Cheap-or-Free Items w/multi-uses for Post-Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Writing my friend/neighbor (I am food-planning and purchasing for her and her two children as well as my family), I was talking about stuff she could start collecting that is cheap or free to contribute.

I surprised myself by coming up with the following. But now I think, actually, a couple threads with (a) cheap-or-free useful items one can gather/save, and (b) the uses for those items, might be a neat thing to have. Can you guys think of anything I might have missed in the list below? Can you think of other additional products or items that have tons of different applications for post-Y2K?

One thing that may end up being very handy is newspapers.

* They can be fed to my worms that I plan to eventually get. :-)

* They can serve as wrapping for most winter-stored fruits/veggies, which need to be kept separate and yet only loosely wrapped.

* They can serve as mulch for a garden when shredded, despite that the ink/chemicals in it isn't the greatest of course, still if it's a choice between the garden freezing in a hard winter vs. using it, it's worth it, and newsprint isn't actually as bad as regular paper.

* It can be used to help start fires.

* If desperate, it can be used as toilet paper.

* If creative, it can actually be folded into long thin strips and braided together for who-knows-what -- little plant-shade tarps, crafts, etc.

* It can be used very handily for cleaning, food et al., and the messy paper can be torn up and thrown in the compost pile (or shredded for the worms), it decomposes fast.

* It can be used wadded as cushion packing if we end up taking garden items somewhere to sell them and have to keep them from getting damaged.

* It can be used in some cases to line animal cages.

* Can even be used, in multi-layers that are rolled around something, to fasten (light) things together if anything sticky (even foods) that dries kinda hard is then poured on it.

* Can be used as insulation in various ways (obviously not near anything electrical!).

* Can be folded up (like origami!) to make soil boxes for lots of little seedlings, to plant indoors prior to spring.

* With a few other ingredients, can be used for a sturdy paper-mache that can help make paper-only boxes and things much sturdier.

* And of course if your steel-plated windows and submachine guns aren't working for you, you can always roll it up and hit somebody with it. ha ha.


PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 13, 1999


>They can serve as mulch for a garden when shredded, despite that the ink/chemicals in it isn't the greatest of course,

Check your paper's main info page (where it lists department phone numbers, circulation figures, etc.) for a statement about whether its ink is soy-based, which I'm told is harmless to plants. It used to be that most color inks contained heavy metals such as cadmium, but many papers have switched.

-- No Spam Please (, April 13, 1999.

Plain newsprint is supposed to be a good emergency surface for childbirth - must have a quasi sterile quality. (Perhaps would be good for other emergency medical procedures.)

We used to fold newspapers into 3" wide strips and weave them into a square that could be used as padding. (I used them to pack my good china for moving.) Several might make a cushion.

I have heard that people staple them into a plantable cone for seedlings.

Lots of newspaper can make insulation.

-- marsh (, April 13, 1999.

There are a number of books available regarding baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.

Unfortunately, the only books I am aware of regarding duct tape and WD-40 are meant to be comic relief, and are not very helpful.

I saw a Yankee Magazine book at Borders on their remainders table which concerned using items for uses other than the original purpose. I think it was called "Make It Last".

-- GA Russell (, April 13, 1999.

Thanks GA! Good ref. I checked at and here's the ref on those books, for those interested:

Yankee Magazine's Make It Last : Over 1,000 Ingenious Ways to Extend the Life of Everything You Own by Earl Proulx, Editors of Yankee Magazine (Editor) List Price: $27.95 Our Price: $19.57 You Save: $8.38 (30%) Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours.

Baking Soda : Over 500 Fabulous, Fun and Frugal Uses You'Ve Probably Never Thought of by Vicki Lansky, Martha Campbell (Illustrator) List Price: $6.95 Our Price: $5.56 You Save: $1.39 (20%) Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours.

(The above is listed as: Hundreds of practical tips are divided into categories that cover uses in cooking, gardening, cleaning, health maintenance, first aid and much more. )

Vim & Vinegar by Melodie Moore List Price: $10.00 Our Price: $8.00 You Save: $2.00 (20%) Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours.

(The above is listed as: Here are hundreds of tips to help readers tenderize meats, soup up soups, eradicate odor, firm fish fillets, cut grease, ease arthritis, cure cramps and more. Versatile vinegar also does wonders for flavoring food (plus, it has no fat or calories), and readers will be amazed at the range of tasty recipes, which include such treats as Vinegar Pie, Crazy Cake and Vinegar Hard Candy.

I bought some vinegar recently. It was revoltingly cheap, like 68cents for a gallon. If there really are lots of uses for this besides cleaning windows and making easter eggs, this might be a good item to acquire a lot of. I'll get the books and see.

Maybe eventually I should write a brief (brief? ME?! hahahaha!) review of the various books I've bought in prep for Y2K.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 13, 1999.

Save those empty cardboard egg cartons!

Stuff lint from the dryer into the indentations.

Save your candle stubs and drip wax over the lint.

Separate each section of the carton (you should have a dozen!)

Voila! You have handy, dandy fire-starters for your wood stove, barbecue, or fireplace. And, you have re-cycled your candle stubs, dryer lint, and egg cartons!

-- Libby Alexander (, April 13, 1999.

Newspaper can be shredded up and used in the cat's litter box if you didn't stockpile enough kitty litter. Add some baking soda as a deoderant. I would not want to let my cat outside if things get bad. You would need to bury the used litter.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (, April 14, 1999.

Hi PJ,

I knew about the newspaper uses, but thanks for looking up those books. I just ordered them. :)

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, April 14, 1999.

No snow boots? Fold some newspaper, and put it in your shoes. Will keep your feet warm on those cold winter nights.

-- LP (, April 14, 1999.

PJ I copied this off the internet last year some time but am not sure where I got it. The following is directions for making "newspaper logs" for the wood stove. Never tried it so not sure it will work.

1. Divide paper into sections (five double sheets per section for each log.)

2. Fold sections to half size, approx. 12 x 15 x 1/2 inch thick.

3. Fill laundry tub 3/4 full with water and add 2 tablespoons detergent to speed saturation. Place newspaper sections in tub and allow to soak for about 2 hours until papers have absorbed maximum amount of water.

4. While wet, roll sections individually onto a 1-inch metal or wood rod, squeezing out excess water while smoothing down the ends and edges.

5. Tie with metal tie-wrap near ends and middle to hold roll intact while drying.

6. Slide rolls off the rod and stand them on end to dry, tipping the rolls slightly to allow air to circulate thru the center of the roll. The log should be approximately 12 inches long and 2-4 inches in diameter. They are ready to use when completely dry.

I was already saving my newspapers for multiple purposes, but this thread has sure given me more purposes. Thanks a bunch! Mary

-- Mary Howe (, April 14, 1999.

These days, newspapers are fine for garden mulch- just avoid using any of the glossy ad inserts(stores and coupons ), or magazine sections(ie: Parade). Newspaper as mulch is even approved by organic certifying agencies. Works best if something such as hay is placed on top to hold it in place..

Years ago (70's), newspaper DID contain lots of heavy metals- I did lab research in that area then- just amazing to test soil in gardens back then where newspaper had been used as mulch- of course the cars spewed lead then too... but- this has changed for the better.

-- anita (, April 14, 1999.

Thanks for the list of uses for newspapers... Our weekly garbage output started to shrink about six months ago. Saving many large glass sealable jars, paper/plastic bags, etc. Even started a compost pile for table scraps. We've also saved our newspapers for any possible future uses and now we know what they are.


-- Floyd Baker (, April 14, 1999.

"The Complete Tightwad Gazette : Promoting Thrift As a Viable Alternative Lifestyle" is a 800+ page book compiled from a newletter of the same name. The author, Amy Dacyczyn, has a very humorous and easy-to-read style. Go to to read the many favorable reviews from readers. Frugality will be an essential skill if we really do have "10 years of depression". It's not too soon to begin developing it, especially if you're a lifelong spendthrift like me.

-- Mr. Majestyk (, April 14, 1999.

Bundled, and stacked on edge, overlapping -- bullet stopper.

-- A (, April 14, 1999.

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