Getting the most use out of the items in your house is a great way to cut down on waste and contribute less to the landfill. Not all items are recyclable, but a lot of them are reusable. Here are 10 common household items and ways they can be reused:
I try to avoid plastic bags as much as I can by bringing my own grocery totes, but when I do end up with extra plastic bags I hold onto them. They can be used as trash can liners in smaller trash cans like in the bathroom or for kitty litter. They also make for great packing material when moving or shipping breakable items. Plastic bags help trap moisture and protect plants when the seasons change, and they can be used for storing items.
Glass jars are great for food storage. I keep all of my glass jars and use them to store grains, rice, and other bulk food items. You can even bring them to grocery stores that sell in bulk to cut down on plastic waste. Jars make for good storage for arts and craft supplies and for fermenting or pickling foods. They can also be used as a container for gifts such as cookie recipes or hot cocoa mixes and even as flower vases.
Plastic Bottles and Jugs
I rarely have plastic water bottles around because I insist on using my reusable bottles and mugs. However, it’s not easy to avoid plastic containers altogether. So many things come in plastic. Fortunately, these can be reused as food storage or soap dispensers. I like to bring them camping to hold soap or other cleaning items. You can also cut off the bottom and put them over plants to protect them from harsh weather. Larger plastic jugs make for great watering cans and buckets.
Anytime I go through my clothes I repeat the same steps: I sell what can be sold, I donate what’s fit for donation, I repair what needs to be mended, and the rest is used for scraps. Old clothes make for great cleaning materials. I keep all my mismatched socks for clean up jobs. Old clothes, bedding, or towels can be cut into strips and used for mopping or dusting. Old clothes are also good for safely storing breakable items.
Newspapers and Magazines
Most paper products can be recycled including magazines and newspapers, but they’re also handy to keep around. Newspapers make for good kindling for bonfires. And magazines can be used as wrapping paper. You can also crumple old paper for packing items and keeping them safe. Paper products can also be used for a variety of crafting projects.
I keep all my old toothbrushes to be used for cleaning. They make great scrubbers for small areas that need to be thoroughly cleaned. I also use them to clean small stains on clothing or to scrub shoes clean. Just make sure you keep them away from your regular toothbrushes so they don’t get mixed up!
Egg cartons are very versatile. I give mine to a friend who has chickens. I prefer the cardboard ones over the plastic containers though the plastic containers make for a good palette for painting. You can also use egg cartons to organize small items like jewelry or hardware. And they make for great seed starters too. The cardboard ones can be planted directly in the ground where it will slowly decompose.
I keep all of my cardboard boxes because they’re just so handy. I use the big ones for storage instead of going out and buying plastic totes. I use the small ones for gift wrapping or storing smaller items. They also make for good kindling for fire starting, but it’s better to recycle them than burn them.
Dryer lint is a great fire starter. I like to save the lint and toilet paper rolls and stuff the lint inside. I’m going to try to remember to bring these with me next time I go camping. It’s very flammable so never light it up indoors! Dryer lint can also be used for arts and craft projects.
Styrofoam and Packing Materials
Finally, Styrofoam and other plastic materials can be reused for packing delicate items. They can also be used to store breakable items and keep them safe. Apparently, you can use Styrofoam at the bottom of planters instead of rocks for drainage for your plants. I’m going to safe up a large amount of Styrofoam and make bean bag chairs just for fun!
Here are some more resources for clever ways to reuse items: