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16 Brilliant Tips That Will Make All Your Stuff Last Longer

making stuff last longer

Aside from sales and discounts, one of the best ways to save money on household items is to make them last as long as possible. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll save time in the form of taking fewer trips to the store, and you’ll save resources by cutting back on waste!

And given the current pandemic, making fewer trips to the store is something we should all be doing anyway. So all in all, it’s a perfect time for a refresher course on how to make our stuff last as long as we can. And that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing with you today! :-)

So without further ado, here are 18 useful tips and tricks that will help you make your household items last longer!

16 Easy Ways To Make Household Items Last Longer

making stuff last longer

1. Candles

Make your candles last longer by placing them in the freezer before using them. It’s an easy way to harden the wax so that the candle burns down more slowly.

making stuff last longer

2. Sponges

Cut your kitchen sponges in half to get twice as much use out of them. This is especially useful for magic erasers—sometimes I’ll even cut them into fourths if I REALLY want to make the most of them!

making stuff last longer

3. Condiments

Keep jelly and sauces fresher in your fridge by turning the containers upside-down. This creates a partial vacuum inside the container, which will help prevent mold growth.

making stuff last longer

4. Cheese

Wear gloves or use a clean cloth when cutting cheese. The oils on your fingers can contribute to mold growth, so keeping those oils off the cheese will help keep it fresh!

making stuff last longer

5. Flours

Store flours in sealed bags in your freezer. They’ll stay fresh for months longer this way compared to storing them at room temperature.

making stuff last longer

6. Dryer Sheets

Cut your dryer sheets in half! The box will last twice as long, and most people won’t be able to tell the difference!

making stuff last longer

7. Toothpaste

Get every last drop out of your tube of toothpaste by cutting it open and scooping out the remnants. This trick is also useful for using up the last of your hair gel, makeup, sunscreen, or pretty much anything in a plastic bottle you can cut open!

making stuff last longer

8. Hand Soap

To make an expensive hand soap last longer, pour enough of the soap into a clean foaming hand soap bottle to fill it one-quarter of the way up. Fill the rest of the bottle with clean water, then replace the pump top. Your new foaming soap will last a LONG time!

making stuff last longer

9. Dish Soap

Put dish soap in an olive oil bottle to ensure a slower flow. You’ll use a few drops at a time, which cleans just as well and will help your soap last longer.

making stuff last longer

10. Bar Soap

Store bar soap on a clean sponge when you aren’t using it. The sponge will absorb excess moisture from the soap, helping it to dry out between uses to minimize waste and extend its lifespan.

making stuff last longer

11. Mascara

Extend the life of your mascara by adding a small amount of saline solution directly to the tube. Your mascara will look just as good, and you’ll save yourself some time and money! Read more about how it works here.

making stuff last longer

12. Resources

To save valuable resources around the house, test out the “eco-friendly” settings on your dishwasher, washing machine, printer, and other household appliances. Most eco-friendly settings work just as well as the standard settings, and they’ll save you money over time by saving water, electricity, printer ink, etc.

Learn more easy ways to be protect the environment here.

making stuff last longer

13. Artwork

Preserve your child’s artwork by coating it with a light layer of hairspray. The hairspray barrier helps to both preserve the color and prevent accidental smudges.

Learn more clever ways to use hairspray here.

making stuff last longer

14. Garden Hose

Giving your garden hose a little bit of TLC can go a long way toward making it last longer! First and foremost, make sure to store it out of direct sunlight when you’re not using it.

And second, clean it off as needed. It doesn’t need to look brand new, but the cleaner it looks, the more motivated you’ll feel to keep it clean and in good repair.

making stuff last longer

15. Vacuum

A well-maintained vacuum can serve you faithfully for years! Make sure to empty the canister after every use, and clean or replace the filters according to the guidelines in your vacuum’s user manual.

Learn more about how to keep your vacuum in good repair here.

making stuff last longer

16. Rugs & Carpets

The key to keeping your rugs and carpets looking like new as long as possible? Keep them clean! Vacuum them regularly to remove loose dirt, and have them professionally cleaned at least once a year to remove ground in dirt and grime.

making stuff last longer

17. Nail Polish

Nail polish lasts much longer when stored in the fridge as opposed to room temperature. Keep in mind that it will be thicker and harder to apply while it’s cold, so just plan on taking the bottle out of the fridge about 30 minutes before painting your nails.

Find out what other unusual items last longer in your fridge here.

making stuff last longer

18. Skincare Products

High-end skincare products often come at a premium, so it’s important to apply them in a way that minimizes waste! One way to do this is by dabbing them on using only the very tips of your fingers.

When you apply skincare products by rubbing them in with your palms, a lot of the product gets absorbed into your hands. But by using just your fingertips, you ensure that most of the product remains where you want it—on your face! You’ll end up using your product more judiciously and it will save you money in the long run.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick for making things last?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I’ve never heard of using distilled water to make the hand soap last longer. We’ve been going through more later. We have small kids living with us temporarily- sisters family. Guess I’ll have to keep a bottle of it under the bathroom sink.

  • Thank you for all your helpful information. I enjoy reading it daily. When you make foaming hand soap does it matter if you use tap water or distilled water?

    A family member once accidently cooked with dish soap. His wife had the same refillable dish soap bottle as the olive oil, neither were labeled. The dish soap was an amber color. Their sink and stove are close to one another. The family didn’t realize it until they tasted the food. No one was sick from it but it makes a good funny family story and a lesson learned, label refillable bottles. We tease him about his secret ingredient.

    They now use the original dish soap bottle. We still don’t understand how he didn’t realize it. I would think it would foam or something of that nature. He is the main cook in the house and a good one at that. And as long as he stays away from his secret ingredient, we enjoy all his meals.

    • Distilled water is preferred when making the foaming hand soap because it prolongs the life of the mix.

      What a funny story, about your friend’s husband! Thanks for the laugh.

  • A good tip for cheese blocks: Wash the plastic-wrapped block with soap and water before cutting into it. Especially with mozzarella, this is key for preventing mold. You may neet to use a brush to get into crevices, depending on how your cheese is wrapped.

  • In regards to cutting the tube of toothpaste (and other items) when it seems to be about empty–I always cut my tube as there is always loads of product left in it when many people simply toss it thinking it is empty. But I use to put the product in a zip lock bag but found simply slipping the top of the tube over the bottom of the tube keeps everything from drying out and works better than the zip lock bag method. Certainly saves a lot of money as you find you can use the product for weeks before discarding the item.

  • I pile dirty dishes in the empty sink and spray down with diluted Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle. I wash/wipe then rinse- saves a ton of water and product!!

    I also found cheap facecloths at the dollar store, cut them in quarters and stuffed them into a large plastic container with an airtight lid. I added a small amount of diluted bleach water, applied the lid tightly and then turned the container upside down to let the solution absorb evenly. I keep this in my car, and I can simply launder the “wipes”. Saves money and reduces garbage from having to throw away wipes. Obviously you can use other products in place of bleach, but I like using bleach during this pandemic, as it’s a sterilizer instead of just a sanitizer or disinfectant.

  • I always put a few drops of colloidal silver in my mascara. Keeps it nice and fresh. After all, this stuff is going right next to your eyes, right? I Got hooked on your blog after I read your Borax info years ago. Keep shining your light, Jill my friend :)

  • We already use the sponge with our bar soap in our tub. I’ve used the Saline trick with my Mascara when it starts drying up on me. I change it out every 2 months. It helps me get more mileage out of it if I have to wait a little while to replace it.

    • For the soap trick be sure to wring the water out of the sponge first. I have mine on a sponge in an area of the tub where it’s easy to stay dry. Another trick to get the soap to last longer is to unwrap it when you get home and then let it sit in the bathroom closet or cupboard before using. This was the soap can harden a little and will last longer.

  • Make your floors look nice and stay nice longer by NOT wearing shoes in your house. It also keeps out all of the nasty stuff out there that you’ve accumulated on the bottom of the shoe

    • Many years ago, I have and still have a no shoe rule in the house. When company comes, they have two choices: either remove them or spray them with rubbing alcohol liberally and then rub them on my long entry mat, which I then can wash……….

  • When I open a new mascara, I add a small drop of lavender essential oil. The mascara smells great and helps dry eyes.

    Everytime I use a sponge I make sure to clean all the soap out and then put it in microwave for 25 seconds. My sponges never get mildew. Obviously can’t use on sponges with plastic.

    If your nail polish gets old and gloopy add a drop of polish remover to thin it out

    Can also use dishwashing soap in a foamer

    • I used to put remover in my polish, but it actually makes it WORSE because it tears down the polish! There is a special thinner that is sold at beauty supply stores that works MUCH better.

      And as far as adding essential oil to your mascara…well I wouldn’t want that concentrated oil in my eyes!!!

  • Hi Jillee,
    I enjoy reading your hints and tips but with regard to mascaea, it goes around the most sensitive and delicate area on your body so is it wise to extend it’s life?

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