Thursday, March 12, 2009

Double Duty

I once knew a well-to-do woman who did laundry in a wringer washer, then used the soapy water to mop her porch and kitchen floors. She also washed her hair brushes and combs, tied in a cloth bag, with a load of white clothes. A washing machine to her was a machine to wash anything that would go in it, and left a container of soapy water that could be used for whatever cleaning was needed.

If we look at everything from that viewpoint, we can find a lot of ways that will save us time and money.

For instance, vacuum cleaners are first "vacuums," then secondly "cleaners." A vacuum can be useful for several things, like sucking air out of storage bags to save space, or catching and trapping insects. Turn the vacuum around and use the blower side to blow lightweight trash from garage floors and sidewalks. Many manufacturers make inflatable furniture and pool toys, etc., with openings that accommodate a vacuum cleaner hose.

Heat from a cookstove is welcome when the weather is cold, but have you thought of using the same heat for other things while you're cooking and/or baking and warming the house? A suspended rack or hook will dry herbs and a plate on a shelf above the stove will dehydrate just as well as an electric dehydrator. It's not very frugal to use the stove for this purpose when you're not cooking or baking, but when you do, why waste the heat? When you finish cooking, move the foods back to the dehydrator. You can make the heat work three times!

We can learn to see appliances and other tools for what they are instead of just what we use them for traditionally.

Because a fan cools us, doesn't mean it can't warm us. A fan can also be used to dry clothes on a rack with less cost than using a dryer. Besides moving dry air into moist areas (wet clothes), a fan can move moist air into dryer areas to keep a bathroom or kitchen safer from mold or mildew. With a fan you can also winnow seeds and grains, dry your hair and remove smells and smoke. Cars have fans; so do air conditioners, heaters, clothes dryers, hair dryers...

Refrigerators just cool food, of course... but they also have level (outside) tops, which makes them good for storing or even displaying things. Why not use the top to keep your coupons? Traditionally, a magnet on the door holds the shopping list and another one holds notes to other family members.

And on and on...


  1. Great post - always have to think outside the box in order to be frugal.

    I also use the 'leftover' heat of the oven to dry heels of bread for crumbs and to freshen not so crisp crackers.

    Have to see if hubby can figure out a way to save some of the wash and/or rinse water from the washer - I know it discharges more than the deep sink holds. Bellen

  2. What a good blog!!!

    I miss my wringer washer. Not so much for the work involved, but definitely for the water saved.

    Even then, I never thought of using it for washing anything but clothes. Geesh!!

    Ohhhh, for the good ole days. LOL
    Regards, Peg

  3. That's a good idea to use the heat from the oven to dry bread and crackers. My washer pumps into a sink through a hose and I can set a bucket under it to catch the water. When the bucket is full, it just overflows and the excess water goes down the sink. I only save a couple of gallons that way, but a bigger bucket would work, too.

  4. Margaret, we live and learn! LOL I'm thinking of getting another wringer washer, just 'cause. I know where there's an old used one...

  5. Hi again. Another great topic! I had a plumber come out a few years ago and am now my washing machine water discharges into a rain barrel that's kept right outside my garage. I use that water to irrigate my fruit trees and other plants and bushes.

  6. Good use, zs! No sense in sending it down the drain.