Welcome to my Tiny Frugal Tip Series!
My last tip was about saving money on clothes by loving the clothes
you already own. Today's tip is about saving money by USING the cleaning
supplies you already have on hand. Are you like me in that you have
some cleaning supplies you thought were going to work, or you bought
them because you had a coupon, and then you never really liked them?
This the basket that holds my misfit cleaning supplies!
I've tried to use them, really I have! I almost threw them away just a few days ago. Then I decided that there must be some way to make use of them and save money.
Here are the ideas I came up with:
1. Organize the cleaning supplies by category. Begin by wiping off the containers and combining any that are the same. Use the ones with the smallest amount left in the containers first. It helps with decluttering if you can throw away some empty ones. This creates a sort of "snowball" effect in getting rid of the cleaners. Kind of like when someone is trying to pay off debt!
2. Make a list of what you have on hand and areas of the home in which you plan to use them. If you have some kind of household binder, that would be a great place for the list.
3. Brainstorm ways you could use the cleaners. There are multiple uses for many of them. Could you use one of them for washing the outside of the car or cleaning the inside of the car? Can you use one of them for cleaning outdoor items, like lounge chairs or flower pots? Would any of them work for spot cleaning laundry? If you use your imagination, you might just end up really loving a misfit cleaner!
One way I am using some of the cleaners comes from an idea I got from Flylady. I put a little cleaner in the toilet brush container, along with a little water. Then when I swish the brush around in the toilet, the cleaner is already on there. This works great for the light daily swishing that often needs to be done.
Search on line to find ways to use certain products. Also on the back label of the product, there is usually a list of uses that you haven't even considered.
4. If you have a cleaner that doesn't work as well as you want it to, save it to use on an area that isn't as dirty. Save your heavier duty cleaners for the extra tough cleaning jobs.
5. Could you donate the items? Do you have a family member or friend, who could really use some of the cleaners? Different people like different things. Even if you hate a cleaner, someone might be glad to save a little money by not having to buy some cleaners. There might even be a need at a homeless shelter, or animal shelter.
6. Promise yourself that you won't buy any more cleaners until the ones you have are used up! You can probably accomplish this by getting creative and making some of your own cleaners. to supplement them. Vinegar is a great base for making homemade cleaners. You might be able to create a new cleaner using what you have by adding vinegar, baking soda, etc. to it. Just don't cause any explosions!
7. If you are like me, you have certain cleaners that you use all the time. Make a list of those and only buy those in the future. Even if a cleaner is on sale and you have a coupon, its a waste of money if it doesn't work for you.
This is the shelf in my laundry room. The basket on the left contains my misfit cleaners. The one on the right contains the cleaners I use regularly. My plan is to empty the one on the left and simplify all my cleaners so that there are only a few basics up there, eventually.
Lets give our misfit cleaners some love and put them to use. Stay out of the cleaning supply aisle until you have used them!
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