Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reuse household items and save money

This sounds so simple, that we often forget how easy ideas like these are!!
From our friends at, 10 ways to give new purpose to old belongings

Transform place mats into coastersTransform place mats into coasters

Cut up place mats into drink coasters. Most place mats are already water-resistant and made for wear-and-tear, so no extra prep is necessary.


Save cereal bags

If your family loves cereal, you can avoid buying wax paper ever again. Wash and save the plastic bags that come in cereal boxes―they can be repurposed to wrap sandwiches or cold-cuts, store leftovers or freeze meats.

Put tired T-shirts to good use

 Add ripped or worn-out shirts (and other clothing items!) to your arsenal of cleaning supplies―whether you’re washing or dusting, the scraps come in handy as extra rags. (Compared to what you see at your left, which is basically a bag of cut up t shirts!!

Plant a garden using coffee mugs

Plant a garden using coffee mugs
Chipped coffee mugs make perfect homes for small flowers or herbs. Just fill with potting soil, plant seeds or flowers and place on the windowsill and you have your own portable garden!



Cover up with paper bagsCover up with paper bags

The brown paper bags you carry out of the grocery store can be easily converted into covers for your kids’ textbooks. That’s one more thing to scratch off your back-to-school shopping list! (I used to do this as a kid, because then you had a blank canvas for all your doodles and scribbles from friends)

Get organized using coffee cans

Use empty coffee cans to hold everything from markers to macaroni! It’s a fuss-free way to de-clutter any area of your home.

Store pills in contact casesStore pills in contact cases

Wash out cases that no longer hold contact lenses and fill them with a day’s worth of vitamins. Take one with you wherever you go for easy, discreet access.

Craft a bird feeder from a milk jug

Milk may have an expiration date, but its container can be used long after the last drop. Turn plastic jugs into bird feeders for your backyard simply by cutting a hole in the side and adding bird seed. Have the kids decorate, then hang from a tree.

Turn candles into pincushions

No need to toss away burned-out candles. They can become convenient homes for pins and needles.

Reinvent greeting cards

Collect the various greeting cards you receive throughout the year. When the holiday or occasion has passed, snip the cards into strips for instant bookmarks or cut off the fronts to use as seasonal postcards.(or I like to cut off the written-on page, and then use the decorative cover (now with a blank back) as a postcard! Genius!)

While we are at it, let's see some ways to re-use paper before chucking it ::

Unlike money, paper does (sort of) grow on trees, which is why it’s important to be mindful of how much you use―and waste. Check out these 10 budget- and earth-friendly tips: 
  1. Print again. Reuse printer paper if it has text on only one side. It’s perfect for faxes and casual print-outs.
  2. Take note. Make a notepad by stapling used printer paper, blank side up, to a piece of cardboard.
  3. Let them scribble. Printer paper is great for kids to draw and paint on, and is often more cost-effective than paper made specifically for artistic pursuits.
  4. Make art. Set aside an afternoon to create with your kids. The creative options are endless. Get inspired to make your own at Papier mâché, for example, simply uses strips of computer or newspaper to yield beautiful creations ready to paint. Get instructions at
  5. Cushion your packages. Newspaper or old wrapping paper can be used as package padding―shred, crumple or tear and eliminate the need for Styrofoam!
  6. Make cat litter. Turn newspaper into odor-deterring kitty litter. It only takes a few simple steps―shred, soak in dish detergent and baking soda, and dry. Learn how at Planet Green.
  7. Wrap it in your own style. Tape together sheets of unwanted paper, decorate and…instant customized wrapping paper! This is a great way to recycle children’s leftover artwork that doesn’t make the “keeper” pile.
  8. Stuff it. Shred old paper to use as fill for stuffed animals or throw pillows. You can use any type of paper. It’s cheaper than buying synthetic padding and works just as well.
  9. Create your own. Never buy fancy stationery again! Making your own gorgeous textured paper is much easier than you might think. All you need is pantyhose, bendable wire (a coat hanger, for example) and a blender. Follow the instructions at
  10. Recycle it. If you’ve absolutely run out of creative reuses for your scrap paper, you still shouldn't throw any out. Paper bags, newspapers, computer paper, magazines, packaging and envelopes (minus the plastic pieces) can all be recycled. The only recycling no-nos are waxed paper, laminated paper (like that in fast-food products), pet-food bags and oil- or food-soaked paper. Check with your local sanitation department for restrictions in your area.

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