Every day, perfectly serviceable items find their way to landfills simply because they are no longer wanted or needed by their owners. And that’s a shame because there are so many people who could really use the very items being cast off by others. There’s a fabulous movement in this country that is matching up useable cast-offs with anxious users.
FIND FREE STUFF. The website FreeCycle.org is a great resource to find free furniture and all kinds of items in your local area. If you have usable items that you don’t want or need anymore, instead of filling up the landfills, post them on FreeCycle and let someone else take the item for free! Anyone is welcome to sign up and post or to take free items. — Tamara W., email
TABLECLOTH STORAGE. My great hint for storing tablecloths is to fold them the long way and hang them from a hanger in the closet. They are easy to find and can be stored by the season. — Dawn W., email
OPENING A JAR. I have a great tip when a jar lid won’t open. Put on a pair of leather gloves, grasp the jar and the lid and twist. The gloves give each hand some traction and make it easier to remove the lid. — Linda M., Pennsylvania
CHEAP TUB CLEANER. Keep a bottle of cheap shampoo on hand to clean your tub and sinks. Just spread the shampoo around, let set for half an hour or longer and then rinse when you are ready. This even cleaned up the rust-colored deposits of organic iron from our well water. — Linda H., email
RUST REMOVER. Everyone needs a can of Bar Keepers Friend, a household cleanser available in the cleaning supplies aisle in most supermarkets or online at BarKeepersFriend.com. It has many uses, but my favorite is for removing rust. It removes rust from countertops and stainless steel in the kitchen. It does a great job of removing rust from fabric without damaging the garment (be sure to test on a hidden area first). It even removes rust from concrete! Best of all, it is cheap. — Jacqueline G., Georgia
BOWL COVERS. When we go on vacation, I always take the little unused shower caps home. I then keep them in a kitchen drawer, and when I have a bowl or cake pan that needs to be covered, I just use one of these little bowl “caps” and put it around the container. The elastic keeps it snug and the shower cap is puffy enough that it doesn’t stick to the food. — Janet K., Iowa
NO-RUST STEEL WOOL. My steel wool pads (the kind with soap in them) were rusting before I could use them up. I discovered that when I put them in a plastic bag and put the bag in the freezer, I can use them for a longer time because they won’t rust. I take a frozen pad, dip it in warm water, and then it’s all ready to scrub. — B.C., South Carolina
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