Phillips: Savvy consumers find second uses for objects

Phillips: Savvy consumers find second uses for objects

January 8th, 2011 by Ellen Phillips in Business Ellen Phillips

As readers may recall, I think writer Mary Hunt is the crème de la crème of financial advisers. One of her recent newsletters dealt with clever ways in which to recycle, and I've stolen a few ideas to pass on, (paraphrased, of course).

* Dishwasher rack: When your dishwasher goes kaput, hang onto the wheeled bottom rack; it's great to use to wheel objects around. For example, plastic file baskets, filled with papers, file folders, pens and pencils, and the like can be sent anywhere throughout your home office with just a flick of the wrist. Obviously, the silverware basket holds any number of small supplies, too. Use your own imagination for other uses.

* Glass microwave plates: Wish I'd known to use this when we purchased a new model. I've a number of plants that the plate would hold, as it would desserts and the like. In fact, if you're lucky enough to work at a recycling center, grab these plates and use them to deliver cake to friends and neighbors

and tell the folks not to worry about returns.

* Empty tissue boxes: Whether in use to sort lingerie for drawers or to store plastic shopping bags, the boxes are a great item for recycling.

* Nail brush: Clean soiled grout and tile with the brush part. Even though worn, it still works on this chore and keeps your nails or shins from getting skinned.

* Water bottles: Don't worry if you don't keep bubble wrap around and need to pack fragile items for mailing. Stand empty bottles upright in the box's corners and, if it's large enough, line them on the bottom of the box. The bottles are light enough to save postage and the articles won't shift around and break.

Why not send me your own salvage ideas? I'll be delighted to publish them for other readers!

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. E-mail her at