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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Tips for Making Your Stuff Last Longer

Some ideas to save money by extending the life of what you already own.
By Tom Barlow-WalletPop

1. Quit washing your jeans -
Heat, water and detergents can make those new jeans look old in a hurry. The most enthusiastic denim lovers will wear their new jeans six months before the first washing, then three months before a second washing. Carl Chiara of Levi Strauss and Co. says that at the six-month mark, he soaks his jeans in the bathtub with some very mild soap and lets them air-dry.

2. Dry your razor blades - Oxidation of the steel blade can dull the cutting edge quicker than wear and tear against your facial hair. To extend the life of your blade, dry it carefully after use and store it in a drawer away from the sink and shower.

3. Coddle your tires -
•Keeping them inflated to the proper psi; check weekly.
•Rotate your tires every 5,000-8,000 miles.
•Use the tire size your car was designed for; smaller tires will wear more quickly.
•Keep your car aligned; misalignment will show up in unusual tread wear.
•Avoid quick starts and stops.
•If you store tires, stack them on their side in a dry, cool place, no more than four high.

4. Keep your shoes pristine -
•Buy good quality shoes.
•Alternate your shoes.
•Dry them completely if you've gotten them wet.
•Clean them thoroughly before polishing, and polish often. It protects the leather.
•Buy shoes that can be resoled.
•When buying kids new shoes, have them wear heavy socks to reserve a little room for
their rapidly growing feet.
•Break the habit of wedging yourself in and out of shoes without tying or untying the
•Use a shoehorn for those that fit tightly.

5. Make your perfume last -Perfume goes through three stages after it is applied to your skin: the top note, the middle note and the dry-out note.
You can also extend the life of your perfume by applying it properly by using a non-scented moisturizer on those parts of the skin when you are about to apply it to help it last longer.
Apply the perfume on parts of the body insulated with a fat layer like your upper arms, or your outside thighs and not your pluse points where the blood flows closer to the skin and is warmer.

6. Keep that Christmas tree green - Buy fresh, cut off an inch from the bottom, keep the water reservoir full of water, and additives aren't necesary to keep it green. Of course keep it away away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

7. Make your clothes last -
•Line dry rather than tumble dry and don't use dryer balls as they soften by beating the fibers so shortening the life of the clothes.
•If you can treat spots rather than wash the whole piece of clothing it will help that piece of clothing will last longer.
•Sniff first, then hang and/or fold your clothes to prevent wrinkling so as not to easily toss in the wash basket when they don't really warrent a washing.
•Reserve a set of clothes for dirty tasks.
• If you can maintain your body weight you won't be changing sizes before your clothes wear out.

8. Extend the life of produce -
Rehydrate: Vegetables like lettuce, spinach and celery can be brought back to life when they begin to wilt by soaking them in cold water. Dry well afterward.
Sequester: Apples will stay edible in the crisper section of your refrigerator for a long time in a perforated bag. Keep them away from other fruit and vegetables as the ethylene gas the apples give off will hasten the ripening of other produce.
Refrigerate: Some fruits do just fine left out on the kitchen counter, but some are best kept in the fridge. These include berries of many types, grapes, cherries, apricots, and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, mushrooms and sweet corn.
See chart:
Freeze: If you find you aren't going to be able to use peaches and green peppers, for example, before they go bad, toss them in the freezer.
Chill: Some vegetables like potatoes will last a long time in a cool, dry area, perhaps like the far end of your basement or an attached garage.
Breathe: Onions and garlic should have room to breathe.

9. Save that fine wine -Basically, oxygen is your wine's enemy, and the less oxygen you can allow to come into contact with your wine, the better it will retain its character. The simplest and least expensive solution is to put any leftover wine into a smaller container.

10. Scratch-proof that smart screen -There are a number of third-party screen overlays such as the Zagg Invisibleshield that are virtually impervious to scratches for your phone or iPod Touch. Hint: You might find a better price buying through Amazon than through Zagg's website.

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