Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use it up

I can hardly believe it, but the holidays really are over. It felt genuinely strange to pack my husband's breakfast and lunch this morning and send him off to work. Now we are slowly getting back into our routine, with a temporary additional burden of a little cold and sniffles on the girls' part. I brewed some herb tea and we all had a cup of it, with honey, and hopefully tomorrow we will all be good as new. 

I would like to go on with the line of frugal living posts I have had here lately, and present my frugal tip for the day: Use It Up. "It" can be anything - an old item of clothing, a jar of canned tomatoes you don't know how to use, some strange brand of shampoo you have been reluctant to try... obviously, if you have to choose between chucking it away or giving it to someone else, definitely go for the latter, but generally, when you use up something you save money and shelf space, which ultimately saves you money too, because your home is more organized and you know better what you have and don't have. 

I have been trying to do this lately. For instance, I have a bag of environmental-friendly laundry soap flakes I have been simply too lazy to use, just because you have to mix them with hot water before pouring them into washing machine - it's just so much easier to simply grab laundry liquid when one is in a hurry. But I've noticed that the soap flakes just sit on my shelf and I keep moving them from place to place irritably. No more, I said; I am going to use them. The little effort will be worthwhile.

I also did a revision of my wardrone and pulled out some half-forgotten, hardly used items which supposedly didn't match with anything. After doing some thinking, I realized I can actually make some creative combinations and use what I thought I might as well toss away (the holidays prompted me to do that; there weren't so many opportunities to catch up on laundry, and I couldn't wear the same things over and over again!)

Another thing - we stockpile, and many of you probably do too, and that's a good thing which enables one to take advantage of good deals and reduce frequency of shopping. But there are a few catches as well. First, don't stock up on things you don't normally use. And know your pantry! Even if an item has a very long shelf life, it can still go bad if you forget about it for many months. Right now, after a month of no substantial shopping and intense cooking for many guests, our stockpile is dwindling, and I'm actually glad about it. It will be refreshing to have it all rearranged and stocked anew. 

I would love to hear your frugal tips on Using It Up, too. 


Lady Anne said...

Not much about using up odds and ends, but one suggestion I found helpful was to put things on the shelf by color. It does mean the cherries end up next to the spaghetti sauce, but even the little ones can help put things away. And my *dear* husband has a habit if buying vast amounts of stuff - say 42 rolls of toilet paper for two people - and sitting the boxes in front of my shelves, so I can't reach anything. Several rounds of "Dear, would you please get me..." has helped to solve that one, though.

Rose said...

Anna those soap flakes are perfect for making your own laundry liquid at a fraction of the price. Check out Rhonda's recipe here:

It takes about twenty minutes from start to finish.

Leah Brand-Burks said...

I've had hair conditioner that didn't work well on my hair, that I repurposed as a shaving lotion. It smells fantastic, and leaves your skin super smooth. Also, for food, I've been know to take leftover veggies and meats and toss them in crock pot, add a packet of seasoning such as chili or taco, or make my own, and have a substantial stew by dinnertime!