Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reuse: Things You Never Knew You Could Reuse!

When I was growing up, I always rolled my eyes at my parents efforts to reuse things.  I really had the "Why don't you just go BUY a new one?"  I get it now, and again mama, I shall take some humble pie, please.  We still live in a consumer culture where we toss everything instead of thinking of creative ways to reuse it, recycle it, or donating it to someone who can really use it.  So, I compiled a little list of regular household items that can be reused in both creative and common ways.  Enjoy and see if there is something you can reuse today!  Tell us things you reuse in ways we haven't thought of.

Milk jugs - Clothespin holder after you cut the top off and hang from your clothesline.

Plastic bottles - Paint and use as kids piggy banks, a frozen cold pack, 
or with some small holes in it, fill with bird seed and voile, 
you have a nice bird feeder.

Spaghetti jars – small planters for around the home.

Film canister – Cut a slit in the side and you have a holder for a roll of stamps.

Beer bottle caps – You could pick up some small magnets and some glue 
at a craft store and make custom refrigerator magnets.

Glass bottles – pick up a light bulb fixture and you have a new lamp; 
can be used for vases, decorative grass holders.

Old t-shirts – rags for cleaning up around the house; 
sew a couple of your favorites into a pillow.

Shoe and delivery boxes – storage containers, file boxes, etc – 
no need to waste money on plastic containers from the container store. 
Every box in my closet is a reused cardboard one! 
(Seriously, I hoard boxes for gifting.)

Toilet paper roll – extension cord organizer; stuff with paper and 
some alcohol to make a fire starter.

Sunday comics – wrapping paper. You would never have to buy 
wrapping paper again if you saved this all year!

An old garden hose – make a soaker hose – poke holes throughout, seal off 
other end, lay in garden; bucket handle.

Baby jars – votive candle holders; storing spices or seeds. 
(After you soak labels off, they actually do make pretty tea light 
holders- I've never tried it with votives.)

Toothbrushes – bathroom scrubbers; clothing stain scrubbers.

Mailing tubes – cut several of them to the same length, assemble into a wine rack.

Wine corks – soaked in alcohol, they make a good fire-starter.

CD’s – one-of-a-kind drink coasters (paint, cover with paper, etc).

Altoids tins – These tins are the perfect size to make small emergency kits 
for camping or to keep in your car; basic sewing kits for college kids. 
(My friend Rhiana also uses them to make 
knitting notions kits and they are SO handy!)

Shredded paper – Makes great packing material for shipping gifts; 
also makes good packing material for when you are moving.

Old jeans – cut up and sew into squares full of padding to make pot holders.

Tires – build an earthship! Or, maybe just a tire swing. 
Probably the tire swing, but check around- 
some auto shops can reuse tires or recycle them for you.

Old shoes – send to Nike so the rubber can be turned into new playgrounds.  
Isn't that awesome!

Bath mat – folded just right, can be used as a new floor mop

Shower curtain – drop cloth for painting; cover the air conditioner during winter

Mason canning jars – canning, obviously, but they also make great 
drinking glasses.  Just sterilize in boiling water and let dry.

Paper – Be sure to use both sides of paper in the house. 
Just cut up “once used” paper and make notepads with the blank sides.  
Or, you can reuse paper in your printer too.

Detergent squeeze bottles - Use a detergent squeeze bottle to water plants, 
fill a steam iron, or spot clean the floor. Store a water-filled squeeze bottle in the car 
and use it to clean the windshield when the wiper fluid is used up 
or to clean hands after changing a flat. 

Lemon/lime squeeze containers - Pry open and fill with children's shampoo, 
oil and vinegar for picnic salads, or hand lotion to keep at the kitchen sink. 

Yogurt Containers - Use old yogurt containers to store leftovers or 
to pack lunches. Cut the bottom out of a yogurt container 
and place it around delicate plants to protect them in the spring. 
Make your own herb garden: put hole in bottom, add large rock, soil and seed. 

Thanks to: 

Purdue University -
David @ MyTwoDollars -

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