Are you a “saver?”
You might claim it as your heritage (the Dutch are infamous for penny pinching and using everything fully) or inspired by an experience (those who lived through the Great Depression never threw anything away that had value) or because of your “green” sensibilities (it would be wasteful and harmful to the environment not to reuse things).
I’ve always been this way, like in kindergarten when I “saved” worms and salamanders until my garage took on the permanent smell of “dead animal,” and through grade school when I “saved” my most precious fancy-tipped markers (they dried out before I used them up) and my special watercolor set (my children still have it today, twenty years later…okay, 25 years), and of course into high school when I buried my room in things to “save:” memorabilia, keepsakes from dances, letters from friends I met at summer camp, and even triangular-folded notes passed desk to desk during class.
Now that I’m older and wiser – the latter being up for debate – I have much more of a yen to declutter and get rid of “stuff,” but I still feel the deeply entrenched urge to save things that I might use someday. It’s the green in me coming through – reduce, reuse, recycle. My decluttering focuses mostly on keeping new things from coming IN so I can work to use what we already have.
This month is host to Earth Day and a great time to focus on how much your family throws away. I challenge you to save some usable items from being trashed this month, and here are 200 practical ways to inspire you to “Re-use the Refuse…”
Salvage kitchen items that you won’t use anymore and create (free) activities for your preschoolers (many are also appropriate for toddlers or grade school kids). From empty oatmeal canisters to non-stick pans you can’t bear to bake in anymore, at least 14 kitchen castoffs are redeemed in this helpful post. Turn white flour into playdough, salt into an alphabet practice manipulative, and white rice into a great pouring work. Even if you don’t think you have much time or creativity, believe me, you can throw some of these activities together. (And in December don’t miss trying out 5 Ways to Reuse Christmas Cards.)
Source: Free Preschool Activities with Repurposed Kitchen Items | Green Your Way
Too many toys? Weeding some out is a great idea, but you have to organize what you have left. Here’s how to keep it all together for free. Save plenty of money on expensive organizers when you reuse what you already have in at least 16 new ways, all designed to keep the hundreds of little toys from scattering permanently across the floor.
Source: Repurposed Kitchen Containers All Over the House | Kitchen Stewardship
I thought I had a dozen ways to use an old, threadbare sheet, but if you read through the comments you’ll get at least 16 great ideas. Whether you have pets, kids, or plants in the garden, someone in your life needs an old sheet – let me show you how.
Source: A Dozen Ways to Use an Old Sheet (even if you’re not crafty) | Green Your Way
When you cook with garbage, just remember not to throw it away first. We don’t want anything actually from the trash can, just the stuff that you would throw away if you didn’t have such a strong “green” sensibility whispering in your ear. Your kids will love the chicken nuggets and fruit rolls, as long as you don’t let it slip that you’re cooking with things no one else wanted. Nine ways to reduce your kitchen garbage load, plus a bonus 25 uses for fruit and veggie scraps right here.
Source: 9 Ways to Eat your Garbage | Green Your Way
What started as a post about 9 ways to use eggshells, which I think is already pretty darn cool, turned into a list of over 30 things to do with them! I throw away dozens of eggshells a week without sharpening my blend blades, adding minerals to my water kefir, or keeping slugs out of my garden. What missed opportunities!
Source: 30+ ways to use eggshells | The Prairie Homestead
Do the plastic grocery bags take over your house from time to time? Even in a house full of reusable bags, we end up with more than I want to bother with. From painting to packing a lunch to swimming at the pool, your plastic grocery bags will receive new life with these 15 ideas to get them out of the cupboard.
Source: 15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags | Green Your Way
30 ways to use an old T-shirt – and I bet you have more than 30 that could be culled from your house if you really started thinking about it… I’ll admit, these are all pretty crafty, but I know that just because I don’t have time to sew doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way. I would add to the list: strips to tie tomato plants to cages, baby wipes, cleaning toilets, seasoning cast iron (and throwing those away; grease like that shouldn’t go through the washing machine).
Source: 30 Things to do with Old T-Shirts | Green Your Way
Does gardening sometimes seem like an expensive proposition once you buy all the supplies? Not with these on-the-cheap tips for watering deeply, keeping the pests away, and growing amazing tomatoes with at least five repurposing ideas for the garden, plus start your seedlings with zero investment with this idea.
Source: Garden Repurposing and Growing the Perfect Tomato | Kitchen Stewardship
People are often amazed at how many glass jars I have in my cupboards and refrigerator. Every time I think perhaps I’ve held onto too many, an event happens that wipes out my supply and I’m glad I did! (For example: making chicken stock) If you happen to have a few glass jars around, you’ll get some great ideas from this list of 15 repurposing ideas and probably be able to add some of your own. (I’d add small toy storage, pencil jar, baby food jars for single serve yogurts, gifting food to friends, and storing water for emergencies in your canning jars.)
Source: 15 Ways to Reuse Glass Jars | Green Your Way
|Katie Kimball has been “green” since 5th grade when she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. She remains slightly disappointed that she didn’t actually save the whole thing back then, but now that she has 3 kiddos counting on her, she keeps plugging away hopefully. Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about real food and natural living and is the author of Healthy Snacks to Go and other eBooks, available for Kindle.|