August 2011 - Posts - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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August 2011 - Posts

  • Get the Most Bottle for the Buck

    by Christy Birmingham

    You're tired of trying to get the last hard-to-reach drops out of your favourite product container. I hear your cries for help! Let me offer a few tips to get the most product out of those almost-empty bottles, whether it be beauty products, cleaning products or food containers.

    The following techniques will provide you longer stretches between purchases, extra days using your loved products, and is certainly the opposite of being wasteful. You also won't be throwing away chemicals stuck at the bottom of bottles, which could potentially pollute the environment and you will get the most value for your money.

    The Upside of It

    The classic approach is to turn the bottle upside-down. If the top of the lid is flat, the bottle will be sturdy enough to stand alone on a level surface, such as a counter. Once upside-down, the product will trickle down the insides of the bottle. Gravity is left to work its magic! This is usually a slow process so you will want to begin at least a half hour before planned usage.

    For instance, I turn my shampoo bottle bottom-up the night before I plan to use the last drops in the shower. When ready to use, simply turn bottle right-side-up, give a quick shake or two, and out comes that hard-to-reach product! Please note that if the container lid is rounded on top, you will need to rest it upside-down next to something that will support its weight so it won't fall over. For instance, you could prop the bottle between two weighted tins on the kitchen counter.

    Cut it Out

    A second technique, for plastic bottles, is to cut the middle of the bottle to create two separate pieces. Scissors are the safest cutting instrument and I recommend cutting away from the body to prevent injury. Once separated, you will have access to the inside of the bottle to extract the cream or liquid using your fingers or a cloth, depending on the nature of the product itself. If you do not use all of the product at once, the top piece will fit back into the bottom. Re-attaching the two pieces will prevent air from getting to the product, which could dry it out before your next use.

    Transfer, Transfer

    What about those containers with plastic nozzles, such as window-cleaners? When the tubing attached to the nozzle can not reach the small amount of liquid in the bottom of the container, it seems a shame to toss the bottle. After all, the product is still usable. The solution is to switch containers. Using a funnel, you can transfer the material to a container with a screw-top lid. Funnels can be bought inexpensively at most hardware stores or can be made yourself. For instance, you can fold a strong piece of bendable material into a cone shape above the mouth of the container (such as a lightweight bendable plastic cutting board sheet). By transferring into a bottle with a screw-top lid, the product is available for use as soon as you open the lid. Make sure to re-label the new bottle so you won't mistake it for something else. You can even use already empty bottles from previous purchases.

    Roll Out the Big Guns

    With tubes, such as toothpaste, it can be hard to get out all of the paste. A rolling technique can be used to extract the last of the product. Roll from the bottom of the tube in a technique similar to how you would roll up a sleeping bag. There are products available on the market which you can attach to the ends of the tube to achieve a tight roll from the end of the tube. The "cut it out" technique earlier explained will also work for getting the last of the tube contents.

    Christy Birmingham enjoys writing and conversing about frugal lifestyles. She is interested in connotations and sounds of words, such as frugal, and maintains this is partially why she is using the word frugal as many times as she can in her bio. Christy can be contacted at chris-tea@hotmail.com 

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