Friday, November 22, 2013

Frugal Friday: Use What You've Got, Recycling in Your Home

It's that time of year when we start thinking about Christmas and sometimes pennies need to stretch a little farther than usual. One of the best ways to practice frugality is found in the old adage "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without."

Taking the time to find out what you've got, then finding resourceful ways to use it, can save a lot of money. Not only that, but you are doing your part as a good citizen by recycling in your own home.

Here are some great ways that I've thought of to use what you've got:

  1. Instead of throwing out worn t-shirts and socks, use them as cleaning rags. You can throw them in the wash after each use.
  2. Many plastic food containers can be re-used for storing other items. Decorate them by painting or covering with construction paper. I like to use small baking powder containers to store rubber bands, paper clips, safety pins, or twisty ties in. 
  3. Cottage cheese, sour cream, dip, or other round containers can be used to store leftovers. I like to keep a few around to send home leftovers with guests that co
    The beginning of my new herb
    garden with recycled pallets,
    tires, baskets and drawers
    me over for dinner.
  4. I like to start my seedlings in plastic yogurt containers. We grow them inside until it gets warm enough to transplant. I've also seen people start them in toilet paper rolls.
  5. And speaking of gardens, there's lots of ways you can use recyclables in a garden. I use old tires, drawers, or baskets as planter boxes. Just think of it, the possibilities really are endless...
  6. I save plastic juice bottles to store water in for emergencies or to bring along something for a picnic. They also come in handy to store juice in the refrigerator after I make fresh apple or grape juice. Be sure you only use the thicker plastic bottles. Milk jugs will eventually leak (as we learned from sad experience...).
  7. Old sheets or clothes can be cut into strips and turned into a braided or crocheted rag rug.
  8. A cardboard tree house
    I made for our boys
  9. Lots of things can be used as toys for the kids. Our kids love to use old cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and cardboard to create wonderful things. If you are really strapped for money this Christmas, think about what you can make as toys for your kids with things you already have lying around. Use your imagination or do a little research. There's a lot of amazing things out there that you can make. Castles, tree houses, play kitchens, marble runs, etc. can all be made out of cardboard. Sometimes the best gifts start out with something as simple as a cardboard refrigerator box.
  10. Recycle your own paper by using the back as drawing paper for the kids. Save colored paper or cards to cut up and make new cards out of. Art supplies make a wonderful gift for some children, and don't have to cost a lot if you recycle what you have.
  11. Got some pretty fabric or old curtains lying around? Make a beautiful scarf out of it for a gift.
  12. Lots of cute Christmas tree ornaments can be made from recyclables. 
  13. We save our plastic grocery bags and use them for garbage bags. They also make great gift packing when you need to ship something instead of paying for bubble wrap or foam. 
  14. Oh and speaking of bubble wrap and foam, lots of things like that can be saved and reused when you need to mail a package. Even those padded envelopes. Just cover them with some paper or a new label and you're good to go. 
  15. And cardboard boxes are great to save and reuse when you need one to ship something or store something.
  16. Save outgrown clothes for younger siblings or make over and re-purpose clothes. Put a cute patch on a pair of holey jeans. My sister-in-law is a genius at this. There's lot of cool things you can make out of re-purposed clothes.
    Some jeans that I patched up
    with a homemade patch
The ideas keep flowing and flowing, but I guess I've gotta stop sometime....Now in giving all these ideas I have to be sure to mention, don't go extreme in this and become a pack rat. That's easy to do. And I think I've mentioned before that the cost of storing your "garbage" can skyrocket when you start to need extra shelves or space to store it. Make sure that doesn't happen. Set a limit and then keep within it, that way you don't go overboard. Don't store more than you need or will use. And every once in a while, it's very refreshing to get rid of it all and start over from nothing. We do that periodically and it's a good thing.

What about you? Do you have any ideas to share? What does your family recycle in your home? How do you use what you've got? Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

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