20 Household Uses for Newspaper (Once You’ve Finished the Crossword)

published May 7, 2008
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Although one of the things we love most is sitting around the house with friends over a long leisurely brunch, sharing the Sunday papers, we’ve tried to cut back on our paper habit. Of course we recycle, better yet if we can find some alternative uses for the newsprint first. Don’t get the paper? Try substituting those flyers that seem to multiply around your mailbox.

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  1. Out of gift wrap? Foreign newspapers are great for this but even your regular, daily paper will do. Find a thematically related story and use coordinated ribbon to finish off.
  2. Is your gift breakable? Shred newspaper to use as packing material. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam peanuts.
  3. Dirty windows? Try your favorite cleaner and newspaper instead of a roll of paper towels.
  4. General cleaning: Newsprint, sprinkled with white vinegar and water,can tackle many household jobs, from glass to floors.
  5. Housetraining your puppy? Layers of newspaper work as well as expensive pads.
  6. Pet cage liner: Use newspaper to line the cages of pets, from hampsters to birds. And check with your local SPCA. Many need donations of newspapers to line the beds of their homeless animals.
  7. Spills? Newspaper absorbs just as well as the average paper towel.
  8. Floppy boots? Keep ’em upright with a roll of newspaper.
  9. Wet boots? Fill ’em with newspaper to absorb the moisture.
  10. Having a party? Use newspaper to make your own piñata. Using balloons as a form, cover iwith strips of newspaper dipped in a thin mixture of flour and water. Allow to harden. Insert a pin to pop the balloon. Make a small hole and decorate your form. Then fill with candy and treats and voila. Insta piñata!
  11. Entertain the kids: Do as Curious George did and make a fleet of boats. (Reread the book to find out how to fold one).
  12. Messy dinner? Newspaper’s a classic tablecloth when boiled shrimp, lobster or watermelon’s on the menu.
  13. Shucking corn? Spread out newspaper to catch the silk.
  14. Compost material. Use newspaper to balance out the vegetables in your compost pile and get the carbon/nitrogen mixture just right.
  15. Germinating seeds for your spring garden? Spread ’em between damp sheets of newspaper.
  16. Fake log: You can do it yourself or purchase a log roller to roll your papers up tightly and use them in place of, or in addition to, wood logs.
  17. Smelly fridge? Line a shelf with newspaper overnight. The newspaper will absorb the odours. A piece in the vegetable drawer will keep your produce dry.
  18. Got weeds? Place overlapping layers of wet newspaper around your plants. If you want to place decorative mulch on top, wait 24 hours.
  19. Smelly Tupperware? Leave a balled up piece of newspaper inside overnight to absorb the odours.
  20. Cold climate? Place on your windshield to prevent icing.


[Image courtesy MorgueFiles]