recycle http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4276/all en-US 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67797601_XLARGE2.jpg" alt="these products are killing the family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling, flipping off the lights when we leave a room, and weatherproofing our homes. And while those are all important efforts, we sometimes forget that the biggest environmental impact we can make happens at the cash register.</p> <p>As we strive to leave a better planet for our kids and grandkids, it's time to take a new look at how our everyday consumer habits affect the health of our natural environment. Here are eight things we keep buying that are killing the planet &mdash; along with some greener (and less expensive) alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>According to statistics from Ban the Bottle, an environmental organization that advocates for an organized phase-out of the single-use plastic water bottle, Americans toss out 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Besides the bottles themselves, the plastic netting or wrapping that holds cases of bottles together takes a huge toll on the environment.</p> <p>Instead of single-use water bottles, invest in an easy-to-use filtration pitcher and a refillable metal or glass water bottle that you can use for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Water Bottle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coffee On-the-Go</h2> <p>That quick cup of coffee we buy on the way to work is composed of three parts: A paper (or worse &mdash; polystyrene) body, a cardboard sleeve, and a plastic lid. One cup every workday means that each of us is contributing 240 cups (or 720 individual pieces of waste) to the landfill every year.</p> <p>The solution? Learn to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">brew a better cup of coffee</a> at home or buy a cheap reusable travel mug and tote it to the coffee shop with you every morning. Besides helping the planet, many coffee vendors offer modest discounts if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).</p> <h2>3. Disposable Flatware</h2> <p>From carry-out restaurant orders, to family barbeques, disposable flatware is everywhere. And every single plastic knife, fork, spoon, and spork we use takes about 1,000 years to disintegrate. That's a big environmental impact for a couple bites of potato salad.</p> <p>Instead of plastic, collect mismatched pieces of stainless steel flatware at garage sales or thrift stores. If you lose a piece, it won't be the end of the world. And most importantly, keep them handy in your purse, computer bag, or a special container in the car.</p> <h2>4. Paper Plates</h2> <p>It's hard to argue that disposable plates have their place &mdash; say a company cookout or similar event where plumbing isn't readily accessible. But I've noticed a curious shift with some of my acquaintances and coworkers &mdash; they're using disposable plates on a daily basis at home simply to make cleanup easier.</p> <p>The old debate about the environmental effects of using paper plates versus the soap, water, and electricity used to clean traditional ceramic dinnerware has been settled. In environmental terms, paper loses. The resources used to manufacture, wrap, ship, and recycle a neverending stream of single-use paper plates make them an ecological burden. Whenever possible, use what's reusable.</p> <h2>5. Disposable Cleaning Cloths</h2> <p>I know they're dirt-grabbing wonders, but those single-use cloths for dusting and floor cleaning are usually made from synthetic material that takes generations to biodegrade. Skip the expense and invest in a microfiber cloth that can be washed and reused.</p> <h2>6. Single-Use Razors</h2> <p>Because of their design (inexpensive metal mixed with plastic) recycling disposable razors is a challenge. As a result, a whopping two billion end up in U.S. landfills each year. If you shave every day, consider buying an electric shaver or a razor that only requires refillable cartridges. Feeling brave? Go old-school and invest in a straight razor.</p> <h2>7. Plastic Bags</h2> <p>According to facts compiled by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Americans go through an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, and only 6% are recycled after use. The rest take 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in landfills. While consumers don't technically buy these bags, we can help make them obsolete by choosing (and diligently using!) cotton, canvas, or mesh shopping totes.</p> <p>Have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags in your closet or pantry? Explore some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">clever ways to reuse them</a>.</p> <h2>8. Meat</h2> <p>According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 60% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to animal agriculture. All politics aside, reducing the need to grow crops solely for animal feed means we can devote more land to food crops destined for direct human consumption (maximizing fuel and water resources and minimizing the threat of continued deforestation). Another bonus? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless">Going (mostly) meatless saves money</a>. Start by experimenting with alternative sources of healthy protein such as beans, nuts, and quinoa. Integrate meatless main dishes into your meals a few times each week.</p> <p><em>What products have you phased out of your life in an effort to help the environment? Share your ideas with us!</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-toiletpaper-bum-deal">Life Without Toiletpaper - Bum Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping convenience eat green environment environmental issues green living recycle waste Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:44:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1789690 at http://www.wisebread.com 37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74703775_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="upcycle your empty milk jugs with these craft ideas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I like to make stuff.</p> <p>Alas, I have a zero dollar budget for craft supplies. But who needs money when you've got a recycling bin full of possibilities? Before you throw out another plastic milk jug, consider the crafty potential. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>Toys and the Like</h2> <p>Like that old saying goes: If you chop your own wood, you warm yourself twice. Now apply that maxim to toys (and other stuff.)</p> <h3>1. Dutch treat</h3> <p>Can a Netherlander please explain why pink milk jugs exist for any reason other than as the raw material for these cute <a href="http://www.zelfmaakideetjes.nl/decoratie/laat-je-kinderen-sparen-de-12-leukste-spaarpotten-die-je-zelf-of-samen-kunt-maken/8118/5/">piggy banks</a>?</p> <h3>2. Button Spinners</h3> <p>These mesmerizing <a href="http://www.housingaforest.com/homemade-toys-button-spinner/">party favors</a> can be whipped up in a flash using supplies from the junk drawer.</p> <h3>3. Beach Shovel</h3> <p>Make a speedy vacation toy that you won't have to bring home. This is a great community <a href="http://tinkerlab.com/milk-jug-shovel/">sandbox tool</a>. It's no big deal if you forget it at the playground. When it breaks, you can recycle it without guilt.</p> <h3>4. Toy Scoop</h3> <p>As a beekeeper, I actually use this scoop design to pick up bees. The thin edge of the milk jug allows me to pick up piles of bees without squishing anyone. But this scoop is also a <a href="http://craftyjournal.com/milk-jug-toy-scoop/">great cleanup tool for Lego blocks</a>. Yeah, it's a <a href="http://www.gapphotos.com/imagedetails.asp?view=making-a-scoop-out-of-a-recycled-milk-carton-&amp;imageno=89487">glorified dustpan</a>. But crafters take note: The edge of the dustpan will let you clean up the finest of powders.</p> <h3>5. Word Whale</h3> <p>Cute-ify your toy scoop with a sharpie and some creative cutting to make this <a href="http://deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com/2012/07/word-eating-whale-nouns-verbs.html">super-functional tub toy</a>. Christian mommy bloggers use this DIY toy to tell the story of Jonah and the whale, but extra credit goes to the mom who figured out how to turn the milk jug caps into floating vocabulary cards for kids.</p> <h3>6. Water Balloon Jug Toss</h3> <p>Weaponize your Word Whale by turning it into a <a href="http://kidfriendlythingstodo.com/2015/07/diy-milk-jug-water-balloon-launch-outdoor-summer-game-for-kids/#_a5y_p=4086828">water balloon launcher</a>.</p> <h3>7. Snowflake Ornaments</h3> <p>All you need to make these <a href="http://eveofreduction.com/recycled-craft-how-to-make-milk-jug-snowflakes/">Martha Stewart-worthy winter decorations</a> is an X-ACTO knife, scissors, a cookie cutter, a hole punch, and a washable marker.</p> <h3>8. Butterflies</h3> <p>All the fun of the classic vintage toy without the toxic fumes! Milk jugs are translucent enough that you can trace pictures through it, so you can use clip art, comic books, or any small illustration as the basis for these art pieces. Use a thin black Sharpie pen to trace the outlines and color in the image with colored permanent markers. Although <a href="http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/milk-jug-decorative-window-crafts/">the instructions</a> for this project were written for small children, the <a href="http://alphamom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/milkjugbutterflytemplate2.pdf">butterflies</a> are so pretty that even teenagers and adults will want to get in on the coloring action. Warning: this is addictive.</p> <h3>9. Hanging Mobile</h3> <p>Wondering what to do with your growing squadron of no shrink Shrinky-Dink Butterflies? Turn them into a mobile for the newest baby you know.</p> <h3>10. Bunting</h3> <p>Do you want to hoard your handmade ornaments and butterflies all to yourself? Display your collected works as a <a href="http://remadesimpleblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/milk-jug-love.html">bunting</a>.</p> <h3>11. Stencils</h3> <p>Are you a ninja with scissors? Upcycle the leftovers from your upcycled project into another tool. Use the plastic outline leftovers from your snowflakes, butterflies, etc. to make your own <a href="http://adirondackgirlatheart.com/2015/01/recycled-milk-carton-stencils.html">stencils</a>.</p> <h3>12. Reading Igloo</h3> <p>Go big or go home! This <a href="http://blog.re-play.com/crafts/reading-igloo/">playhouse</a> is perfect for kids and <a href="http://rachfeed.com/video-tutorial-how-to-make-an-igloo-using-milk-jugs/">adults</a>.</p> <h3>13. Halloween Skeleton</h3> <p>Win the neighborhood pumpkin-carving contest without even touching squash. <a href="http://littlegenegreenbean.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/mr-bottle-bones.html?&amp;cuid=dbeefa0816fb06639c767cc736897188">Mr. Bottle Bones</a> is made entirely of recycled milk jugs.</p> <h3>14. El Esqueleto</h3> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvtdBrKN0h0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Since I live in a Latino neighborhood, instead of Mr. Bottle Bones, I am making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvtdBrKN0h0">Señor Botella de Huesos</a> for Dia de los Muertos.</p> <h3>15. Dinosaur Skull</h3> <p>Why limit yourself to human skeletons? <a href="http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/dinosaurs.html#milkjug">Faux dinosaur taxidermy</a> will improve any décor. Trust me on this.</p> <h2>16. Space Cadet</h2> <p><a href="http://chefhades.blogspot.com/2012/02/space-cadets.html?m=1">Milk jug astronaut helmet</a>? $0. Hilarious photographs of your children looking ridiculous? Priceless.</p> <h3>17. Roman Helmet</h3> <p>&quot;I'm Spartacus!&quot; &quot;No, <em>I'm</em> Spartacus!&quot; Fortunately, there are enough milk jugs in the recycling bin that you can all be <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fd/d6/df/fdd6df52f6e7193c1bd916ada8efe26d.jpg">Spartacus</a>.</p> <h3>18. Lion Mask</h3> <p>Mix and match your new <a href="https://existenciando.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/mascaras-de-papel/">lion mask</a> with your roman helmet for gladiator larping.</p> <h3>19. Cone of Shame</h3> <p>My vet charges $10 for those stupid, plastic <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/Alternative-To-Elizabethan-Pet-Collar-1.html">Elizabethan collars</a> aka lampshades. Make your own shaming tool for your pet out of a plastic jug for free.</p> <h3>20. Carnival Masks</h3> <p>Carnivale, Mardi Gras, Halloween. <a href="http://diytag.com/carnival-masks-with-recycled-milk-jug/">This classic mask</a> design also works for Stanley Kubrick-themed costume parties.</p> <h3>21. Easter Gear</h3> <p>Skip buying plastic boxes at the dime store, and upcycle your own <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/97/90/97/979097dc070fde756d76787fceefdddf.jpg">Easter accessories</a>. I mean, how cute are these <a href="http://larajanetownsend.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/make-me-milk-bottle-easter-bunny.html">Easter bunny</a> egg holders?</p> <h3>22. Gift Box</h3> <p>Although this design is billed as a sandwich keeper, this <a href="http://www.cremedelacraft.com/2013/07/DIY-Milk-Jug-Lunch-Box.html">simple folded box</a> would make a cute and reusable alternative to a gift bag.</p> <h2>Lighting Design</h2> <p>The Internet is full of shockingly beautiful and elegant lamp shades made from recycled milk jugs.</p> <h3>23. Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier</h3> <p>Hide the ugly lighting in your rental apartment with this <a href="http://shoestringpavilion.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/faux-capiz-shell-chandelier.html">chic and cheap</a> hack.</p> <h3>24. Jellyfish Chandelier</h3> <p>Use this artist's <a href="http://www.beautifullife.info/industrial-design/medusae-pendant-lamps-by-roxy-towry-russell/">seriously gorgeous work</a> as inspiration.</p> <h3>25. IQ Lamp</h3> <p>Don't worry. You don't need brains, just good hand-eye coordination, to make this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Contruct-IQ-LAMP-Using-Milk-Carton/">incredible fixture</a>.</p> <h3>26. Flower Party Lights</h3> <p>If you can make a bunting, you can make these <a href="https://recreationsproject.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/tutorial-milk-jug-flower-lights/">glamorous mini shades</a> for your twinkle lights.</p> <h3>27. Ambient Lamp</h3> <p>It's not cute, just incredibly clever. Turn a headlamp and a milk jug full of water into a <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5896796/make-an-ambient-lamp-out-of-a-milk-jug">camping lantern</a>.</p> <h3>28. Lotus Votive Holders</h3> <p>Everyone looks more attractive in the dark. Unplug yourself from modern life for one weekend and enjoy the <a href="http://www.blissbloomblog.com/2013/04/make-milk-jug-votives.html#.V61NoJMrIk5">candlelight</a>.</p> <h2>House and Garden Tools</h2> <p>Although plastic milk jugs are great for arts and crafts, I personally prefer to hack milk jugs to create lightweight, recyclable tools.</p> <h3>29. Watering Can</h3> <p>Yeah, I know. <a href="http://ajourneytoadream.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/helpful-yet-simple-diy-for-spring.html?showComment=1332868588728">This is so obvious</a>. I use my old milk jugs to collect, store, and dispense <a href="http://www.wormcompostinghq.com/how-to-use-worm-compost/how-to-make-compost-tea-with-worm-castings">worm tea</a> with no spillage.</p> <h3>30. Ollas</h3> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pCkeB2l3ODQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Ollas are an ancient <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCkeB2l3ODQ">below-ground watering system</a>. Traditional Ollas are made from clay, but modern life gives me no time and milk jugs. I use what I've got.</p> <h3>31. Garden Cloches</h3> <p><a href="http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/546/">Cloches</a> are miniature greenhouses, traditionally made from glass. But a plastic milk jug cloche works just the same.</p> <h3>32. Plant Labels</h3> <p>Why pay for plastic plant stakes or garden tags when you can make your own? I use a box cutter and a metal ruler to cut the flat sides of the jugs into thin strips. Pro tip: it's easier to write with a permanent marker on the textured side of the plastic.</p> <h3>33. Measuring Scoops</h3> <p>Yes, this is the practical version of the Word Whale. Avoid cross-contamination by using these home made <a href="http://www.nwedible.com/garbage-made-useful-milk-jug-garden/">measuring cups</a> to measure out stinky stuff like fertilizer or paint.</p> <h3>34. Portable Storage for the Garage</h3> <p>A variation on those measuring scoops also make <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/garage/storage/reclaim-your-garage-organize-it#21">handy organizers</a> for hardware and other small things that get lost in the garage.</p> <h3>35. Vertical Garden</h3> <p>If you have a thin balcony or porch railing, you won't even need to build the trellis to use this sleek, space-saving garden hack. For safety and picking ease, just face these <a href="http://www.1001gardens.org/2013/10/vertical-garden-with-reused-plastic-milk-bottles/">hanging planters</a> toward the inside of your balcony, please.</p> <h3>36. Upside Down Tomato Planters</h3> <p>As seen on TV&hellip; but a lot cheaper. Grow tomatoes upside down inside <a href="http://www.dreamgarden101.com/milk-jug-upside-down-planter/">hanging milk jug planters</a>.</p> <h3>37. Beaded Curtain</h3> <p>Don't forget to save those milk jug lids to upcycle into that <a href="http://fvue.nl/wiki/Wave">beaded curtain</a> your yard always needed.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite milk jug hack? Please share your DIY genius.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style">DIY Berlin Style</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY arts and crafts milk jug plastic milk jug recycle reuse upcycle Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Max Wong 1779111 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_5549801_LARGE.jpg" alt="reusing plastic shopping bags" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plastic shopping bags, once a staple at every store you could think of, are under attack. In August 2014, California imposed a <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/plastic-bag-legislation.aspx">statewide ban on plastic bags</a>. The same bags are also banned in Hawaii, and the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. And on May 5th, New York City Council approved a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/nyregion/new-york-city-council-backs-5-cent-fee-on-plastic-bags.html?_r=0">$0.05 fee on plastic grocery bags</a>. Make no mistake, plastic bags are either going to disappear from your state, or start costing you. So, when you do get a bunch, what are you going to do with them? They can be <a href="http://ecowatch.com/2013/08/06/the-danger-of-plastic-bags-to-marine-life/">hazardous to marine life</a>, and the environment, so you don't want to throw them in the trash. Instead, you can get crafty. Here are 18 ways you can reuse those plastic shopping bags.</p> <h2>1. Use Them as Packing Material</h2> <p>Forget packing peanuts and bubble wrap. That stuff is expensive, and as you usually never see it again, you're throwing your money away. Instead, pack your fragile items in a thick and cushioned cocoon of old plastic bags. If you have bags that are free from holes, you can even blow air into them and create an air pillow. But even just using them scrunched up, you can keep items safe and sound without having to buy pricey packing supplies.</p> <h2>2. Cover Paint Trays</h2> <p>When you're painting a room in your home, you will find out quickly that paint trays are a pain to wash out. You can buy paint tray liners, but at over $1 a pop, that's a lot of money to throw away. Instead, grab a plastic shopping bag and put the paint tray inside it. Flatten it down, pour the paint as usual, and you have a paint tray liner that cost almost nothing. When you're done, let it dry, remove it, and turn it inside out. Then, use it again. You can also use plastic bags to wrap your paintbrushes in. Do this for the duration of the job, instead of washing each time.</p> <h2>3. Scoop the Poop</h2> <p>When you walk the dog, take plastic grocery bags with you. You can't count on the local park having a well-stocked supply of poop bags, and you don't want to be that dog owner that just walks away from the mess. The bags are perfect for scooping, tying, and disposing. A word of caution though; make sure the bags don't have those safety holes in the bottom. Scoop with one of those and you'll be scrubbing your hands with bleach for a while. Ugh.</p> <h2>4. Line Bathroom Trashcans</h2> <p>Plastic grocery bags are the perfect size for the little trash cans you have in the bathroom or office. Sometimes you'll need to stretch out the top a little to make it fit snug, but it works. You should also keep a few extra bags at the bottom of the can, so you can quickly take out the old one and replace it with a fresh one. Stock up once a month.</p> <h2>5. Dispose of Cat Litter</h2> <p>Keep a big supply of plastic bags next to the cat litter boxes. When it comes time to scoop and sift, the plastic grocery bags are perfect for holding the clumps. Then, tie a couple of knots and throw away as usual. If you have an old diaper genie, you can store them in there until it gets full, saving you a few trips to the garbage can. If your plastic bag is big enough, you can also use it as a liner to the cat tray.</p> <h2>6. Separate Wet Clothes From Dry</h2> <p>If you go swimming, take plastic bags with you in your gym bag. When you're done, put the wet clothes in the bag and tie it up, then pop it in the gym bag and you'll avoid getting your other clothes wet. You can use the same trick if you're traveling. Put your used clothes and underwear in plastic bags if you don't have access to laundry, and wash when you get home.</p> <h2>7. Make an Emergency Rain Hat</h2> <p>You. Will. Look. Ridiculous. But, do you care about looking silly, or keeping your head dry? You can easily turn a plastic bag into a makeshift rain hat and it will protect your hair and head from a downpour. Who knows, maybe it will become the next big fashion trend. You can also use the same hack as a shower cap.</p> <h2>8. Create Bags, Rope, and More!</h2> <p>If you're very crafty, patient, and have a <em>lot</em> of plastic bags at home, you can make some incredible things from them. For instance, <a href="http://allwomenstalk.com/8-clever-uses-for-plastic-bags/2">here is a crocheted bag</a> made entirely from old plastic shopping bags. It will last hundreds of trips to the store, and looks cool. You can also make a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KiZXRK5h44">very sturdy rope</a>, friendship bracelets, sandals, and whatever else you can imagine.</p> <h2>9. Use as Furniture Stuffing</h2> <p>Plastic bags are soft, and when you put a bunch of them together, you can fill out pillows and cushions without spending a dime on polyester padding. One quick idea&hellip; get an old pillowcase or cushion cover, stuff it with old plastic bags, and sew it shut. You now have a cheap pet pillow for a dog or cat that you won't mind throwing away once it's well used.</p> <h2>10. Store Food in the Fridge</h2> <p>Before reaching for the cling wrap or foil, see if a plastic grocery bag will do the job first. They are a handy size for storing watermelons that have been cut in half, and also cover whole plates of food. Just make sure the bag you're using is clean and dry, and has not been used to hold anything hazardous to anyone's health.</p> <h2>11. Sick Bag!</h2> <p>How many times have you been driving along when a young kid says, &quot;I'm gonna be sick!&quot; Well, you have a few options. After you panic, you can try and find a place to pull over. That isn't always possible though. The kid could roll down the window and try throwing up but really, that's a mess just waiting to happen &mdash; and other drivers will not be happy. Instead, just keep a few grocery bags (without safety holes) in the glove compartment. They make excellent sick bags that can be tied and thrown away at the next rest stop.</p> <h2>12. Protect Plants From Frost</h2> <p>If you live in a place where the climate cannot make up its mind (psst&hellip; looking at you, Colorado) then you may have plants out ready for summer that could be at risk of a frost attack. You can protect them by wrapping a plastic grocery bag around them overnight, and removing it in the morning.</p> <h2>13. Go Fly a Kite</h2> <p>The lightweight plastic is perfect for catching and holding the wind, and can easily be made into a simple kite to keep the kids entertained at the park. All you need is a plastic grocery bag (or more, depending on how big you want to go), some plastic or wooden sticks, tape, and kite string. Make a cross shape with the sticks, tape it together, wrap the bag(s) around it, secure with more tape, and finally, securely attach the kite string. You can also use a few bags for a tail. Get creative. It's a fun project with a fun outcome.</p> <h2>14. Emergency Gloves</h2> <p>Keep plastic grocery bags handy in the car and the garage. When you have to do something a little messy, especially where oil is concerned, you can pop a bag on each hand before you get to work. They're thin enough to allow you to feel what's going on, but durable enough to keep the oil and grease off your hands. This can also work for those nasty jobs like toilet cleaning, drain cleaning, and anything else that leaves your hands messy.</p> <h2>15. Drop Cloths</h2> <p>You can buy plastic drop cloths from hardware stores, but sometimes, you really don't need one that's 12-ft square. If you're doing some light touch-up work, maybe on a door, baseboard, or end table, cut open a grocery bag and place that down. Secure it with tape if need be.</p> <h2>16. Keep Feet Dry</h2> <p>When you're planning to head out into wintry weather, pop a plastic bag on each foot before you put your foot inside your boot or shoe. No matter what you encounter, your feet will be keep clean and bone dry while you get to work. The bags also add an extra layer of warmth.</p> <h2>17. Boil Water</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xV2gsWHhDhY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Seriously. If you're out in the wilderness, camping, or hiking, and need access to clean drinking water, a plastic grocery bag can be a lifesaver. This YouTube video shows you just how to make <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV2gsWHhDhY">fresh water with a plastic shopping bag</a>.</p> <h2>18. Make a Sling or Tourniquet</h2> <p>Another great survival tip; keep a few plastic bags handy when you go out into the wild, or off on another adventure. If the worst should happen, and you do get a wound, break, or other injury, a plastic bag can be used to tie off the circulation and/or make a handy sling.</p> <p><em>What are some other clever uses for plastic shopping bags? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Home grocery bags plastic bags recycle reduce waste reuse shopping bags upcycle Wed, 15 Jun 2016 09:30:48 +0000 Paul Michael 1731144 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Frugal Reasons to Compost http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016214089_Large.jpg" alt="composting is perfect for a frugal lifestyle" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard about composting, or maybe you've even considered giving it a try. This waste-reducing activity is about way more than being kind to the environment and getting some awesome plant food for your garden. Composting can also save you a good amount of cash. So, here are 10 reasons why frugal people should start composting today!</p> <h2>1. It Saves You Trash Tags</h2> <p>Think about how many banana peels, egg shells, and other organic garbage scraps you've tossed into your bin over the last week. All that waste takes up space. Duke University's Center for Sustainability &amp; Commerce shares that the average American produces <a href="https://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">over four pounds of waste</a> per day. If you have to pay for a service or buy trash tags to haul it away, reducing your garbage load is sure to save you money.</p> <h2>2. It Gives You Free Garden Food</h2> <p>If you maintain a garden, you know that it isn't always cheap. The Bargain Babe explains that compost is one of the nicest gifts you <a href="http://bargainbabe.com/much-money-can-composting-save/">can give your plants</a>. Making your own can spare you from buying compost at your garden center each year. She typically buys two cubic yard bags per season, equaling an investment of $16.98 per year. That may not sound like a lot, but over five years, that amounts to nearly $85 in bags of fertile dirt. And the savings grows the bigger your garden gets!</p> <h2>3. It Improves Your Soil</h2> <p>Why is compost so great for the garden? It's considered a soil conditioner. What this means is that adding compost to your soil improves its texture. It's better able to hold onto nutrients, moisture, and air &mdash; all things that plants need to stay robust and healthy. As a result, you'll need to water less (cha-ching!), and your plants will likely yield a better crop. Growing your own food can definitely cut dollars from your weekly grocery bill.</p> <h2>4. It Controls Pests</h2> <p>Another merit of adding compost to your garden is that it provides you with virtually free bug control &mdash; without chemicals. Soil treated with compost &quot;tends to produce plants with <a href="http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/benefits.cfm">fewer pest problems</a>,&quot; explains the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension. It can also help prevent diseases that regular old dirt cannot ward off on its own. Leaf compost, in particular, may even keep nematodes at bay.</p> <h2>5. It Eliminates the Need for Lawn Services</h2> <p>You can spread this &quot;black gold&quot; on your grass and skip this year's lawn spraying service. You'll get an added health boost by keeping&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/compost-for-lawn/">chemical fertilizers and herbicides</a> away from your home, loved ones, and pets. You only need to apply compost to your yard once or twice a year to see the benefits. Simply spread a modest one-half inch layer onto grass (not too deep) using a wheelbarrow and shovel, or a garden spreader. This method even treats those pesky brown spots with ease.</p> <h2>6. It Provides Low-Cost Entertainment</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uyr2wJq7REQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Spending time outdoors and engaging with nature is cheap and fun activity the whole family can enjoy. If you don't know where to start, try<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyr2wJq7REQ"> square foot gardening</a>. A raised bed is a beginner-friendly holder for your plants. Figure out what you want to grow, pick up some seeds or annuals at your local garden center, draw out your garden plan, and go from there.</p> <h2>7. It Can Earn You Money</h2> <p>That's right! Select cities across the country and beyond may offer grants or other incentives for composting. Take Plymouth, Minnesota, for example. Back in 2012, the city offered its residents a grant of up to <a href="http://www.plymouthmn.gov/index.aspx?recordid=1054&amp;page=440">$100 to start backyard composting</a>. This money helped people get composting supplies and the things they needed to start their vegetable gardens. Though programs like this one don't exist everywhere, it's worth doing a little investigation to see what incentives your local municipality provides.</p> <h2>8. It Can Forge New Friendships</h2> <p>Composting has even introduced us to people we otherwise may not have met. Check your community calendars for free composting workshops (often run through cooperative extension programs) and you may meet like-minded people to add to your circle of friends. More friends means more connections. More connections means opportunity for sharing of resources like time, tools, knowledge, etc. Plus, it's always fun meeting new people.</p> <h2>9. It Makes You More Food Waste Aware</h2> <p>One of the most notable perks composting has given our family is an awareness of our waste habits. The more we dug spoiled food out of the fridge and put it in our compost bin, the more we realized we weren't planning our meals efficiently. We started writing up our grocery list and detailing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. These days, we have very little food spoilage.</p> <p>We even tend to use food scraps before tossing them into the compost pile in stuff like&nbsp;<a href="http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/">homemade vegetable broth</a>. Simply place carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, and other veggie scraps into a bag in your freezer and simmer them with water for 45 minutes. Strain out the scraps to place in your compost and enjoy your broth.</p> <h2>10. It Costs Little to Start</h2> <p>You can build a&nbsp;<a href="http://blissfullydomestic.com/home-bliss/how-to-make-an-easy-diy-compost-bin/125672/">basic compost bin</a> for less than $5. In some cases, you might even have all the materials you need already on hand. Just find a basic plastic storage tub with a lid, drill holes all over it to allow for airflow and drainage, and place a layer of dirt at the bottom. Then throw your food scraps inside and make sure to rotate or shake it at least once a week. That's all it takes to get started. You should have viable compost in as little as four to six months.</p> <p><em>Do you compost? Share your tips with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Green Living compost composting environmental how to compost recycle Tue, 10 May 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1706758 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-cloth-towel-Dollarphotoclub_53885463.jpg" alt="woman cleaning cloth" title="woman cleaning cloth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).</p> <h2>1. Reusable Paper Towels</h2> <p>My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these <a href="http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-unpaper-towels-without-a-sewing-machine/">DIY reusable paper towels</a> don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!</p> <h2>2. T-Shirt Rags</h2> <p>This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.</p> <h2>3. The Handkerchief</h2> <p>Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also <a href="http://wastenotblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/the-simplest-diy-handkerchief-edition/">make a handkerchief</a>&nbsp;from simple squares of fabric.</p> <h2>4. Washcloths</h2> <p>They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.</p> <h2>5. Cloth Wipes</h2> <p>Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of <a href="http://lightgreenmothering.com/2013/11/24/diy-no-sew-cloth-baby-wipes/">squares of flannel fabric</a> couldn't be easier.</p> <h2>6. Napkins</h2> <p>Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-sew-simple-cloth-dinner-napkins/pictures/index.html">handy napkin tutorial</a> shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.</p> <h2>7. Toilet Paper</h2> <p>This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-WASHABLE-TOILET-PAPER-from-old-bed-sheet/">cloth toilet paper</a>. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!</p> <h2>8. Burp Cloths</h2> <p>We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes &mdash; you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.</p> <h2>9. Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p>Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: <a href="http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/homemade-homemaking-disinfectant-wipes.html">DIY disinfectant wipes</a>. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-more-detergent-make-for-more-clean">Does More Detergent Make for More Clean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning DIY recycle reusable Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1288488 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eraser stamp.jpg" alt="eraser stamp" title="eraser stamp" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love finding dual purposes for everyday items. It's a sneaky way of getting more bang for my buck. And &mdash; chances are &mdash; if anyone in your family is in school, you have quite a collection of school and office supplies handy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>Break out your pencil boxes and your craft paper and let's get started!</p> <h2>1. Pencil Eraser Designs</h2> <p>For a custom <a href="http://cutesycrafts.com/2014/06/diy-eraser-stamped-4th-july-shirt.html">stamped shirt</a>, use your eraser. Cut out a simple shape or design using freezer paper, place it on a clean cotton shirt, and then dip an unused pencil eraser in fabric paint and get creative.</p> <h2>2. Large Eraser Stamps</h2> <p>For those bigger erasers, carve out a design and make a <a href="http://www.wardi.dk/2009/05/eraser-stamp-tutorial-part-5.html">smart stamp</a> for personalizing stationery or just plain fun. Don't forget: If you're going to use lettering, you'll need to write it backwards to make sense once stamped.</p> <h2>3. Pencil Beads</h2> <p>For a cute back-to-school accessory, look no farther than your pencil box. Colored pencils make wonderful, <a href="http://www.designmom.com/2011/08/diy-colored-pencil-jewelry/">vibrant beads</a> that can be drilled for use in necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and more.</p> <h2>4. Mega-Crayons</h2> <p>Turn those old crayon bits into a <a href="http://www.mollymoocrafts.com/for-crayon-out-loud/">great gift or party favor</a>. Simply take off any leftover paper, place remnant into a silicone mold, and bake at around 200 degrees for just five minutes (baking time will vary depending on your oven). Let cool before packaging.</p> <h2>5. Paper Clip Ornaments</h2> <p>For a super frugal way to decorate your tree this year, try these <a href="http://craftyjournal.com/easy-paperclip-angel-ornament/?cuid=b1dfac24b37c30de8b94cd5b618fecc6">paper clip ornaments</a>. All you need are butterfly flips, a bit of ribbon, and pearl beads. Once you get the hang, you can make dozens an hour for stocking stuffers!</p> <h2>6. Post-It Planner</h2> <p>I'm a big fan of Post-It notes, and I love this idea to use those little squares in a big way. Turn yours into a <a href="http://tatertotsandjello.com/2013/08/free-printables-easy-post-it-note-school-planning-wall.html">wall planning system</a> by arranging each square like a box on a calendar.</p> <h2>7. Three Ring Genius</h2> <p>Use a three ring binder to organize more than just class notes. You can use a variety of <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Neat-Electrical-Component-Organizing-in-Binders/">plastic inserts and baggies</a> to hold your memory cards, jump drives, etc. I use a similar method to organize my coupons, store punch cards, gift cards, and more.</p> <h2>8. Upcycled Hooks</h2> <p>Or you can use that old binder's insides for a <a href="http://upcycleus.blogspot.com/2011/07/upcycling-threering-binder-with-easy.html">quick hook system</a>. Once you get the metal out of the plastic cover, use screws to fasten the hooks to a wall or fence for instant hanging.</p> <h2>9. Rubber Band Remedy</h2> <p>Need to dry your makeup brushes? Try <a href="http://glossedintranslation.com/2012/01/11/bleurgh-its-french-and-brush-drying/">tethering them to a towel rod</a> using rubber bands. No towel rod? Easy &mdash; just use a hanger for the same purpose.</p> <h2>10. Clipboard Decor</h2> <p>Arrange various sizes and styles of clipboards into a gorgeous wall of art with these <a href="http://www.craft-o-maniac.com/2014/05/clipboard-wall-art-free-printables.html">free printables</a>. You could also clip photos, your child's artwork, and even use this trick to organize an office the chic way with important documents and to-do lists.</p> <h2>11. Clip Cord Holder</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L50GfLlhy70"></iframe></p> <p>If you've ever tried charging your devices at your desk, only to have all those cords fall straight to the floor &mdash; this trick is for you. Loop the end of your computer or phone charger cords through <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L50GfLlhy70">binder clips</a> and clamp onto your table or desk to hold steady.</p> <h2>12. Sharpie China</h2> <p>To upgrade basic dinnerware into something beautiful, try <a href="http://alwayswearyour-invisiblecrown.blogspot.nl/2013/09/the-one-with-sharpie-and-plate.html">drawing geometric designs</a> with Sharpie markers. To set, just bake the dish for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This projects lets you freshen your kitchen for less or give great gifts on the cheap.</p> <p><em>How do you upcycle school and office supplies into cool tools and decor? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY crafts recycle reuse school supplies upcycle Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1211250 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tea-tin.jpg" alt="tea tins" title="tea tins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever the seasons change, I get this itch to do a total cleaning to our drawers, kitchen shelves, and closets. Over the years, though, I've learned that sometimes my brain gets ahead of me with all this cathartic purging. I'm not advocating that you hold onto these things to the bitter end, but definitely give yourself some time before you decide to toss or donate them for good. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <p>You can repurpose a variety of items to meet your current needs &mdash; all while saving yourself money and more clutter in the process. Here are 10 items you might want to toss away with some smart ideas for how to use them in new ways.</p> <h2>1. Old T-Shirts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/old%20tshirts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Before you take an armful of old t-shirts to the donation center, consider other ways you can use them in your home. You can cut them up into wash rags to save you cash on paper towels, for example. And if you're crafty, there are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-stylish-diy-clothing-projects-for-women">upcycled clothing projects</a> you can make, from fabric scarves to skirts.</p> <h2>2. Crib</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-crib.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Even if you don't plan to have any more babies, resist the urge to place that crib on the curb. You can make an awesome <a href="http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html">desk for your big kids</a> using a little chalkboard paint and creativity. Simply cut a piece of particle board to the size of the mattress and adjust to the correct height. Add a chair plus some hanging accessories, and you're done!</p> <h2>3. Baby Gate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-gate2.jpg" /></p> <p>And that baby gate that's collecting dust? Keep it around if you suspect you might ever want to add a puppy to your family. If that's not the case, you can also use it <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/reusing-cribs-and-baby-gates-in-the-garden-170442">in the garden</a> as a frugal trellis.</p> <h2>4. Wine Corks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/wine-corks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you haven't heard, there's quite an assortment of wine cork crafts that are as functional as they are pretty. I love this <a href="http://stephanieteaches.blogspot.com/2014/03/wine-dont-whine.html">wine cork kitchen mat</a> that took over 240 corks and a lot of patience to make. If that project is a bit too advanced, start small with this wine cork <a href="http://www.adventuresintrying.com/2011/07/25/flashback-diy-wine-cork-board/">bulletin board</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">15 Common Kitchen Castoffs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wooden Crates</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/fruit-crate.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fruit crates &mdash; old and new &mdash; can be reused for a variety of purposes. My favorite is this stylish <a href="http://www.remodelista.com/posts/diy-crate-shelves-on-wheels">rolling cart</a> made from three crates on their sides. Just fasten together and add the casters, which you can find inexpensively at most hardware stores.</p> <h2>6. Plastic Spray Bottles</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/spray-bottle.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've finished your window cleaner or all-purpose suds, save those spray bottles and try making your own green cleaners to fill them with using ingredients like vinegar, water, and castile soap. You'll save money and improve your home's health &mdash; all while being green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>7. Tea Tins</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/tea-tin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm a tea fanatic, so I have quite my share of colorful tins of all shapes and sizes. I use them to house supplies like paper clips and pushpins. I've also seen some cute indoor herb gardens or even candles made by melting wax into the container and adding a wick.</p> <h2>8. Picture Frame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/picture-frame.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We all have an old picture frame somewhere lurking in our closets. Put it to good use painting over the glass and making a functional <a href="http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2013/03/07/how-to-make-a-diy-chalkboard-from-an-old-picture-frame/">DIY chalkboard</a>. You can use it in your office or even incorporate it into your home holiday decor.</p> <h2>9. Window Shade</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/window-shade.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Changed your window dressings? No problem. Before tossing that old window shade, consider giving it to your kids as a <a href="http://www.fromgardners2bergers.com/2014/02/diy-restoration-hardware-chalkboard.html">roll-up blackboard</a>. You can also use it for some sophisticated decor in much the same way. All you do is paint with chalkboard paint and draw on your desired image.</p> <h2>10. Toothbrush</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/toothbrush.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>According to the American Dental Association, you should be changing out your toothbrush every <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-">three to four months</a>. Use the discarded brushes for cleaning your home. They work especially well in the bathroom on tough grout stains and other hard-to-reach areas that need a little scrubbing.</p> <p><em>What do you regularly keep and re-purpose? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living crafts DIY recycle reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1209318 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-recycling-494379053-small.jpg" alt="couple recycling" title="couple recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2008 I downsized my personal belongings by 85% when I moved into Dinky Manor with Mr. Foxypants, my now husband.</p> <p>Initially, Mr. Foxypants and I agreed that we would both downsize our belongings by 50% in order to fit the acquisition of our two adult lives into a 1000 square foot house with terrible closet space.</p> <p>Downsizing by 50% was easy. I managed that in just a few weeks by creating a game called &quot;Do I like this object more than my boyfriend?&quot; Since I have OCD, I really wanted to avoid negatively impacting our relationship with my personal clutter issues. I never wanted to be in a position where we would argue about my stuff. Conflict avoidance is a huge motivator for me. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a>)</p> <p>However, I soon realized that 50% wasn't going to cut it. The 1937 layout of Dinky Manor wasn't designed for 21st Century life. Our house predates both television and refrigeration, so just arranging our major appliances in our tiny, period kitchen was challenging.</p> <p>Because I love a good challenge, I decided that I would downsize by 90%. After speedily ditching half my belongings, I thought, &quot;How hard could this be?&quot;</p> <p>Not that hard, but still hard enough that I actually didn't make my goal of downsizing by 90% because I couldn't bear to purge my enormous crafty crap stash of fabric and yarn. But I made it to 85% with the help of the 5 R's.</p> <h2>1. REFUSE (To Bring In More Stuff)</h2> <p>Curbing consumption is actually the first step in downsizing. I think of it as a diet for my home. To this end I try and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">get rid of 10 things a day</a>. I will not keep my house free of clutter and shrink my carbon footprint with a one-in-one-out policy. In order to cut my clutter I also:</p> <ul> <li>Refused to acquire new-to-me clothes, furniture, or house wares until I found a place for everything I already owned. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to restock the pantry until I'd eaten through my current food stash. (This took two months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to bring single use items into my home. And by single use I mean items that generally are used only once like wrapping paper, plastic shopping bags, drinking straws, and little hotel shampoo bottles. In addition to being environmentally unsustainable, single use items were using up precious storage with their additional packaging. Most importantly, by using &quot;convenience&quot; items I was making mindless consumption a habit. Doing a periodic <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">trash audit</a> helps me discover where I am over-consuming in my home.</li> </ul> <h3>Decluttering Is the Mother of Invention</h3> <p>The direct result of refusing to bring new things into my home was innovation. I was forced to find reusable replacements for all my convenience goods. This is actually easier than it sounds because single use items only rose to prominence in the last 30 years and I am old enough to remember when everyone drank from the drinking fountains or thermoses rather than disposable water bottles.</p> <p>If I couldn't think of a suitable reusable replacement, I called my mom and dad and asked what they used when they were growing up instead of Saran Wrap (a plastic shower cap) or a to-go coffee mug (a jar with a tight fitting lid). Every single use item has its reusable counter part. Often it took just a few moments of looking around the house to find a suitable reusable replacement &mdash; a practice that is actually way more convenient than driving to the store to buy consumables.</p> <h2>2. REDUCE (What You Already Own)</h2> <p>The ease that I was able to part with half my stuff taught me a very important lesson: If it's easy to part with, then it's not something I really need in my life. Clearly, I was massively over-consuming, a fact that was really difficult for me to admit to myself, as I have always prided myself as being a very careful, and efficient shopper. I rarely go shopping and when I do buy something, I try to buy used to conserve resources. Alas, all my anti-consumerist smugness had gone to waste; I might be a minimalist compared to my fellow Americans, but I was still collecting too much stuff.</p> <p>Speaking of too much stuff, my grandmother, an accomplished hoarder, referred to herself as a founding member of the SABLE club. SABLE stands for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy, of course. How many books can I realistically read before I die? And, do I need to store them all in my house? Can I store my stash of future reads at the public library instead, or in my Audible queue? Is packing my books Tetris-like into the bookcase a good use of my short life?</p> <h3>Reduce Redundancies</h3> <p>One of the speediest ways I reduced my belongings was by seeking out and eliminating repetition. Between my boyfriend and I, we owned two lawnmowers, two toasters, four coffee makers, seven flashlights, and 29 pairs of scissors. I went room by room and distilled our belongings down to the best of each item, and we sold the runner-ups at a garage sale.</p> <h3>Increase Sharing</h3> <p>Another easy way to reduce clutter is by sharing. My brother-in-law Jonathan and I share a china pattern. He has place settings for 12 and I have place settings for eight (which is the maximum number of plates and cups that will fit into my kitchen cabinet). When I have a dinner party for more than eight people, I borrow Jonathan's dishes. When he needs spare pieces for an event, he borrows mine. I share a weed whacker and garden tools with my friend Laura and kitchen appliances with my neighbor Alexandra. What is the point of buying and storing items like ladders, luggage, or camping gear that get used only a few times a year, when I can save money and space by sharing these things with friends and neighbors? I'm not a doomsday prepper. There's no need for me to own my own everything.</p> <h3>Reduce Exposure to Advertising</h3> <p>Another thing I hate to admit about myself: I am super sensitive to advertising. While I am grateful to Pinterest, Etsy, and eBay for making my life easier and my wallet fatter, those sites are also incredibly triggering. Window-shopping on those sites fills me with desire for things I never knew existed and certainly don't need. Fashion magazines and blogs are equally <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/minimalist-purse-shopping-stupid-people-aka-accidental-coach-bag-collector/">crazy-making</a>. While in hardcore, downsizing, purge mode it is often necessary to take a sabbatical from media, social networks, and even people that encourage consumption.</p> <h3>Less Stuff = Less Stress</h3> <p>Reducing my belongings had an unforeseen benefit: It dramatically reduced my stress level. In addition to having 85% fewer things I had to curate, clean, and care for, it allowed me to stop looking at my everyday schedule as one, long To Do List. Every book in my house is something that needs to be read. The yarn needs to be knit into sweaters. The video games need to be played.</p> <h2>3. REUSE (Through Repair and Repurposing)</h2> <p>My great-grandfather was really good with money. He raised six kids on his earnings as a card shark. One of his favorite sayings was, &quot;Nothing is cheaper than the thing you already own.&quot; From an environmental standpoint, nothing is greener, either.</p> <p>As I write this I am wearing my new shorts. Last night they were my old jeans with holes in both knees. My new shorts will help me get through the disgusting heat of September in Los Angeles. I won't have to buy new shorts, nor will I have to buy new oven mitts for my kitchen, as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">leftover denim</a> from my old jeans will be sewn into hot pads. Also, I will save on electricity costs by wearing shorts to stay cool instead of turning on the air conditioning.</p> <p>Shopping in your own closet is one of the easiest ways of stretching your wardrobe budget. According to Ginny Snook Scott, the chief design officer of California Closets, the custom storage design firm, most women only wear 20% of their wardrobes. Before bringing anything new into the house I now ask myself, &quot;Do I already own something that I can use instead of this?&quot;</p> <h2>4. RECYCLE</h2> <p>Check with your local recycling plant to find out what is actually recyclable in your community. For example, mirrors and crystal are both made from glass. However, they are a different composition of glass than food jars and bottles, and cannot be recycled curbside in my city. Although single use plastic water bottles are recyclable in my area, the caps from the water bottles are not. Greasy cardboard food wrappers are not recyclable anywhere (although they can be composted).</p> <p>That said, a little research into your local recycling might result in some pleasant surprises. Many communities now have e-waste facilities that accept old appliances and computers. My e-waste depot also accepts old paint, pesticides, and other types of household chemicals. Nike collects old sports shoes of any brand that they turn into Grind Cover, a court surface for playgrounds. Most dry cleaners are happy to take returns of wire hangers. The Lions Club recycles old eyeglasses, with or without lenses.</p> <p><a href="http://www.earth911.com">Earth911</a> has a search application that helps users find recycling centers in their area for items like cell phones, batteries, CFLs, BBQ grills, and bicycles, too.</p> <h2>5. ROT (Compost Like a Champion)</h2> <p>While most people don't think about the trash they generate, garbage is the clutter that is forced onto other people. Composting is a great way to downsize your garbage clutter. Although there are tons of people who get all judge-y and micromanage-y about composting, composting is actually really easy. In fact, Mother Nature does all the heavy lifting. Banana peels, coffee grounds, cotton rags that have seen their last mess, cat hair, and paper and cardboard packaging that is too dirty to be recycled all gets broken down by microbes and worms in my backyard into nutrient-rich plant food, instead of languishing in the landfill. Even apartment dwellers without yards can compost their waste using an under-the-kitchen-sink worm bin. Let me just say from personal experience, that homemade worm poo compost is a great gift for all the gardeners in your life.</p> <p>People who do not have access to recycling in their community, can use composting as a way to keep paper waste out of the landfill. Before I had a yard with trees, the brown component of my compost consisted of pizza boxes, old phone books, and paper deli-wrap.</p> <p>By keeping paper food wrappers and food waste out of the kitchen garbage can, I can go over a month without having to empty the 13-gallon garbage can in my kitchen. (I can go on vacation without coming back to a house that smells like rotting food&mdash; bonus). Alas, even with my tiny garbage output, my garbage bill is the same as my neighbors that throw away everything. Even so, composting does help me save hundreds of dollars on my food and water costs.</p> <p>Organic compost costs $12 per bag at my local nursery, and fertilizer costs even more. My homemade compost works as an all-in-one soil amendment to make my clay soil more friable, as an organic fertilizer to feed both my crops and my decorative plants, and as water-saving mulch all over my yard. Just about every new home gardener has experienced the $20 home grown tomato &mdash; the start up costs of their garden exceed their actual grocery bill. Composting allows me to grow my homegrown produce, for much less than what I'd spend at the store for the same items.</p> <p>Finally, my <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">garden hack</a> of using citrus peels as biodegradable seed starter pots has been pinned over 165K times and been featured on design blogs and magazines ranging from Ready Made to Apartment Therapy to Buzzfeed. Food-based garbage is my friend.</p> <p><em>Have you recently downsized your house? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">How to Clear Out Financial Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization clutter compost declutter organization recycle Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Max Wong 1199025 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-450745419.jpg" alt="groceries" title="groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average person generates <a href="http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">4.3 pounds of waste</a> every day, and well over half of this waste (about 220 million tons) ends up in a landfill. Not only is this rate of trash production terrible for the planet, it wastes lots of your hard-earned money. While that single-use item or throw-away packaging feels convenient, disposable items are the same as throwing money in the trash. Save money, and be kind to the planet, by switching to one of these cost-effective reusable replacements instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Rechargeable Batteries</h2> <p>While rechargeable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-long-lasting-aa-batteries">batteries</a> cost more initially, they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, if used properly. At the end of their life cycle, rechargeable batteries can be recycled to keep toxic chemicals out of the landfill.</p> <h2>2. Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water has to be the biggest scam ever. Despite what the industry says, <a href="http://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/">bottled water</a> isn't any cleaner or healthier than tap water. The production of one plastic bottle uses more water to produce than actually put into the bottle for drinking! Skip the scam and carry tap water in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle">a non-BPA water bottle</a> instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Diva Cup</h2> <p>Disposable pads and tampons aren't the only option. Ladies, if you'd like to save money and be kind to the planet during your time of the month, consider a reusable option like <a href="http://matadornetwork.com/goods/no-tampons-no-problem-alternative-products-for-female-travelers/">menstrual cups or washable pads</a>.</p> <h2>4. Glass Food Storage Containers</h2> <p>Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and cheap plastic containers are all money in the trash. If you've got leftovers, or want to bring your lunch to work, store food in reusable glass containers instead (glass is better than plastic because it won't leach toxins into your food or retain food residue).</p> <h2>5. Cloth Shopping Bags</h2> <p>Those plastic bags they give you at the store aren't free. You pay for them in the form of increased food prices. They also take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill, often becoming microscopic plastic waste in the ocean. Buy or make your own cloth shopping bags, and you could receive a nice credit at the register. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans?ref=seealso">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a>)</p> <h2>6. DIY Swiffer Pads</h2> <p>If (like me) you've only got a small uncarpeted area, a full size mop and bucket are unnecessary. With a Swiffer you can give your kitchen and bathroom a quick once over without all the fuss. Instead of constantly buying disposable pads, make your own <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Swiffer-Mop-Pad-a-reusable-one!/">Swiffer pad</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=tag_title&amp;search_query=swiffer">washable one</a> on Etsy.</p> <h2>7. Safety Razor</h2> <p>Most of us shave at least one body part, and disposable razor heads are astronomically expensive. There are lots of <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-greener-alternatives-to-disposable-razors.html">greener alternatives to disposable razors</a>, however, including some that can be sharpened repeatedly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money On Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cloth Napkins and Cleaning Wipes</h2> <p>Paper napkins, paper towels, tissues, and disposable cleaning wipes are convenient, but incredibly wasteful. Using washable cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, and turning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">old t-shirts</a> into reusable cleaning cloths, will save heaps of money and drastically reduce your garbage production.</p> <h2>9. Permanent Coffee Filter</h2> <p>Still using bleached paper coffee filters to brew your morning java? Save lots of money with a permanent, reusable coffee filter instead. When dirty, simply run it through the dishwasher.</p> <h2>10. Diapers and Baby Wipes</h2> <p>Unlike disposable diapers, which cost a fortune, cloth diapers are softer, less-toxic, and result in zero landfill waste. Same thing goes for baby wipes. Consider using <a href="http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php">cloth diapers</a> and making your own reusable <a href="http://www.inhabitots.com/how-to-make-a-reusable-cloth-baby-wipe-kit/">cloth baby wipes kit</a>.</p> <h2>11. Dryer Balls</h2> <p>Fabric softener and dryer sheets are an expensive way to get the soft, clean-smelling clothes that you want. Save time, money, and energy with these <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/09/save-time-money-and-energy-make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html">DIY wool dryer balls</a> instead (tennis balls also work in a pinch, but they're loud).</p> <h2>12. Reusable Straws</h2> <p>Unless you're a baby (or have a physical condition that makes drinking difficult) I'm not really sure why you need a straw. Nevertheless, using a washable <a href="http://glassdharma.com/">glass</a> or <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/coffee-tea-and-drink-preparation/rsvp-international-stainless-steel-drinking-straws-wide-set-of-4.htm">metal straw</a> instead of the plastic ones drastically reduces waste.</p> <h2>13. Permanent Air Filter</h2> <p>To keep your home and car running efficiently, you need a clean air filter. Many people simply replace these disposable filters every few months, not realizing there are permanent alternatives.</p> <h2>14. Wrapping Paper</h2> <p>Paper wrappings and gift bags look good, but are often only used for minutes before being tossed in the trash. Save money and reduce paper waste with <a href="http://inhabitat.com/6-eco-friendly-gift-wrap-alternatives/">eco-friendly alternatives</a> like cloth gift bags and upcycled wrappings.</p> <h2>15. Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils</h2> <p>Whether you're planning a picnic (or simply packing a lunch) strive to use traditional metal cutlery that can be washed repeatedly. Really need a disposable option? Try compostable alternatives made from corn or bamboo.</p> <h2>16. Toothbrush</h2> <p>Toothbrush bristles wear out quickly, so to maintain a healthy smile, they've got to be replaced. This doesn't mean the entire toothbrush needs to end up in the trash, however. You can reduce 93% of toothbrush waste by using toothbrush handles with <a href="http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/sourcetoothbrush.aspx">replaceable heads</a>.</p> <h2>17. Vacuum Bags</h2> <p>Vacuums that require disposable bags are, well, vintage to say the least. Upgrade to a vacuum that features an easy-to-empty canister and washable air filter, and never waste money on vacuum bags again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-vacuums?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums</a>)</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Use the reusable comments box below to share your favorite reusables!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-household-uses-for-pantyhose">20 Household Uses for Pantyhose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home green living recycle reuse Tue, 13 May 2014 08:24:22 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1138731 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/denim-467362711.jpg" alt="jeans" title="jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Denim fabric is one of the few things in life that actually looks and feels better as it ages. And, unlike other textiles, denim never falls out of fashion. As a result of its timeless style, used denim, in the form of old jeans, is an inexpensive and easily available craft supply for just about everyone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>If you don't already have an old pair of jeans languishing in the back of your closet, collect a few pairs from your friends and family for free, or buy a stack of them at a charity shop or garage sale for less than $10. With a little planning and creativity, one pair of jeans can be cannibalized into more than one project. Even the grungiest jeans can be turned into something lovely, as spots and holes can be cut out.</p> <p>Whether you are a novice crafter or a advanced sewist, old jeans are a great starting point for a huge number of DIY projects, that range from charmingly primitive to sophisticated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties?ref=seealso">Great Uses for Old Ties</a>)</p> <h2>Quilts</h2> <p>There are tons of great examples of <a href="http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/budget-friendly-denim-quilt-project/">denim quilts</a> (with free patterns) available on the Internet.</p> <h2>Rugs and Floor Mats</h2> <p>By the way, denim quilts are very heavy and can also be easily used as area rugs.</p> <p>In addition to quilted floor mats (AKA the quilt you put on the floor), denim can also be used to create <a href="http://lieslmade.com/2013/07/16/woven-denim-rug-or-trivet-diy/">woven rugs</a>, <a href="http://proverbs31living.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/fluffy-denim-rag-rug-tutorial.html">rag rugs</a>, or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_H5JOGi5lA">braided rugs</a>.</p> <h2>Place Mats and Table Runners</h2> <p>Smaller strips of fabric left over from other project can be used to make mini quilts as place mats or table runners.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-180857677-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Pillows</h2> <p>Although denim patchwork has long been a staple of country style, it can look surprisingly modern. I like the idea of making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2013/03/old-jeans-recycled-into-ampersand.html">denim pillows</a> appliqued with punctuation marks rather than a traditional monogram.</p> <p>Jeans have long been associated with the American West. However, a <a href="http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/free-pattern-day-union-jack.html">Union Jack pillow</a>, made from vintage denim can inject a little English Punk Rock into any decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5?ref=seealso">Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>Floor Cushions, Poufs, and Pet Beds</h2> <p>Because denim is so tough, it's also a good fabric choice for <a href="http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/diy-eco-geometric-deni-cushion/">floor cushions</a>, <a href="http://www.michelemademe.com/2011/09/drop-dead-denim-one-tough-pouf.html">poufs</a>, and <a href="http://krydasu.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/denim-jeans-dog-bed.html">pet beds</a>.</p> <h2>Coasters</h2> <p>You really don't even have to know how to sew to make <a href="http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2010/05/16/recycled-denim-coaster/">denim coasters</a>. Use fabric glue or hot glue to make spiral-shaped coasters from the seams of old jeans. Pro tip: put a thick rubber band around the outer edge of the coaster while the glue cures. It will keep the spiral tightly rolled, and preserve the round edge.</p> <h2>Outdoor Furniture</h2> <p>The woven denim straps on this <a href="http://www.ecouterre.com/recycleddenimchallenge/wove-denim-charpai-cot-ready/">charpai</a> (Indian string cot) gave me a great idea for refurbishing old-school, fold-up lawn chairs that have lost their uncomfortable nylon webbing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks?ref=seealso">Simple Tricks to Make Old Furniture Shine</a>)</p> <h2>Director Chair Covers</h2> <p>Instead of buying new canvas, create <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9-or5bqk6w">padded seats and backs</a> from salvaged fabric.</p> <h2>Handbags</h2> <p>The Internet is full of patterns for <a href="http://verypurpleperson.com/2010/04/making-reversible-bag/">denim handbags</a> that range from chic to hideous. Use good judgment.</p> <h2>Firewood Totes</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/chirina/post143260512">firewood tote</a> would also make a great picnic basket. (Yes, they re-use and recycle in Russia, too.)</p> <h2>Storage Bins</h2> <p>Although craft maven Betz White originally designed the <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/denim_do-it-all_bins/">upcycled Do-It-All bins</a> to hold craft supplies, they would also be great for storing toys. Make these as gift baskets for food gifts. They would also be the perfect wine or water tote.</p> <h2>Sewing Machine Pad/Organizer</h2> <p>Keep all your <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluecottage/6176216490/">tools handy</a> for your next crafting binge.</p> <h2>Baby Bibs</h2> <p>Because used denim is soft and washable, it's a perfect material for making <a href="http://www.craftstylish.com/item/45454/how-to-make-a-recycled-bib">baby bibs</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>Aprons</h2> <p>Adult bibs, AKA aprons are a good way to use up random pockets. This apron tutorial is in Korean, but the photos show the step-by-step process of turning denim fabric and a washcloth into a cute <a href="http://blog.naver.com/hohuk212/20197089599">wrap-around apron</a>.</p> <h2>House Slippers</h2> <p>There are a number of free patterns for house slippers floating around on the Internet, but I thought <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/18/how-to-make-slippers-from-jeans">these were the cutest</a>. Pro tip: To make your own pattern, trace around the soles of a pair of flip-flop sandals for a more custom fit.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-120289526-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Softie Toys For Dogs and Babies</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/112018612/left-pocket-elephant-stuffed-toy-for%20">softie</a> would make the perfect tooth fairy pillow because of the pocket.</p> <p>FYI, when making toys for babies and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-Denim-Dog-Toy/">pets</a>, make sure to not use buttons, loose strings, or anything else that could be a choking hazard.</p> <h2>Cat Toys and Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>Although these were intended to be <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12967142@N05/3561993269/in/faves-lottakind/">cat toys</a>, these would also make very cute holiday decorations.</p> <h2>Christmas Wreaths</h2> <p>Speaking of holidays, a <a href="http://afishwholikesflowers.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/from-rags-to-wreath.html">denim Christmas wreath</a> is an easy, no-sew project that even kids could make.</p> <h2>Masks</h2> <p>Carnival is just around the corner! If you have a pair of embellished jeans that have seen better days, repurpose the denim and the doodads into a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/halloween_fantasy_mask/#more">fabulous mask</a>.</p> <p><em>What's the best repurposed denim item that you've seen or made?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things">15 Common Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">How to Make a Piggy Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-saving-ways-to-reuse-old-pantyhose">20 Money-Saving Ways to Reuse Old Pantyhose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY denim fabric uses recycle repurpose Fri, 21 Feb 2014 23:29:47 +0000 Max Wong 1198 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Common Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5133065-small.jpg" alt="corks" title="corks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Next time you finish up that last bit of tomato sauce from the jar, don&#39;t just think it&#39;s destined for the trash or recycle bin. There are plenty of opportunities to transform some common food packaging and kitchen cast-offs into repurposed treasures. This not only makes for useful new items around the home, but it will also save you money while being environmentally friendly. Here are just a few ideas you can try today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products to Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Coffee Cans</h2> <p>Upcycle a standard metal coffee can into an attractive kitchen tool holder by painting or covering the sides with a nice piece of fabric. Or, use decorative paper to make a nice-looking container to hold scissors and markers for arts and crafts. You can also paint the outside of coffee cans and poke holes in the bottom to make <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/10/22/10-simple-reuse-projects-in-30-minutes-or-less/2">coffee can flower pots</a> for herbs or small plants. For kids, transform a can into a piggy bank by cutting slots in the plastic top and decorating with stickers.</p> <h2>2. Milk Cartons</h2> <p>Cut the tops off plastic, gallon-sized milk jugs and fill them with sand to hold a candle steady. Line the cartons along a driveway or walkway for a great holiday or night time party effect. Or, <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/How-To-Cook/How-to-Make-Candles">use quart-sized milk containers as candle molds</a> to make unique, new candles to use as decor. Regular cardboard milk cartons also offer a multitude of craft ideas, such as <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/crafts-hobbies/milk-carton-sailboat-00000000039214/index.html">milk carton sailboats</a>, <a href="http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/milkcartonscontainersartscraftsideaskids.html">milk carton traffic lights</a> and <a href="http://www.parents.com/fun/arts-crafts/kid/make-a-milk-carton-bird-feeder/">milk carton bird feeders</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wine Bottles</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ktnrp-4358144-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Wine bottles are perfect for dressing up with ribbon, paper, fabric, or leaving as-is to make flower vases. You can go for a rustic look at a dining table by placing candles in a pair of matching bottles. Melted wax down the sides also makes for a very romantic, Italian eatery feel. Interesting bottles, such as those with clear glass, unique labels, and distinct shapes can act as beautiful shelf decor on their own.</p> <h2>4. Paper Towel Rolls</h2> <p>The inside cardboard roll of your paper towels is great for holding and organizing folded plastic grocery bags, preserving documents by rolling them up to prevent creases, or organizing loose ribbon by wrapping around the roll. Paper towel rolls also make excellent boot trees for propping up knee-high boots.</p> <h2>5. Baby Food Jars</h2> <p>Remove the labels from baby food jars and keep your nails, nuts, bolts, and screws organized in a tool drawer. Or, for the crafter, use them to collect and organize everything from push pins to beads to glitter. In the office, store a small stash of rubber bands and paper clips in such jars. For the cook, small baby food jars make great containers to hold homemade spice mixes and dried herbs.</p> <h2>6. Parmesan Cheese Container</h2> <p>Repurpose a parmesan cheese container into a holder of all things shaken, such as a sugar and cinnamon mixture to distribute on your morning waffle or glitter that can be easily shaken onto crafts. Or, fill it with baking soda to use along with your cleaning supplies for sprinkling into sinks or onto the carpet. It also makes a nice container for taking kids&#39; snacks on the run (think goldfish, mini pretzels, or any bite size foods).</p> <h2>7. Medium-Sized Jars</h2> <p>Medium-sized jars &mdash; like those for salsa, jam, or olives &mdash; can easily be decorated and repurposed into candle holders for small pillar candles. You can also fill these jars with decorative pebbles or bath crystals for a spa look in the bathroom. Jam jars are great to collect and use as a set of cool drinking glasses, especially for juice in the morning or fun cocktails at parties. Also try medium-sized jars for holding pencils and notepads near the phone and loose change and keys by the door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">Ideas for Canning Jars</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cereal Boxes</h2> <p>Cover your average cereal box with scrapbook paper and you have instant decorative storage for papers, bills, and kids&#39; artwork. Cereal boxes can also be upcycled into attractive <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/magazine-holder">DIY magazine holders</a>. They also make great places to store special photo copy paper and large mailing envelopes. Cool kid&#39;s crafts also abound, like the <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/park-and-play-garage">park and play cereal box garage</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">Creative Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a>)</p> <h2>9. Plastic Lidded Containers</h2> <p>Your butter, Cool Whip or deli meat containers are perfect for using as take home containers for guests or freezing foods. In addition, they make useful tubs to store dry goods, art supplies, office supplies, and small power cords in one place. For food items, just be sure to avoid heating things in these containers as certain types of plastics can leach into foods more easily.</p> <h2>10. Plastic Berry Baskets</h2> <p>Those green mesh-like baskets that hold fruits and berries at the supermarket make great under-sink storage for sponges and microfiber cloths. Or, cover a basket in fabric to hold small items, such as business cards, phones and chargers, or spools of thread. You can also follow <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/265483/decorated-berry-baskets">Martha Stewart&#39;s guide to decorated berry baskets</a> for a cute gift idea.</p> <h2>11. Wine Corks</h2> <p>Get creative with all those leftover wine corks and make a homemade bulletin board by gluing corks over the surface of a piece of wood. You can also try your hand at making your own <a href="http://www.youreallymadethat.com/wine-cork-trivet.php">wine cork trivet</a> or <a href="http://www.save-on-crafts.com/corkwreath.html">wine cork wreath</a>. Another idea is to label your corks with the event and date when you drank your bottle, and collect them in floor vases to make a unique, decorative display. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them">25 Things to Do With Used Corks</a>)</p> <h2>12. Large Jars</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ktnrp-4415531-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Large-sized jars, like those for spaghetti sauce or pickles, make great homemade vases. Simply decorate the outside with ribbon, glitter, or other embellishments. For faux flowers or to make a shelf display <a href="http://www.michaels.com/Cre8time-Painted-Jar-Vase/34507,default,pd.html">of painted jar vases</a>, pour colored paint inside a collection of jars. Large jars can also hold hair brushes, large cooking utensils, paint brushes, and tools. And lastly, there&#39;s no need to buy mason jars when you can reuse your large jars for making your own soups and sauces.</p> <h2>13. Mesh Produce Bags</h2> <p>Use your mesh bags that hold bunches of oranges, lemons, or onions to make kitchen scrubbers. If you wad a few bags together into a ball and secure them with a rubber band, you now have a great tool for scrubbing pots and pans. You can also string a thin rope or shoelace through the top of these bags to make an easy closing tote for carrying items to the beach or small sports equipment to the field. Also try to take empty ones to the farmer&#39;s market to use for new produce you buy.</p> <h2>14. Dish Soap Squirt Bottles</h2> <p>Once your dish liquid is gone, fill the bottle with vinegar to use for cleaning jobs around the house. I especially like this use for cleaning glass shower doors, as it&#39;s easier than lugging a jumbo bottle of vinegar around. Squirt bottles also work great for other cleaning solutions, like carpet cleaners and clothing stain removers, where you want to disperse liquids onto targeted areas.</p> <h2>15. Coffee Sleeves</h2> <p>If Starbucks or any other coffee shop is a regular part of your day, then start collecting your <a href="http://birdsandbloomsblog.com/2012/03/16/turn-your-favorite-cup-of-coffee-into-planters/">coffee sleeves to use for starter seeds</a> for indoor plants. If you&#39;re crafty, you can cut sleeves into shapes to make artsy, corrugated gift tags to use on presents, or try making yourself a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/coffee_sleeve_wreath/">coffee sleeve wreath</a>. And, one very green action is to literally save your sleeve and use it again for its original purpose during your next visit to the coffee shop.</p> <p><em>What other items do you repurpose around the house?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-magic-marker-money-safe">The Magic Marker Money Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY DIY recycle repurpose storage Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:24:03 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1034262 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3841316451_4f7780e92c_z.jpg" alt="woman on vintage sofa" title="woman on vintage sofa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're pretty accustomed to an economy that encourages us to buy, use, and dispose of things. Furniture, clothing, electronics &mdash; nothing really seems to LAST anymore, does it?</p> <p>Well, let's say that you have something you really like &mdash; maybe an heirloom armoire or a pair of shoes or an old Datsun, and you WANT that thing to last. There's nothing wrong with that. You just need to be schooled in the art of repair. Here are 18 ways to make old stuff feel like new. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You&nbsp;Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Clean It</h2> <p>Well, this one seems perfectly obvious, doesn't it? From patios to cars to clothing, a good deep cleaning can make almost any old thing seem new again. Have you ever power-washed a driveway? There is nothing more Zen that that. Oh, sure, it's kind of a waste of water, but seeing that perfectly new, shiny concrete staring back at you? Bliss.</p> <p>I recently dropped my wedding ring into a little jar of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Connoisseurs-Jewelry-Cleaner-Revitalizing-oz/dp/B000QA2IHC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1333047527&amp;sr=8-2">jewelry cleaner</a>, waited the required 30 seconds, then cleaned it with a little brush and let it dry. I was absolutely amazed at how beautiful it looked. Before the cleaning, my ring was looking dull, and I was even struggling to remember why I wanted it in the first place. Now, it's brilliantly shiny and looks as good as new.</p> <p>A good deep-cleaning of your car can probably make it feel less junky, too &mdash; if you need the carpets cleaned, you can outsource that, but do the other detailing yourself. It's not hard to get those vents clean with some Q-Tips and a little Windex.</p> <h2>2. Polish It</h2> <p>Polishing is such a great way to make old things look new &mdash; probably the easiest, actually. Some Murphy's oil soap will make an old oak table gleam like new. Have a pair of lace-up Oxfords that have seen better days? Learn <a href="http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/29/how-to-get-the-best-shoe-shine/">how to polish your shoes</a>, a long-lost art that even my dad finally stopped doing sometime in 2002.</p> <p>Waxing and polishing a car, even one whose paint job has seen better days, can make you feel better about driving that old Mazda to work every day. My mom seems to enjoy <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/dusting-polishing/polish-silver-00000000002298/index.html">polishing silver</a>, which I guess can be a form of meditation.</p> <p>Not everything that acquires a patina of age has to be polished &mdash; maybe you LIKE your silver to look tarnished, and that's perfectly fine.</p> <h2>3. Paint It</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint can make almost anything seem new and exciting. Whether you're <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/before-after-refinished-dresser-card-catalog.html">sprucing up old furniture</a>, <a href="http://theinspiredroom.net/2012/01/05/painting-stripes/">redecorating a room</a>, trying to <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_12030235_decorate-colors-brighten-hallway.html">brighten a hallway</a>, or improving the appearance of a <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-paint-a-concrete-floor/index.html">stained concrete floor</a>, paint is your friend. Although this isn't something I would recommend as a DIY, sometimes paying to have your car repainted can make an old clunker feel like something a bit more special.</p> <h2>4. Oil It</h2> <p>You know how the little annoyances in life can really add up and <a href="http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html">make you hate stuff?</a> One of the things that drives me bonkers is a squeaky door. It's nothing a little WD-40 can't handle, but since everyone keeps their WD-40 in the garage, how often do we get around to oiling squeaky hinges, cleaning garden tools and bicycle parts, or removing rust from metal stuff like cars and gates? I've started keeping a can of WD-40 on every floor of my house (there are three stupid floors in my townhouse), so I never have an excuse not to oil things that need it.</p> <h2>5. Re-cover It</h2> <p>Sometimes you don't really need a new couch, you just need a new cover for the couch. While removable covers are easy to wash, they don't always fit well and tend to wrinkle. Maybe you have a love seat that you adore, but it's old and faded. If the bones are still good, why not just give it a facelift with some new fabric?</p> <p>Reupholstering performed by a professional isn't cheap, but if you have a piece of heirloom furniture that you don't want to part with, it's an excellent option. Or maybe you found some antique stools on Craigslist that have seen better days &mdash; you can probably do a little <a href="http://myeverydayexceptional.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-recovering-stool.html">DIY reupholstering</a> and not only save money, but have also gain bragging rights.</p> <h2>6. Sand It</h2> <p>Sometimes, before you even get to the painting or the re-staining, old wooden stuff just needs a good sanding. Whether it's a door that you're turning into a table, or a wooden deck that puts splinters into bare feet, or an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3jNLW6LCc">original wood floor</a> that you found under all your old carpets, a good power sander can take old wood from craggy to perfect.</p> <p>If you've never sanded anything before (and don't have a sander), you can rent all the tools that you will need from your local hardware store. Be sure to ask for lots of advice and be very specific about your project. Sanding is somewhere between art and science, but if you have the patience for it, it will make every wood-based project work out better in the end.</p> <h2>7. Mend It</h2> <p>How many of you even know how to sew a basting stitch? Raise your hand if you do. I don't. Well, OK, I have a general idea, because I used to know <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/mendingandalterations/tp/Repair_and_Mend_Clothing.htm">how to sew</a>, but my technique has faltered over the years, and now I'm lucky if I don't end up stabbing myself in the cheek with a needle whenever I break out the ol' sewing kit. But mending small tears in fabric can keep your favorite t-shirt from hitting the rag pile. The sooner you attend to rips and snags, the better your chance of keeping a garment in wearable condition.</p> <h2>8. Repair It</h2> <p>When your favorite watch stops working, do you throw it away? Of course not. You change the battery and/or get it fixed. Most people aren't schooled in the art of watch repair, but there are other less-technical fixes that you can perform yourself. Whether you are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">repairing household items</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">working on your car</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat">your bike</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it">redesigning your website</a>, there are a plethora of ways to keep old stuff functioning.</p> <h2>9. Patch It</h2> <p>Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to part with a beloved item of clothing. &quot;But I've had this since college!&quot; you howl to your wife as she attempts to throw away your acid-washed, high-waisted, pleated, tapered jeans that don't fit you anymore anyway. &quot;There's a hole in the butt!&quot; counters your wife, who is a reasonable woman with good taste in clothes and just wants you to look like you didn't step out of a John Hughes film. &quot;I can patch that!&quot; you counter, delighted with your ability to <a href="http://www.ironpatches.co/">apply a stick-on denim patch</a>.</p> <h2>10. Hem It</h2> <p>Hemlines seem to go up and down at random, and while I would never advocate blindly following trends, hemming a pair of pants can be a good way to get more mileage out of clothing that might have seen better days. A few years ago, really long hems were in style, so that women walked around with no visible feet. After a while, such pants lose their bloom, because the long length means that the pant legs become scuffed and dirty from brushing against the ground so often. Such a pair of pants would benefit from a professional or <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/diyfashion101/ss/HemPants.htm">DIY hemming</a> &mdash; have them taken up to a couple of inches above the ankle. It's a good summery look that will be fashionable for at least a few more years to come.</p> <h2>11. Bleach It/Dye It</h2> <p>Have a white shirt that really flatters your waist but is hopelessly marred by a tomato stain? If <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_2305232_bleach-clothes-white.html">bleaching a stained shirt</a> doesn't do the trick, <a href="http://shirt.woot.com/blog/viewentry.aspx?id=4944">try dying your shirt</a> the color of the stain. Tie-dying is a fun way to update old t-shirts, if you enjoy looking like a Grateful Dead fan (or ARE a Grateful Dead fan). You can also use <a href="http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Ombre-Dip-Dye-116422238">dip-dye methods</a> if you like today's ombre styles.</p> <h2>12. Embellish It</h2> <p>You can turn an old headband into a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/90871710/great-gatsby-goes-green-feather-sequin?ref=sr_gallery_6&amp;ga_search_query=sequin+fascinator&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=handmade">fancy-schmancy fascinator</a> using a sequin applique and some hot glue. And bedazzling isn't just for your ladybits anymore &mdash; you can create <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-jeweled-heels/">snazzy-looking heels</a> or <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-sneakers-vans-giveaway/">dazzling sneakers</a> with some powerful epoxy and fake jewels. If you have a pair of jeans that you want to take from dull to punk, let me introduce you to studs.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iAP2LSEdQRY" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/iAP2LSEdQRY">Watch video</a></p> <h2>13. Repurpose/Upcycle It</h2> <p>&quot;Upcycling&quot; is a term that gets a fair amount of mockery these days &mdash; it basically involves taking something old, like a sweater, and creating something new out of it, like a teddy bear or a pair of leg warmers. If you spend time on <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&amp;q=upcycled&amp;order=most_relevant&amp;ship_to=US&amp;view_type=gallery">Etsy </a>(or <a href="http://www.regretsy.com/?s=upcycled">Regretsy</a>), you'll know that there is almost no stopping the &quot;upcyling&quot; trend, sometimes for the worse. However, <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274800/repurposed-furniture-and-decor/@center/277003/home-smarts">repurposing old goods</a> can result in some stunning (and useful!) projects. Take this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/storyteller-by-isabel-quiroga-93022">workspace created from old coffee tables</a>. If you do have a knack for sewing, then you might find your calling in <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/style/seven-smooches-repurposed-clothing-for-kids.html">repurposed kids' clothing</a> or <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/from-the-closet-to-the-couch-w-98922">accessories for the home</a>.</p> <p>The original repurposed project, the <a href="http://www.tshirtquilts.com/">homemade t-shirt quilt</a>, can be outsourced now, so even if you can't sew worth a darn (heh), you can still find a comfy use for your old alma mater sweatshirts.</p> <h2>14. Stain It</h2> <p>My dad is a bit obsessive when it comes to decks. He always builds them himself, and keeps them swept, washed, and perfectly stained. It's an annual event at our household &mdash; the 24 hours or so when we all have to use the front door instead of the back. I'll say this, though &mdash; our deck is well over 25 years old, but still looks great.</p> <p>In a similar spirit, my mom seems to have a gift for renewing old furniture. First, she strips the old varnish off using Jasco or something equally toxic. Next, she fixes any dings or dents with filler. Lastly, she carefully applies one to three new coats of stain, and then a final coat of varnish. <a href="http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/how-to-refinish-furniture.htm">Refinishing old furniture</a> is quite a bit of work, and you need a good, well-ventilated space to do it in, but it can really improve the overall look of your vintage pieces.</p> <h2>15. Accept It</h2> <p>Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Sometimes, it's easier to accept that you don't have the skills or the time to actually return your stuff to a minty-new condition, so you either accept that it's old, or you....</p> <h2>16. Sell It/Donate It</h2> <p>After all, someone, somewhere, will have the time and the energy to turn your old apple crates into an <a href="http://www.recyclart.org/2009/03/apple-crates-shelves/">awesome set of media shelves</a>. There's not always virtue in holding on to stuff you don't need or aren't using or are simply tired of. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">Get rid of your junk</a>, and keep the things that really matter.</p> <h2>17. Put a Bird On It</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0XM3vWJmpfo" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/0XM3vWJmpfo">Watch video</a></p> <h2>18. Stick a Plant In It</h2> <p>There are very few objects that you CAN'T use as a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/15-repurposed-planters-just-ad-142393">planter</a>, it turns out. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/46959088@N03/4776576877/">Old tea kettle</a>? <a href="http://greenscrafts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ah-that-tin.html">Old tin</a>? <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf34031043.tip.html">Pink toilet</a>? <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_10075912_wooden-homemade-cowboy-boot-flower-planter.html">Cowboy boots</a>? <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5888327/repurpose-a-wooden-wine-crate-into-a-planter">Wine crate</a>? You can plant anything in these and get away with it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Style buying used recycle repairs reuse Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Andrea Karim 876943 at http://www.wisebread.com 22 Ways to Reuse Paper http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/22-ways-to-reuse-paper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rabbit.jpg" alt="Rabbit with paper" title="Rabbit with paper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you feel guilty tossing stacks of flyers, scrap paper, and junk mail into the recycling bin? All that perfectly good paper, hardly even used. What a waste! Recycling is good, but it still takes energy and creates waste and emissions. The good thing is, there are plenty of things you can do to reuse paper before recycling it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Printing</h2> <p>Yes, it&rsquo;s obvious, but it surprises me how many people don&rsquo;t bother with printing on the back of scrap computer paper. Use scrap paper to print coupons, directions, meeting minutes, shopping lists, and other necessities. To make it easier, keep a tray of scrap paper next to the printer for easy access.</p> <h2>2. Pet Cage Liner</h2> <p>Newspaper and junk mail is perfect for lining a bird cage or shredding for hamster bedding. Just be sure that the paper you use is printed with non-toxic ink (brown paper bags and black and white newspaper is usually fine).</p> <h2>3. Woven Basket</h2> <p>Design*Sponge recently showcased an easy tutorial for reusing your brown packing paper (ubiquitous in Amazon shipments, for example) to weave this beautiful <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/01/sewing-101-recycled-paper-basket.html">recycled paper basket</a>. Use the paper basket to corral your junk mail or to hold scrap paper for further reuse!</p> <h2>4. Doodle Pad</h2> <p>Tear used computer paper (printed on one side) into quarters and stack them (or clip them) neatly by the telephone for doodling while you&rsquo;re on hold, or for jotting down messages.</p> <h2>5. Origami</h2> <p>Used wrapping paper, greeting cards, the comic section of the newspaper, and even colorful junk mail can be used to fold all sorts of cute origami, from jewelry boxes to paper cranes to adorable <a href="http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2012/01/make-origami-cat-bookmark.html">origami cat bookmarks</a>. Chocolate bar tablets used to be wrapped in gold or silver paper that was perfect for origami, but I've noticed that this isn't as common anymore.</p> <h2>6. Beads for Jewelry</h2> <p>Old magazines and wrapping paper can be rolled into pretty paper beads to make unique jewelry. There&rsquo;s an <a href="http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/bead5.htm">easy paper-bead tutorial</a> at HowStuffWorks. This would be a fun project for kids as well.</p> <h2>7. Light a Fire</h2> <p>We usually save brown paper bags, packing paper, and newspaper for the fireplace, but again, make sure that the paper is printed with non-toxic inks.</p> <h2>8. Wall Art</h2> <p>Frame pretty patterned wrapping paper (or greeting cards, or wallpaper) in simple frames for a boost of color in your home. Alternatively, use wrapping paper as matting for photos, create a garland or bunting to hang on the wall, or frame interesting magazine covers.</p> <h2>9. Paper-Mache Piñata</h2> <p>One of my family&rsquo;s traditions was to create a paper-mache piñata for birthday parties. Ours were usually simple paper-mache balls filled with candy, but you could fancy yours up and make them all sorts of fantastic shapes (one year, I made a roly-poly pig using a balloon and toilet paper rolls as a frame). Kids love whacking the piñata with a bat and gathering the goodies at parties. Check out this <a href="http://video.about.com/familycrafts/How-to-Make-a-Pinata.htm">easy video tutorial for making a piñata</a>.</p> <h2>10. Gift Wrap</h2> <p>Reuse comics, sheet music, or even plain brown packing paper to wrap gifts. You can pretty them up with gift tags made from scrap paper and leftover ribbons. For small gifts, a fun idea is to use business envelopes turned inside-out to wrap a gift, showing the pretty blue or gray security pattern inside.</p> <h2>11. Window Cleaning</h2> <p>Nothing beats good ol&rsquo; newspaper and vinegar for sparkling, streak-free windows.</p> <h2>12. Garden Mulch</h2> <p>Non-toxic newsprint can be an excellent mulch for your garden plants. Tear the newspaper into strips and put a layer around your plants to keep the soil moist and deter weeds. The newspaper will eventually break down and enrich the soil. If you think this looks unsightly, use it only in the backyard vegetable garden, or add a layer of bark chips over the top to make it look prettier.</p> <h2>13. Compost</h2> <p>Newspaper can be an integral part of a well-balanced compost pile and counts as a carbon-rich (or &ldquo;brown&rdquo; component). Tear the newspaper into strips or small pieces to help it break down faster. Again, use only newspaper or paper with non-toxic inks (no glossy magazines).</p> <h2>14. Drop Cloth</h2> <p>Save newspaper and junk mail to use as a drop cloth for your painting and crafting projects.</p> <h2>15. Paper Dolls</h2> <p>Stiff cardstock (such as the back of greeting cards) can be cut into simple paper dolls, and then colorful wrapping paper or leftover computer paper can be fashioned into an entire wardrobe. Draw the dolls yourself, or find an easy template online.</p> <h2>16. Paper Wreath</h2> <p>Martha Stewart has this idea for using the pages of an old book to create the leaves for this beautiful <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/271540/vintage-paper-leaf-wreath?center=859439&amp;gallery=274865&amp;slide=207848">paper wreath</a>, perfect for gracing your front door.&nbsp;</p> <h2>17. Gift Basket Filling</h2> <p>Shred colorful wrapping and tissue paper and use it as filler in DIY gift baskets or Easter baskets that you make with the kids.</p> <h2>18. Seedling Pots</h2> <p>Use leftover paper egg cartons or toilet paper rolls that have been folded on the bottom to start your own seeds for the garden. They&rsquo;re perfect since they supply good drainage and aeration. Since the &ldquo;seedling pots&rdquo; are biodegradable, you can just break them up and bury them when you plant the seedlings in your garden.</p> <h2>19. Cable and Junk Organizers</h2> <p>Toilet and paper towel rolls are perfect for organizing computer cables and corralling other random stuff. Cut a slit in one side of the roll, and then slip rolled-up cables into the toilet paper &ldquo;sleeve.&rdquo; You can also use this to organize craft supplies such as ribbons and string, and keep your wrapping paper rolls from unrolling. Flattened rolls can be used to store knives.</p> <h2>20. Ripen Fruit</h2> <p>Place <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">unripe fruit</a> in a paper bag or wrap in newspaper to help it to ripen more quickly.</p> <h2>21. Homemade Cards</h2> <p>A sweet way to reuse greeting cards is to cut out the pictures (pretty flowers, birds, and other images) and use them to create a new card. You might reuse last year's Christmas card from your grandma to make a new card to send her this year, for example.</p> <h2>22. Packing Material</h2> <p>If you can&rsquo;t find another creative use for your junk mail, just scrunch it up and use it to pack a box.&nbsp; Some thrift stores may also accept paper donations for wrapping up fragile objects when they&rsquo;re sold.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget to reduce the amount of paper that comes through your household by <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm">opting out of junk mail</a>, and going paperless for bills if your area offers it. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap">subscribe to magazines</a>, offer them to a friend who might be interested in reading them before you toss them in the recycling bin. Donate or sell used books.&nbsp;</p> <p>Please, never throw perfectly good paper into the trash. We have enough paper already lining our landfills, and we already cut down enough trees to make &ldquo;virgin&rdquo; paper products.</p> <p><em>How do you reuse paper in your home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living crafts paper recycle Mon, 06 Feb 2012 10:48:17 +0000 Camilla Cheung 886511 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tree huggers.jpg" alt="25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today" title="25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&rsquo;t need to be told to turn the lights off, but what else can you do to reduce your carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly today? Sometimes changing a small bad habit is all it takes to make a positive change for the environment. Other changes require a little more work, but the effort is worth it both for your wallet and the planet. Check out our big list of easy eco-friendly changes you can make right now.</p> <h3>1. Wash Clothes in Cold Water</h3> <p>Much of the energy used to wash clothing is spent on heating the water. Doing the laundry in cold water is effective for all but the most heavily soiled clothing, helps to prevent shrinking, and won&rsquo;t wear your clothes out as quickly. Another great way to save energy &mdash; hang dry your clothes! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kilowatts-a-killer-tips-for-air-drying-clothes">Tips for Air-Drying Clothes</a>)</p> <h3>2. Open or Close the Blinds</h3> <p>In the winter, harness the sun&rsquo;s energy by opening the curtains during the day and letting the sun warm your house. In the summer, close the blinds while you&rsquo;re away to keep the house cool.</p> <h3>3. Recycle!</h3> <p>The amount of paper and cardboard that goes into our landfills is disgusting. A lot of product packaging (cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles) can be recycled, so the next time you find yourself dumping that cookie box in the trash, think again. If in doubt, check with your local recycling program to see what can and cannot be recycled.</p> <h3>4. Don&rsquo;t Leave the Water Running</h3> <p>Hopefully (since you&rsquo;re reading this), you&rsquo;re not one of those people who leaves the water running when you&rsquo;re brushing your teeth. Also, don&rsquo;t wash a pile of dishes under constantly running water. Fill the sink instead, and then rinse the dishes in a fresh sink of water.</p> <h3>5. Use Natural Cleaners</h3> <p>Use vinegar, baking soda, and other natural cleaning solutions instead of conventional cleaners. Alternatively, buy an eco-friendly brand of cleaner or detergent (such as Clorox GreenWorks, Seventh Generation, Method, or Mrs. Meyers).</p> <h3>6. Turn Down and Insulate Your Water Heater</h3> <p>If your water heater isn&rsquo;t adequately insulated (it feels warm to the touch), you can save energy by insulating it to prevent heat loss. Insulating jackets or blankets are cheap to buy, and if you have an electric water heater, you can install it yourself. Read more about it at <a href="http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070">EnergySavers.Gov</a>. While you&rsquo;re at it, turn down the thermostat to 120⁰F on your water heater to prevent water from being heated until scalding hot (it&rsquo;s safer too).</p> <h3>7. Start Composting</h3> <p>Start a <a href="http://www.wholeliving.com/article/how-to-start-composting?backto=true&amp;backtourl=/photogallery/easy-ways-to-be-more-green#slide_21">compost bin</a> with kitchen scraps, old newspaper, and other organic materials. Use this fertile compost in your garden instead of commercial fertilizer.</p> <h3>8. Buy Pre-Owned Stuff</h3> <p>Shop on Craigslist, on eBay, and at local consignment and thrift stores for furniture, housewares, and clothing. Buy used books instead of new ones.</p> <h3>9. Buy Local Produce</h3> <p>Reduce your carbon footprint by buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farms. Even if you shop at a big grocery store, produce should be labeled with its place of origin. Buying locally reduces emissions from fuel used to transport food to you and supports local farmers.</p> <h3>10. Buy Music Online</h3> <p>Instead of buying CDs, buy digital files of the newest music. It's cheap and easy, and you reduce the amount of material used to produce a physical CD as well as the gas required to drive to the music store.</p> <h3>11. Carpool to Work or School</h3> <p>Save money and the environment at the same time by carpooling to work or school. As an added bonus, you&rsquo;ll get to use the carpool lane. Even better, bike or walk to work if possible.</p> <h3>12. Unplug Electronic Devices</h3> <p>Computers and other electronic devices continue to use energy even when they&rsquo;re turned off. Unplug them when you&rsquo;re not using them to save energy. Try using a power strip for your home electronics that you can switch off when not in use.</p> <h3>13. Reuse Scrap Paper</h3> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re taking notes for a class or letting your toddler go nuts with the crayons, never recycle a piece of office paper until it has been used on both sides.</p> <h3>14. Go Paper-Free</h3> <p>Cancel your newspaper subscription and subscribe to the online version instead. Send <a href="http://new.evite.com/#home">Evites </a>instead of paper invitations. Use email instead of the fax machine.</p> <h3>15. Get a Reusable Water Bottle</h3> <p>Get a stainless-steel or BPA-free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">reusable water bottle</a> instead of keeping a case of bottled water around.</p> <h3>16. Install a Water-Saving Showerhead</h3> <p>Today&rsquo;s low-flow showerheads have come a long way, and many of them have excellent water pressure, meaning you don&rsquo;t have to sacrifice comfort for the environment.</p> <h3>17. Eat Sustainable Seafood</h3> <p>Check out the <a href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx">Monterey Bay Aquarium&rsquo;s guides</a> to sustainable seafood. Some popular types of fish, such as Chilean sea bass, imported mahi-mahi, farmed salmon, red snapper, and certain types of tuna, are being overfished or are caught/farmed in ways that are harmful to the environment. They even have a sustainable guide to sushi!</p> <h3>18. Use a Reusable Shopping Bag</h3> <p>Plastic grocery bags are recyclable, but usually you have to bring them to special collection points (check if your local grocery store has one). Avoid the waste and the hassle by getting yourself a reusable shopping bag, which will be sturdier and more stylish anyway. Be sure to wash your bag periodically to prevent bacteria buildup.</p> <h3>19. Change the Lightbulbs</h3> <p>Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use a quarter of the wattage of regular bulbs and last way longer. These days, they come in a range of colors (from warm yellow to cool white) and don&rsquo;t flicker like they used to. Be sure to recycle them properly when they burn out though &mdash; CFLs contain mercury and shouldn&rsquo;t be dumped in a landfill.</p> <h3>20. Switch to Cloth Diapers</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got a little one, you might want to consider trying cloth diapers. Think of the mountain of disposable diapers your child has produced by the time he/she is a toddler!&nbsp; Today&rsquo;s cloth diapers, such as the <a href="http://stinkerpants.com/weblog/post/being-a-hippy-mama-step-1-cloth-diapers-and-wipes">gDiaper</a>, are designed to be user-friendly, and with modern high-efficiency washing machines, don&rsquo;t take a lot of water and energy to wash. If it&rsquo;s easier, try a combination of cloth and disposable diapers as your needs allow.</p> <h3>21. Be Green When Traveling</h3> <p>Many hotels have figured out that being more environmentally conscious can save them money. Follow hotel guidelines for reducing water use by reusing your towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day. Choose to support hotels and tours that minimize their carbon footprint. Airplane travel is very polluting; if possible, minimize plane travel and pack light to reduce fuel consumption.</p> <h3>22. Drive Smart</h3> <p>Do your best to save energy and reduce emissions when driving. Don&rsquo;t idle your car (a pet peeve of mine!). Make sure tires are properly inflated and aligned, and maintain your car (worn out spark plugs, clogged air filters, and other problems can lower gas mileage). Avoid driving aggressively with sudden stops and speeding, both of which also lower gas mileage.</p> <h3>23. Plug Leaks in Your Home</h3> <p>Caulking windows and weather-stripping doors is cheap and easy enough to do yourself. Preventing leaks in your home can save you money and reduce energy consumption.</p> <h3>24. Turn Down (or Up) the Thermostat</h3> <p>Having grown up in Canada, I&rsquo;ve noticed that often I&rsquo;ve come in from the freezing cold outside into a steamy hot house. I have to immediately peel off layers of sweaty clothing. Why not just wear a sweater inside the house, and turn the heat down a degree or two? If you live in a hot climate, try the opposite.</p> <h3>25. Sell or Donate Used Stuff</h3> <p>Instead of dumping old clothes and other reusable stuff in the trash, sell it at a yard sale or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">donate it to the local Goodwill</a>. Someone else will benefit from your unwanted possessions.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for greening your lifestyle? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/old-calendars-never-really-go-out-of-date">Old calendars never really go out of date.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living 25 changes energy efficiency recycle reuse Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:24:16 +0000 Camilla Cheung 766486 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make a Piggy Bank http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2301500208_7136f3fa7d.jpg" alt="kitty coin jar" title="kitty coin jar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm normally a debit swiping, credit-card carrying shopper who rarely makes cash purchases. However, this year I'm using cash a little more than usual which equates to coins rolling around the bottom of my purse, backpack, car, and pockets. Since I don't like being weighed down by these precious metals or the idea of losing them, I've started saving all of my loose change in a do-it-yourself piggy bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</a>)</p> <p>I must say I love watching my coins multiply. Not only is it motivating to watch the piggy bank fill up, it's relaxing to actually dump out the coin bank and count how much I've accumulated, which then ends up getting rolled up and hidden away toward my camping trip fund. Here are several ideas on making your own piggy bank.</p> <h3>Easy, Simple Banks</h3> <p>Grab a container from around your house and put a slit in it.</p> <p><strong>Glass Mason Jars</strong></p> <p>It's no wonder glass <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/multiplicity-of-uses-for-a-mason-jar">Mason jars</a> have been in existence for 125 years &mdash; they serve various functions from canning to drinking glasses to storage containers. I chose a large Mason jar for my own piggy bank because it was so easy to use. All I had to do is cut a small slit through the top large enough for quarters to slide through. Since it's glass I can also see how much I've accumulated without dumping out the entire jar. It's a great piggy bank for children to use as well since they can practice estimating what they see, then follow up by counting the actual amount. The only precaution I'd add is that it is glass, and though thick, it could still easily break if dropped. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">Sanity Saving Ideas for Canning Jars</a>)</p> <p><img height="544" width="500" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/IMG_2458_0.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>5-Gallon Jugs</strong></p> <p>If you use cash quite often and end up with tons of coins, a 3- or 5-gallon jug might be another option for storing that money. These reusable water jugs come in plastic or glass, so depending on if you have someone strong enough to lift a filled jug, it could be quite motivating watching the amount grow. I can usually save about $50 in my small Mason jar before I need to empty it. I would imagine that a filled 3- or 5-gallon jug could hold close to 10-times that amount!</p> <p><strong>Tin Cans</strong></p> <p>Any tin can with a plastic lid can be turned into a piggy bank within seconds: coffee cans, baby formula cans, or Pringle's cans. The only disadvantage is that you can't see the accumulation of coins from the outside. However, this could be beneficial if you find yourself raiding your coin collection every now and then; the out of sight, out of mind mentality definitely reduces temptation. Using one of these can-banks with children can teach them estimation skills based on weight; they can guess how much is in the can based on how heavy it is, then count the amount to see how close they were.</p> <h3>Fun, Creative Banks</h3> <p>Want to add a little fun to your homemade piggy bank? Get out your scissors, glue, and googly eyes.</p> <p><strong>From Milk Jug to Animal Bank</strong></p> <p>Maybe it's because I've taught elementary school for many years, but give me an empty milk jug, some construction paper, felt-tip markers, and googly eyes and almost any item can be turned into an animal of sorts. Turn an empty, cleaned out, plastic milk jug on its side (handle up) and cut a slit under the handle large enough to slip a quarter through. Next, decorate the cap for the nose and glue on some googly eyes and pom-poms for decoration. Finally, using a paper towel or toilet paper tube, cut four 2&quot; sections and glue on the bottom of the milk jug for feet. When the jug is filled with coins, you can cut open your &quot;piggy&quot; bank or empty it through the cap.</p> <p><strong>Half Gallon Carton to Skyscraper Coin Collector</strong></p> <p>If you don't happen to purchase drinks in plastic gallon container, a half gallon carton can serve as a coin collector as well. Rinse out the carton and let it dry. Use construction paper, crayon, and markers to decorate windows, doors, bricks, etc. Using white glue, like Elmer's, glue the construction paper on the outside of the container, including the top part where the tops form a triangle. Cut a slit for coins at the top, or if it has a screw on lid, most coins will fit through that opening. The carton shape can be decorated into any creation, from building, to rocket, to cell phone; it can be a fun way to teach saving and reinforce counting money.</p> <p><strong>Soda Can/Coin Jar Sculpture</strong></p> <p>If you're really creative and love finding ways to reuse soda cans, consider creating a soda can sculpture using fishing line or wire hangers that can collect your spare change. Just be sure to cut a larger opening at the top and make sure little fingers don't get too close to any sharp edges. Turning the severed edges in toward the inside of the can will help minimize jagged edges. Once the &quot;sculpture&quot; is full, you can cut off the tops of the cans to empty and then recycle.</p> <p>These are just a few ways to reuse everyday items and help create a small rainy-day savings fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-mason-jar-gifts-you-can-make">9 Easy Mason Jar Gifts You Can Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY mason jars piggy banks recycle reusable Thu, 31 Mar 2011 10:36:08 +0000 Little House 509354 at http://www.wisebread.com