I hate waste and I like to think that I do my best to reduce the amount of waste in our house but after a visit to a friends house last week, I’m not sure that I do anywhere near as much as I could be doing!
I stood in the kitchen with my friend while she made us our second cuppa of the afternoon and noticed that she was using the same teabags which is something that I never do. I didn’t comment at the time but I did think to myself that the second cup would be nowhere near as nice as the first had been and silently resigned myself to a second rate cuppa. 😉
Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case at all and the tea was lovely which obviously (being a blogger and always on the lookout for ideas for a post) got me thinking that there must be so many other things around the house that can be re-used at least once.
I ended up with quite a long list and although I already do some, there are lots on here that I don’t do….
I’m still on the fence with this one – I just can’t bring myself to do it at home.
Empty jars and bottles
I have a bit of an odd assortment of storage containers in my kitchen and all of them (except the three un-frugal Orla Kiely jars on the top) have been something else in a previous life. Hang on to your jars because you never know when they’ll come in handy.
The three Orla Kiely jars in the middle are what I used to store my tea, coffee and sugar in but they started life as jars of coffee. We used the coffee, washed them out and I now have much nicer tea, coffee and sugar jars! Tanya from Mummy Barrow did something similar with pretty tea caddies here by turning them into herb planters for her kitchen.
Who knew there was a way to re-use egg shells, let alone 20 of them? Liz from Me and My Shadow shared them here and I’m pretty sure that no matter how thrifty you are, there’ll be some surprises in there!
Empty Tin Cans
Rather than just throwing your empty tin cans in the recycling, you could do something much more interesting with some of them. Liz uses them to make tin can bread and Becky from A Beautiful Space uses them as a cheap but very pretty vase for her flowers.
Used envelopes are generally re-used in my house for writing shopping lists or quick notes to each other – you might as well use them to save a little bit of paper when whatever you’re writing is only going to be read once and then put in the recycling bin.
Re-using newspaper could warrant a post of it’s own as there’s so much you can do with it! The main things I can think of are that it’s great for cleaning windows with white vinegar, great used damp to make stainless steel shiny and great to wrap fruit in if you want to ripen it quickly. Oh, and don’t forget you can use it to wrap gifts in for you get all clever and creative.
If you use sandwich bags for packed lunches then don’t just throw out your sandwich bags every day – as long as they’re clean inside you can just shake out any crumbs and use them again.
If you have some wallpaper leftover when you’re decorating then you can make some lovely framed prints to match your wallpaper just by framing some of it in a pretty frame. We’ve done similar here with our menu planner for the kitchen wall although we used free samples for that.
I always save my gift bags to re-use because they’re not particularly cheap to buy and they’re almost always still in near perfect condition when I’ve finished with them here so it would be wasteful not to use them again.
Christmas and Birthday cards
Greetings cards these days are so pretty that it’s a shame to waste them after just one use. We all know about turning cards into gift tags but there’s so many other things you can do too. You could use them to make some seasonal bunting, some bookmarks to give as gifts or even frame some of them in cheap frames from the pound shop.
When my two were younger, we always had wax crayons in the house and the tub we used to keep them in was always full of broken crayons or the stubby ends of them where there wasn’t much left. Rather than throwing out all of these little bits, you can turn them into the best crayons ever if you follow the instructions here.
You can collect rainwater in various different containers and use it for all sorts of things – watering your garden and houseplants, washing your car, cleaning your patio and garden furniture and even giving your muddy boots a wash. A water butt costs less than £20 on Amazon and your local shops might sell them even cheaper.
Old Boots and Wellies
Boots and wellies that aren’t going to be worn anymore make lovely planters for your garden in the Summer. Wellies especially as they’re so colourful usually that they look amazing planted with some lovely flowers.
Do you re-use anything that might surprise people?
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Image credit: Shutterstock, Imfoto