RECYCLING does more than just help the environment – reusing household items is a good way to save money and boost your budget.
DIY experts said that keeping packaging from common grocery items is a great way to save money – and even the smallest bits can be useful around the house.
The home pros at Reader’s Digest have collected dozens of brilliant DIY solutions throughout the magazine’s history.
These are five items the experts say you should never throw out, and how you can use them to make your life easier.
Does your family go through milk at a rapid clip? Are you buying gallons every week to feed your growing kids, or is there always a quart tucked in the refrigerator door for coffee?
If so, you could be saving big by keeping the plastic jugs once you’re done.
Simply rinse and clean the jug, then cut off the bottom half of the container. Now, you have a handy scoop with dozens of uses: keep it in your pet’s food container to make feeding time a breeze, or pack a few scoops in your beach bag for castles and moats.
“You don’t need to save all your milk jugs, but having a few extra around can be a real blessing,” the experts at Reader’s Digest wrote.
WINE BOTTLES AND CORKS
You can take on a handful of DIY projects the next time you polish off a bottle of wine. Some garden experts say that an upside-down wine bottle full of water is the secret to keeping plants hydrated in hot weather.
If you want to get crafty, you can also showcase your plants indoors with a wine bottle.
Try painting the bottle with a mixture of paint and baking soda for a modern, matte finish, then use it as a vase.
Keep the corks, too, the experts advise. When your wine is long gone, you can use a cork to stretch your DIY budget.
“Synthetic wine corks are great for sealing partially used tubes of caulk,” the experts wrote. “Drill a 5/16-inch hole into the cork about one inch deep.”
After you use caulk around the house, don’t struggle to seal the container. Slide the cork on for an airtight seal.
The clamshell containers that summer berries come in have all kinds of uses.
If you’d like to keep the containers in the kitchen, store cookies inside. The boxes stack easily in the fridge or freezer if you want to make big batches to save, or you can take a perfect serving size on the go.
You can also use a vented container outdoors. Just wash and dry the container, then keep it with your garden supplies. “It’s perfect for spreading grass seed on your lawn,” the experts said.
Does your morning cup of coffee get you through the freezing winter months? Well, hold on to the plastic container that your coffee beans or grounds come in because it’ll help you in a similar way.
“Make a ‘sidewalk salt shaker’ from a big plastic coffee container with a handle,” the experts instructed.
Just poke holes in the plastic lid with a screwdriver or knife, then fill the canister with salt or ice melt.
Store it in your garage or on the front steps, and you’ll have an easy way to keep the sidewalks ice-free during the winter.
You can also use smaller plastic or metal containers to make “shakers” for around the house or even trips to the laundromat.
No household item is too small for DIY. When you finish a soda, save the little metal tab you use to open the can.
Place the pop tops you collect in your toolbox, where they’ll find a new use next time you go to hang a picture.
“Bend the pull tab back and forth until it breaks off. Then screw it to your picture frame,” the experts explained. “Bend the free end out slightly and hang the picture.”
Whether you’re hanging brand-new, homemade artwork, or replacing a beloved photo frame that lost its sawtooth hanger, you’ll be glad to have a little stash of pop tops tucked away for the occasion.