Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stuff, Unlike Love, CAN Last Forever

Tip Of The Day: Wear it out; use it up, blah, blah, blah. How to extend the life of the stuff you own. So you don’t have to buy new stuff all the time. Not that I’m dissing on shopping. Far be it from me to say no to a shopping spree.

Tip For Tomorrow:
G. L. A. M…. oh hell. The glamorous life, and nerts to the spelling. I swear, Fergie has only ONE SONG where she doesn’t spell something out. Anywho, how to be glamorous for cheap.

One More BRIEF INTERUPTION: In case you didn’t see this in my earlier post, I will be on Fox 9 News tonight at 5 PM. Tune in, turn on and drop out. Or something.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, the best way to save money when shopping is to NOT shop at all. Maintain what you already have, so you don’t have to replace it. Whatever ‘it’ might be.

“Well, okay, Miss Smartypants-McKnowitall,” I hear you say, “how do we do THAT? Hmm?”

First, there’s no need to get huffy. Second, here are a few things I do to extend the life of my clothes, food, etc.

Clothes: Not surprisingly, The Cheap Chick doesn’t own many articles of clothing that require dry-cleaning. Dry-cleaning is expensive, and your stuff won’t smell like faux-Downey when you get it back. Therefore, I wash most of my things at home.
Because I’m a bit of a germophobe, I tend to wash my clothes after each wear, even if I’ve only worn the item for a few hours. This practice drives my Ma nuts – “you’ll wear out your clothes that way!” she yells. Or what passes for yelling with Ma, she is very soft-spoken. Unlike me.
It’s true, over-washing your clothes will wear them out faster. But then, leaving schmutz on them deteriorates the material. So, to reach the middle ground, here’s what I do:
1. Wash all my clothing in cold water – whites, darks, mediums, all of it.
2. Line-dry everything except for socks, work-out clothes and undies.
3. Turn my sweaters and darks inside-out when I wash them – this was a tip from Larue.
4. Anything remotely snag-able gets washed in a laundry sack – I just use an old pillowcase with a hair scrunchie around the end to keep it shut.
5. I’ve stopped using bleach on stains; it’s too damaging. Instead, I use Oxyclean – either the stuff for carpet stains (why not? It’s doing double-duty that way) or the spray for clothes.

Linens: I already told you how I like to wash my bedding. Apparently, I’m doing it ALL WRONG. According to Fine Living TV, here’s how to best care for your linens:
1. Wash your linens separately. Don’t put anything with zippers or buttons in the wash with them. HA! I do this! But only because I wash my bedding on Hot, and everything else on Cold.
2. Use mild detergent, cold water, and the gentle cycle. Hmm. HOT water kills bed bugs and dust mites. And I use the same detergent for everything. Oh well, next?
3. Remove your bedding from the dryer while it is still damp. HUH? WTF? Who wants to sleep on cold and clammy sheets? And doesn’t DAMP lead to MILDEW? Yuck. Fine Living says it’s easier to smooth out wrinkles in damp sheets, but I’ll just live with an imperfect bed, thank you. Clearly these experts don’t live in MN winters.
4. Dry clean your sheets once a month. Okay, now they’re just being silly.
You can follow these steps if you like. I’m sticking to my Laundromat method.

Food: Because this Chick is single, it’s hard for me to use up certain foods before they go bad. To combat waste, here are a few tips:
1. Buy the smallest container of milk. I used to buy ½ gallons – only to throw half away. Now I buy those over-sized Chug thingies. They last about 1 week and have enough milk in them for my cereal. Which is all I use milk for.
2. Eat your (frozen) veggies. Frozen veggies are a single girl’s best friend. Due to their frozen nature, they last forever in the freezer. Which is good, considering how rarely I can force myself to actually EAT veggies.
3. Don’t be (too) fresh. Some people, like my Ma, eat enough fruits and veggies in a day to justify buying a ton of fresh stuff. I don’t, so I have to be selective with what I get. I stick to things I A. know I’ll eat, and/or B. last awhile. On my hit list are apples, oranges, carrots, onions (yes, they count as a veg), peppers and bananas. I tend to avoid salad, unless I’m on a health kick. Then, I buy just one bag at a time, knowing part of it may go to waste.
4. Use your modern-day breadbox, the microwave. I got this tip from my Dad. He stores all his potentially-stale-getting items, like bread and baked goods, in his microwave. I use it to store my crackers, bread, rolls, and bagels. Does it work? Well, I haven’t had a grain product go bad yet. Of course, I’m a grainoholic, so the stuff isn’t around long enough to spoil.
5. Freeze your bread. This tip is from Ma. She freezes her bread, and takes out only what she needs for the day. I think this is supposed to lock in the nutrients, or taste, or something. All I know is that her bread always tastes fresh, and we eat a lot of toast. Waiting for bread to defrost is HARD.

Odds and Ends: These are tips we have seen before in the annals of Cheap But Not Easy, but they bear repeating.
1. Polish your shoes regularly, or have them polished. Also, you can have them re-soled or have rubber soles attached when they are new to extend the life of the shoe.
2. Darn your socks. Yes, it’s a little Little-House-On-The-Prairie, but still. Don’t throw away perfectly good socks if you can fix them with a needle and thread. Wow, do I sound like Ma Ingalls or WHAT?
3. If you don’t like the color or finish on an object, spray-paint it. Sarah sprayed her TV yellow, a mirror frame yellow (do you sense a theme? I do), and Larue has spray-painted half the furniture in her kids’ rooms.
4. Dry your razors. This tip comes from El Jefe. Don’t leave your razors in the shower to rust. Take them out to air dry, and they’ll last up to 3 weeks.

So, you doubters, did I come through or what? That’s a whole 1100+ words on how to save your stuff. Enjoy.


La RUE said...

"And then Ma fearlessly cut the lawn!" Fabric, that is. I love that quote for some reason.

I agree wholeheartedly with keeping your stuff nice. The problem with children is they so rarely follow this advice. So I just wash all of their stuff with OxyClean as there is NO WAY I am going to catch all the stains. Really. And just for the record? Cashmere can be washed in cold in the washing machine. Tis true - I have seen it with my own eyes.

Another good tip is shopping from your OWN CLOSET. You should write a post on that, actually. You and Swimmer helped me with that last year. You're such fabulous people. Sniff. Are you still going to return my calls now that you are famous?

Amy the Mom said...

I thought you did a great job-this is the first time I've caught you on TV. My only complaint is they should have given you more airtime, rather than the reporter.

Anonymous said...

Nice appearance. Nice to be cited as well.

-El Jefe

Anonymous said...

DO NOT add Fabric Softer to whites. It will make them turn yellow in time.

Anonymous said...

You can remove any lint and pilling from your sweaters by using an inexpensive disposable razor. It works better than a lint shaver.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow single gal, one of my best friends is the freezer. Seriously - if I didn't live in a one bedroom apartment, I would would totally get one of those big freezers people normally have in their garage (the kind that if it were on CSI: it would have a few dead bodies stored in it). Anyhow, other things I frequently freeze:
- Shredded Cheese: The texture changes, but if you use it for cooking and stuff, it's great.
- Nuts
- Chocolate
- Raisins
- Fruit: I mostly stick to the frozen berries you can find in the freezer section at the grocery store, but I do like to freeze my own grapes and eat them as a frozen snack. I reccomend initially freezing them on a cookie sheet and then transfering them to a plastic bag or tupperware container once they're frozen.
- Coffee Beans
- Butter

This is just a small list of the stuff that I like. There are a lot more items that you typically wouldn't think of to freeze out there - I would check it out!