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Everyday Cheapskate: A clever way to bring bread back to an edible condition

I must admit that I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that when a baguette or loaf of bread gets hard and stale, it’s toast (pun intended). Today’s first tipster has convinced me that there just might be a clever way to bring it back to a fully edible condition.

SOFTEN BREAD. If you have a baguette or a loaf of uncut bread that has gone stale, sprinkle the item with water until fairly damp. Pop into a hot oven for a few minutes until the bread is soft and hot. —Sally P., Ky.

WEIGH DOWN. After just hanging new curtains, I found that placing a butter knife in the hems works well to weight down and straighten out the edges, if needed. —Natalie B., N.C.

SLEEPING SHEET. When your large-size, fitted sheet loses its elasticity or your flat sheet gets too tired for regular use, fold it in half and stitch up the bottom and side, leaving the top open. Then you have a sheet sack that is great for camping on warm nights when a sleeping bag is too hot. —Carolyn S., Minn.

BATHROOM CABINET. If you need more storage in your bathroom but don’t have a lot of space, try using a CD cabinet as a storage unit. The drawers are large enough to hold medicines, hygiene items and an extra roll of toilet paper but small enough to fit into a tight space or corner. —Barbara, D.C.

CHEAP CHERRIES. Maraschino cherries are expensive. So when I need only a decorative few for a pineapple upside-down cake, I just buy a can of fruit cocktail. It has enough of the bright red cherries for the cake, and we can eat the rest of the fruit. —Mona S., email

NEW COASTERS. Give your old plastic placemats a new life by making them into coasters. Take pinking shears and cut the placemats into squares. Keep them on your coffee or end tables to put under glasses and drinks. —Sherri B., Mo.

SOFT BROWN SUGAR. To keep your brown sugar from hardening, slip part of an orange peel into the container and seal. Change the peel periodically. Sam T., Idaho

PURSE SAVER. To pack away your winter scarves and hats, store them inside a handbag or purse that you don’t plan on using this spring and summer. The winter accessories will help the purse keep its shape. Just make sure not to overstuff. —Cindy L., Wis.

AIR BAGS. As a substitute for bubble wrap or packing material, gather some zip-type baggies and a plastic straw. Insert the end of the straw into the bag, and seal the bag the rest of the way. Blow up the bag with the straw; then quickly remove the straw and seal the bag. Fill up your package with as many “air bags” as you need. —Jillian C., Ore.

KETCHUP STAINS. If you get ketchup on a white or light-colored garment, spray some hydrogen peroxide on it immediately. Then machine wash as usual with detergent and bleach. —Becky W., Nev.

Would you like to send a tip to Mary?

You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state.

Mary Hunt is founder of

To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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