New Tricks for Old Throwaway Items

    For many of us, mom's 'use-it-up, make-it-last, wear-it-out' mantra was our introduction to thriftiness-a traditional value that has largely been kicked to the curb due to a more materialistic lifestyle.But the truth is, most of our common throwaway items have not yet reached their full potential. Here are a few smart re-uses that will help keep junk out of landfills and make our life a little easier:Banana peel as silver polish. Run the peel through the blender with enough water to make a paste. This makes a great silver polish when applied with a washcloth and rinsed off with water.Citrus peels as freshener. Burnt smell in the oven? Freshen the air by baking a few orange peels for a few minutes at 350 degrees. Or throw a few peels in a jar with some white vinegar. In a day or two, you'll have a great-smelling and effective all-purpose cleaner. Lastly, lemon peels that are run through the garbage disposal not only neutralize odors but clear out any greasy build-up.Ketchup bottle as baker's aid. Clean out that empty ketchup bottle with a plastic squeeze tip and use it as a frosting dispenser. It's a great way to decorate a cake and a lot more stable to use than cutting a corner off a plastic bag.Toothbrush as kitchen helper. Disinfect an old toothbrush by running it through the dishwasher and use it to remove those pesky silk strings from ears of corn. You can also use it to clean the grout in your kitchen or the dirt from any other hard-to-reach places.Drycleaner's bags for storage. Those big plastic bags over your dry-cleaned clothes are great for covering sweaters, blankets and comforters before you stow them away in the summer.Cooking water for plants. Hard-boiled eggs and steamed vegetables leave nutrients in the water you use to cook them. Use the water for your indoor and outdoor plants-they will love it.Aluminum foil as a pot scrubber. Crumple up that fairly clean, used sheet of foil and use it to scrub the stubborn food residue from pots and pans.

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