops

If you’re planning a home improvement project on a budget, check garage sales, Freecycle.org, Craigslist.org or a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These options can offer considerable savings on items such as home accessories, building materials and appliances. Search for a ReStore location near you at habitat.org/restores/default.aspx.
The first reader tip has another suggestion:

 

Discounted countertops:

Check secondhand building supply outlets or salvage stores (i.e. loadingdock.org/redo/Search/index.html) for highly discounted prices on countertops made from a variety of materials. You can often find new countertops incorrectly cut for kitchen remodels, big-box overstock counters, store display samples and gently used countertops removed to make room for new kitchens. You may have to make some minor repairs, but all it takes is a little sweat equity to make appropriate choices work in your kitchen. — P.T, forums

Olive oil moisturizer:

I use olive oil as a moisturizer right after I wash my face, and it makes my skin really soft. I recommend the “light” version, as the smell isn’t as strong. If I put on a little too much, I let it soak in for five to 10 minutes, then blot the excess. — Jean, Mississippi

Candy canes in cake:

Use a white cake mix. Just before it’s finished baking, put broken pieces of candy canes in the cake, about every inch or so. The candy canes melt. I crush a few more to add to the cream cheese icing. Everyone in my family loves the results. — Elizabeth T., email

Peel hard-boiled eggs:

I have been a residential chicken farmer for about 15 years, and for the longest time, peeling farm-fresh hard-boiled eggs was always so frustrating. Most of us have learned that you should start with cold water so the cold eggs from the fridge are less likely to crack; I had always done the same with my eggs. We would set a few dozen back and let them age about four weeks in the fridge, but even then, not all of the eggs would peel well. I had tried salt in the water, vinegar, and a bunch of other tricks, never with much success.

Then one day while I was venting to one of my egg customers, she said, “just boil the water first, then lower the eggs in.” It just so happened my wife and I were making pickled eggs that week, so I boiled 24 day-old eggs using my customer’s method, and every one of them peeled perfectly. After all my years of messing around, I was in awe. With farm-fresh eggs very few crack; the shells are typically thinner with store-bought eggs, so some will. But I use this technique every time I boil now, and I never have any trouble peeling my eggs. — Steve, email

Remove grease from walls:

I’ve used a strong vinegar and water solution to remove grease, but recently I discovered Dawn Power Dissolver. It cleans everything! Just spray on, let it set for a minute and it comes right off. I use it to clean my range hood, where the dust and grease mixture is impossible to remove. It works like a charm. I use it to clean my stovetop, too. — P.T., forums

Onion storage:

I purchase onions in fairly large quantities, wrap each one individually in newspaper or paper towels so they do not touch each other, then place them in the refrigerator. They keep for months. You also cry less as you cut them because when they’re cold, the vapors aren’t nearly as strong. — John, Florida

Fels-Naptha use:

When I was growing up, my mom would get on her hands and knees and use a scrub brush and Fels-Naptha soap to strip old wax off the kitchen floor. She’d wet the brush in a bucket of water, rub the brush across the soap, scrub the floor with it and then rinse with a rag and clear water. It took the wax right off. When dry, she’d re-wax the floor with Johnson’s Floor Wax. — Beth, email

photo by Andrew Hyde

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns Castalia Coffee Roasting Company, Follow me on Twitter

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