10 things you can totally reuse
Many items that are billed as single-use products can, in fact, be used again and again. Such is the case with disposable utensils. When hosting a backyard bbqor big get-together, encourage your guests to place their plastic forks, spoons, and knives off to the side rather than tossing them in the trash. Then, just give them a good wash in sudsy water and return them to a kitchen drawer to use for your next party. Even better, skip the plastic and buy an extra set of silverware (you can find cheap utensils at the thrift store) to have on hand whenever you're serving a crowd.
Water is our planet's most precious resource, so show a little respect by reusing it whenever possible. After boiling eggs or steaming vegetables, leave the leftover water in the pot to cool. When the water reaches room temperature, pour it in plant containers or garden beds to keep plants hydrated while saving on you r water bill.
You like the way dryer sheets leave your laundry fluffy, soft, and clean-smelling, but don't discard them when your permanent press cycle comes to a halt. Put those little slips to work around the house as dusting cloths. Use your spent dryer sheets to wipe down window blinds, baseboards, electronics, and sink hardware. The slightly abrasive texture grabs grime, and the chemically treated surface helps keep dust from settling in.
Mesh Produce Bags
The same mesh produce bags that hold tangerines or onions from the grocery store can be used to clean pots and pans. Ball up an empty mesh bag and secure it with a rubber band. Squirt some dish soap on your homemade scrubber, then go to town on grease and built-up food residue.
Some nutritionists will argue that you should never peel an apple (the peel contains much of the fruit's beneficial fiber), but if you do choose to eat your apples bare, don't discard the skin. Those scraps of apple can be turned into a delicious and nutritious homemade apple cider vinegar. Combine peels, sugar, and water in a jar, cover with cheesecloth, and let nature turn your scraps into a probiotic superfood.
You may not want your house guests to see ratty old towels hanging in the bathroom, but that doesn't mean you have to relegate them to the trash heap. Instead of tossing old towels, cut them into strips and braid them into a funky mat or cut them into small rounds and sew flannel backings on them to make reusable makeup remover pads.
After they've served to garnish your drink, you can put them to work around the house. Rub a lemon half on a rusty metal surface, along with a sprinkle of coarse salt, to remove corrosion. Or, drop several lemon peels in a jar and cover with white vinegar and a lid to make your own grease-cutting cleanser for windows, countertops, and other surfaces.
Old Flip Flips
A pair of tired flip-flops can be refreshed and refashioned if you're up for replacing the straps. If not, though, you can use these budget buys in a variety of household DIYs. Cut the sole into small pieces then place them under furniture legs to keep from scratching your floors, use them to stop up a mouse hole in your home's siding, or shred them into fine pieces to use as packing material.