Clever Ways to Use This for That to Save Money and Simplify, Too

By Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

One day, as I was hurriedly putting groceries away, the fruit bowl was not within reach, so I put the fruit into the colander. It worked so well that I’ve been using the colander in that way ever since. And when I need a colander, no problem. I turn the fruit onto the counter, drain whatever I need to drain, then replace the fruit. Giving one kitchen tool two or even three jobs is a great way to simplify.

Today’s first tipster, Patti, has come up with a “this for that” idea that I had never thought of. It’s a good one!

Storage Container

Bamboo steamers are airtight by design to allow air to circulate while items are steaming. That makes a bamboo steamer an ideal storage container for onions, garlic, and shallots, which need ventilation and should not be refrigerated. —Patti, email

Copper Cleaner

Use a dab of Miracle Whip or ketchup to remove tarnish from copper-bottom pots. Just wipe it on with a paper towel, let it stand a bit, and wash. It sounds weird, but it works. —Thelma, Wyoming

Stain Remover

I use glycerin to remove tea, coffee, and cocoa stains from fabric. I apply the glycerin to a fresh stain and then gently rub it into the stain. If the stain is old, I let the glycerin soak into the stain for a while. —Roberta, Michigan

Baby Orajel

Our teenage daughter badly stubbed her toe, and we needed to clip the nail. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t let us near it because of the pain. My wife found a tube of Baby Orajel and covered the area using a cotton swab. It was like magic. It numbed the area well enough that I was able to take care of things. I would never have thought to use Baby Orajel this way. —Randall, Texas

Spontaneous Cleaning

I keep a bottle of Dawn, an automotive detailing brush, and an old toothbrush in my shower. Dawn cuts the soap scum and does not leave a gritty residue. Just don’t overdo it, since it can get pretty slippery! —Laurel, email

Shoe Cleaner

I found the best cleaner for my dirty golf shoes: Shout laundry stain remover. It works like a charm, getting down in the creases and crevices to get out the ground-in dirt. My golf shoes are leather, and it has not hurt them or the color. —Brenda, Michigan

Nail Polish Remover

Red fingernail polish accidentally spilled on my carpet, making a long red streak. A friend told me to use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The polish had already dried, but with a little elbow grease and several erasers, it all came out of my carpet. —Carolyn, Tennessee

Quick Cleanup

I use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle to clean just about everything in my house. It works great on windows, and it freshens my wooden cutting boards. On the lip of my sink, it foamed and cleaned up what I thought was rust. And the best part is that it’s cheap. —Carol, Illinois

Foaming Bubbles

I took my foaming bath cleaner out of the bathroom and started using it on my walls, floors, patio furniture, kitchen—basically anything and everything. It cleans it all. When we removed the carpet in the hall, the old vinyl flooring underneath had seen better days. After using the foam on the floor, the dust and carpet fibers came up, and I didn’t have to replace the flooring right away. For most things, just spray, wait a few minutes, and wipe away the dirt. It disinfects, too! —Jennie, email

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com