May 26, 2012

Posted by in Around the House, Children, homestead project, In the Garden, In the Kitchen, Recycling | 0 Comments

Don’t Toss That Out Yet!

I just love this article I found at the Healthy Home Economist:  101 uses for soured raw milk

It reminds me that there is almost always another use for something you are about to throw away.  Our predecessors survived hard times by learning to waste nothing. How we can we adapt this to our lives today?

Here are some of my favorite reuses for things most people would throw away:

*One of the easiest is to cut up old t-shirts or other soft fabric items and use them like paper towels or tissues.  These are especially awesome when cleaning up something really yucky- as they are way more heavy duty than their tree-pulp counterparts.

*Old clothing can also be cut down or rearranged for a kid- I am a HUGE fan of this up-cycle boutique called Damsel in a Dress.  Her designs are brilliant and adorable.  They are very interesting and inspiring- many look easy enough to adapt with a simple needle and thread!

Blackeyed Peas, French Lentils, Israeli Couscous, and Adzuki Beans

*In our house, the easiest up-cycle is containers.  We love to use glass juice bottles to store things like couscous, oats, rice,  and dried beans that we get in bulk at our grocery co-op.  This way I can bring my container, they weigh it, and I can shop without using plastic or any new packaging.  The bottles in the pic are from both Knudsen juices and Santa Cruz  Lemonades.

*I save the empty spice containers to hold my dried herbs from the garden. Bonus points if the label matches! 😉

*Things like pickles, capers, and olives often come in fun little jars that are excellent for wrangling loose nuts and bolts, tacks, clips, art supplies; or even the occasional bug or scorpion we want to observe for a little while before releasing.  If the lids are stinky, let a thick paste of baking soda sit in them overnight.

*Right now I have some vegetable plants growing in temporary homes, as we look for good earth to place them in.  As they get larger, I am transitioning them into one gallon water jugs that we have emptied.  I cut the top off and poke lots of holes in the bottom for drainage.  Easy peasy and the plants seem to love it because they are nice and deep.

*Almost any kind of kitchen scraps can be used to make a hearty, nutritious stock.  Keep a gallon baggie in your freezer, and toss in veggie scraps as they come available, along with any bones or leftover meat. If you are interested in this, read this post about my (mis)adventures with stock-making and homemade bouillon.  You might save yourself some grief. 🙂

*Mate-less thick cotton socks are the best things to dust with ever:  fits right on your hand.  Socks are also my very favorite thing to use for securing breakables when moving.  They are so perfect for glasses!  For wine glasses, wrap one sock around the stem, then put another over the whole thing. I have moved using this technique many times, and never lost a glass.  Use the thicker socks for the more delicate items.

Consider starting a worm composter.  They are so easy to make, really all you need its a large plastic or wood storage box, holes cut in it up top for ventilation, fine screen over the holes to prevent flies from setting up shop.  Oh yeah, and some worms!  You can use this to turn many of your waste products into rich organic fertilizer for your garden.  Things like newspaper, fruit peels, veg scraps, coffee grounds, q-tips, and hair balls– you’d probably be shocked at what these little guys will consume (and thereby keep out of a landfill).  Return these nutrients to the the earth once composted, or better yet, use them to grow a garden and nourish your family.

That’s all I can think of right now, but I am sure more will come to me.

Now it’s your turn!  What is your favorite, most clever way to reuse something you think most people would toss?




  1. Ditch the Plastic! | Learning To Live On Less - [...] Instead of buying those throw-away plastic containers that you toss after a few uses, I began to reuse things…

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