We are all about money saving here at Buckscoop, so today I'm going to show you how to reuse common household items to not only add extra value to them, but to also help you avoid having to buy new things unnecessarily. The likelihood currently, is that you probably throw most things away once they stop being useful at what ever you originally bought them for. After reading this post, I hope that you'll also come up with your own creative ideas of how to reuse other items at home which are not mentioned below. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box.
The following list should be a great starting point on how to avoid throwing away items which most households have where people fail to realise they could easily be used for something else. If, however, you've already found useful ways to reuse products not mentioned here, then please leave a comment below to share your techniques for reusing and recycling items.
Repairing Broken China
Milk contains a protein called casein which when heated can form into a natural occurring plastic. If, for example, you have a cracked piece of chinaware that you would ideally like to keep, then soaking it in milk and heating it slowly for an hour will allow the casein protein to re-seal the crack. This process is not suitable for china that's been completely smashed, but works very well for fixing hairline cracks and other small chips.
If your silverware is looking a little tired or stained then you can restore it back to near-new condition by using old banana skins to revitalise its shine. There is no need to fork out extra cash to buy chemical silver polish when a banana will do an equally good job. Start by blending the banana skins with some water to create a paste in similar texture to other polish products. Rub that paste into the silverware with a soft cloth methodically. Leave for a couple of minutes and then wash off and dry with another soft cloth. The result is good-as-new shiny silverware.
Bottle Opener from Wood
It’s a bit far-fetched to think of an Australian household without a bottle opener. However, if you ever find yourself far enough away from a shop to get one, then with readily available tools and some spare wood you can make one. Simply cut a plank of wood to a similar size of a bottle opener, drill a hold through one end to put a nut and bolt through and then leave the nut unscrewed enough to allow the lip of a bottle lid to fit in. All that you need to do next is pop the lid. Here is a more detailed video explaining the process (but honestly, you don't need to be so precise when cutting the wood).
Gardening for many people is very therapeutic, but there is no need to make that process more stressful by adding financial concerns to it. By this I mean that there is no need to buy brand new containers to give your seeds the best start to life. You can use anything to start the germination process, from empty yoghurt pots, to empty lemon or orange skins that have been juiced. The great thing about using empty citrus fruit skins is that you can plant the entire thing into the soil without having to remove the small plant from the skin, unlike with plastic germination pots, since they are biodegradable.
If you or your family drink from cans regularly at home, then you should know that you can use the tabs on the can lids as picture hangers. Snap the tab off and it can be used to connect the hook / screw of the picture frame to the nail on the wall. This is a cheap and cost effective way to hang pictures around the house whilst reusing something that otherwise have ended up in the bin.
Tim-tam lovers who have bought a packet recently will know the plastic tray that holds the sweet treats within is removable. If you or your family have a rule of no mobile phones at the dinner table then this little tim-tam tray can serve as a great smartphone holder. Each section is slim enough and wide enough to hold most general sized smart phones, so before dinner time get the family to insert their device. If the tray does break, the process of emptying a new one shouldn't be too difficult.
Old Wi-Fi Router into a Repeater
This process requires a small bit of technical knowhow, but by no stretch of the imagination is it impossible for the everyday Joe. Before you throw away that old router, check the back sticker to see if it can be re-programmed to extend your Wi-Fi connection further around your house to boost the signal to areas that one router can’t reach. Take note of the model number and MAC address and enter the first few letters of the model number into the DD-WRT’s website to see if your router is compatible. If you have a mainstream router, then the likelihood is that you will also have individual instructions on how to set up your old router into a 'repeater' and expand your Wi-Fi signal. All instructions and details are within the DD-WRT’s website.
Reusing Old USB Thumb Drives
Over the years as storage space has become smaller and smaller, older USB sticks such as 1GB and 2GB drives have become obsolete. Especially considering that the price of 32GB sticks are now the same as what a 2GB one would have cost about 6 years ago. So, if you haven’t thrown away all of your smaller USB sticks yet, there is plenty that you can still do with them to get better value for money. Here are a few ideas:
- Bring back the thoughtful idea of a mix tape and give that someone a USB stick with a playlist you have made just for them. It feels more personal than simply sharing a link to a playlist.
- Create mini time capsules, which you bury underground or tuck away somewhere safe for years to one day open and share with kids and grandkids when they're older. Despite all our data getting stored in 'the cloud' these days, this will one day be a great gift for your kids to give them a sense of how data was stored 'back in the day'. It's also a very good idea to mix some hard copies (e.g. photo printouts, handwritten letters, etc) with the time capsule to add to the impact of opening something from years ago - giving them a brief but vivid window into the state of your life at that historic point in time.
- Travel Kit: If you prefer not to take your laptop on holiday with you but may still require a few important documents and files then taking a pen drive with you can be the easiest and most space efficient alternative.