In honor of Earth Day, which falls this year on April 22, think about how you can make your environment a little bit greener. I encourage you to do something special for the environment this season, whether planting a new tree in your yard or being extra diligent with your recycling, as it makes a difference. Simply re-purposing general household items around your home is a great place to start.

Vinegar: Best all purpose cleaner around your home. Can un-glue decals, price tags and bumper stickers. It shines silver. Treats cold sores and sunburns and will act as a rust remover.

Money: Fresh cut flowers will last longer if you drop a few copper pennies into the vase water. Inserting the top of a penny into your car tire treads is a great tester to see if you need new tires. If you can see Abe Lincoln’s head, then it’s time to get new tires. For measuring, when you are out without a ruler or tape measure, remember that a quarter is exactly 1 inch and a dollar bill is 6 inches long.

Tin Foil: Before you toss the aluminum cover from your left overs, crumble the foil into a ball and use it to scour and polish stainless steel pans or scrub out a messy oven. Or cut into small squares to wrap the bottom of ice-cream cones for your kids, reducing messy cleanups. Cutting through folded tin foil will also keep your scissors sharp.

Rubber bands: Wrap a large, thick rubber band over to the top of an opened paint can to use for wiping off excess paint from your brush each time it’s dipped into. Wrap a band around the end of a spoon handle so it won’t fall into any large bowl of food you’re preparing and wrapping a small band on either end of a clothes hanger will prevent silky garments from slipping off. Loosely wrap a rubber band around the tip of your fingers when you are sorting through a large stack of papers.

Coffee Grounds: Keep some in an open container in your freezer for deodorizing. They serve as a great plant fertilizer. Keeps cats out of your garden and keeps bait worms alive longer for fishing.

Empty yogurt containers: Great for growing seedlings before planting in your garden when the weather warms up. Poke drainage holes in the bottom and fill with soil before planting a seed or two.

Newspaper: Use newspaper pages for wrapping and protecting china, for cleaning oven grime and for washing windows. Placing some in your fireplace is a great way to deodorize it. Keeping a newspaper in the trunk of your car is good to have if you need extra wheel traction to get out of mud or ice, and newspapers help keep moths away from clothes in storage.

Golf tees: flag buffet foods to identify vegetarian dishes or to distinguish medium rare meats from well done by using different colored tees.

Shampoo: Using a small amount of shampoo can revitalize leather shoes and purses, it can fix stuck zippers, removes bandages easily and can be used for washing delicates.

Styrofoam Peanuts: Don’t just throw them into the Earth’s landfill, contain them with your garden supplies, using them to lighten a planter and improve drainage by covering the bottom layer of a pot with these packing peanuts before adding soil.

Expired sunscreens: No need to toss them this summer since they work great as shaving lotion.

Empty tissue boxes: Stuff them with plastic grocery bags and dispense when you need one. Keep one filled in the kitchen, garage and in your car.

Duct Tape: Pack a roll into your suitcase to have on hand while traveling or camping (can quickly fix a ripped suitcase or broken suitcase handle, can temporarily hem pants or skirts while on vacation, can seal a tent leak quickly and even stop a leak when you are canoeing.). Prevents ticks when hiking if you wrap it, sticky side up, around your pant cuff, and can provide a temporary fix to leaky auto hoses.

Suitcases: Store out of season items here, from winter boots to holiday table linens.

Fabric Softener Sheets: Removes pet hair from upholstery, acts as a great car deodorizer, keeps moths away from stored clothing, refreshes boots, sneakers and suitcases, keeps sewing thread from tangling (simply run the needle and thread through a sheet before hand sewing), and they are a great mosquito repellant by simply keeping a sheet in your pants pocket.

Lisa Lelas is a bestseller author & speaker on productivity and book writing & speaking coach. For info on upcoming workshops:

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