The ol' Skinflint Curmudgeon

A-Z list - reuse any item!

Clean it for Less
Kitchen Helper Hints
Cosmetics - Personal Hygiene
Garden and Yard Helpers
Craft it Cheaply
Surviving in Disaster Emergencies
Refashion it - everything old is new again
101 Uses for.....
Holiday Newsletter 2006

Enter subhead content here

Aluminum Foil
  • Flatten, wash and store used foil. Reuse at a later time.

Automotive Floor Mats (rubber/carpeted)

  • Use as a floor mat for leaky containers in the garage or basement.
  • Use as a boot tray for inside your house.
  • Place clean mats next to a kitty litter box to keep the litter from being tracked all over the house. Put a carpeted floor mat in a pet cage (like a cat-carrying case) as a durable and soft place for your pet to nap.
  • Spread across the tailgate of your truck to protect it while your dogs are getting into and out of the truck.
  • Put them on top of the carpeting inside your vehicle to protect it from wet and muddy dogs.
  • Take with you when you go on a picnic. Put them on a picnic table bench if it's wet from rain or dew or on the ground if no benches are around.
  • Place plastic mats under pet water/food dishes to catch spills.

Baby Wipe Containers
- Use the cylindrical type with the hole at the top to dispense balls of yarn. It keeps the yarn from getting tangled.

-DON'T USE!!! Use tupperware instead.
-For those of you who need your baggies, wash them out and reuse them for your next lunch.
-Wash and use for storage of "travel" tissues--you know, the small plastic package containing 10 tissues that you usually pay 50 cents for.
-Place blown-out lightbulbs in a baggie before throwing them away. If it is accidentally crushed, the pieces won't tear the garbage bag.

Bags--Paper (grocery)
-Use for garbage bags around the house.
-Use to cover school text books.

Bags--Paper (lunch)
-Don't use.

Bags--Plastic (grocery)
-Use the plastic bags you get from stores for liners in garbage cans around your house.
-Keep them in your car for garbage.
-Use for stuffing pouf valences.
-Cut into strips and tie around a coathanger which has been formed into a circle to make a Christmas wreath.
-Use for picking up and disposing of scoopable cat litter clumps.
-Take with you when walking your puppies instead of a bulky pooper scooper.


-Using a long string, hang a ball from the garage ceiling indicating where a new driver should stop the car. Hitting it won't do any damage to the car and it will prevent the driver from hitting something else.
-Give soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls, etc. to dogs for chew toys.

-Use to tie back tree branches.
-Use for tying young trees to supports.

Binders (three-ring)
-Cut out the section which has the rings on it, drill a hole through the rivets, and then screw the strip to a wall. Use to store commonly used utensils, paint brushes or your keys.
-Duct tape the seams and the pockets together if they rip and continue to use it for classes.
-Use for orderly storage of bank statements, credit card statements, etc.
-Print out your favorite recipies on paper and then store in a binder. (You can find them much quicker this way than searching through several cook books.)

-Keep an old one in your car for emergencies.
-Fold in half the long way, sew it together, and use it as an exercise mat. If it is not cushy enough, sew two together. If you don't have access to a sewing machine, just fold it.
-Keep for use at the beach or when on a picnic.
-Take when camping so you don't destroy a good one.
-Use for lining a pet's cage to make it more comfortable.

Books and Magazines
-Donate books to a library.
-Sell college books directly to other students (by-passing the college bookstore) and let them save a TON of money.
-Set up a table at your church where people can drop off their old magazines and other people can buy them for 50 cents. Then give the money to charity.
-Use cool magazine pictures as envelopes.
-Make bath toys by cutting pictures out of a magazine and covering them with contact paper, leaving a one-half inch lip around each piece to allow it to seal. When these pieces get wet, they will stick to the bathroom tile.
-Use old magazines to make cool collages for gifts.

Bottles--Beverage (Glass)
-Use an old beer bottle as a candle holder--the wax dripping over the side will make pretty designs. Keep an eye on it to make sure nothing burns.
-Fill a clear glass bottle with small candies.
-Make a wine bottle into a vase.
-Use a larger wine bottle as a bank.

Bottles--Beverage (Plastic)
-Fill with water and freeze. They make nice "blue ice" for coolers--especially longer trips. Don't forget to leave room for the expanding water.
-Give it to your puppy. It becomes a (noisy) toy! (My Dog)
-Make it into a vase. Partially fill it with marbles, stones or something fairly heavy to keep it from tipping. Then paint it to match your decor.
-Fill with colored sand and use as a doorstop.
-Use to make your own bottled water.
-Use large, sports drink bottles as pitchers for juice at home . 

-Ketchup, mustard, etc bottles make cheap, short-range squirt guns.
-Use old plastic bottles (such as syrup bottles) for storing homemade ice-cream sauce or other homemade food.

-Use detergent, fabric softener or shampoo bottles filled with USED motor oil for lubricating drive chains.
-Fill glass cleaner bottles with soapy water and keep by the area in your house which has been infiltrated by ants. It is messier than traps, but safer than poison.
-Cut the top part off of a liquid laundry detergent container. Use the main part as a pooper scooper and the top portion as the pusher. Empty, rinse and reuse.


-Use for gift wrapping ties, scarves and gloves.
-Square candy boxes can be used for wrapping gifts, storing art supplies or carrying cross-stitch work.
-Save love letters in heart-shaped boxes.
-Make into a Valentine's Day card for next year.
-Cut a heart-shaped box so that you have a flat heart. Save and let the kids use it as a template.
-Make a Valentine's Day decoration for next year.
-Use a smaller box for storing paperclips, rubber bands, etc.

Boxes--Cardboard (those which reams of paper come in)
-Use as individual recycling boxes for bedrooms. This will help keep garbage from accumulating on desks and dressers (or in my case the floor).
-Use for under-the-bed storage by cutting it to make it shorter.
-Make it into a bed for a small pet by cutting an entrance and lining it with a blanket.

-Use to store recipes.
-Tape the lids to the boxes, paint them bright colors, and give them to the kids for building blocks.
-Use to hold odds and ends--just paint and label.
-Use to store small children's toys.
-Make into a dollhouse.

-Use for storing plastic bags. Place in different rooms of the house for easy access.
-Give to gerbils, hamsters, etc. as a chew toy. They will shred it and use it for bedding.

-Salvage from other people's trash and use for a fancy trim around the garden.
-Salvage (or reuse your own) and make into a walkway.
-Use as a weight to hold down plastic garden film.
-Make into a bookshelf by stacking them at both ends and lying wood between them.

-Use for storage of children's toys. It will fit under the bed and it is ready for travel to a friend's house.
-Give to the kids for use when playing dress up.
-Donate to a local shelter so that the residents may use it for job interviews.
-Use it for a fancy overnight bag.
-Spruce it up, fill it with stationary, put a bow on it and then give it as a gift to a college student.
-Use it for a children's suitcase.
-Store tools in it and keep it in the trunk of your car in case of an emergency.
-Use for storage of sewing supplies or anything else.

-Use for scrubbing garbage cans.
-Use push-brooms for pushing snow off of trucks/vans without getting wet.

Broom Handles
-Insert into the soil of a large potted plant and tie the plant to it for support. This is helpful for large plants which tend to droop.
Insert into the ground and tie small trees to it. This helps to prevent sagging, wind deformation, running over it with a lawnmower, etc.
-Tie an old cloth to the handle, leaving some cloth hang free. Rip the cloth lengthwise, and use it as a web beater for getting spiders out of the corners of your house.
-Use for the body of a children's stick horse.

Buckets (5-Gallon)
-Fill partially with soap and water and use when washing your car.
-Use as a garbage can for the basement or garage.
-Use when picking apples, pears, etc.
-Use for storage of items when camping (it is semi animal-proof). Be sure to secure the lid.
-Put a chair pad on to and use it as a seat.
-Use as a muck bucket for horses.
-Use for collection when weeding the garden. When the bucket is full, transfer the weeds to a compost pile.
-Use as  outdoor flower pots.
-Fill clean buckets with water for your dogs when they are outside in the summer. When the water gets dirty, use it to water the plants.

Business Cards
-Write new information on the back and reuse.
-Cut them up and use them as the tags in the dividers of filing cabinets or binders.
-Use as those cards you put in luggage tags.
-Write notes or messages on the reverse side.
-Glue pictures you have cut out from magazines, coupon ads, etc. onto the business cards and over the printing on the cards. Use for gift tags.

-Save in case you lose one.

Calculator/Adding Machine
-Give to someone who can fix it and use/sell it.
-Let kids use for playing school, store, etc.

-Save the torn off pieces from a day-by-day calendar and use for scrap paper, phone messages, etc.

-Melt down all of your old candles into one big, multicolored one.
-Use when making charcoal fire starters.
-Use to make matches damp-proof.
-Use for coating newspaper logs to make them burn more efficiently.

-Use as a double boiler when you are melting wax for your newspaper logs.
-Storage of nuts, bolts, small parts, etc.
-Use for baking bread.
-Make a child's drum set out of coffee cans and plastic lids.
-Attach long, looped strings to the cans and let children use as stilts.
-Use to scoop dog food out of a bag.
-Cut a hole in the lid and use it as a bank.
-Make it into a camp stove by cutting a square into the side of the can and placing a piece of coal under the upside-down can.
-Fill with worms when going fishing.
-Put a slit in the lid and use it as a piggy bank.
-Decorate the can, punch 3 or 4 holes (spaced evenly) around the top rim for string, put a plant in it, and then hang it from the ceiling.
-Push the upside-down can into the ground where you want to place a plant and then remove it. The can will pull out the soil, making digging a hole easy.
-Fill partly with sand and use as an outdoor ash tray.

-Fill with batter for bread, muffins, etc. and bake in your oven. When ready to serve, cut out the other end of the can and pop the bread out.
-Use as a crayon holder.
-Punch a hole in the bottom of two cans and attach them with a long string for a children's telephone.

-Place in the back of an enclosed truck or van.
-Cut into small squares or circles and place under the feet of heavy furniture.
-Place carpet remnants at doors to catch mud and water.
-Use as summer floor mats in cars.
-Take with you when cabin camping to keep the dirt/snow out of your "home."
-Cut into strips wide enough to fit between the rows in your garden. This will minimize weeds and create real indoor/outdoor carpeting.

Carpet Protectors (Plastic)
-Cut to the desired size and use as a boot tray.
-Keep on the floor in front of the back seat of the van to keep snow/mud off of the carpet.
-Use as a drop cloth.

Chair Pads
-Use to kneel on when gardening.
-Take on campouts and use as pillows or for sitting on around a campfire.
-Keep in the trunk of your car and use for kneeling on when you have a flat tire.
-Use as a stadium seat for ball games.
-Line a cardboard box or laundry basket with a chair pad and use it for a pet bed.
-Whip stich extra length to the ties on the pad, and then tie the pads around your chest and waist. Use when learning to fence.
-Use as pillows for children's sleepovers.
-Use for storage of fragile boxed items.
-Try using the stuffing to re-stuff decorator pillows. It probably won't be comfortable, but it will make them fluffy again.
-Take them on picnics or to parades. They are easier to carry than folding chairs.
-Line a car crawler with chair pads to make fixing your car a little more comfortable. (Joe)
-Put on top of a five gallon bucket and use as a seat.

-Remove some of the gizmo's from inside and mount onto a pin back with a hot glue gun. Wear it as jewelry.
-Use a cuckoo clock as a birdfeeder. (Tina)
-Use clocks with hands for teaching kids how to tell time.
-Take off the hands (and anything else that sticks out) and use as a picture frame by cutting a picture to the correct shape and size, and slipping it between the glass and the clock face.
-If it is a clock with a picture built into it, leave it up for decoration.

Clothes--Baby Clothes
-Let children use for dressing up baby dolls.

-Collect old jeans, cut them into usable pieces, and sew together into a duffle bag, change purse, etc. (Some sewing skills required.)
-When making cut-off shorts, save the pantlegs and give them to your puppies. They make great tug-of-war items.
-Cut into 6x6 squares, sew together and fringe out to make a quilt.

-Give old socks to your kids for sock puppets.
-Take old socks camping. Bunch them up for thickness and use for pot holders.
-Use for dusting around the house.
-Tie into a knot and use as a dog toy.
-Use as rags when stripping or refinishing furniture.
-Use to clean up after painting arts and crafts.

-Keep old an old hat and gloves in your car for emergencies
-Use old winter coats for snowblowing, camping, etc (so you don't ruin a good coat).

-Remove pompons from winter hats and give to the cat to play with.
-Use old mittens for dusting around the house.

-Use for rags.
-Cut the elastic bottoms off of sweats and use as scrunchies.
-Cut small circles out of thicker material and use as "stoppers" for cabinet doors or as appliance "feet."
-Use old long-sleeved shirts as a smock for children who are painting.
-Donate to shelters or charities.
-Take pieces from old clothing (which are unfit to be reused) and make them into a patchwork quilt or pillow.
-Cut clothing into small pieces and use as dryer sheets with a liquidy dryer sheet alternative.
-Make a quilt out of your child's favorite clothes and give to their children.

Clothes Hangers
-Make wire hangers into seasonal wreaths by bending it into a circle and then glueing on seasonal items, such as leaves in the fall.
-Use for making a child's mobile.
-Return clothes hangers to the dry cleaners so they can reuse them. Some companies will provide cardboard storage containers.

Clothes Pins
-Use to clip junk-food bags closed.

Coffee Filters
-Put used filters (unbleached is best) and used coffee grounds directly into your compost pile.
-Rinse clean of debris and use it as a filter when planting in small pots. It will prevent the wash of soil and will hold in nutrients.

Coffee Stirring Sticks
-Don't Use.  Use a spoon.
-Use like a toothpick for testing the doneness of cakes.
-Use like toothpicks which get stuck in sandwiches.
-Use as a lollipop stick when making homemade lollipops.

Colanders (plastic)
-Use for storage of children's bath toys.
-Keep in laundry tub for temporary storage of wet wash cloths.
-Use as a children's sand sifter.
-Use a smaller strainer for cleaning litter boxes.
-Let kids use as helmets when playing.
-Keep on the pool deck for those emergencies in which a drowning bug needs rescuing.
-Use as a garden sifter to remove pebbles.
-Invert and place over bowls when on picnics to keep bees and flies out of your food.
-Use as a fruit basket for your counter top.
-Use for storage and transport of knitting supplies.

Compact Discs
-If they are scratched and can no longer be used, hang them from your wall. They make for funky interior decorating.
-Use as reflectors.
-Use as coasters.
-Place a watch in the center and hang it on the wall for a funky clock.
-Tie mono filimant fishing line to a CD and hang it in your fruit tree. It will keep the birds from eating all of the fruit.

-Donate to a local school and possibly receive a tax deduction.

Computer Ink Cartridges
-Refill and reuse.

Cookie Cutters
-Give to the kids and let them use when playing with playdoh.
-Hang on kitchen walls for decorations.
-Hang Christmas cookie cutters from the Christmas tree.
-Give to kids as templates for tracing on paper.
-Children can dip in paint and then press onto paper to make art.
-Hang from a clothes hanger to make a child's mobile.
-Hang outside from a coffee can to make a windchime.


-Use for storage of camping gear.
-Keep it in the basement, closet, etc. for storage of just about anything.
-Decorate the outside and use it as a coffee table. It conveniently holds magazines and anything else lying about when company drops by unexpectedly.
-Use as a seed bed.
-Use a small cooler as a travel case for children.
-Use a small cooler for storage of paper and pencils.
-Use a small cooler for storage of make-up.
-Keep the lids which have a place to hold drinks. Use it when you are outside and need a surface to place the glass on.
-Allow kids to play with small coolers. DO NOT allow children to play with larger coolers as they may become trapped inside and suffocate.
Use as a storage bin for the trunk of your car. They can hold sporting equipment, an emergency kit, etc.
-If the bottom of a small cooler is still intact, sink it all or partway into the ground in an area of the yard where people are not going to step on it. When watering the garden, fill the cooler to provide a water source for pets or birds.
-If the bottom of a large cooler is still intact, use it as a liner for a mini pond in your garden. Add decorative rocks, water plants, small recirculating fountaing, etc.
-Store toy shovels, rakes buckets, etc in them.
-Use to store pool toys.
-Leave a cooler on the gazebo with cooking supplies in it so everything is easily accessible and dry for cookouts.
-Use it when you go shopping if you live a long way from home. It will keep meats, butter, etc. cold until you get home.
-In winter, use them to store summer items for camping, clothing, etc.


-Keep worn down crayons in a toolbox for handy marking pencils.
-Create a vase by melting different colored crayons over an old bottle. Let the wax drip randomly.
-Make creative envelope seals by dripping crayon wax onto the back of an envelope. Make a special imprint in the wax if you want.
-Use different colors to highlight important events on the calendar.
-Use for drawing on easter eggs before you dip them in the dye. The dye won't adhere to the wax and it will leave pretty designs.
-Keep in an arts and crafts box.


-If they are in good condition, donate to a local charity.
-Heavy curtains can be used as a drop cloth when painting.
-Larger curtains can be used to cover a pool table, excercise equipment, etc.
-Heavy curtains can be used for lining the trunk of your car when transporting dirty stuff.

-Tack messages to a dart board using the darts.
-Use the darts as an awl (thanks Pierre!) for marking wood or metal.
-Use as a plant support for small plants.
-Label the plastic "feathers" with plant names and use for labelling a garden.
-Use as large thumbtacks for a corkboard.

Diaper Wipes Boxes
-Use to store arts and craft supplies. Label with permanent marker.
-Use as weights for when glueing two surfaces together.
-Use as a door stop.

Dog Food
-Dry dog food can be fed to birds.

Dog Food Bags
-Use as trash bags for heavier items.

Drink Mix Containers (those with twist-off caps)
-Use for keeping matches waterproofed--although I wouldn't recommend submerging it in water.
-Use for storage of rice, pasta, etc. when camping (or at home).
-Use the large bottom portion to hold water to rinse paint brushes. Use the lid for the paint.

Egg Cartons
-Use cardboard ones as a charcoal fire starter.
-Use for potting flowers (inside) before moving them outdoors.

-Use to keep necklaces and bracelets separate.

-Store earrings in the top of the carton to keep from losing them.
-Break up the styrofoam and use it as packaging material.
-Wash a styrofoam carton VERY WELL and use for an ice cube tray.  --Keep the lids attached so that you can stack them.
-Make into candy-filled eggs for Easter.
-Store golf balls inside.

-Take envelopes which are sent by businesses (in the hopes that you will return them), place a label over the pre-printed address, write in a new address, and send it on its way.
-Use for writing notes to family members. Don't recycle until it is completely filled.
-Use for storing receipts.
-Use for storing or carrying coupons.
-Use for writing grocery lists.

Fabric Softener Sheets
-Use as stuffing for stuffed animals and decorative pillows. (Liz)
-Reuse in your sock or underwear drawer to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
-Place in front of an air vent. The heat from the vent releases the smell into the air.

-Tear the sheets in half before using in the dryer to reduce the number of sheets you use. 
-Wrap around a few clothes hangers in the closet to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
-Use to dust your house.
-Place inside shoes at night to keep them smelling fresh.

Film Canisters
-Storage of thumbtacks, rubber bands, paper clips, etc.
-Fill with quarters. Put in your child's backpack for emergency phone calls.
-Use for mixing small portions of paint.
-Fill with suntan lotion and carry with you when hiking.
-Fill with aspirin and keep in your backpack or purse.
-Fill with shampoo, soap or lotion.
-Fill with water or sand as a souvenier from a vacation.

-Fill with household odds and ends (such as nuts, bolts, etc.) and store them in an old purse.
-Use for storage of seeds.
-Put a few loose buttons or beads inside and use as a cat toy. 

Flower Pots--Small/Medium
-Fill partially with sand and use as an outdoor ash tray.
-Use when placing flowers at a cemetary so that good ones are not vandalized or lost.
-Use small, plastic pots as scoops for pet food or potting soil.
-Use for making sand castles or snow forts.
-Use for storage of change on a dresser.
-Use small pots as fruit-picking baskets.
-Use "tree-size" pots for storage of pet toys (or childrens toys).
-Keep a small pot by the dryer to collect lint.
-Use a medium size pot for storage of fruits and vegetables on the counter top.
-Use a small pot as a candy jar.
-Paint different colors and use to decorate around a garden.

Flower Pots--"Tree Size"
-Use "tree-size" pots for storage of rags in the basement.
-Use "tree-size" pots for collecting leaves, weeds, etc. while working in the yard.
-Take lined "tree-size" pots with you when going fruit picking. Instead of taking the small baskets provided home with you, dump the fruit into the flower pot and return the fruit baskets to the farm owner.
-Use "tree-size" pots for storage of apples, oranges, potatos, etc. in the house.
-Use "tree-size" pots for storage of gardening tools.

Foil Trays
-Wash and use for baking brownies (or anything else).
-Use when feeding your puppies leftovers.

Garbage Cans (small/indoor)
-Relocate to the basement or garage.
-Use it as a recycling bin next to a desk.
-Use as a small toy box for balls, dolls, etc.
-Keep in backyard LINED and COVERED TIGHTLY and use for storage of pet droppings until garbage day.
-Use as a larger flower pot.
-Use for storage of potting soil.

Garden Hose
-Poke holes throughout the length of the hose and make it into a soaker hose.
-Poke holes throughout the length and make into a sprinkler for kids.
-Cut into smaller sections and attach to the thin, metal handles on buckets to make it more comfortable to carry.
-Cut a small section off, clean it, and use as a funky napkin ring.
-Cut a small section off, clean it, and use it as a sturdy key chain.
-Use to tie up a young tree for support.
-Use it to make a martian costume for Halloween.

-Take out the lenses and use for Halloween costumes.
-Have your optometrist make them into sunglasses.
-Save the screws in case you lose them from your current glasses. (Although dabbing clear nail polish on the screws will prevent them from falling out.)
-Save old ones and use them when doing messy work (like painting the house).
-Donate to an organization which takes old eyeglasses and puts new lenses in for people who cannot afford to buy new pairs.

Glasses Case
-Use as a protective case for your cellular phone.

Greeting Cards
-Use as bookmarks.
-Reuse old cards with some strategic editing.
-Make into an ornament.
-Make into gift tags by cutting an old card with pinking shears, punching a hole in the corner, and tying the pieces together. Add the name and a note inside.
-Cut off the side with the picture (if there is no writing on the reverse side) and reuse as a post card. Pay only postcard postage!

Gym Bags
-Use for neat storage of infrequently used shoes.

-Transfer to your camping gear.
-Give to your kids for when they are playing with their dolls.
-Remove some of the bristles (depending upon the kind) and use for a pet brush.
-Keep in the basement or garage for removing dirt from jeans or sneakers so it doesn't become mud in the washing machine.
-Use for scrubbing larger tools.
-Use for scrubbing garbage cans/buckets.

Halloween Costumes
-Donate to charity for another person to use.
-Save and let children use for Dress-Up.
-Donate to schools as props/costumes for school plays.


Iced Tea Containers
-Storage of nuts, bolts, screws. Keep the lids on them and they are easy to stack on shelves.

-Cut to the width you need and use as rubber bands for very large items.
-Use as patching material for punctured inner tubes.
-Cut the inner-tube so it is no longer in a circle. Cut off the valve and then drop a chain through the tube. This will keep the chain from clanking.

Jars--Baby Food/Boullion
-Use for storage of nuts, bolts, etc.
-Make them into musical instruments for your children by placing a few dried beans, pasta, rice, coins, etc. inside the jar after removing the label. (Put a few drops of glue on the rim of the jar to glue the lid on.)
-Keep on the top of your dresser and use for orderly storage of change when cleaning out your pockets at night.
-Keep on desk for storing paper clips, rubberbands, etc.
-Use for starting plants indoors.
-Use for storing excess seeds.
-Decorate the lid and jar with fabric paints, lace, sequins, etc. Fill with candy, bath salts, a candle, etc and give as gifts.

-Use for storing extra spaghetti sauce which comes from a can.
-Use larger jars for storing homemade soups.
-Use the lids from peanut butter jars as coasters.
-Drink from smaller glass jars.
-Use peanut butter or mayonnaise jars to store homemade cookies in the freezer. They will be protected from breakage and easily visible.
-Store your razor in a small, covered jar emersed in alcohol to prevent oxidization of the blade. It will stay sharp longer.

-Give to kids for playing dress-up. (Jeanne)
-Use old earrings for tacking messages to a cork board.
-Save clasps from broken necklaces and bracelets.
-Save earring backings in case you lose any.
-If a necklace is beaded, cut the beads loose, make your own jewelry.

-Save the pins from watch bands in case you lose or break one.
-Give watches which no longer work to children so they can play dress up.

Juice Cans
-Use as a pen and pencil holder.
-Use for potting plants indoors.
-Use as a scoop for pet food.
-Cut to make it shorter and use as a scoop for sugar, flour, pasta, etc. (Keep in the container for easy access).

-Using string, attach several to a coffee can, making a unique windchime.
-Place in the bottom hem of your curtains to keep them hanging straight.
-Use to open boxes which have been taped shut (its safer than a razor blade).
-Paint to match the decor of a room and then attach to the end of a pull chain (ceiling fan, lamp) for a funky decoration.

Key Chain
-Attach a chain and hoop to a small stuffed animal (or other favorite knick-knack) and make your own personalized key chain.

Key Chain Rings
-Link together into a chain and use for decorations on a Christmas tree. Weave colored material through it to make more festive.
-Attach to zippers on bags, children's jackets, etc. for easy use.
-Link together and make into a pull chain for lights, ceiling fans, etc.
-Use to replace broken rings on certain types of tents.

-Make a wooden ladder into a floor-to-ceiling bathroom towel rack by washing, sanding, varnishing and installing. You may need to adjust the height or rung-spacing of the ladder.

Laundry Baskets
-Use as a recycling basket for curbside pickup.
-Use when picking apples, pears, etc.
-Use for gathering leaves in the fall.
-Line with a blanket and use as a pet's bed.
-Use to store children's toys in a closet.
-Keep in the trunk of your car to keep groceries together.
-Use for storing old rags or rugs.
-Use when pulling weeds.


Milk Containers (half-gallon)

-Fill half-gallon containers with water, staple shut and freeze. They make nice "blue ice" for coolers--especially longer trips. Don't forget to leave room for the expanding water. (Shawn G.)
-Use the bottom half of a half gallon milk carton to start plants in before moving them to your garden.

Milk Jugs (gallon)

-Take the lids from gallon jugs, paint black and red and use as checker pieces. You will need 24 of them.
-Make the plastic jugs into hanging flower pots by cutting a hole in the top, placing flowers inside it and then hanging it by the handle.
-Cut the bottom out of a plastic milk carton and use the top part to cover and protect growing plants in your garden.
-Use as a scoop for dog/cat/bird feed.
-ash and then using a funnel, fill with bird seed for easy storage.
-Cut a large hole in the side and use to put plastic bags in. Tie a shoelace around the handle and hang it.

-Carry a smaller one with you while camping or backpacking for personal use or for signaling for help.
-Make a decorative mirror by taking compact mirrors, locker mirrors, etc., and glueing them next to each other on a piece of plywood. If you do it right, the cracks between the mirrors will enhance your new and much larger mirror.

Motor Oil
-Fill bottles with USED motor oil and use for lubricating drive chains.
-Take to a garage for proper disposal. In some areas, garages are required by law to take back oil. DO NOT dump motor oil down the sewer!!!
-Filter and use it to oil tools.

Mouse Pads
-Cut small circles and use as "stoppers" for cabinet doors or as appliance "feet."
-Use as a place mat.
-Cut, layer and use as a wrist support for the computer keyboard.
-Using cookie cutters, trace onto a mousepad. Cut the shape out and then dip into paint. Use to decorate your child's room or give to kids and let them dab onto paper.

-Cut into strips and place under heavy items so they don't scratch the counter or desk.
-Use as a cushion between wood and clamps when woodworking.

-Use to store change.
-Use as a pencil/pen holder.
-Use for temporary storage of stray screws, nuts, etc. found lying around the house.
-Use as a decorative paperweight.
-Use as a candy dish at home or work.
-Use as a "vase" for a bouquet of really small flowers (violets, etc.).

Paint Brushes
-Stiff paint brushes can be used to scoop out portions of paint to be mixed. They can then be used to mix the paint. Note: If you rinse your soft paint brushes thoroughly after using them, they won't become stiff.
-Use stiff paint brushes to make different textures when painting.
-Donate to a highschool drama club for set painting.
-Soak a stiff paint brush in a little bit of paint thinner and then wash with dish detergent. They are as good as new.

-Use the Sunday comics as wrapping paper. (Don't try this with regular newspaper--the ink smudges.)
-Use to stuff packing material.
-Use the comics (instead of paper bags) to cover text books.
-Use to line the bottom of your tent (inside) for insulation. Place plastic over the paper to keep the print from smudging.
-Fold several layers thick and use as a hot pad when camping.
-Wrap fragile items for packing/storing.
-Roll into "logs" for campfires. The thicker the log, the longer it will burn.
-Make the above logs more efficient by cutting them in half and using yarn, string or shoelaces to dip the log into melted down candle wax. The wax-coated log will make for a good fire starter on damp days.
-Use for drying windows without streaking. Make sure that the ink does not stain the vinyl casments which are found on most modern windows because it is very hard to clean off.
-Make it into a garden film. Clear an area of weeds in your garden, lay several sheets of newspaper down, and spread mulch on top of it. It will keep most weeds from coming through.
-Use to clean mirrors.

-Use any kind of used paper--computer, notebook, newspaper, etc. as wrapping paper. Personalize it with colored pencils.
-Cut it into smaller pieces and keep it by the phone for messages.
-When doing first drafts of school papers, print on the reverse side of used computer paper, photocopies, etc.
-For those of you who work in an office, convince your supervisor to use the back of scrap paper for printing lists, memos, taking phone messages, etc. Stress that this will help them save money.
-Use hole-punches as confetti.
-Use to make cards.
-Use pieces for bookmarks. Write down any ideas that pop into your head.
-Put smaller pieces in your pockets so that you can jot down notes to yourself throughout the day.
-Use to line your kitty litter box.
-Shred and save for packing material.
-Use for wrapping delicate Christmas ornaments for storage.
-Use for learning origami.
-Use for making home-made paper.
-Shred and use to line your hamster/gerbil cage.
-Use for lining a bird cage.
-Make a pinata.
-Punch holes along the side and place in a 3-ring binder for school notes.
-Punch holes along the side and string a shoelace through to make a notebook. Use a cereal box for a front and back cover.
-Use for grocery lists
-Let kids color, paint, etc. on the back of used paper.
-Color both sides of the paper whatever color you like, cut into very thin strips and then use as "grass" for the easter baskets.
-Take used copier paper from work and donate to daycare centers for the kids to draw on.
-Give lined computer paper to children learning how to write cursive.
-Use to make your own recycled paper.

Pencil Shavings
-Use as a fire starter.

Pet Fur
-Throw outside and let the birds use for their nests (do this only during nest-building season and when there is no wind!)

-Remove the wire and cord (to prevent strangulation) and let the kids use it for a play phone.

Picture Frame (medium, self-standing kind)
-Keep in the kitchen and slip a recipe card into it when cooking to keep it clean.
-Use for storage of awards/pictures you no longer wish to display. Several will fit in a frame. Store the frame flat in a closet.
-If you are bored with the look of a wooden frame, stain it a different color and reuse it.
-Let children decorate a wooden frame with paint and then allow them to hang it in their room with their own art work inside it.
-Save the glass and backing of standard size frames for when others break.
-Use for hanging emergency phone numbers and instructions in the basement or garage.
-Replace the glass with a mirror and hang it for a new look.
-Make a small picture frame (wallet size or 3x5) into a coaster. Glue something soft (material, etc) to the back so it does not scratch your table.
-Use the cardboard backing as a firestarter.
-Glue your child's artwork to the cardboard backing of a picture frame. Display on a wall or as a standup without the need for a frame.
-If a wooden frame is broken, simply glue or nail it back together.

-Remove the stuffing and use to make other pillows thicker.
-Keep it in your pet's cage for comfort.
-Cut it in half, sew along the open end and make into two smaller camping pillows.
-Instead of throwing it out, restuff it.
-Use for pillow fights.

Pizza (plastic cheese protector)
-Use it as a table in a dollhouse.
-Put a cloth over it and display jewelry for sale.
-Put on iced cakes so the foil won't stick to the icing.

Plastic Breath Mint Containers
-Fill with aspirin or decongestants and keep in your purse or travel bag.
-Fill with salt or pepper and take camping.
-Fill with sugar or creamer and take with you in the car when bringing a thermos of coffee for long road trips.


Plastic Containers--Miscellaneous
-Storage of any objects that will fit.
-Storage of leftovers.
-Cut a slit in the lid and use as a bank.
-Fill with rice or sand to make children's musical shakers or door stopper.

Plastic Containers--Butter/Cottage Cheese
-Use butter bowls as flower pots. Punch holes in the bottom if necessary and put the lid underneath to catch excess water.
-Poke holes in a butterbowl and use it as a colander.
-Paint the outside of a butter bowl festively and then use it for an Easter basket
-Use butter bowls for storage of chess pieces.
-Use butter bowls as cereal bowls.
-Use the lid of a butter bowl as a cheap frisbee for your pet.
-Use butter bowls as an outdoor water dish for dogs during the summer.
-Use butter bowls as a food dish for smaller pets.
-Keep a butter bowl in the car for when you take a pet for a ride. Bring a jug of water and allow your pet to drink.

Plastic Containers--Yogurt
-Use yogurt containers for dyeing easter eggs.
-Fill yogurt containers with pudding or jello and send it to school with your kids. Or better yet, take it to work with you!

Plastic Cups (the kind you get from fast-food restaurant promotions))
-Fill with extra change and use it as a door stop.
-Use when on picnics so you don't lose your good glasses.
-Use as a food scoop for your animals.
-Punch holes in the bottom and use for potting plants.
-Use as a vase for flowers.
-Use for drinks outside in the summer (when gardening, etc.)
-Give to the kids for making sand castles.
-Use as a pen holder.
-Use as a bank.


Plastic Rings (six packs)
-Tie together and use as a trellis for roses.
-String together into "chicken wire" and erect around the garden so your dog will know that it is off-limits. Support with wooden handles from shovels, brooms, etc.
-Make into a hot pad by cutting each ring separate to form a circle. Double-crochet around each ring. Sew the six smaller rings together to form one large circle.

Plastic Scoops (the kind that comes with drink mixes)
-Keep in sugar, flour, rolled oats, etc. containers for easy access.

Plastic Utensils
-Don't buy.  Use silverware.
-Store the plastic utensils you get from fast-food restaurants in your car and use them for on-the-road meals or when drive-thru forgets to give you utensils (it happens!).
-Take on camping trips or picnics (but don't throw them out). Reuse them until they break.
-Send to school in your kid's lunchbox. Make sure they bring them home for reuse!
-Use as plant supports for droopy seedlings.
-Keep a spoon by the coffee at work for sugar.
-Keep a spoon in your desk drawer at work for stirring your coffee (so you don't have to use a stirring stick).
-Collect and take to work for office parties. Wash and reuse when the festivities are over.
-Let kids use a knife for cutting clay or play-doh.
-Give to kids for playing "house" or "restaurant."
-Keep a set in your desk drawer at work in case you forget yours when you bring lunch.

Pools (Children's, plastic)
-Fill with water and let your pet play in it on hot summer days.
-Flip it over and use for covering small plants from the frost in warmer climates.
-Poke holes in the bottom, fill with potting soil and plant a garden in it.
-Use as a sandbox.
-Flip it over and use it for a sandbox cover.
-Use as an outdoor dog bath.
-Slide it under the bed and use it for storage.
-Keep on the floor of the basement and use for storage of wet/dirty clothes before washing. 
-Line with a blanket and use as a pet bed.

Popsicle Sticks
-Use for labeling sprouting plants in your garden.
-Use to stir paints and apply glue.

-Use a larger purse as an overnight bag.
-Use as a costume accessory.
-Give to kids to use for dress-up.
-Fill with a flashlight, maps and other emergency supplies and keep in the trunk of your car.
-Cut the handles or strap off of a small purse, slit two holes in each side, and put a belt through it. Use it as a fanny pack.
-Donate to a church or day care so the kids can play dress-up.
-Use it for holding odds and ends from your house, such as screws, nuts, bolts, etc. Keep them organized using film canisters and prescription bottles.
-Use a larger size purse as a hanging plant holder.
-Use it for storing toiletries when traveling.

Road Maps
-Glue to a large piece of cardboard and then cut into a puzzle. This makes a good educational toy for children.
-Place over an end table and laquer for an interesting finish. This can also be done on lamp shades.

-Keep by the workbench for use when you lose your tape measure.
-If it is broken, use the pieces for small straight edges.
-Tie strings to it and use when making marionettes (those dancing puppet things).

Safety Pins
-Use as zipper extenders for those hard to grasp zippers such as in jeans.

-Use for curtains when camping.
-Cut into smaller pieces and use for rags.
-Make into pillow cases.
-Use as tarps for floors or furniture when painting.
-Use as a picnic blanket or beach blanket.
-Make flannel sheets into pajamas (some sewing skills required).
-Cut into smaller pieces and use for packing away fragile items.
-Use as ghost costumes for kids (does anyone do this anymore?)
-Keep in the trunk of your car for transporting messy stuff.
-Use as a cover for a pool table, exercise equipment, etc.

-Save and use for anything you would use string for.
-Store in your travel first aid kit and use for an emergency tourniquet.
-Use as a covering for your home-made clothes hangers so you don't snag your clothing.
-Wash. Tie the ends of the curly, stretchable type (that you don't need to tie), and use as a hair band.
-Use as a ribbon on packages wrapped in homemade wrapping paper.
-Carry a spare in your purse, car or gym bag in case you break one.
-Use to hand ornaments from the Christmas tree.
-Braid three or more together to make bracelets.
-Attach to ceiling fans/lighting fixtures as a pull chain.
-Use as curtain tie-backs.
-College students can use to hang dorm room keys around their neck.
-Use to tie plants to a plant support.
-Use to hang a small birdfeeder from a tree.
-Use as a replacement drawstring on hoods, sweatpants, etc.
-Keep in camping gear in case rope on tent breaks.
-String nuts and washers through for orderly storage.
-Roll into a coil, secure with glue or thread and use as a coaster or a hot pad.

Shoulder Pads
-Use for waxing your car.

Shower Curtain
-Use as a tarp for grills, wood, etc.
-Cover your table with the curtain while the kids are painting or playing with play-doh to make for easy clean-up.
-Cut and make into a curtain for the bathroom window.
-Line the trunk of your car with it when transporting dirty items.
-Use to cover your outdoor plants when the weather drops to freezing. Make sure you put stakes in the ground to prevent the curtain from crushing your plants.
-Use as a drop cloth or for covering furniture when painting.
-Cut old shower curtains into large rectangles. With two clothes pins, secure one rectangle to the shoulder seams of your kids shirts while they are painting.
-Punch extra holes with a paper hole puncher to replace ripped ones.
-Use as a childrens slip and slide toy when wet.
-Use as a drop cloth.

Shower Curtain Rings (the really cheap metal kind)
-Use to attach keys to your belt loops.
-Use to attach a mug to your backpack.
-Use to keep camping utensils together.


-Drill a hole at the end of the handle and make into a unique windchime.
-Attach several pieces together using a soldering gun and make into a neat candle holder.

-Use for the runners when making home-made sleds.
-Remove the bindings from broken or old skiis and reuse or give away.

Ski Bag
-Use as a duffle bag.
-Use for transporting your tent, groundcloth, dining fly, tent poles, etc.

-Use to lie on when working under your car.
-Use for emergencies in the snow.
-Use for temporary storage of greasy tools (it will keep your garage floor clean).
-Use as a "dropcloth" when changing your oil just in case you miss the oil pan.
-Inflatable snow saucers can be used in the pool in the summer.
-Use for transporting fire-wood.

Snow Shovels
-Use as a dust pan in the garage.
-Throw it into your trunk (if it will fit) in case you need to dig yourself out of a mud pit.

-Melt down all small soap pieces into one ball of soap.

Spice Containers
-Buy spices in bulk and store them in previously used containers.
-Fill with sugar and use for sprinkiling sugar on cereal. This takes up less room than a sugar bowl.
-Fill with Confectioner's sugar, and use when sprinkiling on plain cake or cupcakes.
-Use food coloring to dye sugar different colors, fill the containers with the different colors and then use when sprinkling on Christmas cookies.
-Store rubberbands, paper clilps, etc.
-Store smaller game pieces.
-Storage of sugar, salt, pepper when camping.
-Use for a pencil/pen holder.

Sports Nets
-Make into a ball carrier.
-Use the rope which is strung through the top of a volleyball net as a clothes line (or anything else you need rope for).

-Save all of the styrofoam peanuts which come as packaging. When you have a large supply, ask around and find a store which will collect and reuse them.
-Use it as insulation material (ie. covering cracks in windows in winter, etc.).
-Use cups as a play telephone.

Suction Cups
-Use to hang Christmas lights on windows or mirrors (for an extra funky effect).
-Attach to a small stuffed animal and make your own car-window companion.
-Glue to shower curtain ends to keep the curtain closed so water doesn't splash out.

-Use for storage of children's toys. It will fit under the bed and it is ready for travel to a friend's house.
-Use as an extra dresser if you don't have enough room for all of your clothes. Keep in the closet or under your bed.
-Use for storage of out-of-season clothing to free up closet space.
-Make into a sentimental storage unit. First paint the suitcase the color of your choice, then glue photocopies of family pictures, greeting cards, etc to the outside, finishing with a protective coating. Use this to store Christmas ornaments or valued momentos.

-Gut a dead television and place an aquarium inside. Fill with fish.

-If it is in good condition, donate it to a Scouting group or sell it at a garage sale.
-Use metal poles from A-Frame's as supports for temporary fencing around gardens.
-Keep in the backyard for children's slumber parties or campouts.

Tiles (bathroom/kitchen wall)
-Make into a hot pad for the kitchen.
-Break into small pieces and use glue to stick them to plates, jars, picture frames, etc.

-Place in your backyard and fill with sand for a childrens sand box. Use a large sheet of plywood for a cover.
-Attach to a tree and use as a swing.
-Hang from a tree and throw a football through it.
-Place in the desired area, fill with soil, and then plant melons or other plants which require mounds.

Tire Rim
-Clean and paint and then use to wrap the garden hose around.

Toilet Paper Tubes

-Use for packing material.
-Stuff an extra set of stockings into a tube and keep in your desk drawer at work, your glove compartment, etc. in case of a run.
-Ask local schools if they need them for art projects.
-Put in the hamster cage.
-Wrap double-sided tape around the tube, stick one or two fingers in the middle and roll over clothing, furniture, etc. to remove lint.
-Tape one end of yarn/string to the tube. Wrap the string around the tube and then hook the end into a notch cut into the edge of the tube. It makes for easy storage.
-Let your kids use along with kleenex boxes as building blocks.
-Stuff a few plastic bags into the tube and then place the tube in the glove compartment of your car. It will keep them tidy and on-hand for when you need them.
-Use for storing long pieces of ribbon which have been saved from packages. This will keep the ribbon smooth.
-Slip over small cords to prevent them from tangling.
-Give to pet rodent or bird for play.
-Use in place of a peat pot. Fill with potting soil, place in a plastic butter/ice cream tub, plant the seed and water. When the plants sprouts, plant the seedling (tube and all) in the ground. The tube rots away.

-Use for polishing your shoes. This is especially useful for where the shoe meets the sole.
-Use for cleaning threaded mechanical parts.
-Use for cleaning greasy auto parts.
T-he artistic type can use one as a coarse paint brush.
-Use for cleaning combs.
-Use old ones to clean the grooves between the tiles in your bathroom.

Vegetable Scrubber
-Keep near the sink in your basement and use for scrubbing automotive grease off of your hands.
-Use for scrubbing bathroom tiles or tile floors.
-Use for cleaning running boards, mud flaps, floor mats and tires.
-Use to scrub burned food off of pots and pans.
-Use for cleaning greasy tools.

-Use for transporting gardening tools around the yard.
-Use it when transporting wood for your fireplace.
-Use for storing your automotive tools. Just pull the wagon out when you need them.
-Use for general transport of bulky objects.
-Use for bringing groceries home from the store (or from your car to your front door).
-Take the wheels and handle off, line it with a thick blanket and use it as a pet bed.
-Save the wheels for use on the lawn mower or in a homemade sled.
-Use the wheels as training wheels (although this will take some handiwork).
-Paint to the desired color, roll it out to the middle of the yard and use it as a really big flower pot.
-Take the wheels and handle off and use as a storage container for the garage or basement.
-Use to transport garbage to the curb on garbage day.

-Make into a lightweight, waterproof sitting pad.
-Use excess pieces to cover light switches and electrical sockets.
-Cover tin cans or jars with wallpaper and use to hold pencils, pens, etc.

Watch Bands--Leather
-Use as "stoppers" by cutting and glueing to cupboard frames.

Watch Bands--Nylon (one-piece)
-Wrap around tent poles/tripod poles to keep them all together.
-Fasten several together and make into a long band for tying larger objects.

-Use to hold down tarps.
-Hang five pound weights from the pool cover to keep it from blowing around.
-Stack flat weights in two columns to an equal height and place a piece of plywood across for quick shelving in the basement or garage.
-Use as a door stop.
-Take the velcro from the ankle or wrist weights and use for something which requires velcro.

Wheel Barrow
-Paint to the desired color, roll it out to the middle of the yard and use it as a really big flower pot.

Window Shades
-Use the pull-down type as a protective covering for your table when the kids are painting, playing with play-doh, etc.
-Use in the garage for resting greasy tools on (to keep the work bench clean).

Wine Bottles
-See Bottles--Beverage (Glass)
-Fill with sunflower or canola oil and herbs for cooking or dipping. Note: Recipes can be found in Italian Cookbooks.
-Reuse the corks as bottle corks.
-The corks can be made into a corkboard for your kitchen or a kid's room.

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