Re-Purposing Commercial Containers

Painter M-J de Mesterton
I usually fill these gallon-jugs with emergency water and store them out of sight.  This time, I decided to use one for watering potted plants.  I am going to keep it filled and ready, maybe adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Most commercial labels are unattractive, and are misleading when their respective containers are empty. Soaking labels off huge bottles requires lots of hot water, time, solvent and elbow grease, so I grabbed a hefty black  permanent marker, then yellow and red “Sharpie” pens, which I used to loosely disguise the original label by drawing on it “freehand”. ©M-J de Mesterton 2018

Making Mini Salt Shakers


Re-purposing another commercial container: a tiny jam jar was converted into a mini-salt shaker and filled with Himalayan salt. I used a sharp-pointed pair of scissors and lightly pounded it with a meat mallet to poke holes in the lid. I also put three little holes in the screw-top of a nicely-shaped Herdez green salsa jar, then filled it with my seasoning blend for use while cooking. ©M-J de Mesterton 2018


Good, Old Reliable Brillo; M-J’s Citric Acid Scrub

Still the most effective cleaning pads, Brillo will make your housewares look like new, when combined with a little elbow-grease. For steel wok pans in which stubborn oil and food stains persist, I have made a discovery: they will disappear quickly when you sprinkle them with a bit of granulated citric acid (available at drug stores) and a drop of oil. Mix the two ingredients by rubbing them together, which will form a bubbly paste, and scrub the pan with Brillo. The steel should now shine like it did when new. This method also works well with glass on which mineral deposits have formed.
©M-J de Mesterton

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M-J’s Home-Made Microfibre Dust-Mop

Because Swiffer-type cloths are expensive, and not re-usable after a certain point, I now use large microfiber cloths for dusting furniture and floors. They pick up just as much dust and hair as the aforementioned product. Large microfiber cloths are available in bulk at Sam’s Club, in blue, yellow, chartreuse and orange. They’re soft and washable. Here is what I devised today for dusting floors and cars–it leaves those disposable electrostatic gadgets in the dust: M-Jeanne’s Home-Made Microfiber Dust-Mop
Take three large microfiber cloths and lay them on top of each other, at varying angles. Center your stack of cloths over the end of an old broom/mop stick, and then, a couple of inches from the end of stick, strap them on with a tightly-pulled, heavy-duty plastic cinch (available at Sam’s and office-supply stores).  (UPDATE, 2016: I now use these wide rubber bands instead of cinches–they are durable and reusable.) Invert this assembly and run it around your floor, under furniture, or over your car. Clean the mop by shaking it outdoors. You could even use a lint-brush on it. When it gets too dirty to be useful, the cinch can be cut off and the cloths released for machine-washing. Repeat construction process after they are dry, using a fresh cinch (I use multipurpose ties/cinchos by Thomas Betts).