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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tips for saving

Dust off your mops

Dust mops make it a breeze to get up the dust balls and pet hair around your home, but how do you get the stuff off your mop? Place a large paper bag over the mop head; use a piece of string or a rubber band to keep it from slipping off. Now give it several good shakes (a few gentle bumps wouldn't hurt either). Lay the mop on its side for a few minutes to let the dust in the bag settle. Then carefully remove
the bag for easy disposal of your dusty dirt.

Clean artificial flowers

Authentic silk flowers are actually pretty rare these days; most are now made of nylon or some other man-made material. But regardless of whether they're silk or something else, you can easily freshen them up by placing them in a paper bag with 1/4 cup salt. Give the bag a few gentle shakes, and your flowers will emerge as clean as the day you purchased them.

Carry your laundry

If your laundry basket is already overflowing, or (gasp!) the plastic handle suddenly gives out, you can always use a sturdy shopping bag to pick up the slack. A bag with handles will probably make the job easier, but any large bag will do in a pinch. Just be sure your laundry is completely dry before using the bag on the return trip.
Otherwise, your freshly cleaned clothes could wind up under your feet.

Cover your kids' textbooks

Helping your children make book covers for their textbooks isn't only fun, it's also a subtle way to teach kids to respect public property. And few materials rival a paper bag when it comes to making a rugged book cover. First, cut the bag along its seams to make it a flat, wide rectangle, then place the book in the center. Fold in the top and bottom edges so the bag is only slightly wider than the book's
height. Next, fold over the sides to form sleeves over the book covers. Cut off the excess, leaving a couple of inches on either side to slide over the front and back covers. Put a piece of masking tape on the top and bottom of each sleeve (over the paper, not the book) to keep it on tight, and you're done. Lastly, let your child put his or her personal design on each cover.

Create a table decoration

Use a small designer shopping bag with handles to make an attractive centerpiece for your dining room table or living room mantel. Fill a small cup with some water and place it in the middle of the bag. Place a few fresh-cut flowers in the glass, and presto! All done.

Make your own wrapping paper

Need to wrap a present in a hurry? You don't have to rush out to buy wrapping paper. Just cut a large paper bag along the seams until it's a flat rectangle. Position it so that any printing is facing up at you, put your gift on top and fold, cut, and tape the paper around your gift. If you wish, personalize your homemade wrapping paper by decorating it with markers, paint, or stickers.

Reuse as gift bags

What to do with those small gift bags with handles favored by most boutiques? Why not use them to package your own gifts? They're ideal for holding items such as bath supplies, jewelry, perfume, and even most books. Simply add some shredded crepe paper, a personalized card, and you're all set.

Recycle as towel or tissue dispensers

Add a simple but elegant touch to your guest bathrooms by using small "boutique bags" as paper towel or tissue dispensers. You can even embellish them with your own personal touches, such as ribbons or stickers that match your decor.

Reshape knits after washing

Put the shape back into your wool sweater or mittens by tracing the contours of the item on a paper bag before you wash it. Then use your outline to stretch the item back to its original shape after washing it.

Store linen sets

Have you ever emptied the contents of your linen closet looking for the flat sheet to match the fitted one you just pulled out? You can easily spare yourself some grief by using medium-sized paper bags to store your complete linen sets. Not only will your shelves be better organized, but you can also keep your linens smelling fresh by
placing a used fabric softener sheet in each bag.

Use as a pressing cloth

If your ironing board's cover appears to have seen its last steam iron, don't sweat it. You can easily make a temporary pressing cloth by splitting open one or two paper bags. Dampen the bags and lay them over your ironing board to get those last few shirts or skirts pressed for the workweek.

Pack your bags

Getting ready to leave on a family vacation? Don't forget to pack a few large shopping bags -- the kind with handles -- in your luggage. They're guaranteed to come in handy to bring home the souvenirs you pick up, or perhaps your soiled laundry or beach towels.

Bag your recycled newspapers

Double up on your recycling efforts by using large paper bags to hold your newspapers for collection. It not only spares you the time and effort needed to tie up your bundles with string, but it also makes it easier to sort out your magazines, newsprint, and glossy pages.

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