Thursday, October 22, 2015

6 Things to Save from the Trash/Recycle

I'm a big fan of repurposing items or reusing before they are tossed (trash or recycle).  We still throw away more things than I would like and obviously recycle a lot but if we can reuse things before they are tossed, that's even better.  Here are seven things we reuse around our house before the end up in the trash or recycle.

1) Food Containers into Freezer Boxes

I own few actual freezer boxes but most of my cooked beans, fruits, and veggies are frozen in used sour cream containers.  I easily have over 30 at this point and at some point in the late summer they are all full in the freezer.  They aren't quite as space efficient as freezer boxes (being round and all) but are "free" and still stack pretty great.

2) "Dope" Jars turned Jam Jars

In a similar fashion, most of my homemade jam (strawberry and apricot, separately, this year) is frozen in used dope (ice cream topping) jars.  Really any jar would work but these are nicely sized for jam and I like that they are tall and skinny.  Many of my jam jars come from my Grandma which I love.  She's the one that taught us about "dope" and we ate a lot of ice cream with her over the years.

3) Produce Bags Turned Dish Scrubbers

We try to eat mostly seasonal fresh fruit which means mostly oranges, grapefruit, and bananas in the winter.  I don't eat grapefruit but Luke and I shared at least an orange a day most of last winter.  That meant buying a lot of bags of oranges.  Which is also great because those bags are great dish scrubbers.  I usually roll up two together and would use them until they got gross.  I didn't feel as bad tossing them when they had served two purposes! 

4) Cereal Bags Instead of Wax Paper

This is another one I learned from my Grandma (she was a smart lady).  I cut off the seams and use these for layering between frozen baked goods (like cookies or muffins) or for covering my kitchen scale before sectioning out bun dough.  These work just as well as wax paper for those purposes.  I had to stop saving my cereal bags just because we go through cereal way faster than I do wax paper but once our supply dwindles I'll start saving again.  I don't think I'll have a need to buy wax paper again!

5) Dryer Sheets for Swiffer Cloths
This was a great tip I learned from my cousin the year I lived with her in college.  Commercial dryer sheets can be reused as swiffer cloths.  I use homemade dryer sheets now but still have a stash of used commercial ones that will last me awhile considering I usually only swiffer once a month (don't be grossed out, our bedroom is the only floor that needs it).  I attach them like normal and they pick up plenty of hair and dust.  I'm always shocked at how much hair is lurking on our floor, although, I shouldn't be because I am picking it off my clothes all the time. At my current rate of usage, we will probably move out of our house before I run out of dryer sheets to use.

6) Wine Bottles Turned Decor

We are not big wine drinkers.  If I'm not actively doing something it'll put me right to sleep.  Our wine drinking is mostly family holiday events although we do go through a few bottles a year on our own (we have a few favorites).  And when I do buy wine...I buy partially based on the color of the bottle.  Lucky for me, Aldi carries two sweet wines I enjoy, one sold in a pretty green bottle, the other in a blue bottle.  Each under $6.  Who says wine has to cost more than (vacation) milk? (#Friendsquote).  I save these bottles and use them in decorating around the house.  There are currently some in the kitchen, Matt's office, my office, and both halves of our front room (seen here and here).  And plenty more places I would use them if I had more.  They add great color and make for fantastic bookends.  And if I ever get really sick of them, into the recycle bin they go (but I won't.  I love blue glass too much for that).

7) Hardcover Books Turned Decor (BONUS)

I have a thing for buying books.  Both for myself and for Luke.  Not brand-new books I've never read (there is only one author I will do that for) but books I've read and enjoyed and can get for a couple bucks?  Sold.  Many times.  I'm a big reader and love checking out what books other people have on their shelves and also love displaying some of my own favorites.  In my office, our front room, and our bedroom I have hardcover books displayed, often with some of my fabric covered books.  They are easily some of my favorite, inexpensive, decor.  When I am enjoying a library book I check out the spine color to decide if it'll get to live in our house someday.  I do admit to literally judging books by their cover.  And I'm ok with that.  (I know this post is about reusing things before getting rid of them and I just admitted to buying books for this purpose...BUT I do read them all I'm counting it.)

I know there are probably plenty more things we could do and probably even do do that I am completely blanking on.  What other things do you reuse before trashing/recycling?  I love getting new tips!

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