From Grandma's Attic

by Marenda Babcock


In an effort to do more de-cluttering in our home, my husband and I were going through a box of items left from his grandmother who died last April. Many items were thrown out. However we found a book entitled 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers written by Michael Gore in 1948. Inside the front cover, I see the price Granny paid was a whopping 50 cents. What a deal!

Some ideas are too old to be applicable in today's lifestyle, but many ideas can still be used today. The following is a montage of ideas that would still help the frugal household save a few pennies here and there.

  • When shopping at a fruit stand, watch for bruised fruits and veggies to cut up. I regularly ask for bruised tomatoes at a deep discount and cut them up to use in salads, on tacos, and in other dishes. I do the same with fruit. If the price is not a deep discount, I offer the vendor a lower price. They watch for me regularly. They know I might buy up their hard to sell items.

  • Prevent fruit and vegetable spoilage by lining the drawer bottom with a paper towel. This absorbs excess moisture that forms in the drawer and causes faster spoilage. I like this idea, but to save money, use a dishtowel instead.

  • Use liquid from canned vegetables in soups, sauces, stews, gravies, and casserole dishes and for making a white sauce. The canned liquid is full of flavor and vitamins.

  • Don't throw beet-tops away. They make a fine, free substitute for spinach greens, being rich in vitamins, minerals, and iron.

  • Wrap a head of lettuce in a towel to prevent it from "rusting" so quickly.

  • Don't waste celery tops. Cut them up and use in stews, soups, roasts, and in stuffing.

  • You will have no tears if you peel an onion under cold running water.

  • Fried potatoes will be deliciously golden brown if sprinkled lightly with flour before frying.

  • Save your orange and lemon rinds, boil in water and add the flavored water to iced tea, lemonade, and fruit drinks.

  • Have just a small amount of flake cereal left? Don't throw it out. Crush it up and put it in a meatloaf or meatballs. Or toss the flakes with some melted margarine and grated cheese for a delicious casserole topping.

  • Cooking with a double boiler saves money. Cook boiled eggs in the bottom while cooking oatmeal or something else in the top part.

  • Don't throw out the leftover coffee or tea. Pour it into empty ice cube trays and freeze for iced coffee or iced tea.

  • When boiling eggs, you don't need to boil them until they crack. Once they come to a boil, turn off heat and cover with a plate for 15 minutes. If heating up a breakfast roll or muffin, put it on top of the plate and let the heat from the steam in the pan heat up your breakfast.

  • To keep fine china from being scratched, put paper doilies between plates and saucers when stacking them.

  • When food is fried on a gas range, popping grease frequently spatters the burners not in use. Pie pans placed upside down over the unit burners to protect them and are easily cleaned.

  • When cutting fresh flowers from the garden, be sure to remove all lower leaves below the water line, decaying vegetable matter poisons the water.

  • Use your double boiler to cook the vegetables in the bottom and the white sauce or cheese sauce for the veggies in the top. This saves time and fuel.

  • Don't throw away those old flannels. I had a bottom flannel sheet that ripped down the middle. I cut a pair of flannel pajama pants for my son to wear made from the top sheet. The ripped bottom sheet will make some nice potholders.

  • If you have two or three worn-out blankets, stitch them together and cover with a cotton print.

This fantastic list proves that even though the book was very old, many of the tips are still helpful over 50 years later.

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