I can’t count the number of times I heard my Granny say, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” Both of my sets of grandparents were children of the Depression, and raised my parents to think before spending, and my parents passed those habits down (or tried to!) to my older brother and I.
As I grow older, I keep to them more than I used to. Working at Lehman’s, a body gets to hear a lot of tips that make that old saying easier to live with! And this time of year, stuck indoors, I tend to find myself sorting through things with that saying in mind. Here are some favorite tips that I’ve heard around the store, office and warehouse:
1. Always season your cast-iron pans before using them. (Click here for the how-to!) Clean cast iron with hot water and a tool like the Skrapr. If you have to use dish soap to clean a burned cast iron piece, you must re-season it before you use it again.
Let your cast iron cool to a lukewarm temperature before you clean it. Plunging super hot cast iron cookware into water (even very hot water) can warp the cookware–there’s no way your dishwasher is anywhere near the same temperature as your cookware!
2. Use ice cube trays to freeze leftovers like gravies, broths, or even coffee and tea. Then, you can have individual servings of the food items, which can be rehated withÂ other leftovers for a tasty topping. With coffee or tea cubes, you can make iced coffee or tea without watering down the beverage.
3. Fix a loose chair rung quickly: get fine grade steel wool, and stuff a few pinches into the holes on the chair legs. Apply carpenter’s glue (wood glue) to the end of the rung and drip some glue into the chair leg hole. Replace the rung. Use masking tape to ‘clamp’ the assembly together until the glue dries. Remove the masking tape immediately to avoid leaving gummy marks.
4. And just in case, keep the following in mind to remove relatively fresh gummy material or labels.
On wood: Slap peanut butter, vegetable oil, or mineral oil on the goo, let penetrate. Wipe clean. Linseed oil may also be effective.
On plastic: Use a vinegar-soaked Flour Sack Towel. Leave it on the sticky bit for a few moments. You may need to scrub a bit!
On glass: Try peanut butter or mayo and let sit a bit. Clean with glass cleaner. A sprinkle of baking soda will give you ‘traction’ but shouldn’t scratch the glass. (Make your own glass cleaner! Try 1/8 cup vinegar, 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water. Shake before using. Web rumor has it that 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in the mix will make things extra shiny. Haven’t tried that yet.)
5. Keep your leather (smooth leather only) boots and shoes looking nice in winter by using a 3:1 solution of water to vinegar on a soft cloth to wipe off salt stains. After the footwear is completely dry and cleaned, use a waterproofing cream to keep feet dry! (Consider waterproofing winter shoes two or three times during the season for best results.)