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Momo

Reuses, recycling, hints and tips

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I thought I would start a topic we can all post our little helpful hints/tricks in.

 

I'll start it off with one of my favorites. If you have an old mouse pad, cut it to a small size, and keep it in your kitchen. It makes a perfect jar opener for those tough to open jars.

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I save paper egg cartons to use for plant starters in the spring - you can just put them right into the ground - just cut them into the individual cups - they are also good for making fire starters - melt old candle bits - put wood chips, dryer lint into each cup and pour the wax over them - pull off as needed - a couple cups in a ziploc in your BOB is handy too!

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For those few of us here that still use an electric dryer (I KNOW, I KNOW I SHOULD LINE DRY!) No guilt complex here, instead of using dryer sheets to reduce static cling, dilute fabric softner (I use 1 part liquid softener to 5 parts water) and use small sponges. I soak the sponge in the solution, wring out the excess (over the recycled cottage cheese container I store my solution in) and toss the sponge in with my load of laundry to be dried. The sponges last for about a year and sure beats the bags of "disposable" dryer sheets I ended up collecting! (Those things are good for nothing but filling up land fills! I attempted to collect enough to make pillow stuffing out of, but the sponge solution is so much simpler and definitely less wasteful!)

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Andrea, we don't :frying pan: people for using their own resources the best way they can. If you want to and can line dry, fine... if not, fine, too. :grouphug:

 

 

Can't you re-use those dryer sheets again? I mean, rinse in your solution, squeeze and re-use? :shrug:

 

 

Has anyone tried those plastic/rubber-like balls in the dryer? They're supposed to eliminate the need for fabric softener.

 

I *always* dilute my fabric softener by about 1/3 softener to 2/3 parts water. Saves money, trips to the store, and works just fine. ;) Use your old jugs for mixing it... and make sure the full-strength ones are out of sight of anyone else who just might (yeah, riiiiight :rolleyes: ) get the hankerin' to do laundry.

 

:bighug2:

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I cut my dryer sheets in half before using them. Once used, they are great for cleaning out the dryer lint trap.

 

We compost leaves around our trees to fertilize them and use fallen twigs and branches in our fireplace.

 

I wash and reuse the plastic produce bags from the grocery store to cover and store food and baked goods. I also slit them open and roll my pie crusts out on them. This keeps my counters and rolling pin clean. I place the dough between two pieces. I never buy plastic wrap anymore.

 

I purchase plastic plates such as Hefty Interlocking plates and plastic cups. I rewash them in my dishwasher and have been using the same plates and cups for several years. I also rewash platic utensils.

 

I use paper towels twice.

 

I wash and reuse aluminum foil, waxed paper cereal liners, baggies and plastic containers.

 

I buy Olay Facial Cleansing Cloths to wash my face with. I cut them in fourths and use a clean washcloth to rinse my face.

 

I use newspaper to clean my windows and wrap presents with. I plan on purchasing a paper log maker to make paper logs for my fireplace.

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Staceyy..while you are waiting to get your log roller..you can roll your newspaper and secure in a tuna can (with both ends removed). After you burn the paper log, remove the cooled down can and throw it out.

 

If you have rabbits or know someone who does, save your pinecones for them. Rabbits love to gnaw on the cones.

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Here's another use for newspapers - seed-starting pots. I keep my egg cartons for eggs.

 

http://www.ehow.com/how_1745_create-seed-starting.html

 

Cat, I use those blue balls (or should I say 'BALL', since my kids lost one of them). I believe they cut the dryer time and fluff the clothes. They're especially good to fluff pillows (at least they were, when I had two of them)

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I save the unuseable ends of candles and keep them in a bowl on my mantlepiece. When I have to start a fire with wet wood, or I'm in a hurry, putting some wax bits on top of the logs will get a fire started in a hurry.

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I have taken the jug that cat litter comes in and cut off the bottom at a good heigth to store the games for playstation. the top is the right size to make snow bricks. cut the tops off some others to use them as small toy storage for the kids and a scrap catcher for my craft projects.

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I forgot to add I use old credit cards and plastic hotel key cards to scrape and remove stuck on food from my pots and pans. I no longer use soap pads such as SOS or Brillo pads.

 

I save old soap slivers and when I get enough, I throw them into my blender to grate them. I then pour the grated soap into a small bowl, add a little warm water, let it sit for about 15 minutes and then roll them into attractive soap balls. I let them dry for several days before I use them. They look attractive and as professional as the ones you see in the stores.

 

I bought several reversible comforters for my beds about 10 years ago. When I tired of the first side, I reversed the comforters for a new look. When I tired of the second side, I bought duvet covers for them to change the looks. I imagine I'll continue to use these same comforters the rest of my life, just reversing the sides or changing the duvet covers. I've saved a lot of money doing this.

 

I save boxes and packing peanuts that I receive in the mail as well as large and padded envelopes and I resend them to others when I am mailing packages.

 

I use both sides of computer paper.

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If you have some thing due at the library and don't want to make a special trip or spend the needed time to go in personally...see if your library allows you to renew online or over the phone. You avoid late fees and save time. Our library does, and it sure is a nice convenience.

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I cut off the ends of the arms of old sweaters that are too worn out to donate to Goodwill and use the bands to "seal" the space where my children's mittens or gloves meet the sleeves on their jackets.

 

They love this and ask for it when they are out sledding/playing in the snow because it keeps the snow out of their sleeves.

 

The bands dry fast too...

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I also cut up every decent square of outgrown/torn up jeans and clothing to make into simple scrap quilts for my kiddos to take with them when they are older.

 

This also has the benefit of holding some memories of a special shirt, etc.

 

The one I am working on right now is denim (worn, of course!) 4 x 4 patches with pink 4 x 4 fabrics. Very sweet...

 

I am also off to start some loose leaf lettuce in a pot. I have wondered if that could be done indoors in the winter and my dear mil did it last year so I'm going to give it a try. Lettuce likes cooler temps anyway and it will be in my basement.

 

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I have a very nice dutch oven type pot. It is stainless steel and about 40 years old. The phenolic handle just disintegrated and can't be repaired. As I started to throw it out I realized it would make a great dog food dish for my outdoor German shepherd. It is sturdy, heavy and won't rust. Greta seems to like it.

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If you have a paper shredder you can use the shredded paper for packing material.

 

I have heard that some folks use it under their cat litter in the pan to stretch the clay further. (I haven't tried this myself so can't vouch for it)

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Originally Posted By: Momo If you have a paper shredder you can use the shredded paper for packing material.

 

I have heard that some folks use it under their cat litter in the pan to stretch the clay further. (I haven't tried this myself so can't vouch for it)

 

When my friend had her cat declawed they told her not to use regular litter but to only use shredded newspaper for kitty litter for 3-4 weeks. I can't remember for how long now. Anyway, I had a shredder and sent her a couple of trash bags full.

 

I think they make special kitty litter now recovering declawed patients. But the newspaper litter is free and short term.

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At work we recyle old paper (with one side clear)by making note pads out of it. Stack it, put a heavy weight on it then use padding cement. It dries in a while and voila! Scribble pads for each desk.

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Make your own starter pots for seedlings.

 

Take a piece of newspaper and fold it in half lengthwise. Next roll it around a can or a glass to make a pot shape. Slide out the can/glass center and fold the remaining paper at the bottom to make a flat end. Add soil and seeds. When the seedling is ready for transplanting outdoors, plant in the garden leaving in the paper pot.

 

Save plastic cups from beverages at stores (such as 7-11 or fast food). These make great protective tents when a late frost is threatening your seedlings. They act like mini-greenhouses. Remember to remove the cup as soon as it is warm enough or you will scorch the plants.

 

 

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We have one of those metal decorative 7 ft tall windmills. The top has broken and is not fixable. DH was going to throw it out. Then I had a brainstorm..use the 6 ft. metal part as a tall trellis for our veggie garden. He didn't even tease me about it so it must be a good idea!

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Originally Posted By: cookiejar

At work we recyle old paper (with one side clear)by making note pads out of it. Stack it, put a heavy weight on it then use padding cement. It dries in a while and voila! Scribble pads for each desk.

 

i've done that at home with old desk pad month pages, i don't have the padding glue, so i put them in a stack on the corner of an old table and paint the sedge with elmers glue and let it sit over night to dry then have lots of pads...if i have old cardboard i sometimes cut it to the same size so the pads will have a sturdy back.

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Salvation Army takes ragged clothes. They make carpet padding out of it. So if you have clothes that are "too damaged" to donate, or your rag pile, is, well, done, you can stilll donate it to SA (and they will even pick it up in most places) and it is being reused rather than ending up in a landfill.

 

That ultra concentrated liquid dishwashing soap can be diluted by half and still be just as effective. I once accidentally rediluted an already diluted one and it was pretty useless, but by half definitely works.

 

I do my dryer sheets in thirds, they still work fine. I think I could reuse them on smaller loads, even.

 

If you get your girly girl stuff like face cleanser and such at a specialty store like The Body Shop, they will often give a discount if you bring the old container in for a refill. There is a lady here who makes that kind of stuff and works out of a small shop and does it, even.

 

Those fabric bags that WM and other stores are now selling (for about $1.00) hold way more than the plastic bags and are very useful for other things around the house. I try to buy about 2 per week, we have probably 20 around here, some get used for shopping, some are totes for other things (they hold paper towels and tp very well and stack well like that) such as a spare change of clothes for changing weather, so they are well worth the price and, I conservatively estimate, for my family, by using those for shopping instead of the bags, we save around 500 bags a year. Those Martha Stewart TShirt bags are cool, but not everyone is crafty, rofl. If I tried to make one it would come out looking like a tube or some other lopsided creation.

 

At the end of the school year, unused supplies are gathered and put in the cupboard for next year. One kid brings home 20 unused pieces of notebook paper, another 80, and another 15, that's a good start for one next year. Individually not enough, but together they add up. Half full bottles of glue, etc are used for home crafts or combined in a single bottle for next year.

 

Mo7

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