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#1 of 35 Old 01-10-2006, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I am currently obsessed with this whole idea of frugality and simplifying my life . I have been reading and gathering recipes for making my own cleaning products. Keep with the tightwad spirit, I don't want to go out and spend money on containers for storing my homemade cleaning products. Please tell me what types of containers you are using and how you came by them. If I have to go out and invest some money to get started that is fine and I have already discovered that I can reuse SOME of the bottles from my store bought cleaners. But what more frugal ideas do you have?

I am particularly interested in finding a shaker type bottle for scouring powder that I just made. I thought of drilling holes in the top of a mayo jar. Has anyone tried that? TIA.

Tammy
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#2 of 35 Old 01-10-2006, 11:35 PM
 
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My first idea for the scouring powder was using one of those cylindrical cardboard salt containers with the pour-spout. Assuming you have a funnel or something to get the stuff in there.

Can I chime in and add a question? I've been meaning to ask people what they use to store cheese. We've been using sandwich bags, and throwing them away as each hunk gets eaten to avoid mold growing from old residue. There's got to be a more ecological and affordable way to keep it from drying out. (does anyone wash plastic bags? I consider it once in a while, but haven't crossed that line...)

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#3 of 35 Old 01-11-2006, 12:06 AM
 
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gee, I guess we crossed that frugal threshold into plastic bag washing ages ago. Actually, the bags that get used the most for cheese storage are the plastic bags that line cereal boxes (from when we were such spendthrifts we bought cold cereal!). They wash out so easily and we clip them shut with a little clip from the stationary store. I was thinking that a yogurt or mayonnaise container would be good for the scouring powder. You can just cut holes the right size in the lid. (Without getting out the drill!) For a spray bottle I use a good one from the hardware store. The cheaper ones (such as you find in a drug store) get clogged very easily and so do the ones reused from other cleaners. I have been using homemade cleaners for a while now and have never looked back!
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#4 of 35 Old 01-11-2006, 10:49 AM
 
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Hi Tammy! For a shaker type bottle, you could use a grated cheese shaker bottle, either recycled or buy a glass one at the dollar store/thrift shop. Or a large spice container. I just checked my cabinets mine are all pretty new & full of spices! But I keep my BS in the carton it comes in & sprinke from there. For Borax I keep some in a jar with a spoon inside, & sprinke from the spoon. I started using my old windex spray bottle a LONG time ago for vinegar & water. And I just recently picked up another bottle for 99 cents at Ikea. Now I have one upstairs for that bathroom, & don't have to run down to get it before I can clean up. I buy my vinegar by the gallon, I keep the gallon in the laundry room & dilute what I put into the spray bottles. I use it right out of the bottle in the laundry room. I use recycled "dial complete" foamer bottles that I put water (mostly water) & a couple squirts of Dr. Bronners for hand soap. I have been saving jars, mason, jars, peanut butter, jam, I use these to store whatever I buy from the bulk bins at the HF store.

We do wash bags too. Espescially great for the kids lunches & snacks. I do it for some cheese, but not stinky ones! And no meats or things that could cause cross containimation. And I buy store brand, & the hold up pretty good. If you wash each bag just once, than your package of bags will last twice as long & be half the price! I wash them several times so they last forever & are dirt cheap, & easier on the environment. I turn them inside out to dry, & hang to dry on my knife rack. I am getting concerned about using plastics on food in the fridge though! I have been reading lots about that, & trying to come up with better ideas. Glass containers, instead of tupperware. Wax paper, freezer paper, stuff like that. It can be a challenge to do all this stuff on a tight/frugal budget! I like a challenge though.
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#5 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom
gee, I guess we crossed that frugal threshold into plastic bag washing ages ago. Actually, the bags that get used the most for cheese storage are the plastic bags that line cereal boxes (from when we were such spendthrifts we bought cold cereal!). They wash out so easily and we clip them shut with a little clip from the stationary store.

Boy, I sound like a dolt! I feel silly it hadn't occurred to me to just re-use once or twice- I had this image of washing fragile, ancient bags over and over into eternity.
We eat a lot of cereal (free from WIC) why haven't I ever thought to use those bags?? Thanks for the idea.

Clips! I am addicted to clothespins. We got a bunch cheap at a dollar store years ago, and they're all over everything in the kitchen... the freezer's full of baggies with clips... this is me holding up clothespins:

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#6 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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Ok, so I have been wondering about this for awhile and this seemed to be a good place to ask.

I have read that microwaving in plastic, like tupperware is harmful, the plastic breaks down and causes cancer or something, sorry to be vague. I have also heard that re-using water bottles, or freezing in them does the same thing. We used to, if we bought a single serve water bottle for some reason, we would re-use it and in summer freeze the water in it, so it would stay cool all day. Now we do neither. So my question is, does that mean we can't freeze in tupperware (or other brand) and what about re-using those plastic bags and freezing in them. They may be called freezer bags, but I don't trust the companies to actually tells the world they are harmful to use. Ok, so maybe this is overboard, but I freeze a lot, it helps my family save money, and if I am going to use plastic bags, I would like to re-use them and save both our pocketbook and the planet's resources, kwim?

Thanks!
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#7 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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Cheese stays fresh longer in aluminum foil than it does in plastic. Also, I use containers from cottage cheese, yogart, or anything similar. I like those best for freezing sauce. Also, the plastic containers chinese food soup comes in are great because they don't leak.
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#8 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 10:18 PM
 
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I became more seriously concerned about plastics a while ago. I have been slowly building a stash of glass containers with tight fitting lids for the freezer (and refrigerator). Kmart sells some very nice ones (martha stewart line) that are fairly reasonable in price. I have also been known to return gifts to Kmart and buy glass containers! I occasionally freeze in plastic bags but I really try not to. I won't put hot foods in plastic, though. I NEVER microwave in plastic. I don't really like to microwave at all but well, that is another thread! I have purchased many corning ware containers at yard sales. It is worth looking around at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. For refrigerator storage, we use lots of peanut butter jars (organic stuff comes in glass) and salsa jars. I try to limit my jar stash to these two sizes because otherwise it becomes very difficult to match up lots of mismatched lids and jars. For dry storage in the refrigerator (such as cheese) I do use the plastic bags, but I hardly ever buy them!
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#9 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 11:07 PM
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I've been slowly acquiring 8 oz glass containers with plastic lids at roughly $1 apiece, I'll have to check out K-Mart. I tried using waxed paper bags, but haven't had much success with them. We tossed our plastics and our microwave a week or so ago- food tastes so much better reheated on the stove and I even made real popcorn.
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#10 of 35 Old 01-13-2006, 11:08 PM
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Forgot to say that real popcorn is way cheaper than microwave!
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#11 of 35 Old 01-14-2006, 02:34 AM
 
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Mason Jars.

'Nuff said?

Poke nails or drill hills one way for a shaker top, the other way for a grater top.

Totally modular, incredibly durable. Easy to use and tight sealing. Multiple lid choices (plastic or two-piece metal).

I believe the pre-plastic way for cheese storage was oiled cloth or oiled paper. Plastic is pretty important though nowadays since fridge air is so dry. Growing up we had an old fridge from the 40's in the basement. I'm sure the thing sucked plenty of power, but it didn't run much cuz it was cold in the basement anyway. With that fridge you could wrap a hunk of cheese in wax paper and it was fine, and store food for short periods (overnight or even two days) uncovered and it was fine. Saved on frustration as well as packaging materials.
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#12 of 35 Old 01-14-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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I guess it's just me, because Mason jars keep coming up in discussions like these, but I can't find them cheaply at all! Everywhere I've seen them - Target, Michael's - they're $3 each for the big sizes. That seems like a lot if I want to buy several of them. Or is that just considered cheap?

Thanks!
Jude
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#13 of 35 Old 01-14-2006, 10:38 PM
 
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Mason Jars from yard sales is probably the way to go. I am kicking mysef now, because this summer had opportunity to buy lots for almost next to nothing, but since I don't know how to can (though I want to learn) I thought I shouldn't buy them, now I am wishing for them a lot, oh well!
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#14 of 35 Old 01-15-2006, 02:28 AM
 
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I'm in NYC - not a lot of yard sales nor a lot of Mason jars, IME. Guess I'm out of luck!
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#15 of 35 Old 01-15-2006, 05:16 AM
 
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That kind of sucks about no mason jars. I buy them for $8-10/dozen for the quart-size. The standard are a little cheaper than the wide-mouth. If you are not averse to Wal-Mart, I'd check if they carry them...you've gotta have a Wal-Mart somewhere out in the burbs--do I remember one in Queens or am I totally wrong? Until about five years ago I spent a lot fo time there...
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#16 of 35 Old 01-15-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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Nope, none in Queens, but there's one on Long Island - I can give them a call to see if they have them. Thanks!
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#17 of 35 Old 01-16-2006, 03:54 PM
 
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I tried to buy some at Wal-mart and they were sold out over here. I am not sure if you have Big Lots but they sometimes have them. Or the Supermarkets sometimes have them on sale after the canning season.

I cannot seem to get enough of them. I do not can but I store flour and put in the freezer. They are wonderful.
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#18 of 35 Old 01-16-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judegirl
I guess it's just me, because Mason jars keep coming up in discussions like these, but I can't find them cheaply at all! Everywhere I've seen them - Target, Michael's - they're $3 each for the big sizes. That seems like a lot if I want to buy several of them. Or is that just considered cheap?

Thanks!
Jude
That sound quite expensive to me. I just bought the case of 1 Liter Wide Mouth Bernardin Brand Mason Jars for about 8 bucks USD. They had them for 20% off. Inside the boxes they had $2 off coupons but I saw it too late and the sale was over.

The Thrift shop here sells the really big ones for 69cents and the smaller ones for 29cents and on Tuesdays they have 30% off day.

I hope you can find them for cheaper.
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#19 of 35 Old 01-17-2006, 04:10 PM
 
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Another vote for Mason Jars. If you want to buy new, the least expensive place is actually your Ace Hardware. Sometimes the online store will even have free shipping to your local store which also saves a bunch of $$.

Deb
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#20 of 35 Old 01-17-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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Wow! Thanks! I gotta check this out. I'm jonesing for some of the half-gallon ones that no one seems to keep in stock and the shipping is a killer. Dont' need them til summer really so I can start checking periodically. It sounds liek this is a promotion they run from time to time?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dvons
Another vote for Mason Jars. If you want to buy new, the least expensive place is actually your Ace Hardware. Sometimes the online store will even have free shipping to your local store which also saves a bunch of $$.

Deb
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#21 of 35 Old 01-17-2006, 06:33 PM
 
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We use canning jars to store a lot of stuff in our house.

I also hoard the glass jars different condiments and foods come in - just wash them out after we're done using the food and then store the jars.

For our homemade cleaning supplies I do buy new spray bottles for liquid cleaners, reuse an old 10lb laundry detergent tub for our laundry soap, and use the baking soda right out of the box.


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#22 of 35 Old 01-21-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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I find Corning Ware and Pyrex at Goodwill all the time. I buy cases of canning jars after season. Found an old restaurant Parmesan shaker for powdery things. It functions and looks retro cool- I'm going to keep my eye out at Goodwill, and go to the restaurant supply store for more. FYI look for a used restaurant supply store in your area- often one can find useful stuff for cheap, and it's all durable.
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#23 of 35 Old 01-21-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tie-dyed
Wow! Thanks! I gotta check this out. I'm jonesing for some of the half-gallon ones that no one seems to keep in stock and the shipping is a killer. Dont' need them til summer really so I can start checking periodically. It sounds liek this is a promotion they run from time to time?
Yup, this is it exactly. I just brought home 3 boxes (18) of the 1/2 gallon size and I LOVE them. I have a foodsaver (vaccuum packer thingy) and I use the jar sealer attachment and the jars to store all my dry goods like beans, rice, cornmeal, beans. I just got SO sick of the bugs getting into them and now they can't! Here's what some of them look like.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...vacuumjars.jpg
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#24 of 35 Old 01-21-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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Our recycleing center has a place where you can pick up glass jars for about 10 cents a piece. Some of them are mason jars others are mayo or whatever but many of them will fit mason lids.

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#25 of 35 Old 01-24-2006, 04:32 PM
 
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I also use Mason jars as storage containers in my kitchen, but I use the antique blue ones, because I think they're prettier. (I started collecting them years ago.) They are quite pricey at the antique shops, but I have gotten TONS from older neighbours and friends (and some as a birthday gift from my brother who got them from HIS elderly neighbour). It never hurts to ask; they might appreciate someone cleaning out their cellar in exchange for the jars.

I second using the parmesan shaker for scouring powder. You can often find glass ones at the Goodwill for under $2.

As for cheese storage, I bought a lidded Pyrex dish (at the thrift store, but you can probably find one anywhere that sells Pyrex.) It holds about 5 lbs of cheese (different sorts, even) and when it was empty I just put the whole thing in the dishwasher. Now that we are dairy-free, though, I use it to store fish fillets in the deep-freeze. (FYI, when you have odd bits of different cheeses that aren't big enough to do anything with, you can use them all together to make mac and cheese.)

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#26 of 35 Old 01-25-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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I recently saw a lovely BIG glass jar (would probably hold five pounds of beans) with a tight lid that was a recycled jar from a deli. It originally held kimchi. Apparently, some pickles are also sold in large glass jars. I assume that the glass would not retain any pickle-y odors, but I am not sure. I don't know of any delis around here that sell that sort of thing, but when I am out of the area I think I will give try. If they don't give it away, they just toss it into recycling. Thrift stores and yard sales also frequently have assorted glass, pyrex and corningware containers if you keep your eyes open.
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#27 of 35 Old 01-25-2006, 01:47 PM
 
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That reminds me- I totally forgot that a bunch of my jars are from the summer I worked at a big Italian restaurant!
We made so many antipastos and salads that we went through a LOT of olives, artichoke hearts, etc, and were contantly throwing away these awesome glass jars. (no recycling or composting... hope that's improved in the past ten years... though I won't hold my breath!)
I saved three of each of my three favorite sizes, and it felt crazy at the time, since I had to fit everything I owned in my car to get back cross-country to college in the fall... but we still use them today.

Now, why was I posting?...
If you know someone who works at a restaurant, try asking them about containers.
My boss was all too happy for me to take "trash" home.

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#28 of 35 Old 01-25-2006, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I have been reading along and taking lots of notes. I ended up making a scouring powder container out of an old mayo jar and dh drilled holes in the lid (a nice way to make him part of the process ). I have also been saving all the jars from applesauce, mayo and the like. I just wish they had bigger openings. It would make things a bit easier.

I also wanted to mention that I asked for some jars on Freecycle and got two replies. I haven't gone and picked them up yet but one lady has a bunch of Mason jars to get rid of. She said no tops but I can get them at the hardware store as replacements. I sure hope she is right.

Tammy
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#29 of 35 Old 01-26-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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You shouldn't have a problem getting the lids and rings for the tops. Even if you have to order those on-line, they're a lot easier to ship than the jars themselves.

You all have awesome ideas on here!!
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#30 of 35 Old 01-26-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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Sub Shops

Sub shops have the one gallon jars from pickles, peppers and olives. When I was growing up my mom bought dry goods by the 25lb. and 50lb. bags. She filled these glass jars up and stored them in the pantry. They are great! They're glass with metal lids. She also found out that you could can stuff in them. New lids can be bought at some amish hardware store in Ohio. It was awesome to be able to pull ready-made soups off the shelves and just heat through. I know some products have started packaging in plastic but I'm pretty sure the dill pickles are still in the glass.
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