I was talking to my Best Friend in the Whole World (we have known one another since 8th grade!). We were talking about how, with couponing, you sometimes end up with a stockpile of something. I said something like, 'The cool thing is, if you get shampoo you don't like, you can just use it in liquid soap dispensers for washing hands.' She hadn't heard that one, and she was glad for the idea.
The conversation got me to thinking about all the ways we substitute around here. Making substitutions can save money and space, and it's better for the environment than throwing stuff in the trash. Here are a few ideas:
First of All
Before we get to the ideas, though, if you have a lot of something, consider donating some to a local food pantry. Our local food pantry accepts toiletries along with grocery items. If you opened one item and you don't like it, please consider finding an alternate use for that item...but consider donating any un-opened duplicates you may have. This is a great way to bless others in your community.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Honestly, I can't tell you the last time paid money for either. If we get some shampoo we are not wild about, we use it as mentioned above - as hand washing soap. Just refill the pump dispensers, and you're set. Shampoo is a good 'body wash' too, if you don't like bar soap.
It's also good for hand-washing clothes. I don't recommend using it in the washing machine - it gets a bit sudsy if you use too much. Oh yeah, and if you mix some shampoo in with home made laundry soap, the entire bucket turns into slime. TRUST ME. You can still use it, but it's a mess to scoop!
I used to wash our dog with strawberry scented Suave, and he never had any problem or reaction to it. I've shampooed the car once in a while too...but keep in mind, I was driving a 20 year old rust bucket at the time.
I haven't found as many uses for conditioner, but it works as a substitute for fabric softener, whether you're hand-washing or using the washing machine. It's good for rinsing the dog too - it always made his coat so soft and shiny!
I am not a fan of 'wintergreen'. If I ever end up with wintergreen flavor toothpaste, I use it for getting crayon marks/scuff marks off the wall. It takes off the mark, not the paint. I've taken the tarnish of sterling silver with toothpaste as well. Don't scrub...just put some on an old toothbrush and gently brush the item, using some water as well. I've used this on jewelry and silverware with good success. As a paste, it's good for getting water marks off of chrome faucets, too!
I've given a LOT of cereal to the local food pantry. I've also learned that you can use quite a few different cereals to make 'rice crispy treats'. Just substitute one cereal for another. It's amazing what a lot of butter and melted marshmallow can do to make cereal taste good! Other options for cereal would be to crush it and add it to a cookie dough, use some of it in a granola bar recipe, or feed it (in moderate quantities) to birds or your livestock. My chickens are currently getting some out-dated oat bran cereal as an occasional treat. They really seem to like it.
If you don't completely hate a cologne sample, you can use it as air freshener or closet/drawer freshener. Put some on a cotton ball and tuck it away somewhere. Don't put it in contact with furniture, or it may ruin the finish. I put the cotton ball in a sandwich baggie, with the flap left open. I've sprayed curtains with a light spritz of cologne on a breezy day too....but remember, keep it light!
Those are just a few ideas. What do you have that you don't like, or won't use? What creative ways are you using things so they aren't wasted?