A car boot sale gets its name from the way goods are sold out of the back of a car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I haven’t posted tips for a long time. I think these bear repeating. Just because I’m not here, doesn’t mean I can’t make myself useful.
Partly due to personal circumstances; partly due to witnessing people scrabble around in my bins for food when I lived in South Africa; partly due to a desire to save the planet; and partly due to natural parsimony, I am a keen recycler and money-grubber. Why not join me?
- Wash everything except very dirty things on a cold wash; modern powders and liquids are strong enough. You don’t need to be at 30 degrees
- Never wash a half-load, only a full one
- Only fill the kettle with enough water for the number of cups you require
- Use carrier bags for indoor bins instead of buying bin liners
- Cut up old sheets, towels, clothes, etc. for dish cloths and dusters
- Pour unused water into your plant pots – better still, buy a rain barrel
- FREECYCLE/FREEGLE! You can give away your old junk and receive somebody else’s. It’s a worldwide thing so there’s probably a group near you. It’s free.
- If you are a UK book reader there’s also readitswapit, which is great for swapping books. All it costs is second class postage. It’s easy to list your old books (it must be, because I did it). My one piece of advice would be: don’t list heavy or hardback books unless you don’t mind mortgaging the children to cover the postage.
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Buy refills whenever possible
- Put stale bread out for the birds
- Save soap scraps and make your own block of soap (having said that, I’ve only managed three blocks of soap in five years, but every little helps)
- Cannibalise furniture, appliances, etc: when we redecorated our living room, the Hub took apart our old wall unit and used the wood to make shelves in a cupboard; he also took out all of the screws to re-use
- Defrost food in the fridge overnight, rather than in the microwave
- Ensure leftover food has cooled down before putting it in the fridge
- A fridge will work more efficiently if it is well stocked, but not over full or practically empty
And one more: recycle clothes.
- Swap with friends – my friend and I estimated that on average six children (including our own) shared any one garment. The more people you share with, the more clothes there are to choose from, and therefore the less worn out each garment becomes.
- Donate unwanted clothes to charity shops – they will collect if you can’t carry them
- Sell them by the bag load on a car boot sale or through the free ads
- If you can’t sell it or give it away because it’s too old, cannibalise it: cut off all buttons, take out cords and shoelaces, then use what’s left as rags
- Buy from charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales – the more we do that, the less consumables will eventually be produced
Many of these tips might seem obvious but you’d be amazed at how few people are aware of them – do your children and the planet a favour, and pass on the message!
Have you got any tips to share? Despite what the Hub keeps saying, I don’t know it all.
Should be called Six Wordless Saturday.
I have nothing to blog about so I have raided my Funnies For A Blue Day folder and found some helpful food tips.
Black type is from Delia; red type is the same tip but from that peculiar old lady who does the email rounds:
- To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
- Buy Smash mashed potato mix. Keeps in the cupboard for up to a year.
- When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking tin, use a bit of dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
- Go to the bakery. They’ll even decorate it for you.
- Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
- Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink. All pains go away.
- Don’t throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
- Leftover wine??????? HELLO!!!!!!
If you’ve finished the wine and tequila, go here for more Shix Word Shaturdays.
The Hub can add breaking & entering to his cv as of yesterday. Due to a late start caused by a visit from the most beautiful baby in the world the Hub only got to his mum’s cemetery at ten-to-five. It was closed. He fumed for a few minutes, then decided to case the joint. To the approval of a couple of women who had driven all the way from Marple to Altrincham only to find themselves locked out, the Hub forced his way through the bushes and fell into the garden of remembrance. He had time to visit his mum, watch two elderly ladies squeeze in after him, and still be home in time for dinner. Though he was green when he got in – I had to put him in the washing machine along with his stained clothes – his mum would have approved.
I haven’t given you a household tip in a while, so here’s a good one: don’t waste money on expensive stain removers; rub some cheap washing-up liquid into the stains, leave to stand for an hour or two, then wash as usual. If you get to it quick enough it will even work on oil stains.
One of the tasks during my month-long sabbatical from housework was to talk knowledgeably for up to a minute on any subject we fancied. Having bored the group rigid for weeks on why they should vote – democratic right, decisions are made by blahblahblah – I realised that it’s time to stop talking when people stop listening, so I surprised them with some household tips instead. As I last shared tips with you in July 2009, I thought you could hear them as well. Most of them are common sense but it amazes me how many people say, ‘Ooooh, I never thought of that before.’
- Use lamps with lower wattage bulbs – but don’t use two lamps with 60 watt bulbs if your overhead light is using a 100 watt bulb; you’ll be using more energy
- Take a shower instead of a bath
- Turn down the boiler thermostat by 10 degrees – it will be hot enough for your needs, but saves a lot of energy over the years
- If you have an old boiler, rather than heat up the water to wash a sinkful of dishes, put in cold water to lather, and boil the kettle (using just enough for your needs) to warm it up for washing
- Use a bowl in the sink to wash dishes
- Always replace damaged seals on fridges and freezers
- Use the right size pan on stove rings.
- Leave the lids on while you cook; it’s much more energy efficient
- Turn off the ring a few minutes before the food is cooked – it will remain hot enough to finish cooking
- Turn off at the wall all appliances not in use – you will save £7 a year. It may not sound like much but it’s better off in your pocket than theirs
- Old birthday and Christmas cards make great gift tags and postcards for competitions
- Keep jars and plastic tubs for storing food in the fridge; you can also pour used oil into them instead of pouring it down the sink or toilet
- Used computer paper and some junk mail make excellent drawing paper for the children (then put in the recycle bin)
- Use the end of wallpaper rolls to line cupboards and drawers (or throw it in the recycle bag); the kids love to draw on it as well
- If you don’t want or need household goods that are still in good repair, donate them to charity, give them to a friend or offer them on Freegle or Freecycle
- Shut your doors to keep heat in
- Open your doors and windows for free air freshener
I put in that last one so that I could tell you about the time I watched a reporter struggle not to laugh in my face. I was once interviewed for a magazine article on recycling. I’m a bit daft, as you know, so when she asked me what I thought about aerosols such as air fresheners I didn’t think, as a normal person would, ‘Oh, she’s talking about the damage to the ozone layer.’ No, I responded in a confidential whisper, ‘Well this is strictly off the record but, if I’m alone in the house and I go to the toilet, if you know what I mean, I don’t spray afterwards.’
Save the planet: lock up the dozies!