9 Tips to Stretch the Life of Common Household Items

Posted by Amanda on July 6, 2015

Look around the house and you’ll find many items that are wearing out faster than you want.

Ever wish you could make them last longer?

With a little bit of care, you can stretch out the life of many household items.

How to Make Household Items Last Longer

  1. Printer Ink Cartridges: Start by using an eco-friendly font called the Ecofont, which uses less ink with the same print results. You can download it for free here. When your cartridge is near the end of its life, take it out of your printer and use your hairdryer to ‘melt’ clunked ink and make it usable. I did this, and my ink cartridge lasted another three months! It also helps to buy your ink cartridges from discount ink printers like 123 Inkjets.
  2. Bras: Bras can be very expensive! I have had success with keeping mine for 6+ years by keeping a pair of plyers in case I need to bend the clasps back into place, and hanging them to dry instead of putting them into the dryer, which will increase the wear and tear. You may want to use a cheap mesh laundry bag to put them into before putting them in the washer in order to decrease the distress. Also, I have found that if the wiring bends, you can simply pull it out of the bra, and the rest of the material is still usable for several more years!
  3. Sink Sponges: If your sponge starts to look gross, simply wet it and put it in the microwave for one-two minutes to sterilize it and give it a new life. Once it has reached its end in your kitchen, make this sponge your new bathroom cleaning sponge to stretch its life even further.
  4. Vacuum Cleaner: The key to stretching the life of your vacuum is maintenance. Periodically check the beater bar (the rotating part with the brushes) and cut off any hair/carpet fibers/etc. If you wear a hairpieces for men, you need stop that hair.straining the motor. If your vacuum is not working as efficiently as before, you may just need to change the belt. You can do this yourself (refer to manufacturer’s instructions), or take it to a vacuum repair shop and it should cost you less than $15. If your vacuum has a filter, clean it periodically by filling a bucket with warm water and mild soap and let it soak. Rinse the filter in cool water and let it dry air.
  5. Mattress: Using the brush tool on your vacuum cleaner, vacuum the top and sides of your mattress several times a year to remove dust mites and bacteria. If you feel a sag in the mattress, flip it over for a firmer and newer feel. If the mattress is still sagging too much, purchase a few 2 X 4’s and cut them to fit into the metal bars of your bed for extra mattress support.
  6. Sneakers: To keep your sneakers clean, take the shoe laces out and simply throw them into your washer and dryer. Also, when the interior begins to breakdown, purchase inserts for less than $20 to stretch the life of your sneakers by six months or more, depending upon how you use them.
  7. Couch Cushions: The trick here is to rotate the couch cushions. Once a month, move the cushion from the left and put it on the right. Then once every few months, rotate couch cushions from different chairs (if you are able to). That way, the cushions that get the most use (we all like our spots!) will not become completely deflated while the other cushions stay plump.
  8. Razor Blades: Drying your razor blades after use can dramatically extend their life.
  9. Laptop Battery: Decrease the number of programs that you have running in the background while doing other work. Dim the light on your monitor to a level you are comfortable with. Hibernate your laptop while not in use instead of using standby. Turn the volume down, or mute it when not in use. Also, periodically defrag your hard drive.

With just a few quick tricks you’ll be able to stretch the life of many household items.

What tips do you use to make things last longer?

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Comments to 9 Tips to Stretch the Life of Common Household Items

  1. Great tips, I like this article a lot. One thing I heard on laptop batteries is to actually use the battery from time to time. I used to use my laptop on battery power rarely, and I would be mystified when it would then hold a charge for barely 15 minutes after less than a year. The tech that changed it most recently said that if you don’t use the battery from time to time, it will actually lose the capability to hold a charge. Now, I run it on battery power for at least a couple of hours every week and I can tell the difference already, in that it’s been nine months and it’s still holding most of the charge!

    Money Beagle

  2. Hello Money Beagle! I am glad you like the article. Also, thanks for the laptop battery tip!

    Amanda L. Grossman

  3. Walgreens often has a $9.99 special on ink cartridge refills. This is no risk–totally guaranteed. We haven’t bought a new cartriedge for quite some time.

    Mattress rejuvenation: buy a featherbed or memory foam pad. Bliss awaits.


  4. Hello frugalscholar! Thanks for your tips:).

    Amanda L. Grossman

  5. For the ink cartridge refill, how old can the cartridge be? My printer is from 2001, so I know for a fact the ink is no longer produced nor sold.


  6. 6 years for a bra?! No way! The bands stretch out on mine far sooner than that. I buy ’em to fit the loosest hook, after 6 months or so I’m on the tightest hook, and by the time they get a year old they’re unusable, except as sleeping bras.


  7. Echdnina: Hahahaha–thank you for sharing! I admit 6 years is a long time to keep a bra…t if its still usable, then I certainly won’t throw it out.

    Amanda L. Grossman

  8. 9. Laptop battery –

    Take it out of the laptop when it’s finished charging. This will increase the life of the battery (overcharging shortens battery life and how long it holds a charge) and your laptop (runs cooler).


  9. Hey Peter! Thanks for the comment and the tip.

    Amanda L. Grossman

  10. As far as the life of a bra, the above suggestion of hanging to dry, never putting in the dryer is good. I have also read that you should never wear the same bra 2 days in a row – the elastic needs time to adjust back to normal, so give your bras at least a day in between wearings to rest.


  11. I had no idea that there was an eco-friendly font. I can’t wait to download Ecofont. I try to stretch my toner as long as possible and am looking forward to trying your tips.

    Budget Gal Angie

  12. You can refill your own ink cartridges. I bought a refill kit and have been using it for a long time. It came with instructions but took a few messes before I really got good at it. Just be prepared with newspapers to cover the surface you’re working on. It takes a little time and effort to learn but it saves a lot of money. Note: I use my computer and printer just for fun. Not business,etc. Mostly family history now and I print out everything.


  13. My laptop and I have been together for 5 years and I think turning it off every night has helped it last. It needs to rest and giving it about 10 hours a day has helped it stay in my life for a lot longer than it normally would’ve.

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances


  14. Hey Everyone! I recently bought a HP laptop but the battery died, sucks but now I have a new 6 cell, lasts ages! If you recently purchased one I recommend getting one 🙂

    Loree Gingerich

  15. There is only one problem with buying printer cartridges (and drums) from a discount supplier. Same is true with buying compatibles instead of the “real thing.” 9 times out of 10, they’ll be defective, and can damage your computer. I learned my lesson early on. Now I only buy the genuine replacement parts, and from a reliable supplier. (Run a BBB check first). It may be a little more expensive, but definitely worth it.

    Marilyn Edwards

  16. When did you last buy a mattress if you have one that you can flip over? I haven’t seen one of those available to purchase for many, many years.

    Linda Winkler

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