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

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iStock

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.

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Ikea
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Design
How IKEA Turned the Poäng Chair Into a Classic
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Ikea

IKEA's Poäng chair looks as modern today as it did when it debuted in 1976. The U-shaped lounger has clean lines and a simple structure, and often evokes comparisons to Finnish designer Aalto’s famous “armchair 406.” Its design, however, is ultimately a true fusion of East and West, according to Co.Design.

In 2016, the Poäng celebrated its 40th birthday, and IKEA USA commemorated the occasion (and the 30 million-plus Poäng chairs they’ve sold over the years) by releasing two short videos about the armchair’s history and underlying design philosophy. Together, they tell the story of a fateful collaboration between Lars Engman, a young IKEA designer, and his co-worker, Noboru Nakamura.

Nakamura had initially come to IKEA to learn more about Scandinavian furniture. But the Japanese designer ended up imbuing the Poäng—which was initially called Poem—with his own distinct philosophy. He wanted to create a chair that swung “in an elegant way, which triggered me to imagine Poäng,” Nakamura recalled in a video interview. “That’s how I came up with a rocking chair.”

“A chair shouldn’t be a tool that binds and holds the sitter,” Nakamura explained. “It should rather be a tool that provides us with an emotional richness and creates an image where we let go of stress or frustration by swinging. Such movement in itself has meaning and value.”

Save for upholstery swaps, a 1992 name change, and a new-ish all-wooden frame that's easily flat-packed, the modern-day Poäng is still essentially the same product that customers have purchased and enjoyed for decades. Devotees of the chair can hear the full story by watching IKEA’s videos below—ideally, while swinging away at their desks.

[h/t Co. Design]

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MODS International, Amazon
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architecture
You Can Now Shop for Tiny Houses on Amazon
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MODS International, Amazon

Whether you’re in the market for board games, boxed wine, or pickup trucks, you can likely find what you’re looking for on Amazon. Now, the web retailer’s catalogue of 400,000,000 items includes actual homes. As Curbed reports, Amazon will deliver a tiny house made from a shipping container to your current place of residence.

The pint-sized dwelling is made by the modular home builder MODS International, and is selling for $36,000 (plus $3754 for shipping, even for Prime members). The container is prefabricated and move-in ready, with a bedroom, shower, toilet, sink, kitchenette, and living area built into the 320-square-foot space. The tiny house also includes heating and air conditioning, making it a good fit for any climate. And though the abode does have places to hook up sewage, water, and electrical work, you'll have to do a little work before switching on a light or flushing the toilet.

Becoming a homeowner without the six-digit price tag may sound like a deal, but the MODS International home costs slightly more than the average tiny house. It’s not hard for minimalists to find a place for about $25,000, and people willing to build a home themselves can do so without spending more than $10,000. But it's hard to put a price on the convenience of browsing and buying homes online in your pajamas.

[h/t Curbed]

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