We live in a disposable world, but just because things weren’t meant to last doesn’t mean you can’t make them last. These 10 tips and tricks will help you squeeze more life from your batteries, appliances, flowers, razor blades and more.
Photo by smplyme84.
10. Get more life from your appliances
If you’re lucky, a good appliance can last you for years and years. If not, you’ll be making those not-so-fun-but-very-expensive purchases way more regularly than you care to. Increase your chances of keeping those appliances around longer by knowing how to properly care for them. We’ve highlighted tips for proper refrigerator care and vacuum maintenance, and did you know that washing the lint filter in your dryer (not just cleaning it out) will increase its life? Photo by swanksalot.
9. Extend the life of your fresh cut flowers
Fresh flowers are a tough buy: They look great and add all kinds of life to a room, but they can also die extremely quickly. With the right water solution (think parts sugar, bleach, and citrus), your fresh cut flowers can last a lot longer. Photo by amiefedora.
8. Make your clothes last longer
Your clothes are way too expensive to be disposable, and besides—that favourite t-shirt isn’t going to keep holes out of itself after its thousandth wash. Personal finance blog Wisebread rounds up a ton of tips for making your clothes last longer, including washing everything in cold water. In addition to your clothes lasting longer, you’ll also save a ton on your energy bills. Photo by jon_a_ross. (Original post)
7. Keep food better for longer
Good food, by its very nature, expires, but with a few smart tricks you can help it last a good deal longer. Apart from obvious stuff, like storing food in air-tight containers or refrigerating it when applicable, you can also keep certain foods better for longer with clever tricks. For example, apples can extend the shelf life of cake, herbs last longer if you treat them like flowers, and hard cheese lasts longer if wrapped loosely in parchment paper. (Original posts: Cake, herbs)
6. Stretch the life of your laptop battery
If you’re not looking to entirely resurrect your batteries but just want to improve how long your laptop lasts between charges, you’ve got all kinds of options. Windows 7 users can try previously mentioned Aerofoil to disable Aero graphics and other battery-sucking features when you unplug, and you can always stick the the simple tried-and-true methods like powering down your display’s brightness, turning off unused devices (like BlueTooth), and disabling all those startup items. It’s also a good idea to occasionally calibrate your battery, and if you’re unsure whether or not it’s better for your battery to keep your laptop plugged in, just remember: When in doubt, unplug your laptop regularly. Photo by candescent.
5. Run Windows 7 longer without activation
Windows 7 is already insanely popular considering how new it is and how slow users were to upgrade to Vista, but if you’re taking Windows 7 for a test spin and aren’t quite sure you’re ready to pony up for a licence, you can extend Windows 7’s activation period by 120 days (that’s four whole months) using the same rearm code that worked with Vista. (Original post)
4. Extend the usefulness of your old MP3 player
Face facts: That old MP3 player served you really well, but time is a bitter mistress, and it’s not looking quite as shiny as it once did. If it’s an iPod, take a look at our top 10 ways to repurpose your old iPod. My favourite hack, whether it’s an iPod or not: Breathe new life into your aging MP3 player with the open-source MP3 player firmware, Rockbox.
3. Revive dead batteries, hard drives in freezer
Batteries increasingly power our portable gadgets, and while many these days are rechargeable, disposable batteries can cost a pretty penny over time. Storing the right kinds of batteries in the freezer can make them last longer, and even if your laptop battery goes completely dead, a little time in the freezer can revive it for at least a little bit. In fact, you can revive a dead hard drive in the freezer. Photo by scalespeeder. (Original posts: Batteries in the freezer)
2. Seriously extend the life of your razor blades
Disposable razor blades represents every business person’s dream business model: The razor itself sells for cheap, but the blades—which you need to regularly refill—cost an arm and a leg. Turns out, however, that you can do a whole lot to make those blades last longer. Next time your blade’s getting dull, try rubbing it backwards across your skin or a pair of jeans, and for regular upkeep, remember to keep it dry or store it in mineral oil. Our own Jason Fitzpatrick had all kinds of luck with mineral oil and wet shaving. (Original posts: Dry blades, Mineral oil)
1. Keep your mobile phone battery trucking all day long (and then some)
You rely on your mobile phone to stay connected no matter where you are, but if the battery dies, it’s not really doing its job. Our exhaustive guide to saving your smartphone’s battery life will get you started with tons of methods for making your mobile phone battery last longer between charges—like keeping your mobile phone outside your pocket and away from extra heat. Photo by  . (Original posts: Belt-clip phone)
Got a favourite tip of your own for squeezing more life out of your stuff? Whether we mentioned it above or not, give a shout out to your favourite in the comments.