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How to Make Household Items Last Longer

How to Make Household Items Last Longer

When you are looking to save money, sometimes it matters less about how much you pay for something and more on how long you can make it last. You’ll spend a lot less on buying new items if you can stretch the lifespan of things that you already have. Not only that, but you will also be living more sustainably. It’s a win-win for you and for the environment.

Simple Tips for Extending the Lifespan of Household Items

You don’t have to make big changes to save money on your household items over time. The first thing to do is take care of what you have. Learn how to properly maintain your household items. When you keep your items properly maintained and cleaned, they are likely to last longer and continue to work as they should. Beyond proper cleaning and maintenance, here are a few tips for extending the use of your household items:

When not using batteries, take them out. Just as with plugged in appliances and electronics, there may be a drain on the battery, even when in the off position. This tip is especially practical when you know that you won’t be using the product for an extended period, like Christmas decorations. If you’re looking to get the most life out of your battery purchase, buy rechargeable NiMH batteries. You will pay more upfront, but you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands, of charges out of the latest brands and save money overall.

Flip or rotate your mattress every month. This redistributes where your body impacts the mattress and prevents sagging. Of course, if you have a pillow top mattress you’ll have to settle for just rotating it, as you can’t flip it over. You can also save your mattress by moving sleeping in a different place or position sometimes. Using a mattress pad will help prevent stains and can be thrown in the laundry. This will prevent dirt buildup on the mattress itself.

Check the instructions on your box or bottle of laundry detergent and make sure you’re using the right amount. You might be surprised to discover that you are using too much detergent. There may be multiple lines on the scoop or cap for different load sizes and for dirtier clothes. Want to save even more? Try using a bit less than the suggested line for your load. Most likely, the stains will still come out and the clothes will still smell fresh.

While looking to save money in the laundry room, you may be able to get by on half a dryer sheet. Depending on the brand of the dryer sheet, you’ll find that the clothes still come out soft and static free, even with half a dryer sheet instead of a full sheet. By tearing your sheets in half, you’ll obviously double the life of your box of dryer sheets, saving money over time.

Properly dry your razor blades. Shake them dry or even blot them with a towel. Putting them away while wet will rust them out and you’ll have to replace them sooner. By drying the blades, you can increase the amount of uses you get from each of your rather pricey blades.

Use less toothpaste. You may be adding toothpaste across the entire head of your toothbrush, but in reality you only need about one-third to one-half that amount. Just make a pearl sized drop on your toothbrush and your tube can last twice as long. Also, consider getting an inexpensive toothpaste tube roller to help you squeeze all of the paste out of the tube.

Repair Household Items

You can also repair many household items instead of replace them. Depending on the item in question, you might only need an inexpensive part or some other solution. If you can make something do for a little longer, you will save money over time.

Also, before you rush out and buy something new, check to see if maybe you have warranty protection. Many credit cards offer extended warranties. In these cases, you can replace your household items at no cost to you. Start keeping receipts for these purchases in a folder so that you can retrieve them if a free extended warranty applies.


  1. Caitlin

    You can cut down on laundry detergent a lot more than “a little less than the line”. I cut my detergent dose nearly in half and the clothes get just as clean.

    Don’t forget, “recommended usage” for consumables walks a fine line between the company making sure you use enough so that the product works properly (eg 2ml of laundry detergent won’t clean a full load of muddy clothes) and wanting you to use as much as possible so you have to go out and buy a new bottle/box/tube.
    Toothpaste commercials show people using over an inch of toothpaste, but the toothpaste tube says to use a pea-sized amount. Shampoo commercials show people lathering their hair with enough suds to wash a small car, but the bottle says to use a quarter-sized blob.
    Or at least the packaging used to say those things, I think those have been removed, in an effort to make you purchase more. I can say with certainty that they have not been removed because it now takes more product to do the same job as less product did in the past!

  2. Rodney

    i do agree that it all depends on how lng you can make something last other then how much you pay, it jus depends on how careless you are with whatever you purchased…Great Advice!!!!

  3. Amy

    Fantastic advice Tom. The dryer sheet trick just about floored me. What an idea. Speaking of, another way to cut back is on shampoo and conditioner usage. If you wash your hair once every 2-3 days instead of daily you can make it last twice as long. It is healthier for your hair too.

  4. Ramona

    This is great advice. We are trying to keep our household items in great condition since it does save up a lot of money. We are extra-careful with our gadgets too and they do last a looong time.

  5. Matt Alderton

    Solid advice! I’d known about the drying razor blades trick for years (I HATE paying such a ridiculous price for a new set of Gillette blades) but a lot of these other tips are things I’d never even considered.

  6. stephanie

    Another way to save in the laundry room is to not use dryer sheets at all I purchased wool dryer balls about two years ago and they are still going strong. Not only will this save me money over time but it also cuts my drying time by about 10 minutes. I also cut the tops of tubes off when I can’t squeeze anymore product out, I did this last week to me face wash and I am still using it.

  7. Skip

    The razor blade companies have gotten greedy and depend on our ignorance. Just place the blade in a small container of baby oil and they will last for months!

  8. Anna

    This may seem too radical but I barely use dryer! Only for dark clothing if they have lint! I invested on some wall mounted laundry rack, and I let them dry out without wasting energy. Go without dryer!

  9. Roshini Ramoutar

    I buy jar containers of lotion so you can get all of it out unlike pump bottles (and then reuse/repurpose the jar). I also wash and reuse ziploc bags. I use dryer balls in the winter but you don’t need anything in the humid summer months (dryer sheets have a lot of chemicals). I use the Flipp flyer app to only buy what’s on sale and price match so I don’t waste gas or time driving around to multiple stores and stock up on good deals. I buy end of season for next year (especially kids clothes). We cook one dinner on Sunday for the entire upcoming week (saves a lot on food and less wastage). If you are on time of use electricity pricing, you could use energy demanding appliances like the dishwasher or dryer overnight (for off peak usage pricing) and even a slow cooker overnight so you are not cooking during peak times. Also, use a toaster oven as much as possible instead of the oven which uses more electricity.

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