Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trash vs. Treasure: Things That Deserve a Second Look

As a Bitch on a Budget, there’s nothing we like more than recreating, redesigning, and repurposing the things others might discard or only use for their market purpose. Chances are, if you look around, there’s a ton of stuff that you already own, just waiting to make little life tasks easier for you.

Here are ten things you’ve got lying around the apartment just begging to be re-purposed:

  1. When was the last time you actually combed your hair? Grab a clean comb that hasn’t seen the light of day since 1994 and use it as a cake decorator (directly after applying frosting, lightly run the teeth around the cake), a wall decorator (create a faux finish by dragging lightly over freshly painted walls), or a wine strainer (if cork pieces fall into your wine, place a comb over the bottle’s mouth to strain the bits as you pour).
  2. Flowers can bright up any room, but to save dollars, cut your flower’s stem at a 45 degree angle and place a bit of wadded-up cotton ball inside to help absorb water.
  3. Use a rubber band to open even the stickiest stuck jar by wrapping a rubber band around it several times to get a better grip.
  4. Newspaper is amazing for ripening your tomatoes. Just wrap them individually and leave them out at room temperature.
  5. Having a last minute party and run out of snack bowls? If you can’t get your guests too drunk to just eat out of the bag, use a coffee filter as a disposable bowl for popcorn, pretzels, chips, and other standard snack fare.
  6. Don’t you hate when you lose the end of the roll? Whether it’s Scotch tape or saran wrap, use a toothpick and wrap the end around it so you can easily locate it next time. No more frustrated and accidental scratching yourself and ruining half the roll of anything.
  7. If you made a delicious rice or pasta dish last night but got a little too drunk on Two Buck Chuck (been there, done that) before you got a chance to clean the pan, place a fresh dryer sheet in the bottom of a dirty pan, fill with lukewarm water, and let sit in the sink overnight. The pan will be virtually painless to clean in the morning.
  8. Spill your tea? Sprinkle salt on a lemon peel and rub it on the tea stain. Works especially well with tea-stained plates and cups.
  9. If a flap just won’t stay stuck, use clear nail polish to seal a particularly tricky envelope.
  10. Lemons are considered something of a wundercitrus, able to whiten your fingernails (rub a edge on the surface of your nails), minimize the browning that occurs when food sits out too long (sprinkle on apple or pear slices before serving, and squeeze a bit on your guacamole and stir), relieve a sore throat (cut lemon in half, skewer over a medium flame and roast until peel turns golden brown, let cool and mix juice with 1 tsp of honey), brighten your laundry whites (add ½ cup of lemon juice to wash cycle), or simply to decorate on a budget (fill a glass jar with lemons and place on a table or windowsill).

Do any of you Bitches have a household staple that works double-duty? Send us your secrets! Post a comment below, email us at, or Tweet us @bbonabudget!

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