Reusing is good for the environment, sure — but, as one of my best friends says, it also allows her kids to be creative on a whim (for free). She keeps a huge bin of odds and ends that her kids can dive into any time they want, and I’ve personally received several works of art (undoubtedly created with leftover popsicle sticks and random containers – plus lots of glue, glitter and pipe cleaners).
Here are a few ideas on how you can reuse at home — eliminating waste and potentially saving you money, too. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
- Old tissue boxes: store plastic grocery bags or use them as a ‘trash can’ in your car.
- Aluminum cans: Use a nail to make decorative holes around the top portion of the can and they can be used as votive candle holders for your next outdoor event.
- Plastic containers: This is pretty obvious to me. Dishwasher-safe ones get saved for leftovers and sending food home with visitors; others get re-used in the bathtub, for sandcastles or mud pies.You can also use them for seedling planters and containers for odds and ends.
- Toilet paper rolls: I store extension cords, camera/phone/video/game cords in these. It prevents them from getting tangled, and most importantly – I can write what it is or what it goes to on the outside of the roll.
- Wine corks: I received a gift a few years back that I still use: a trivet made of wine corks wired together. But if you own a boat, your best investment is to attach your boat key to one of these (a friend of mine learned this the hard way).
- Broken crayons: Even these get saved around my house. Then they get chopped up and melted into shaped crayons.
- Cardboard six-pack carriers: Yep, throw back a few with your buds, but save the cardboard carrier. We use these for picnics and outdoor dining; it holds your silverware, condiments and napkins. (Oh, yeah, and it’s easy to carry.)
- Baby food jars: Great for spices (especially those blends you create yourself), these are also good for by the sink (keeps those rings from falling down the drain) and for artists (young and old) to mix paint or store supplies. You can also create votive candle holders.
- Old sheets and towels: If you can’t cut them up to use at home, consider donating to a local animal shelter – they always need them. (Consider sending your worn-out bottles to an animal rescue facility, too!)
- Old tennis balls: At least, the ones that aren’t coated in dog slobber! Cut them in half — reuse as a jar opener (it really works!) or to change a hot light bulb.
- Everything miscellaneous: I save everything else for arts & crafts projects. From scraps of ribbon and paper to spare buttons and glass jars — you can turn anything into a craft project. I even save the magnets that advertisers send (they glue wonderfully to the back of my daughter’s artwork for the fridge or a gift! And if you can’t dream something up, I’m pretty sure your kids (or their classroom) can.
- I mail packages often (sadly, some of my dearest friends live out of state), but I haven’t had to purchase packing supplies in years. I save everything I get — from shipments, toy packaging, etc. — in one large bin and always have an abundance.
How do you reuse household items? Is your motivation saving money or protecting our environment?
You can find more from Jessica as Atlanta Motherhood Examiner. You can also find Jessica on Facebook and Twitter as Atlanta Motherhood Examiner.