Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't toss it ... yet!

We talk a lot about reusing things ... getting as much life as possible out of an item before it is sent to a landfill. It's easy with some items ... plastic butter containers can be used for leftovers, jars can be washed out and used for all kinds of things, old shirts can be turned into cleaning rags, etc. Other items don't seem to lend themselves to reuse ... that is ... until some very creative people tackle the problem.

Here are some unique ideas:

Used Toothpaste Tubes from EHow:
  • Clip off the cap end of the toothpaste tube with the knife or scissors.
  • Use hot, soapy water to completely rinse out the toothpaste tube.
  • Now, use the empty tube to store knifes or scissors, you won't cut your fingers when you reach for them in a drawer.
or ...
  • Clip off the bottom end of the toothpaste tube.
  • Use hot, soapy water to completely rinse out the toothpaste tube.
  • Fill the tube with icing, and you have a cake decorator you can use over and over again. Just rinse it out and store it in a drawer until you need it again.

Empty Toilet Paper/Paper Towel/Wrapping Paper Rolls from How to Reuse Paper Rolls
  • Extend Your Vacuum Cleaner's Reach - If your vacuum cleaner attachment isn't quite long enough, extend it by taping a wrapping paper roll onto it. Like magic those cob webs in the corner of your ceiling are gone.
  • Keep your electrical cords organized, and tangle free, by passing them through a toilet paper roll.
  • Keep important documents (diplomas, certificates, etc.) rolled up in a paper roll ... it'll keep them dry and crease free.
  • Use them to start seeds for this year's garden. Use scissors to cut each toilet paper tube into two pots, or each paper towel tube into four. Fill a tray with the cut cylinders packed against each other so they won't tip when you water the seedlings. This will also prevent them from drying out too quickly. Now fill each pot with seed-starting mix, gently pack it down, and sow your seeds. When you plant the seedlings, make sure to break down the side of the roll and make sure all the cardboard is completely buried.

Empty Cereal Boxes from Repurposeful
  • Use them as mailing boxes. For easy instructions on how to fashion them, click HERE.
  • Cut off the tops and store magazines in them.
  • Tape the ends closed and give them to your kids ... they make great building blocks for little imaginations.

Used Corks from Purdue University
  • Run your dull razor blade through a cork to get a few more shaves out of it.
  • Attach a cork to boat keys so they will float if they end up overboard.
  • Glue wine corks onto wood backing and make your own cork board.
  • Use corks as fish hook holders.

Empty Onion Mesh Bags from Thrifty Fun
  • Stuff it with batting or old socks/nylons, tie off the ends and use as a squishy Ball for kids.
  • Do you like to camp? Use mesh veggie bags to "drip dry" dishes.
  • Line a planter with the mesh bag to hold dirt in place.
  • Use them to hang wet bathtub toys from the shower head to dry.

What unique ideas do you have for reusing common household items?

As always ... I would love to hear from you!