One hundred years from now, when historians look back at the most significant events of 2013, they will probably conclude it was the "Year of the Milk Jug."
Just think about all the clever uses we shared this year for something ordinarily tossed in the recycling bin without a thought. Thanks to your suggestions, milk jugs will never be taken for granted again.
If your New Year's resolution involves saving money, saving empty milk jugs for alternative uses is a great start. If your resolution is to stop hoarding, you might want to stop reading and find something else to do.
Here are some of the innovative milk-jug ideas readers have shared:
Feed the birds: Helen Hartman and her daughter, Jamie, showed us how to turn an empty milk jug into a bird feeder by cutting holes in the sides about 2 inches from the bottom. Hang it with wire or clothesline tied around the handle. Then you can personalize it with acrylic paint that won't wash off in the rain.
Store those bags: Marjorie in Nazareth showed us how an empty milk jug can be used to tame that sprawling pile of empty plastic shopping bags beneath the kitchen sink. The empty bags come in handy for trash, dog walks and cleaning up the car. But storing them can be a mess. Marjorie, who didn't want to reveal her full identity, cuts a hole in the side of a milk jug and tucks the bags inside. The bags can be conveniently removed through the hole and they occupy a lot less space when you stuff them in the empty jug. You can buy products to accomplish the same task for about $12, but Marjorie's tip gets the job done for free.
No fuss painting: Rick Wetzel in Orefield showed us how to turn an empty milk jug into a handy paint container that can be easily discarded when the job is done. No more buying those little containers at the hardware store and then wondering at the end of your painting project if it's worth the hassle of cleaning them. Just cut out half of the top of a milk jug, leaving the handle intact. And when your project is finished, you can toss the jug without worry because it didn't cost you a thing.
Free sand toys: A resident at Moravian Hall Square retirement home in Nazareth showed us how an empty milk jug can be carved up into a shovel that makes a great scoop for pet food, gardening or a toy at the beach. She didn't want to be identified, as she's trying to enjoy retirement in privacy. The free toys, made by cutting the handle of the jug off and leaving a spade-shaped portion of the bottom intact, are a great solution for those who get to the beach and realize they left the sand toys at home.
Don't forget to vote for 2013's King or Queen of Cheap by going to http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap. We'll keep the polls open a few more days before we crown a winner. The finalists are: Mike "Grave Digger" Ferraro of Upper Nazareth Township; Sonja and Clint "Fence Makers" Walker of Bethlehem; Rick "Cat Whisperer" Gaeta of Walnutport; Irene "Lipstick Lady" Zalutsky of South Whitehall Township; and Jodi "Birthday Lady" Godown Hilt of Northampton.
Facebook: Type "On The Cheap" in the Facebook search box and check under pages.