Making Things Last Longer

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Okay, Home Eccers, let’s tap into your sources of wisdom. I want to know how you make things last longer. I’ll give a couple of examples: laundry detergent caps always have three lines to tell you how much to put in, and the bottom one is usually sufficient, but hard to see. So I mark the bottom one with a Sharpie to show everyone how much to use.

Here’s another one I heard about but haven’t tried- to un-clump mascara, put a drop of Coca Cola in the mascara tube. When I end up with clumpy mascara again, I’ll try this.

So, Home Eccers, it’s time to hear from you: what do you do to make things last longer?


  1. stephanie on September 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Half a sponge works just as well as a full-sized sponge. Ditto fabric softener sheets and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. It took my husband a little while to get used to using a smaller sponge, but he has seen the light. 🙂

  2. Judith on August 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I try to package fresh fruits and vegs very well when I get them home. Mushrooms go in a tupperware container; salads and greens go in bags, etc. They are so expensive and I hate to waste them. Peppers and onions that are on the verge of looking a little aged get chopped and put in the freezer for easy use in recipes. Ripe bananas go into freezer bags and into the freezer for banana bread down the line.
    Anyone have any ideas for wrapping vegs and fruits that work for you?

  3. Josie on August 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    I’ll have to mark that line on the laundry cup now that my kids are starting to do a load of wash sometimes.

    To make shampoo last I put it in pump containers. My daughter knows that two pumps is enough for her medium length hair & my son uses one pump. The pump containers originally held dish soap. I saved them when they were empty. This has helped me go a long time between buying shampoo since they don’t accidentally dump too much in their hand and then watch it run out.

  4. Pat on August 24, 2009 at 12:04 am

    About the mascara…don’t ‘pump’ the applicator in and out of the tube. Instead, turn the tube around the applicator. Also when you apply the mascara don’t ‘wipe’ the applicator on the neck of the tube. Instead, dab the tip of the applicator on a corner of facial tissue (only a small piece of tissue is needed). You’ll be very surprised how long your mascara lasts whether it is expensive or inexpensive. The same applies to your eyeliner in a tube.

  5. CJ McD on August 22, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I turn knits and dark colored clothing inside out before washing to protect fabrics. I use cold water wash for everything except towels and sheets. I air fluff in the dryer, then add low heat half way through drying cycle or line dry. Saves a huge amount of wear and tear on clothing, plus it’s a big energy saver too.’
    I spent the extra dollars and purchased those foaming liquid soap dispensers. When they became empty, I bought bulk, generic liquid soap refill and diluted it before refilling. Cut our soap bills more than half and works extremely well.
    I too, moved the paper towels out of ready view and easy access.
    We do use paper plates, but they seemed to instantly disappear. Now I seperate them (pull apart from each other where the papaer crimps stick), then place a small amount of them in the cupboard at a time.
    A law in our house is no fingers in the pickle, mayo and relish jars. CLEAN forks or spoons only. Keeps contamination out and products last much longer.
    Coffee- we buy French roast in bulk and grind extremely fine (espresso grind). You get a better, stronger cup of coffee and can use less to make a pot.

    Thoise are just a few I can think of right now. Still have a little weekend brain fog going on….

  6. Chris on August 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    When I make coffee in the morning for 6 cups, I only put 5 in the basket. The next day, I reuse the grounds from the day before plus add 4 new spoonfuls (don’t tell my dh). The next day after that, I dump the whole basket and start new! To add the essence of gourmet coffee without the extra money, I use a cinnamon stick in the pot, and change it twice a week. I get a package of them at my dollar store!

  7. Laura on August 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I use just over enough detergent to cover the cap. This is much less than recommended but my clothes always turn out fine. This may not work if you sweat a lot (or have children) but it works if you have a desk job like I do 🙂

    I also wash my clothes on delicate (though they aren’t) and dry them on low heat, and I find it doesn’t tear them up as much and they last longer.

    As far as the mascara, the coke trick is probably a bad idea. Anytime you add liquid to something you are putting on/near your eye, you are also adding germs that can breed and you can (and eventually will) get an infection. Diluting anything else is probably okay, but don’t mess with your eyes!

  8. Elise on August 20, 2009 at 7:14 am

    I have no tips to give… I’m just reacting to the Coca Cola tip and thinking; hey, shouldn’t you stop drinking that junk that cleans out so many things it must sanitize your own stomach.

    But… I can’t 🙂

  9. Becca on August 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    My tip is for making hose and socks last longer.

    For socks: buy the same type of socks (length and color) every time. That way if you lose one, stain one, or get a hole in one, you don’t have to throw the pair away.

    For hose, I do a similar thing with knee highs, buy a large pack and replace one leg at a time. For regular hose, cut off the leg with a run in it. When you have two pairs of one legged hose, wear both pairs and then TADA you have a regular pair. [I admit I don’t wear regular hose any more so I don’t do this one, knee highs are so much easier in my life.]

  10. Jen on August 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    My husband went through paper towels faster than toilet paper. I finally just quit storing them on the kitchen counter (it’s ugly anyway!) and put them in the closet with the cleaning supplies.

    There are situations that call for a paper towel, but those are typically not the situations my husband handles.

    I have hand towels hanging up on the dishwasher right under the sink, I have dish towels stacked next to the sink and I use cloth place mats and napkins when I set the table for our meals.

    I used to stock up quarterly on paper towels at Sam’s Club, but by getting them out of sight and only using them when really necessary, I still have more than 1/2 of what I bought in January waiting in the basement!

  11. Stacy on August 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I once read that most people use far more shampoo than they need to use. So I started using maybe a nickle-sized amount, and it works fine. I also read that you really don’t need to put shampoo on the ends of your hair, in fact it dries them out especially if your hair tends to be dry. Just put the shampoo near the scalp to get the oils out, and when you rinse your hair, enough shampoo gets onto the ends to clean them. My hair is a bit dry, and this has helped. Also, I only wash it every other day so that saves product too.

  12. Dr Alice on August 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I got this from The Tightwad Gazette – when it comes to dishwashing detergent, read the label for recommendations. The harder the water in your area the more you have to use. You should be able to find out from your water bill how many ppm (parts per million) of dissolved solids are in your water. As it turned out I was using twice as much detergent as I needed to. No more!

  13. ~M on August 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I use a kid’s motrin dispensing cup to measure out 2 3 teaspoon-fulls of detergent (= 2 Tablespoons)…that’s all I use per load!

  14. Jessica on August 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I am sooooo bad about the laundry detergent…I just open the cap and pour until it looks about right. 🙁 It’s no wonder I have to buy it every WEEK!

    I’ve never heard about that mascara thing….but Ivy, you remember in college when I wore all that black liquid eyeliner? Well, I shelled out about $28 a TUBE for that from Lancome…so it was IMPERATIVE that I find ways to make it last. I used to run my finger under the faucet and put ONE DROP into the tube. It USUALLY made the tube last until payday! Every little bit helps! Oh, and whenever I use mascara, I fill the sink with hot water, drop in the whole tube…apply the rest of my makeup…and then fish the mascara out of the water, dry it off, and apply. Makes it go on smoother….my Mom’s trick. 🙂

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