Creative Re-Uses for Life's Little Freebies

Creative Re-Uses for Life's Little Freebies

Some of my friends like to joke that I have an inexplicable Depression-era mentality. Which, for unknown reasons, I suppose I do and it acts like an angel/devil scenario every time I go to toss something out.

Angel: You're not going to throw that away, are you? I'm sure you can find another use for it.

Devil: Toss it! No one's looking!

Angel: Don't listen to him, it'll go in a landfill.

Devil: Who cares? Everyone else does it!

And so on, and so forth. In any event, the angel usually wins and our utility drawers are often overflowing with whoozies and whatsits, but all for a good cause and all of which find a purposeful second life in our home. I'm not suggesting you hang on to pure trash, but many freebies have surprisingly worthwhile re-uses.

Here are some of our favorite re-uses for free stuff:

  • Mini Ziploc Bags (the ones you get on new clothes with extra buttons): Perfect for separating necklaces in your jewelry boxes to prevent tangling.
  • Heavy Duty Rubber Bands: (the kind that comes on asparagus and broccoli): Perfect for tying up appliance cords, especially that mess under the computer.  Also work well to wrap around your drinking glasses and keep track so you don't have to wash as often.
  • Chopsticks: These make wonderful trestles when growing plants in a directional manner
  • Handiwipes: Nice to keep in the purse for a quick shoe shine or when there's no soap in a public bathroom
  • Egg Cartons: Perfect for storing your seed starters.  A half-dozen works well to organize small doo-dads in your desk drawer
  • Junk mail letters: Print online recipes, driving directions or maps on the back. No need to use up a spanking new clean sheet of paper for that.
  • Junk mail envelopes: Perfect size for your grocery list
  • Lightweight Napkins: Keep a small bundle in your purse, bag, or bathroom vanity drawer for emergency toilet paper.
  • Magazines: Save for wrapping gifts. Advertisements are so colorful, creative, and often witty, they make the best wrapping paper.
  • Plastic bread or roll bags: Perfect to store herbs and leafy greens to prevent spoiling
  • Newspapers: These make the best glass cleaning wipes, period. Can use with any glass cleaner or your own vinegar solution.
  • Restaurant Lemons: Ok, this might be going too far for some of you, but I occasionally take unused restaurant lemons home and use them for cleaning solutions.
  • Condiments: Save for lunches and meals on the go
  • Margarine tubs/plastic food containers: Save for bringing leftovers to work or sending dinner guests home with "seconds"
  • Toilet Paper tubes: Great for storing hair bands and rubber bands.
  • Paper Towel tubes: Great for wrapping cloth napkins and placemats around to prevent creasing
  • Empty Tissue Box: This makes the perfect plastic bag dispenser
  • Paper or plastic cups: Perfect desk organizer
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