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19 New Uses for Old Newspaper at Home

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Jessica
04.12.15

Fifty years ago, the newspaper was the only way to get reliable news. These days, we’ve almost all switched to digital versions. (Plus Twitter. And Facebook.) But just because we consume news differently than Grandpa did doesn’t mean classic newspapers aren’t worth picking up next time you’re at Starbucks or stop to pump gas!

Try out these 19 uses for newspapers:

1. Deodorize Musty Items

If you’ve ever wandered into an old bookstore (or a grandparent’s closet), you know the musty smell we’re talking about. To get rid of it, grab a newspaper. Crumple up the newspaper and place the papers in the bottom of a paper bag. Then, place the musty-smelling item (book, clothing item, etc.) into the bag. Let it sit for about a week, and then open the bag. The newspaper will have absorbed the musty smell just like a Dementor munching on an escaped Askaban convict’s soul.

2. Keep Produce Drawers Dry

Prevent rotting peppers and foul-smelling produce drawers in the fridge by lining the drawers with newspaper. The paper will absorb any excess moisture. One a week, toss the old paper and line the drawer with a fresh sports section.

3. Pack Fragile Items

Moving pretty much always sucks, but it’s ten times worse if you break something fragile in transit. Bubble wrap is the gold standard, but that stuff isn’t cheap! Protect breakable items on a budget by wrapping them in newspaper before the move. We recommend several sheets per items.

4. Wash Mirrors and Windows

To remove streaks from mirrors and windows, use newspaper instead of cloth to wipe away Windex. Not only will the newspaper remove streaks, it won’t leave any residue behind.

5. Wrap Presents

If you’re out of fancy wrapping paper, use newspaper instead! Personalize the gift by choosing a section of the paper that fits the receiver’s personality. If they love baseball, opt for the sports section. Funny guy? Go for the comics. And for foodies, choose the food and drink page. It’s the little things that really come off as thoughtful!

6. Dry Wet Shoes

Rain happens. And after it happens, it makes your shoes smell terrible if you let them stay all soggy. To dry shoes quickly and prevent odor, stuff wet shoes with newspaper immediately. The newspaper will soak up the moisture and protect your kicks.

7. Protect Your Car

We love our pups, but four-legged friends are not exactly car-friendly, and sometimes your stuck without a blanket or mat to protect your seats. If you get caught in such a scenario, you can always grab some newspaper and cover your seats before taking a drive with your pet.

8. Create Backup Protection for Your Floors

Doormats do all kinds of good in terms of protecting your home. But when serious rainstorms (snowstorms) strike, your mat is about as useful as nipples on a breastplate. When the weather gets super nasty, don’t be afraid to spread out a few newspaper rolls over the floor around your door. It’ll protect your hardwood or carpet from rain, mud, sleet or snow, and create a convenient spot for guests to leave their shoes without causing a huge mess.

9. Make Animal Bedding

Instead of purchasing expensive over-the-counter animal bedding for your hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits or mice, just cut up newspaper. It’s safe and nontoxic, plus it’s inexpensive. Note: To keep your pet safe and clean, change your paper bedding regularly.

10. Kill Weeds

When weeds take over your yard, kill them quickly with newspaper. Lay several layers of the paper on top of the weeds, and then cover it with mulch to hold it place. The paper will smother the weeds, and prevent them from getting sunlight and oxygen. Over time, the newspaper will decompose with the mulch and add nutrients to the soil. Note: Don’t try this trick around flowers, because it will smother the flowers, too!

11. Enhance Compost

Worms love newspaper, and worms will add something special to your compost (catch our drift?). To enhance your compost, toss in a few crumpled pieces of newspaper.

12. Ripen Green Tomatoes

If you’re the gardening type, don’t toss green tomatoes. Instead, use newspaper to ripen them. Pick the green tomatoes off of the vine, and then wrap them individually in newspaper. Layer the tomatoes in a box no more than two layers deep. Keep the box in a dark, dry area (like a garage or pantry) and check it weekly for progress. It typically takes 3-4 weeks for the green tomatoes to ripen. Note: When you check the tomatoes, be sure to remove any that are rotting instead of ripening.

13. Kindle a Fire

There are tons of ways to start a fire, but newspaper is a great, easy option if you do it properly. Roll newspaper diagonally like tiny logs, and then fasten 5-10 tiny logs together with rubber bands. Place the “paper log” in the fireplace below your larger pieces of wood and light one end. It’ll work like a charm.

14. Make a Quick Funnel for Small Objects

If small items, like screws or pushpins, get loose, a paper will make the cleanup easier. Simply roll the paper into a makeshift funnel and use it to put the pieces back in their original jar.

15. Store Boots

Keep your boots in shape during the offseason by sticking rolled up newspapers into the leg of the boot. This will keep their shape and protect them from damage. Plus, they’ll be easier to store.

16. Protect Your Table

Crab restaurants cover their tables with newspaper for a reason - it’s easy to clean up and protects your table from the mess. If you’re hosting a dinner party where things may get messy (i.e. shrimp, crab, crawfish), cover the table with a few layers of newspaper just to be safe.

17. Prevent Ice on Windshields

If you’re expecting a big snow or freezing temperatures, cover your windshield with a layer of newspaper to prevent ice.

18. Make DIY Newspaper Roses

For a quick and inexpensive decoration, make newspaper roses. All you need is paper, gauge wire, a glue gun, scissors and wire cutter! Cut out your petals to their desired size and then glue them into place. For step-by-step instructions, visit: 100 Layer Cake. Once the glue has fully dried, feel free to paint your roses.

19. Wipe Up Spills

Newspaper is generally just as absorbent as your average paper towel, so store a few rolls in the kitchen to wipe up spills.

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