If you’ve ever wandered through a thrift shop, flea market or antique shop, amused by “antique” gadgets and machines, you might want to change your perspective. If you’re like Julie, our first tipster, she recognized a current need in an old-fashioned gadget. And she was so excited to share her find that she even sent a picture. To see Julie’s grater, go to my blog at EverydayCheapskate.com.
NEW LIFE TO OLD GRATER. I started making my own washing detergent after reading about it in the Debt-Proof Living newsletter a number of years ago. I really love NOT lugging home bottles or boxes of detergent from the store. To grate the Fels Naptha soap, I’ve been using a hand grater all these years. But I’ve always wished for an easier way. This past summer, my husband and I visited quite a few flea markets, and found an amazing grater — one that grates a bar in two minutes. It’s so easy, I just turn the crank and it grates the bar super fine. When I add the grated Fels Naptha to the borax and washing soda and shake the container, it turns into a nice powder. We paid only $15 for the grater. I am so happy, I just had to send you a picture. — Julie, Ohio
BANANAS GO THE DISTANCE. When I buy bananas and they ripen too fast for me to eat, I put them in the fridge. The peel will turn black, but the inside is still firm. I only store them in the fridge for a day or two, and if I don’t eat them by then, I’ll mash them up and store in the freezer to use later in banana bread. — Ginny, email
TRICK TO UNSTICK ZIPPERS. I used to get frustrated with the zippers on my jeans getting stuck after a few washes. I discovered that if I run ChapStick up and down the zipper a couple of times, it loosens right up and doesn’t leave an oily residue. This also works well when trying to put on a ring when your fingers are slightly swollen. Just rub ChapStick inside the ring, and it slips right on. And ChapStick doesn’t irritate your skin. — Toni, email
TUFTED-LOOKING LINER. I discovered a cheap fix for my pickup truck’s sagging headliner (the fabric on the ceiling of the cab): thumbtacks. Underneath the fabric there is a layer of something that is penetrable — cardboard or foam. My old truck now has a tufted looking interior. — Margie, email
WATER THE WAX. The best way to remove candle wax is to simply fill the glass with water, and the next day you will find the candle and all the wax floating in the water. I discovered this a long time ago when I accidentally filled the glass candleholder with water and left it overnight. I was over joyed to say the least. — Sharlene, California