Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
Oily raggers are great at getting more out of less, and making the most of what others throw out. According to the Oily Rag Research Department about a quarter of those who live off the smell of an oily rag do so because they can’t bear wasting things and money. Here are some of the many ideas readers have sent in, ranging from using toilet rolls to buying better for baby!
- GB says, “If planting large seeds like beans use the inners of toilet rolls, part fill with seed mix, put in the seed and top up. You can get about 12 of these to stand up in an ice cream container. And in due course plant out the whole tube. No transplant shock. The cardboard will rot away quickly.”
- Tooth brush looking a bit worse for wear? Don’t throw it out. O.R. says, “Use it as a scrubbing brush in those hard to get at places like between ceramic tiles, and taps. It’s perfect for those jobs!”
- Lots of people have ways to get the most out of tubes. A.V from Wellington says, “Get the last drop out of tubes of anything by cutting them in half when you have finished squeezing out as much as you can. You will be surprised how many more portions you will get out of the tube. Slip one cut end inside the other until finished. This works really well for cosmetics – I find I get at least another week's use out of moisturisers, and so on.”
- Carol from New Plymouth even has a use for plastic wine bladders from empty wine casks. She says they are perfect if you need to keep food cold when travelling by car. “Fill them with enough water so that they lie flat like a brick and freeze them a few days before travelling. Then pack frozen bladders on top of your food in the chilly bin and your food stays cold between destinations.”
- A number of readers save money on packaging materials. L.O. from Rangiora writes, “An empty used tin of beans can be used as packaging to post things in. It's quite strong and keeps whatever you are sending safe inside.” A reader from Hamilton says, “Cut the tops off two plastic soft drink bottles, one slightly larger than the other. Insert the items to be posted inside one of the containers and then push the two containers together to form a cylinder. It’s then ready to wrap and post.”
- While on the subject of tin cans, D.H. from Howick says, “Hide keys, rings, jewellery etc in an empty baked bean tin and place it up high on a shelf when you go away. Should anyone break in when you're away, valuables will appear to be part of the larder! Harder to find than easy places like the dressing table in the bedroom!”
- Dee from Whangarei says, “We bought a near-new baby buggy online for $95, worth $600 new. It goes a treat and we are sure to get our money back when baby has outgrown it.” Great point Dee. The baby doesn’t know the difference between new and used (only your critical friends do!). Better still borrow the gear from friends or family if you can. Many people don’t sell their baby gear (they may be between babies!) but they may be happy to lend it to you. It’s amazing how cheaply you can buy pre-loved quality stuff, and not only online. You will also find bargain hunters hunting at garage sales and in thrift stores. There are so many bargains out there, making live off the smell of an oily rag rewarding, and fun!
If you have a favourite tip, share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.
* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.