Helpful household tips
Recycle that old sandbox: A reader wrote that she wanted to ‘get rid’ of a built-in sandbox in the yard as the children were grown, but they had a ‘fit’ according to her and they changed it into a miniature garden. They took the sand out, repainted the boards, put back about 6 inches of the sand for drainage and then added good soil. She planted 6 tomato plants, onions, lettuce, radishes and green beans in the box. She says it’s great having fresh vegetables so close to the back door and ‘Grandpa’s sandbox’ is still being used!
No more paper towels: A reader wrote that she is refusing to spend good money for paper towels! Instead, she bought a package of cheap washcloths and one of small towels at a store clearance sale for $2 a package—there were 12 small towels and 20 of the washcloths in each package. She says that she uses the washcloths for anything from washing the baby’s face to cleaning up spilled milk, wash and reuse them countless times. She uses the towels on her ‘fancy mop’ instead of buying the boxed paper cleaning cloths and says, “all you have to do is wash and reuse them—countless times.”
She said that she read someplace that most families spend about $250 worth of paper towels a year and says “at that rate, I could buy at least 1,500 of those cheap towels and wash rags, enough to last my family into the next century.”
Personally, I cut up the old ragged bath and hand towels and use them, and, I have bought some of those cheap wash rags to use as dishrags. Lets’ face it in this economy $250 a year for throw away paper—she’s right.
Dryer savings: I grew up in a home with a clothesline in the back yard. We used our dryer only in bad weather. Then I left home and moved to the city. My apartment has a small balcony off of the living room, so I bought a very small folding drying rack and use that to mostly dry the jeans, towels, etc., in good weather. When the weather is lousy, I put the drying rack in the bathtub and let things drip dry to barely damp and then finish them in the dryer. I’ve cut many dollars from my electric bill using this method.
Oven rack cleaner: My oven racks were in terrible shape. I can’t fit them in my sink to wash them and I can’t get down on my knees to clean them any more. A friend told me to put them in the bathtub, run hot water to cover the racks and add 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup of my dishwasher soap and let the whole works soak for a good hour or so. Then, drain the tub, close the curtain and turn on the shower to rinse off the racks, dry them well and put them back in the oven. I did have to stand one on end and scour off some really baked on gunk, but I DID NOT have to get down on my knees. This method worked perfectly for me.
If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543; or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a FREE copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention the High Plains Journal when you write.