Tip Of The Day: You see an empty coffee can, I see a piggy bank. You see an old sock, I see a dust rag. You see a pack of gum, I see the makings of a bomb… okay, maybe not the last one.
Today we’re looking at our stuff in a whole new way, and repurposing it for new, well, purposes.
Tip For The Weekend: If you were me (and clearly, you are not, seeing as how I am me and you are you. Whatever.), you would be getting your NERD on by working on your Ren Fest costumes this Saturday, 4 months before the Fest even starts.
I just like to be prepared. Ooooo, and shiny.
Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: The other day I was in my shower – aka. The Land Where All Great Ideas Live – and I had, oddly enough, a Great Idea. Not a brilliant idea, like Blair from The Facts Of Life. (Is it just me, or did you want to SMACK HER SMUG FACE RIGHT UP every time she announced that she had another so-called brilliant idea? No? Oh.)
Anyway, there I was, in the shower. And I noticed that part of my shower curtain had turned pink. I touched it, and it was kinda slimy. My first thought was, ‘oh, that must be the residue from my shampoo.’
But then it occurred to me. I don’t HAVE pink shampoo, or conditioner, or soap. In fact, nothing pink at all has ever resided in my shower.
Then it slowly dawned on me, like John Mayer’s UTTER LACK OF TALENT may slowly dawn on him some day, that slime was not residue. Oh no. Oh no no no. That was mold. In my shower. Mere inches from my skin.
After the screaming and the spraying of bleach and the dousing with boiling water had ended, I decided I needed a new curtain anyway. Perhaps a pink one, to hide future mold issues. As I prepared to remove the offending curtain, part of my brain reminded me to keep it (post bleaching and drying, of course) for future use.
And THAT is when The Land Of Great Ideas shipped an evacuee to my brain. I would write a post about reusing and repurposing stuff you already have. To extend the life of the object, or use it in a new way. Because using what you’ve got, instead of buying something new, is not only frugal, it’s FREE.
So here you go –new uses for old stuff:
Old shower curtains: Ma and I use these as water-proof drop clothes when we paint. You can use them for any painting project – walls, furniture, kids finger-painting – and nothing leaks through. Just make sure the curtain doesn’t have any holes.
Office cork boards (below): You could use one to display notes or pictures or souvenirs. But I use mine to show off something a bit more near and dear to my heart – my shiny objects.
Shove a bunch of peg-shaped push pins into the board. Then artfully hang your necklaces and bracelets from them. This looks nice, and reminds you of all the cool accessories you already own – so you don’t forget and buy a duplicate.
Notice I didn’t tell you to rip off all these supplies (cork board, push pins) from your place of work. That’s between you and your conscience.
Hair styling implements: I use my blow dryer and curling iron as makeshift irons for my clothes. Once upon a time, I had to wear collared shirts to work, and the collars never dried straight. So I’d clamp the hot curling iron around the tip, hold for a moment, and voila! Neatly pressed collar.
I use the blow dryer to smooth out the lumps my hangers leave in my shirts at the shoulders. Just cup the material in your hand, and aim the dryer at it on full blast (be careful you don’t burn yourself). For particularly stubborn lumps, I put a bit of water on the spot first. Obviously, don’t do this with delicate fabrics like silk.
Jelly jars and other solid glass jars (below): I love the look of glass in my bathroom, but glass containers cost a fortune. So I just use leftover small glass food jars (washed and with the sticker removed, natch) to store stuff – make-up brushes, lip glosses, eye pencils, etc.
Empty closets: If you are lucky enough to have a wholly or partially empty closet, A. do a happy dance. Then, B. use it to air dry your clothes. As I’ve mentioned before, I air dry pretty much everything I wear, to prevent shrinkage and fading. I use the mostly empty closet in my spare bedroom as a massive drying rack.
If this tip makes you angry, because all of your closets are fill to the brim, sorry. I live alone, so I have extra space. Oooo, do you want to move in with me? We’d have fun! And also, margaritas!
The microwave: First, I must admit, I TOTALLY stole this idea from Real Simple Magazine. But then, thievery is the most sincere form of flattery, right?
Use your microwave to sterilize your dishrag. Thoroughly dampen the rag, place it in the microwave, and nuke it on High for about 2-3 minutes. The water in the rag will boil, thus sterilizing it and killing most nasty germs. Just be VERY CAREFUL when you remove the rag – clearly, it will be hot.
Old booze bottles (below): My Ma uses old, long-necked beer bottles to water her indoor plants. The long, thin neck allows her to get the water right at the base of the plant, for maximum watering efficiency.
My former roommate, Zan, once used an old beer bottle to store her Scrunchies. She doesn’t wear them any more (and really? Neither should you.), but I always thought it was a clever idea. You can still use the bottle to hold non-Scrunchie circular hair binders.
Speaking of new uses for the remnants of last night’s bender – I use empty wine bottles as boot-shapers. Just pop the empty into your boot – it helps hold the boot’s shape and makes it stand up better.
Store-bought picture frames (below): Their standard use is for framing photos. I also use mine to frame artwork – either created by friends, or snipped from magazines, greeting cards, etc. This makes cool, cheap art that no one else owns.
Honestly, I could go on and on and on… but enough about my ideas. I’d like to hear from YOU. In what ways do you repurpose or reuse things? How do you use your stuff in new and creative ways? Inquiring minds want to know.