Many of us have a tendency toss food as soon it reaches it's labelled expiration date, but there's still a lot of use left in that food. If you have some milk that's beginning to sour, you can still cook with it as if it were buttermilk.
Tagged With reuse
Dear Lifehacker, After reading your article titled What happened when I truly disconnected" I have felt inspired to de-technologise myself. At home I have six laptops and tablets, all in working order despite 12+ years of wear 'n' tear. I want to get this number down to one.
Not all of us can devote the money or space to a full-size greenhouse, but anyone can get into gardening with a mini greenhouse. Instructables user kcrox1017 posts simple plans for a mini greenhouse will help you protect your seedlings from any unexpected cold snaps, and start growing them ahead of mother nature's schedule. While he used an old window, with a little extra tweaking, you can use a sheet of scrap glass or acrylic instead. On the other hand, if the idea of keeping a greenhouse and the accompanying garden sounds like too much work, you might find a wine bottle terrarium to be all the green you need. For details on his project, check out the full tutorial below. Build a Seed House/Mini Green House
The Green Cheapskate Blog cites studies showing that the American grocery shopper wastes 25 percent of their purchased food—if not more. Switch to an every-other-week shopping regiment, and you might start throwing less money away. While weekly grocery shopping is a habit most of us probably learned from our parents, the Green Cheapskate suggests being a bit more realistic about what you're going to eat, and being ruthless on how you eat it: Cook two or three meals' worth of each recipe at the beginning of the two-week period, and immediately freeze the extra portions for the second week. Freeze any meat that you won't be eating within the next 48 hours.< Use up fresh fruits and vegetables first, and then supplement them with just-as-healthy frozen (foods) as you get into the second week. Check expiration dates on dairy products before you buy them; in most cases you can find products that will remain fresh for two weeks or longer. The idea is to always USE UP what you buy before you shop again.
Then again, the weekly trip to the grocery/co-op/farmer's market can be a relaxing ritual for some, so trying out these tips as a kind of food-buying reboot, or just keeping to a stricter food-use cycle, might suffice. Hit the link below for more food-saving tips, and tell us how you avoid the gone-bad garbage guilt in the comments. Photo by lu_lu.Learn to cut your food bill 25%
Add some storage beneath the seat of your bike with this ridiculously cheap and simple hard-backed saddle-bag. It's made from recycled material, and you'll always have a place to stash stuff on the go. Gerry at How to Fix Bikes, a blog about life as an avid cyclist, turned a plastic jar into saddlebag. The steps are as simple as finding an appropriately sized jar, washing it out, and punching holes that line up with the support bars under your seat to anchor it with zip ties. The whole project is dirt cheap and makes good use of old, recycling-bind-bound jars. You can see in the photo Gerry uses his to stash an emergency repair kit for his bike; the peanut butter jar he used is the perfect size for some small folding tools and inner tube. The only modification we'd suggest is hitting the container with a coat of black spray paint to make it stand out less in comparison to the dark frame of the bike, and perhaps saving a thin sheet of packing foam from your next electronics shipment to wrap around the inside of the jar to cut down on bouncing cargo. If you have a crafty bike-related tip or storage solution, sound off in the comments below. How-To Make A Real Cheap Hard Saddle Bag
We asked earlier this week what disposable items you had found creative re-uses for, and the answers are in. Not surprisingly, some of you have some pretty crafty uses for household goods that usually end up at the curb. From CD-R spindles to corks, twist-ties to tissue boxes, lots of supposedly one-use items can save you money, free up space, and be seriously handy when the need arises. After the jump, a roundup of our readers' waste-reducing reuses. Yoghurt photo by Dan4th, all others by How can I recycle this.
Over at the TipNut blog, they've rounded up 20 supposedly disposable items and how to reuse them, in ways both common (newspapers for kitty litter liners) and unique (greasing pans with used butter wrappers). There's a handful of items that might make you think twice before trashing, but with so many products turning the way of use-and-toss these days, there's got to be far more creative reusable hacks out there. So I put it to you, dear readers: What items do you never toss before getting a little bit more out of them? How do you save money (and save landfill space) without spending a lot of time? What web sites do you turn to for reusable inspiration? Drop your tips, ideas, and links in the comments, and we'll consider them for a future post. 20 Things You Can Use Twice Before Tossing
In honour of Earth Day, Yahoo put together a "Free Is Good" web site promoting previously mentioned Freecycle, local mailing lists of folks who give away stuff they don't need. Pop your city and state into the search engine and get a map back of nearby groups. The Freecycle groups themselves are Yahoo Groups, so you have to join the group using your Yahoo ID to see messages (and often a moderator has to approve the membership request.) From there you can offer stuff you'd throw away anyway to give to your neighbours for free, and take them up on their offers, too.
Sick of dealing with wallets that get a bit, well, funky when they're wet? Looking for something a bit sturdier but still stylish? Instructables has an easy-to-follow guide to turning a sturdy plastic shopping bag into a wallet, using only a few needles stitches and a piece of double-sided tape. For those who get nylon wallet envy but don't want to swing the cash for one, it's a pretty unique solution, and a guaranteed conversation-starter. Shopping Bag Wellet
The Gomestic blog has a nifty idea for households where bars of soap get used up until they're just little bits that stick around. Grab a busted pair of pantyhose, and then:Cut the legs off and use (the remainder) to keep all those odd bits of soap that tend to get left in the bathroom. Tie the end and keep it beside the sink for hand washing.So you're in effect making a DIY loofah for your hands. My house always seems to get hand-crafted soaps around the holiday season, and this is a great way to ensure they see actual use—and see what they all smell like together, also. For more MacGyver-type pantyhose uses, hit the link for 19 more ideas, or try buffing nicked candles and keeping onions fresh. 20 Extraordinary Uses for Old Pantyhose
Even the most organised laundry masters can fall victim to Sock Gremlins—the invisible forces that seem to whisk individual socks away, leaving an unbalanced pair. Environment-friendly blog Planet Green has a few suggestions before you think about tossing that orphaned sock, including:Protect fragile holiday ornaments when you put them away for the yearUse as a whiteboard eraserSend to Operation Happy Sock, where it'll be stuffed with polyfill and catnip for cats at the local animal shelterProtect your MP3 playerNifty ideas, and there are ten more at the link. Of course, you could also strive to avoid orphaned socks entirely with a no-sort system. Photo by kevin. Find 14 Uses for Orphan Socks
Real Simple has a pretty extensive guide posted for doing a better job at storing your holiday decorations—be they big, fragile or just hard to stash away. Not only do they suggest using simple household materials, one tip in particular solves two problems at once, especially for home office workers:Instead of throwing away used gift wrapping and tissue paper, run it through a paper shredder and use the fluffy strips as packing filler when you're putting away your decorationsNeat hack, and it saves you the cost of bubble wrap. How do you pack away your decorations once the gifts are all opened? Share your storage space secrets in the comments.
Storing Holiday Decorations
Childrens' goods sharing website Zwaggle isn't just an eBay clone with a focus on cribs, toys, and other kid-specific gear. No money trades hands between "buyers" and "sellers," but points are distributed for giving away unnecessary stuff (as well as signing up other members) that can be used later to get items that are needed, for only the cost of shipping. The site has a green-friendly focus, and it makes sense—new parents always tend to over-buy or get far more gifts than their child can possibly use. Zwaggle might be a money-saving way for parents to save a few items from hitting the landfill or, just as importantly, cluttering up storage space they'll definitely need later.
So you woke up this morning to a refrigerator seemingly invaded overnight by the forces of tinfoil, plastic wrap and Tupperware. Now is your chance to reduce waste and get creative with LeftOverChef.com, a recipe-generating website that can make short work of your post-holiday provisions. I entered a few ingredients my in-laws were sure to still have today—turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes—and got back ideas for turkey potato pancakes, turkey burgers with mushroom gravy and "Toasted Christmas Lunch Sandwiches" that sound great for Saturday. The recipes come from a variety of sources and incorporate typical non-holiday leftovers as well.