The Three R’s

March 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!

I know, you thought it was Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Today, it is all about reusing what you already have in your home to help keep what you ship out of your home down to a minimum. Below is a list of my top 5 techniques for stretching the use of an item, which invariably stretches my dollars, and keeps said item out of the landfill altogether or for a little while longer.

1. Garbage Soup. Sounds yummy doesn’t it? My daughter turns her nose up at the name but I turn out a delicious soup every single time and this is how: When I chop veggies for a meal, I don’t use up all the little bits, so I cut those bits off and put it in a container in the freezer. The little bits? Well, they’re the tops of tomatoes with the hard center cut out, the trimmed off tops of carrots, the ends off celery. Getting the idea? I have one container that it goes into, uncooked, and when I’m ready to make soup I boil this oddball mix of ‘leftovers’ to make a broth. I also save meat bones separately and use them in the same broth. When I feel the broth is just right, I scoop out the odds and ends and then add my fresh ingredients.

2. Cloths. I don’t use paper towelling. It really is a waste of money and resources. There is nothing wrong with using a good ole fashion rag to clean up spills. When a dishcloth becomes threadbare it can pull duty as a cleaning cloth. Keep a separate pile of these little helpers with your cleaning supplies.

3. Newspapers take the stink out of life. Tired of reading about corrupt politicians and wayward people? Put your newspaper to good use before you recycle. My kitchen garbage pail used to smell by the time I got my bag of trash to the curb each week, but one Sports section placed in the bottom of the pail when I put in a new bag keeps my garbage pail from smelling like a landfill. I’ve also balled up newspaper and wedged it in a smelly summer shoe for a few days. Who would have known there was an easy way to be rid of the-teen-doesn’t-like-to-wear-socks-with-sneakers-foot-odour. I also wadded some up and put it in a plastic storage container that had an unidentified aroma. That particular container was never again used for food but is still in use for other storage.

4. Treasures. I’ll be completely honest here…I haven’t used all of the treasures I have found. I have a jar of them that I pull out from time to time, hoping I will have a project they can be used in. Treasures are the lost bits of jewelry, buttons, and other bits that I find on the ground when I’m out for a walk. I have earrings without mates, little charms, bits of heavy wire, plastic ties, hoards of odds and ends that can be converted into decorative trims for craft projects. I used a section of a beaded necklace as a hanging ‘button’ on a crocheted purse. It snagged the yarn constantly but the theory is a good one. I’m going to try it on a sewn bag next time.

5. Plastic bags. There is a booming market for reusable bags. Businesses are trying to be rid of plastic bags for both environmental and financial reasons. But what about the plastic bags you’ve already accumulated? Most of us have used them as trash bags, but what about just using it as a bag? Why pay for a reusable bag when you can simply reuse your plastic ones? Just lay them flat and fold, pressing flat as you go, and stuff them into a resealable bag, then keep it in your purse or pocket for those unexpected trips to the grocery store. You can also crochet with them. I did this once, but the time and effort put into cutting the bags and crocheting them together, just to make another plastic grocery bag, didn’t make sense to me in the end. I’m sure you can make other things, though. What do you think?

Some other ideas for reusing items found around your home:
-Make your own mailing envelopes out of magazine and catalogue pages
-Reuse envelopes by putting a label over the old address
-Jar and freeze the water you boil veggies in to use in soups
-Pull laces out of worn out shoes and launder. Voila! Spare laces
-Make old clothes new by refashioning them
-Use large Q-tip boxes for storage when they are empty. Great for things like crochet hooks.
-Make magazine holders out of cereal boxes


Entry filed under: craft, frugal, reuse. Tags: , , , , , , .

Spring Cleaning

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