With inflation running rampant this year at the gas pump and in the grocery store, we all want to squeak as much life as we can out of the things we have in our home.
And I'm not just talking about squeezing the toothpaste tube to the very end. We are talking about making many of the things we use every day last weeks, if not months longer.
Hates throwing things away
Cathy McMahon hates throwing away anything earlier than she has to. This mom from Cincinnati's Western Hills area still cooks on a stove from 1980 and still nurtures a 7-year-old goldfish.
How does she make things last so long? She agreed to share some secrets, starting in the kitchen.
Fruits, vegetables, dairy
You won't find bananas on her counters. McMahon says they ripen too fast in the light and heat. For a lot of food, her secret is keeping it in a cool, dark pantry. "I have onions and garlic in a bag hanging here, and they last forever."
Fresh berries and grapes? McMahon says rinse them only when you are about to eat them, not beforehand in a colander.
"I take a handful out, rinse them em and put em on my cereal. And they last longer that way."
In her fridge she makes eggs last longer by keeping them on a cold shelf, not in the warm door, which is opened and exposed to a 70 degree room air dozens of times a day.
McMahon then took us to the bathroom. When it comes to soap and shampoo , she never throws the bottle away just because the pump stops working.
"When it gets too low, we fill it a third of the way up with water. Then shake it up and you still get more use out of it." The hand pump of Dial soap can last another two weeks that way.
As for bar soap, McMahon tells her kids to never leave it floating in a soap dish, as it dissolves in just a few days. It should be kept dry between showers.
Toothpaste? When you can't squeeze it any more, cut the top off with scissors, and get another week of brushing out of each tube.
And what about razor blades? They begin to rust and get dull in just a few days if they are left in a damp shower.
McMahon says towel them off. If kept dry, they don't rust, and can last weeks longer.
McMahon agreed to share some of her laundry secrets as well.
Do your blue jeans start wearing out after just a few months? Not McMahon's. "I do have jeans still from college. Some of my husband's jeans are at least 20 years old."
Start by washing them inside out, so the outside doesn't bump up against everything else. She also says most people ruin blue jeans by over drying them. The fabric breaks down and shrinks prematurely.
Instead, she hangs jeans, athletic clothes, and most shirts after putting them in the dryer for just a few minutes.
"Take permanent press out of the dryer in 5-10 minutes. Plus, I don't iron, because that harms the fabric too." She says her family's clothing lasts much longer that way.
All that stuff that builds up in your lint filter? That's your clothing falling apart. McMahon says old fashioned clothes lines will make it last much longer.
What are your secrets?
Just extending the life of one thing in your home may not make much difference. But when gasoline in northward of $4 a gallon, every penny saved helps toward your next fillup.
What secrets do you have for extending the life of items in your home? Feel free to share them below, so you don't waste your money.
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