What To Do With the Stuff You Usually Throw Away

Dec 19, 2013


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The New Year is almost upon us, and that means … RESOLUTIONS! How many of you are thinking of being more “green” or just less wasteful? The Old Farmer’s Almanac Home Library Series: Home Wisdom has some advice on how to make the best of what you have … like trash!

What To Do With the Stuff You Usually Throw Away

Banana skins: Purée in a food processor and use to polish silver.

Bones: Boil to make stock, then use power tools to cut them into buttons and beads.

Bottle caps: Nail to a piece of wood, fluted sides up, and use them to scrape scales from fish.

Sardine can keys: Attach them to the bottom of toothpaste tubes and roll the tube up from the bottom, thus gaining an extra week’s worth of paste.

Coffee grounds: Dry the grounds in a warm oven, then sprinkle in the litter box or set a canful in the refrigerator to absorb odors.

Old combs: Use to hold small nails and avoid smashing fingers.

Roll-on deodorant bottles: Can be refilled with bath oil, liquid starch, suntan lotion, water for moistening stamps and envelopes, or paint for kids.

Egg cartons: Make good ice cube trays and starter pots for spring seedlings, or you can nail lots of them to a wall, overlapping the tops and the cups, for insulation.

Eggshells: Remove stains from china and glassware by soaking them in a vinegar-and-eggshell bath.

Old light bulbs: Dip in metallic paint, twist a thin piece of wire around the metal grooves, and you have a Christmas tree ornament.

Plastic milk jugs: Cut out the bottom and use the jugs as heat-retaining caps for garden plants in spring and fall.

Used motor oil: Soak the ends of fence posts or tomato stakes in the oil for 24 hours to make them waterproof.

Old records: Heat in a 350 degrees F oven or plunge into very hot water to mold into snack bowls or bookends.

Worn-out gloves: Cut off the fingertips, make a pair of slits for a belt, and you have a holder for screwdrivers.

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eggshells - I read crushed

eggshells - I read crushed eggshells worked in the soil in and around new tomato transplants will prevent blossom end rot (lack of calcium in the soil). It worked for me last year. I also scatter finely, crushed shells around the bird feeders; doves like them. Do not use shells from eggs that have been boiled in salted water for the birds.

Crush eggshells and scatter

Crush eggshells and scatter around new transplants in the garden to ward off cut worms.

egg shells (after 20 sec in

egg shells (after 20 sec in microwave) can be crushed and mixed in with chicken feed to increase their calcium intake, thus reducing soft shell eggs.

Crush dried eggshells and

Crush dried eggshells and apply to Squash, tomatoes and cucumbers as a calcium supplement for the soil. You can also use any old milk this way as well. Helps to prevent blossom rot.

Soaking your plant stakes in

Soaking your plant stakes in used motor oil will mean petroleum leeching out into in your garden soil...doesn't seem like a good thing to me...to eat greens grown in motor oil soil...

I agree with you, Jennifer, I

I agree with you, Jennifer, I will continue to take my old oil to the recycling businesses!

I use tea grounds, and coffee

I use tea grounds, and coffee grounds in my garden.

I haven't seen a sardine can

I haven't seen a sardine can key in some time, most I think now have the pull top.

Coffee ground REPEL cats.

Coffee ground REPEL cats. Would not recommend putting coffee grounds in litterbox if you want the cat to continue using it. Coffee grounds can be sprinkled in garden to repel cats though.

And this: extracted >>Coffee

And this: extracted >>Coffee grounds: Dry the grounds in a warm oven, then sprinkle in the litter box or set a canful in the refrigerator to absorb odors.<<

Last I knew the caffeine is very dangerous to pets

Plastic rottiserie chicken

Plastic rottiserie chicken containers/ plastic vegetable/fruit trays: make great mini greenhouses for starting seeds. Just add seed starter media, seeds, water and replace the top and be patient. I will occasionally check growing media to make sure it doesn't dry out.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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