Do you use and reuse stuff around your house in a creative effort to “go green” and save money by recycling, instead of having to buy new stuff all the time? “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” is apparently an old proverb that’s been around for a long time and it makes a lot of sense, but I’ve yet to learn its origin or the author’s name.
I’ve read a lot about smart living rules, simplifying our lives and finding new ways to recycle and reuse stuff we have around the house that used to be thrown in the trash can as soon as the container was empty. I used to think that recycling clothes was just a matter of donating jeans, sweaters, shoes, old shirts etc to charities like Salvation Army or Goodwill, but I’m learning so many other ways to recycle or reuse clothes and other stuff around the house.
I’ve been happily surprised to read so many great ideas on how to recycle just about anything, and that includes clothes, books, magazines, household items and more. The list of things you can recycle is virtually endless, and I’m doing my best to learn more about recycling as fast and easy as I can.
Things You Can Recycle
Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover explains how to pay off debts and save money the smart way, and one way of saving money is to learn easy ways to recycle to cut out unnecessary spending.
Recycling books and magazines isn’t hard at all. When I have accumulated a small collection of books that I’m not using or needing anymore, I take my magazines or books to a used book store (like Half Price Books) for others to use and enjoy as long as they like, or I just sell the books on Amazon or eBay at a cheap price and make a little money from my gently-used books.
I wish I had known that phonebooks can be recycled, because I ended up just throwing several of them in the dumpster for the trash collector. Do people really use phonebooks anymore, when it’s so much easier and faster to just search for the information online these days? Oh well, I suppose there are still a lot of people who don’t have computers or the internet and need to use the old-fashioned paper phonebook method of finding people and places.
How To Recycle Your Old Stuff
MSN Lifestyle ran a slideshow article from RealSimple showing “50 New Uses for Old Things”, and my reaction to the list of ideas on ways to recycle old stuff was like a light bulb flickering brightly Why didn’t I think of that?! I’ve read some very clever recycling ideas before, but these are some great ideas, too good not to share:
- Use the mat from a Twister Game as a tablecloth for a child’s birthday party. After everyone is finished eating, wipe it clean and reuse to play Twister!
- Make no-mess pancakes with the help of a ketchup bottle: Pour batter into an old ketchup bottle that’s been washed and dried, then squeeze out precise portions to make perfect size pancakes! This idea works great when letting children or grandchildren decorate cakes with frosting!
- Stop searching everywhere for hair clips and elastics: Safely store them on an empty Toilet Paper cardboard tube. Hairclips and bobby pins go on top, ponytail holders wrap around!
- Transform a six-pack holder into a condiment tote that’s great for summer picnics. A six-pack drink holder is the perfect size for carrying ketchup, mustard, squeeze relish bottles, rolled up napkins, and utensils to a family picnic!
- Have an empty cassette tape holder? Coil up your iPod earphones and stash inside. A small MP3 player will fit inside too!
- Use an empty (and clean) travel soap holder (the kind with the lid that snaps shut) to carry your point and shoot camera in your purse!
- Forget unruly plastic bags that seem to regenerate under your sink. An empty tissue box keeps them neatly corralled and ready for use. Keep one under each bathroom sink!
- At a party, mark each person’s glass with a removable window decal. Stores have holiday ones for a festive touch!
- Wrap the ends of hangers with rubber bands and dress straps won’t slip off! Cover doorknobs with aluminum foil when painting to keep them clean!
- Need to take a few day’s medication with you on a trip? Pop a few pills into a contact lens case so you don’t have to take the whole bottle!
- It’s easier for a child to drink out of a regular glass if you wrap a few rubber bands around it for a better grip!
- Eye doctor gave you an eyeglass case you don’t use? Use it for nail clippers and emery boards when you travel!
- Wrap a wine-bottle carton in pretty paper and use it to hold your lightweight shoes, sandals, and slippers!
- A napkin holder can hold your bills, checkbook, stamps, address labels, and envelopes neatly on your desk!
- Attach a magnet to the inside of a metal medicine cabinet to hold your nail clippers or tweezers!
- Repurpose an old frame for a vanity tray that’s pretty as a picture. Place a piece of colored paper or fabric inside as a finishing touch.
- Vegetable oil will put a shine on leather shoes. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt, then run a soft cloth with a drop of oil over the surface to (literally) add polish.
- Use a hard plastic soap case to protect a camera stashed in a carry-on bag when traveling. It‘s the perfect size!
Recycle It! is the mantra spreading like wildfire in America, so if you’ve been thinking your stuff is garbage and needs to be thrown away in a trash can, think again. Knowing there are so many things you can recycle, hopefully you will join the recycling movement and learn more ways to recycle, protect our environment by using and reusing your stuff over and over again, and save money like Dave Ramsey says.