Baking Soda | 20 Popular Household Uses {+ Printable Reference}

 

Baking Soda

Most of us are familiar with Baking Soda – we cook with it. .. some of us use to scrub our bath tub – and, some of us (like my father in law) use it for indigestion (a spoon with some water is similar to using Tums Antacid)….

Some fun facts about Baking Soda that you may not know:

  • Most Baking Soda comes from Wyoming
  • Baking Soda was first Imported from England
  • Arm & Hammer is the most widely recognized brand of Baking Soda

You can pick up Baking Soda in Bulk at Costco – or, opt for the smaller one pound orange boxes at Fry’s and Walmart, and like stores, for just around $1 if not a little more. Keep them in your car to freshen the air, or keep in your fridge to eliminate odor. Use it to make your own soft scrub for the bath tub, and much more.

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We put together 20 fun Household uses for Baking Soda – and you can also print out the sheet as a reference.

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Do It Yourself | Homemade Hair Detangler

DIY Hair Detangler

We are still getting ready to be back in the swing of things this week with school creeping up on us… if you have girls, chances are you probably fight with them to comb their hair. Or you fight with them when you comb their hair.

My daughter is almost 8, and last year we had to chop her hair, because she was not willing to do the work it required to be ready on time for school. After a year of having it just above her shoulders, she is eager to grow it back out long…  I’m wondering how that will work this year but I guess we’ll find out!

But with that comes the responsibility of doing her hair each day. Combing it is a challenge, for me and for her. We keep all the FREE samples we sign up for and use them to put together our own homemade detangled. 

It’s so easy, you won’t ever buy it again at the store.

::: Grab a Plastic Spray Bottle (I got this at Walmart for $1)

::: Gather your FREE Conditioner Packets that you sign up for (each has 1 – 2 Tbsp of conditioner) 

::: Squeeze the conditioner in the bottle – I use 1-2 packets per spray bottle

::: Fill the bottle with water, shake vigorously for 30 seconds to combine.

I help her comb her hair .. and we start by spraying with detangled prior to doing it in pigtails or ponytail – this works super for us. 

And it’s a great way to use all those extra packets you have at home.

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DIY: 2 Ingredient Shower Cleaner Solution

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Over the last few years i have shared this multiple times on the blog – I actually ran out last night & had to make some more. It truly is the best shower cleaner solution you will ever use.

I try not to buy commercial cleaners, as with 4 kids, someone always has their hands in the flashy colored bottles – no matter how high or out of reach I keep them. .. my 2 year old is a Ninja at climbing and getting into almost every household area.

Grab a used spray bottle (I use the Lysol one in the picture and have now for 2 years). If you choose to buy a spray bottle in the store, make sure you do not go for the ‘cheap’ one – as the plastic will melt with the hot vinegar.

Grab Vinegar, and Blue Dawn Dish Soap, and give this a whirl:

  • 10 oz. Blue Dawn Dish Soap (we use the Blue or Green)
  • 12 oz. Vinegar – head in the microwave OR on the stove 

Heat the Vinegar 2-3 minutes until hot. Then, pour the Dawn into the spray bottle first, then use a funnel to add the vinegar in – gently turn to combine. You do not need to re-heat the mixture when you use.

Simply hang in the shower and spray the shower after each use – for a more heavy duty cleaner, spray the shower thoroughly and let sit overnight (the solution does smell – so if you use it, try to do when you’re not using the adjacent room).

One thing to note:  I prefer the BLUE Dawn – in this case today, I did not have any left, so I used the green. But the Blue is Phosphate Free – so is a little safer to use.


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How To Make your Own Weed Killer

 

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Over the last few months I have had an unbelievable response to the Weed Killer I posted using Vinegar, and Dawn Dish Soap. 

I wanted to remind you that not only can you fight soap scum in your bathroom with Vinegar, you can also use it to kill those weeds in your front yard.  We have use this, and it WORKS for us. 

Some of you have mentioned it not working – I’m not sure how you’re using it, but I sprayed my yard back in March and the weeds have yet to pop back up. So we have been successful with it – I give my kids the assignment of sprinkling the salt (just because they are always bored) and then I go back behind them and spray with the sprayer.

Home Made Weed Killer

Homemade Weed Killer can be made with a variety of combinations:

  • ONLY Vinegar
  • Vinegar + Blue Dawn Dish Soap
  • Vinegar + Lemon (great if you have a lemon tree)
  • Vinegar + Essential Oil

Using Vinegar ALONE is just as effective as using it with Dish Soap; however, if you wish to combine with Dish Soap use 1 Tbsp (1 oz) per Gallon of Vinegar… I prefer blue Dawn, you might feel like the purple strikes a chord with you.

I find that Costco & Fry’s are the best places to buy Vinegar – 1 Gallon is $2.29 at Fry’s (Versus $5.50 at Safeway for the generic brand).

Alternatively, combine Vinegar with Lemon Juice (as lemon increases acidity so it’ll thus increase the effectiveness of the solution).

OR, you can combine Vinegar with Clove Essential Oil (see my post HERE on how to get started on Essential Oil) – it makes it a little easier to stick to the plants.  Some questions we had:

Can I use Apple Cider Vinegar
Yes – I have, in a pinch and yes it works just fine. 

How long does it keep?
I would suggest making enough to spray your yard – I haven’t ever kept large amounts for a long period of time to be able to tell you how long it lasts.

Does it Kill Grass?
Yes – so try to avoid spraying it on grass, and on places you wish to grow a garden because it will sterilize the soil.

Does it Affect Pets
As with anything you spray around your home, keep your pets away. 

What is the purpose of Table Salt?
The Table Salt works to provide a surface for the liquid to “stick” to. You are not required to sprinkle salt – but if you are anxiously worried that the solution isn’t “sticking” and sprinkling it makes you less anxious than go for it. Or, if you have kids, and you want to give them something to fight the “boredom” you can give them a container of Table Salt and tell them to go at it.

Can I Use Epsom Salt
I haven’t tried Epsom Salt, but salt in general is not a necessity. You can give it a try, let me know how it works. 

 

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Hydrogen Peroxide | 20 Popular Household Uses {with Printable}

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Over the last few weeks, many of us have stocked up on Hydrogen Peroxide – we probably didn’t go looking for the deal… at least for me it was a great way to add a filler to my Walgreens trips without a lot of out of pocket.

All these weeks later my mudroom is full of these little bottles – so I decided to put together a fun and helpful list of 20 possible uses.

I usually use mine in the laundry, but since I have so many bottles I’m using as my counter cleaner – and it works super.

Some fun facts about this stuff that you may find as interesting as I did:

  • Fruits & Veggies naturally produce this stuff (you didn’t know that did you?)
  • Your white blood cells produce Hydrogen Peroxide to fight infections.
  • It is safer to use than chlorine bleach.
  • AND it is used to treat drinking water and eliminate bacteria, chemicals & more.

20 Household Uses for Peroxide

You can print this list out for reference and hang on your fridge (that’s where mine is) – or laminate and keep in a household binder for reference.

I’m sure there are many more uses, but for the sake of time (and because 20 fit on one piece of paper!) – we kept it at 20. 

Do you have one that I should add? If so, feel free to comment – and I can re-do the list at a later time & include your tip.

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Clean your Washing Machine

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How long has it been since you last cleaned your washing machine? I cleaned mine today – it needed it before I took off with the kids to see a movie…….. we cleaned it last month but it NEEDED it!

Cleaning your washer with Vinegar is the easiest thing you could every do, & believe it or not, your washing machine NEEDS to be cleaned.

The dirt that is washed out of your clothes will produce bacteria in the machine, even with a stainless steel drum – bacteria can accumulate in the hoses also, which also need to be taken off and cleaned regularly too. Cleaning your washer will lengthen the life of your machine… and save you money later on.

It’s as easy as grabbing a few cups of Vinegar from your pantry:

  1. Pour 2 C. Vinegar into the machine, add a drop or two of Tea Tree Oil as well (if you have some)
  2. Run it for 3 minutes on hot
  3. Then stop the machine – however you do that – I have to push the button in.
  4. Let it sit overnight
  5. The next morning, pull out the knob, let it finish, and then run a rinse cycle on cold

(You’re not required to use Tea Tree Oil – should you have it, you can.. if not, Vinegar works just fine by itself)

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How to Clean your Dishwasher | 5 Simple Steps

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Lemonade Kool Aid is super yummy – it’s even better when you can use it for household tasks too – it makes it a double duty item.

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Did you know that you can use it to clean your dishwasher? And it’s much less expensive than the regular commercial cleaners. Through 7/13, pick up Kool Aid packets for 2.3 cents each at Safeway. I grabbed 26 LEMON variety. One for each week for the next 6 months.

1.  Purchase unsweetened Lemonade Kool Aid.  It must be the Lemon – the content of Citric acid and lack of color are important.

2.  Sprinkle the contents of the packet in the dishwasher powder holder… close it. And then close the dishwasher.

3.  Remove ALL the dishes from the dishwasher.  Your load should be empty.

4.  Run a Normal Cycle Wash.

5.  Open up the dishwasher & use as regularly scheduled.

Make sure you stick with the regular Unsweetened Packets; you cannot replicate this using the sweetened Lemonade Variety – it has to be the packets without sugar.

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Allergy Relief with Essential Oils

 

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Last week I let you know that I recently found the need to get rid of all my commercial cleaners, and gave them to mother in law because I have a small one that crawls on my floors to get around…and her body (tummy& arms) were breaking out in a huge rash.

In that same post, I let you know that each week I’m going to be writing about more ways you can incorporate Essential Oils into your personal and household care – what a great way to start than talk about something that bothers most of us in Arizona: Allergies.

Anyone who is familiar with Essential Oils knows that there are differences in quality – you can pick up lesser priced oils at the grocery store, and in some cases online stores – but most are non-therapeutic trade – which are not recommended for topical or internal use.

If you suffer from Allergies, here’s a great way at treating yourself without spending money at the drugstore on medicine:

Lemon.   Energizing. Circulatory Support. Cleansing.

Lavender.   Skin irritations. Balancing. Relaxing.

Peppermint.  Energizing. Digestive Support.

Copaiba (Optional).  Physical discomfort.

Apply Topically, Use a Diffuser or Take Internally.

To read more about how to get started on Essential Oils read my last post.

You can find inexpensive diffusers on Amazon – they do vary in price quite largely – I have one similar to this one HERE that sits in my bedroom. They do have some with a nightlight as well.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website

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Salt | 23 Household Uses {with Printable Reference}

 

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Chances are, if you have been reading my site for the last 6 months, you have a ton of salt in your cabinet. From THIS deal here, to THIS deal where we scored FREE Morton….it’s probably all hiding in your cabinet.

I counted 5 today in mine…. we don’t use too much in our cooking, so it sits for rather long periods of time. Because I and a nerd (I admit… who else wears socks with flip flops?) and I love finding unique facts about things… I read today a few things I did not know about one of America’s favorite restaurant items:

  • We need salt daily – but no more than 200 mg
  • Salt works wonders to get stains out of carpet. Did your kids spill a big gulp? Dump (and I mean DUMP) and entire canister of salt on the stain… let it sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum. I haven’t tried that myself but I heard it works super. 
  • 90% of the salt people intake is from processed foods – not from your own cooking (Wow!)

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Have a ton of salt in your cabinet like I do? Time to find another use for it… we put together 23 Household Uses for Salt – you can print, and keep as a reference, or PIN to your Pinterest Board to give you ideas next time you have an over abundance of it in the house.

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Lemons | 20 Popular Household Uses {with Printable}

 

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If you are in Arizona, chances are that at some point in time.. you have had an overabundance of Lemons. We have a TON of lemons in the fall – practically overflowing off the counter.  But

As much as I use them for Lemon Bars, Cleaning, and tossing in the garbage disposal, I can’t seem to use them all fast enough and have to give them away…

Here are some fun facts about lemons that you may not have known:

  • They soothe chapped lips. Rub on your lips at night, wash off in morning.
  • Along with Coconut Oil, Lemons, when rubbed into the scalp, can treat dandruff.
  • California and Arizona produce 95% of the entire US Lemon Crop (wow.. isn’t that amazing?!)
  • Lemon Juice is 5% Citric Acid – which prevents many fresh fruits from spoiling (for example – Apples)
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We put together 20 popular uses for Lemons that you can print and reference – so that this winter when they start producing on our trees here in Arizona, we can find a use for them (and maybe share the lemons with neighbors who can put them to use, too!)

Saving Money at Ikea | Tips for Discounts on Furniture & Other Household Items

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I posted this last  month, and wanted to post it again… for those of you who missed this. My good friend Danielle is an Ikea-aholic – she has all kinds of tips for saving at this popular store – she shares some of them with us below.

Do you love Ikea? Many of us do…. just recently, I discovered that Ikea has an “As-Is” Section. I had no idea that I could pickup even greater deals at one of my favorite stores.  My friend Danielle is one of the biggest fans of the store, and was excited to share some tips to saving huge at one of the most popular Home-stores around.

I’ve been IKEA-obsessed for over a decade. Even though I know the store and the products like the back of my hand I still take my time to prepare for my trips online because IKEA can be an intimidating place.

First thing’s first, create a profile on IKEA.com. This will allow you to save items to a shopping list, see if they’re in stock, and even see what isle and bin numbers they’re in if you want to avoid IKEA all together. Pop in, get out, go home and build some things!

Take some time to browse IKEA.com and their digital catalogues. This should reduce the amount of time that you’re actually in the store. Their displays and new items can easily distract first timers!

Did you know that each IKEA store also has their own page on IKEA.com? For Tempe IKEA click here.

From here you can search for monthly in-store specials and other promotions. Don’t forget to check out their restaurant and market offers as well! IKEA makes a wonderful date night or family night on the cheap!

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MONDAY
IKEA FAMILY Members receive a FREE cool bag with a purchase of $25 or more in the Swedish Food Market. Reg $5.99 Must show IKEA FAMILY card for offer.


TUESDAY
Kids Eat FREE! Children 12 and under can choose from one combo meal valued at $2.99.


WEDNESDAY in the Restaurant
Feed a family for four for only $9.99! Includes two adult entrees (value $6.99 or less – beverage not included) and two kids meals (value $2.99 each).

WEDNESDAY in the Swedish Food Market
20% off ALL Salmon products in the Swedish Food Market including marinated salmon; smoked salmon, frozen; marinated and smoked salmon; salmon fillet, frozen; PASTEJ LAX, salmon spread.


THURSDAY
Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes only $1.99! Reg $3.99


FRIDAY
Fish and chips only $1.99! Reg $4.99

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OK, so you have your list and measurements in hand – lets go to IKEA! Be sure to stop at an IKEA Family Kiosk and get your shiny, orange IKEA Family card! This is what it gives you:

  • Additional discounts in the restaurant
  • A chance to win a $100 IKEA Gift Card 
    every time you scan your card in the store
  • FREE coffee or hot tea at 
    the restaurant
  • More Småland time for the kids— 90 minutes total on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (capacity-depending)
  • Free frozen yogurt with a purchase of one at regular price when you pick up your card for the first time
  • 90 Day Price Protection

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Once you’ve gotten your little ones squared away, make a B-line for the As-Is section. It’s located downstairs, tucked away between the very last isles of the warehouse and the registers. Chances are, what you’re looking for is already here!

***Shop As-Is on Wednesdays and get an additional 10% off***

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Every price tag looks like this. It shows you the name of the item, the total discount, and WHY it’s in the As-Is section. Some items say damaged, scratched, chipped, discontinued, returned by customer, floor display, or has a missing piece.

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This is the Handyman Corner. Here’s where you’ll find shelves, doors, drawer fronts, and panels. Visit ikeahackers.net for some excellent ideas on how to transform any IKEA item and get crafty!

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The As-Is Mattress section is a steal as well! Your ‘brand new’ reduced price mattress may have has a few hundred butts on it, but that 30-60% discount might make it worth it! Nothing a mattress pad can’t fix right?

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So you’ve managed to pull yourself away from the As-Is section but you’re still on the hunt? Look for these bright yellow LAST CHANCE tags!

When they say last chance, they mean it! These items are being discontinued and transitioned out of the store to make room for new stuff. If you’ve been coveting something and don’t want to risk not having it then you’d better hurry up and grab it.

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However, if you’re a gambler then you can get one heck of a steal! I recently bought a $250 sofa cover for only $50!

If you want to risk even more, these last chance items might even end up in the As-Is section. I was able to score replacement covers for my chair and ottoman at an 80% discount – they would have cost me $98, but instead I only spent $19.80. 

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I totally understand that IKEA isn’t for everyone. If you make the trip and don’t find anything that’s for you, don’t make the whole day a waste. IKEA’s $0.99 toilet brushes and $0.49 dish brushes are SOOO worth it!

For additional help, please visit IKEA’s Practical Tips Page.

Thanks, Danielle!

Fun Way to Use Pool Noodles

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Have kids that need something to do? My kids put these together today – we have a pool and they love to swim.

But they also love to bring their Barbie Dolls in for a swim too. Unfortunately Mom doesn’t love to dive to the bottom to scoop up dolls every time they swim – and since they don’t know how to swim on their own (the dolls)… they make them a nice little boat.

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You could probably use this to put a few cans of soda, and some ice if you are entertaining at home with a pool….. maybe you love to read as you float around in the pool basking in the sun – you could use it to put your book in as you float, too.

How to Clean a Ceramic Cooktop

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Chances are, if you have a ceramic cooktop … you have at one point in time let something boil over.   And, watched that cooking surface burn on the surface making your cooking top look extremely dirty.

This is the story of my life – I always put things on the stove, get impatient for the water to boil, and then run like crazy to turn it down when I see the spaghetti bubble over the top.

Here’s an easy way to clean it so you don’t have to invest in the ceramic cooktop cleaner:

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Get out your baking soda and sprinkle it over the entire cooking surface. Now you have two choices… 

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Fill a sink with soapy water (use Dawn Dish Soap).  Submerge a clean kitchen towel in there, then take out and squeeze out 3/4 of the water. Then take blue Dawn Dish Soap and squeeze some over the baking soda, and LAY the Damp Dish Towel OVER the mixture and let sit 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the towel, throw in the wash; clean up the stove – you may have to use just a little elbow grease – and it should look brand new.

(Or, if you are not up for dunking kitchen towels in water, take your spray bottle of vinegar and dawn and spray that on top of the baking soda & let sit 15 – 20 minutes).

 

How to Save Money by Building a Gift Closet

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How many of you have a gift closet? We have one and it has literally saved me at least a half dozen times this past year.

With a 7 year old that gets invited to birthday parties almost every other week, it’s a necessity for us to have stuff on hand – just in case.

A gift closet can be invaluable when it comes to providing non-personal gifts for those last minute birthdays, events and baby showers. Why?

Because it allows you to have something ready without having to run to the store in a hurry to try to find the right thing, thus spending money on something you did not plan for.

Here are some tips to getting your personal gift closet started.

Pick a spot to store your gifts. It doesn’t even have to be a closet. It can simply be a plastic tub you keep in your garage. Ours is a spare bedroom – top shelf, in the closet. High enough so the boys can’t reach it – but great for me to be able to “see” what we have.

Create a specific space for your gifts to keep them organized and separate from your own family’s things.

Make a list of how many known gift occasions. This will help you have a good idea of what events to shop for. Also, take into account birthday parties your child may be attending.

Follow frugal blogs and watch for deals. Many frugal bloggers (including mine!) alert you to deals online and off at chain stores and online retailers like Amazon. Snag good deals while they are hot even if you don’t have a particular person in mind for the gift. Also, make sure to sign up for a free trial for Amazon Prime so when these deals come around, you can avoid paying shipping on many of them.

Check out Amazon’s daily deals. Sometimes you can find great items on sale that are only on sale for a couple hours. Usually these are heavy discounts of 50% off or more and often come with free shipping with prime membership.

Coupon for beauty and health products to make gift baskets with. If you do it effectively, you can often get these items for free and then all is left to do is buy baskets to place them in as needed.

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These baskets work great for birthdays, baby showers, mother’s day and so on.  Sears oftentimes has the Craftsman Tool Tote sin Pink, & Black/Red as low as $9.99 – with FREE pick up. They work double duty for gift basket containment AND for later use – perhaps crafts? Scrapbooking?

Shop after holiday sales for things like art sets, do it yourself craft kits and so on. Kids love to get these as gifts and they generally work for both boys and girls if you buy them gender neutral enough.  You can also shop around back to school time for school supplies like crayons, markers, etc. You can make gift baskets with these and they are also great stocking stuffer, Easter basket fillers and so on.

Look at the clearance section of outlet stores such as TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less. The prices there are already low for high quality department store goods at these stores, but the clearance section can offer amazing sales where you save 75-90 percent off the retail value. This is a great place to find candles, beauty products, dish sets and cook wear.

Don’t forget to check out thrift stores. You can often find brand new in the package gifts there. Many people give their unwanted gifts they received to thrift stores. These are unused and unopened items such as small appliances, beauty sets, home décor and cooking sets. Just because they were not given to the right person to begin with doesn’t mean you don’t know someone who would love it!

Do you have any tips for getting a gift closet started? If so, feel free to share!

Used Dryer Sheets | 20 Household Uses {with Printable}

A good majority of us are heavy users of either liquid Fabric Softener, or Dryer Sheets – if the latter is used more frequently in your house, don’t toss them once they are used!

They serve a great second life for many purposes around the home and office, even automobile. 

20 Household Uses for Used Dryer Sheets

We put together 20 Household Uses for Used Dryer Sheets and you can print out this reference to put on your refrigerator. Not only do they eliminate static cling on your clothes, they work amazing for many other purposes – to be able to give them a second life is super!