When we moved into our first home, my husband and I didn’t think twice about getting a subscription to the local newspaper. After all, didn’t being a mature, respectable homeowner go hand-in-hand with reading the front page over coffee and doing the crossword puzzle on lazy Sunday afternoons?
Then the papers started piling up. And piling up. We cancelled our subscription, put the stacks in our curbside recycling bin, and started reading the news online.
But I will admit, there are lots of times when I miss having ready access to a stack of newspapers, and I’m not talking about for reading them, because there are certain reasons a piece of newspaper is infinitely useful. . So if you still buy the occasional Sunday Times, don’t feel guilty — use them for these only-newspapers-will-do tasks… or send them to me!
- Newspapers can help mulch do its job in a garden. Last summer I had a garden patch that was overrun with weeds. Following my garden-savvy mother’s advice, I weeded the garden, then covered it with a layer of newspaper, soaked the paper with the hose, and spread a thick layer of mulch over it. The newspaper will prevent weeds from popping up, will help keep the soil moist, and as it decomposes, will enrich the soil with organic matter. A year later, my garden is still remarkably weed-free.
- Newspapers protect your tables or floors like nothing else during messy craft projects. When my daughters get out their paints or want to embark on a project involving glue and glitter, or when my husband wants to spray-paint one of his electronics projects, I lament the lack of newspaper in my home. The giant-sized pages were so perfect to spread over the kitchen table or the floor.
- Newspapers are a key ingredient in paper mache. Dipping strips of newspaper in a mixture of flour and water, and draping them over a form will allow you to make a wide variety of three-dimensional things such as piñatas, models, masks, and more. The thin, easily tear-able quality of newspaper makes it ideal for this craft.
- Newspapers can balance out your compost pile. When my tumbling composter developed a terrible fly infestation, research told me that my compost was too moist. I shredded some newspaper and stirred it into the compost mixture. Within days, my compost had a dryer consistency and the flies had moved on.
- In a pinch, newspapers make great gift wrap. The colorful Sunday comics are the obvious choice, but I submit that black-and-white newsprint can make an even more dramatic presentation, as seen in gorgeous examples on Pinterest. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stop wasting money and extra resources on gift wrap altogether?
- Newspapers get windows and mirrors cleaner than rags or paper towels. Paper towels can streak, and cloth rags leave lint, but a scrunched-up wad of newspapers leave windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces gleaming.
- Newspapers are an ideal starter for a fire or a charcoal grill. When we had a charcoal grill, my husband and I were always scrambling for a few pages of newsprint to wad up in the chimney starter. Newspaper is also great for starting an outdoor bonfire or a wood fire in a fireplace.