WHAT WORKS AS...
A Paper towel? Well, rags. I use any rags, but my favorite are old t-shirts.
A Tupperware container? Glass jars. Or bowls with a plate on top. Or silicone lids .
Ziploc bags? Reusable ones. The ones we like are called Lunchskins . They cost between $7-10 depending on size, but ours are going strong after a few years.
Lotion? Olive oil. Incredibly moisturizing, all natural. Does not clog pores, despite it being oil.
A dish drying rack? Cookie cooling racks. Turns a unitasker into a multitasker.
A sink cleaner? Baking soda and half a lemon. The baking soda is a mild abrasive, and the lemon cuts grease.
A bag closer? Rubber bands.
Carpet spot cleaner? Usually mild detergent like dish soap works for me, but I've also had success with laundry stain remover.
An ice pack? A bag of frozen corn or peas. Conforms to the shape of the injured body part.
A hot pack? A sock filled with rice and microwaved.
That's all for now. I have a million, but you get the idea. Substitutes simplify my shopping list and are easy on my wallet and my trash can. Plus, and this might really make you think I'm whacko, but it's kind of fun for me to find new uses for things. Makes me feel creative.