Mason jars and veggie scraps: Reusing common household items

How do you reuse things around the house? Simple Dollar readers share their best tips. 

Jim Young/Reuters/File
A shopper looks through the produce section in a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in September 2011. One Simple Dollar reader recommends saving leftover vegetable scraps in a plastic bag to freeze and reuse to make stock.

When it comes to frugal living, creativity is a virtue. That’s why we were excited (but not at all surprised) to receive such clever responses to our most recent “Reader Tip Tuesday” question: “How do you reuse things around your house?”

Over the years, we’ve shared a lot of our own ideas about reusing kitchen and laundry items like Ziploc bags, dryer sheets and other single-use items that usually end up in the trash, but as it turns out, it’s The Simple Dollar audience that has the most ingenious frugal tricks and secrets to share. Readers offered up their best solutions to running a more frugal, eco-friendly, and even fashionable household.

Here are some of our favorite responses with minor edits!

  • I use old muslin from making a sewing pattern for kitchen rags…bandanas as our everyday napkins rather than paper towels…unmatched tube socks for dusting. I make cleaner out of vinegar and lemon peels. And coffee grinds make a good lawn fertilizer that also cuts down on mosquitoes….Also, veggie scraps are put in the freezer. (No cruciferous veggies). When I have filled a gallon bag I make veggie stock. -Larry F.
  • I use old carpet for path covers in my garden. I cut them in strips about 12 inches wide…cuts down on weeds and they can be used over and over again.(place newspaper under the carpet, reuse 2 things at the same time). -Cindy H.
  • Toilet paper tubes as seedling starters. Just plant them right in the ground when you’re ready to move the seedlings outside. -Kristi H.
  • …Campfire starters with cardboard egg cartons, dryer lint and leftover candle wax. – Sarah H.
  • …I use Mason jars for all the following things: As flower vases, to store lunches to go (they also actually keep salads fresh longer and all foods can be safely warmed up in them), store leftovers in the fridge, for my DIY smoothies and vitamin water (drinking from them is great!), to make and store homemade salad dressings, to make my own soy candles… There are so many uses for them and you can keep reusing them for everything. -Lisa V.

A huge thank you for the readers that shared their ideas! Every Tuesday we’ll post a new question on our Facebook page.  We look forward to hearing and sharing your tips.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.