10 Effortless Uses for Yesterday's News (and 1 Challenge)


The printed newspaper industry may be on the decline, but even in the age of widespread digital news, newspapers can still play a vital role. Flipping through the Sunday paper may not be an essential weekend activity for you, but here are 10 things newspapers can be used for after their contents are old news. 

1. Shoe freshener 

Get rid of bad smells around the house with crumpled up newspapers. You can stick them in smelly shoes, drawers, cabinets, refrigerators, or anywhere else where they can soak up moisture as well as the ensuing odor. 

2. Wrapping paper

Just like aluminum foil, newspapers can come in handy as a last-minute gift wrap. Might we suggest using the comics section?  

3. Disposable broom

When sweeping up cobwebs (or cat hair, for that matter), cleaning the broom becomes as much of a chore as the sweeping. Gross tendrils of dusty spider silk get stuck in the fibers of the broom. Instead, use a rolled-up newspaper with the ends frayed, so that you can toss it out with the cobwebs once you’re done. The same rationale goes for using a newspaper baton to kill house flies/terrifying spiders (yes, spiders are awesome and important, but we’ll be the first to admit they inspire irrational terror).

4. Cushioning material

Instead of using packing peanuts, you can pack with Peanuts. Crumple it up to keep the box’s contents from sliding around, without having to use precious bubble wrap. Warning: Just like it stains your fingers, newspaper print can come off on whatever you wrap with it, so don’t use it to protect your best white china. 

5. Fruit ripener 

Place a layer of newspaper over your unripe fruit to get it to that delicious stage just a bit faster. The paper traps ethylene, the gas that stimulates ripening. It’ll speed up the process for tomatoes, pears, avocados, and any other ethylene-producing food.   

6. Fire starter 

Roll up newspaper sheets into tight cylinders, and tie them with string or yarn (remember that you’ll light this on fire, so best to avoid plastic), or stick them inside a paper towel roll. To keep the newspaper burning longer, you can melt down some candle wax from tea lights and coat the cylinders in it. 

7. Hat plumper 

Don’t want to be that one guy wearing a fedora on the plane? Put your hat in your luggage where it belongs. Stuff it with newspaper first, and it won’t get crushed. The same advice goes for keeping your boots standing upright in your closet. 

8. Broken glass cleanser

Clean up little pieces of broken glass using a piece of wet newspaper. Wrap the bigger pieces in one section of the paper to prevent them from ripping the trash bag. For smaller chunks of glass, wet the newspaper and use it like a paper towel—the shards will stick to it. 

9. Light bulb removal 

Newspaper is good for other broken-glass woes, too. If a bulb breaks in the socket, wrap your hand in a wad of newspaper so that you can twist it free without injuring yourself. (Make sure the power is off!) 

10. Weed killer

Line your garden beds with newspaper to keep weeds from growing. The paper prevents weeds from getting sunlight. Just lay the papers down and wet them to keep them from blowing away. Then cover them with leaves or compost

Bonus - Kids' Challenge: Chair

Here's a challenge from the PBS Kids show Zoom: Build a chair that can support a child's weight out of nothing but newspaper and tape. (Pro tip—tight rolls seem to be the best way to go.)

All images from iStock.

Want to Boost Your Home's Value By More Than $6000? Paint Your Front Door Black

If you're looking to sell your home, you may want to take some advice from The Rolling Stones and paint it black. Just the front door, that is. That's because front doors in shades of black or charcoal tend to raise a home's value by $6271, according to a new analysis by real estate website Zillow.

"For a seller, painting a front door is one the least expensive home prep projects, but also one that can have a powerful impact on a home's sale price," Kerrie Kelly, a home design expert for Zillow, said in a statement.

However, this may have more to do with the contrast than the colors themselves. Kelly said more subdued hues like beige and light blue are still popular, but real estate experts have seen a trend toward "pops of color, particularly in darker hues" like dark blue, gray, and black. "Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos," Kelly says.

Also popular are "tuxedo kitchens," in which the countertop and upper cabinets are either black or white, and the lower cabinets are painted in contrast. That design scheme can raise a home's value about $1550, Zillow reports.

For its 2018 Paint Color Analysis, Zillow looked at more than 135,000 photos of homes sold across the country between 2010 and 2018 and compared their closing prices to those of similar homes with white walls. In doing so, they were able to conclude which color schemes are considered most valuable.

Other paint jobs that can hurt a home's value include yellow exteriors, brown dining rooms, and red kitchens (red in general is said to be an anxiety-inducing hue, so it's best to use it sparingly in homes). On the other hand, light blue bathrooms and light taupe living rooms are an asset.

If you're hoping to sell your home but don't plan to do so for another few years, it's best to hold off on repainting, if possible. Tastes in color schemes are constantly changing with the times—just two years ago, Zillow recommended yellow kitchens and purple dining rooms.

Syrian Refugees and Jordanian Women Created a New Line of Home Hoods For IKEA


After announcing plans to release a new line home goods that would provide jobs to refugees last year, IKEA finally made its Tilltalande Collection available to customers on Wednesday, June 20, World Refugee Day. As Curbed reports, every item in the collected was created by women from Jordan and refugees from Syria.

The new line is a collaboration between IKEA and the Jordan River Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of Jordanins, especially women and children. It includes a flatwoven and pillow covers decorated with elements like camels and blossoming cacti. Fifty Jordianian women artists and 50 Syrian worked together to design the items and craft them by hand.

The Tilltalande Collection is the latest way IKEA is helping the millions of refugees forced from their homes by conflict. In 2015, the furniture company debuted its flatpack shelters, temporary homes that provide protection and electricity to displaced people around the world.

The new line of textiles is only available in Jordan for now, but IKEA is bring it to its Brooklyn location by the end of the month. If all goes as planned, the collection will provide employment to 400 people by 2020. 

Pillow decorated with cactus.

[h/t Curbed]


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