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Multiuse tonic water

By on May 27, 2009

tonic water
photo by AzAdam
DEAR SARA: I ended up with several small bottles of tonic water. I feel bad throwing them out. What can tonic water be used for other than in mixed drinks? I don’t like the taste of it! — Becca, Texas

DEAR BECCA: Tonic water contains quinine. It can help digestion and ease muscle cramps. Since you don’t like the taste, you can use it to clean stains. For example, if you spill coffee or grape juice on the carpet, you can pour tonic water onto the stain. Let is set, and use a cloth to blot the stain. Then finish cleaning with a carpet cleaner machine.

DEAR SARA: I have a few large plastic buckets (the kind that restaurants throw out), and thought I would use them to try my hand at container flower gardening this summer. If it were my backyard, I wouldn’t care about the looks, but I’m borrowing a corner of my landlord’s backyard. I’m hoping to alter the appearance somehow so the planters look a bit better. They don’t have to look pretty, but I would like to at least make them look a bit less like giant prepared-food buckets so my landlord’s nicely landscaped yard doesn’t take too much of a “hit” from my improvised planters. Does that spray paint designed for use on plastic really adhere? Will it be OK if left outside for the summer? — Liz, Ontario

DEAR LIZ: Spray paints for plastic work well. Some spray paints for plastic require scuffing the plastic containers to help it adhere. But Krylon carries spray paint called Fusion. It doesn’t require sanding, and it holds up to the elements. You can find it at your local hardware or craft stores. It comes in plenty of color options and costs less than $10 per can.

DEAR SARA: I have some stuff that my husband says has to go, and I agree. I have a good yard-sale location picked out, but I don’t have tables. Any suggestions on how to display my junk? Thanks in advance. — Lea, Virginia

DEAR LEA: Can you ask family or friends to borrow folding tables? If not, you can make your own display tables using various materials such as bookshelves, sawhorses, benches, trash cans, inverted flowerpots, buckets, plywood, an old door, plastic totes, crates or boxes. You can cover some with a tablecloth or fabric. Just be sure to mark any display props as not for sale so no one tries to buy them. Some items, such as toys, are fine to place on the ground on blankets, but most people don’t want to stoop for items such as clothing. You can string a clothesline, lean a trellis against the wall, or use two ladders and in between use poles, a broom handle or a shower rod and hang your clothes on hangers. Some clothing can be folded neatly according to size or try a “fill a bag for $1” special. You can try box lots, too. For example, “this box for $5” or “everything on this table $1.”

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