10 Things Thrifty People Reuse To Save Money


The other day, I’m in the kitchen and I happened to be rinsing out a peanut butter jar. Que the 9 year old who already thinks that Mom has lost most of her mind (yes child, YOU are the reason for that…lol). When she walked in, I swear, the look she gave me could not have been more confused.  Its not like she didn’t know that I save them, I think it was more of the fact that up until that point, she had never actually seen me rinse one out. Once I explained why I do, she was fine and off and running again, but let me tell you…it was a tense 5 minutes. The sweat rolled down my brow as I explained it, she almost hyperventilated, and oh…the mess…wait, never mind..that was an entirely different conversation. It got me thinking though. I really do save a lot of different items. I’ve got an entire tote of containers and things that I’ve saved, all of them used mind you so they aren’t just sitting there. Why? To save money of course!  I know I’m not the only one. In fact, it’s quite common for people who consider themselves thrifty to save and reuse everyday items.

Do you reuse items in your home? I do and so do a lot of thrifty people! These 10 items thrifty people use to save money can actually help you cut your expenses while saving big bucks!

Like it or not? The older I get, the more I have to admit that I really am just cheap. Call me crazy, but I really don’t like to pay for something if I don’t have to. That’s one of the smaller reasons that I make so many items homemade versus buying them. There are other reasons we make things, but some of it really just boil down to being cheap. Aside from that though, reusing household items is smart for more reasons than just being cheap. There’s also the fact that it puts less waste into the landfills.

10 Things Thrifty People Reuse To Save Money

I’m more than positive there are a lot of other things that can be reused. In fact, I’m quite sure that I’ve forgotten a bunch that I use here in my own home. If you notice any that I’ve missed, I would love to hear them. Just leave me a quick comment.

Jars – Of course I had to start with this one since I mentioned it above. We save everything from jelly jars to sauce jars and in between. Why? Because they’re great for storing things like nuts and bolts, nails, bacon grease and more. In fact, a lot of the time, I put things like my homemade coconut shampoo and my Homemade Lavender Lemon All Purpose Cleaner in old peanut butter jars. It’s quick, easy and they’re unbreakable if dropped. Plus they store really well in the fridge or on the shelf if I happen to make 2 weeks worth at one time. My only rule is that it HAS to have a lid. It isn’t much use to me if I can’t put a lid on it.

Plastic bowls and lids – I don’t understand the fascination behind buying disposable food bowls. They’re a waste of money. They’re especially a waste of money when I have a perfectly good bowl with lid that something else, like my plain yogurt, came in. They freeze just as well, they seal just as well and they don’t cost me a dime extra. I keep a few of them, all of them in different sizes on hand for when I’m freezer cooking or just need to store some leftovers. I also keep a set of Rubbermaid Easy Find bowls on hand too because you just never know when you’re going to need something “prettier” to use.

Aluminum foil – For real ya’ll…are you really covering your dinner with foil while it bakes and then throwing that foil away? Why? 8 times out of 10 when I pull something from the oven, that piece of foil is CLEAN! Why would I want to throw it away and waste money? Instead, I take it off of the dish and give it a quick rinse. Once its dry, I’ll fold it up and stash it for the next time I need a piece. I can get 2-3 uses from each piece of foil and that means I’m buying it less. Overall, I’d say I really only buy a roll of foil maybe 4 times per year at most.

Ziploc bags – Here’s another one that is along the lines of the foil above. Most Ziploc style bags are very durable so if they’ve got something dry in them? Rinse that bad boy out and let it dry! You can typically use each bag once or twice again and you’ll save some decent cash because those things are crazy expensive! There is one caveat to this. Do not, under ANY circumstances, rinse and re-use a bag that has held raw meat. The chances of you and your family getting sick are not worth the savings from a few bags a year. To make drying easier on myself, I picked up a cheap baby bottle drying rack. The bags sit really nicely on it and dry pretty quickly.

Old, no longer wearable clothing – We resell a lot of our outgrown clothing on ThredUp.com or Swap.com and the ones we can’t sell, we donate to Schoola, but what about the ones that are no longer wearable? I keep a tote full. I don’t keep TOO much because otherwise I’d be run over by holey jeans and shirts, but I do like to keep a few pieces on hand. We try not to use too many paper towels here, so cleaning rags are always in need. I also use them to make our Reusable Dryer Sheets. Those holey shirts are PERFECT for that….towels are fantastic too. Cut them into rag size and boom. You’re good to go. Once the rag is really, REALLY not usable anymore, toss it finally.

Cereal bags – you know those really thick plastic bags that your cereal comes in? Yup. You guessed it. I have a stack of them sitting in a butter bowl on my counter. (No joke). Why? Because they’re really, REALLY good for keeping meat from being freezer burned if I happen to not feel like using the Foodsaver one day. They’re also awesome for covering your shoes if you’ve got to go someplace that its muddy, for wrapping bottles and tubes when you’re packing and more. Just give them a quick rinse and let them fully dry before you use them.

Non-food safe plastic containers- Here at our house, we generally use my homemade laundry detergent and my homemade dishwasher detergent so we’re always in need for containers that aren’t food safe. Facebook groups are a great way to find empty containers that other people have lying around. I grab them when I need to and replace them as needed. One word on this…do not EVER consider putting food in a container that is not marked food safe. I don’t care how many times you’ve rinsed it out. Again, it isn’t worth it.

Bread bags and other plastic bags – I’m sure that a lot of you already save those plastic shopping bags, but have you ever considered saving a bread bag? No? Why not? They’re awesome for when you’re packing the kids lunch and don’t want (or don’t have) a Ziploc on hand. They also work really well for keeping food scraps from flying free in your trash bags and a ton of other things. Those plastic shopping bags? If you’re not saving them already? Start. They work 100% perfectly fine for a quick trash bag and fit perfectly into most smaller trashcans.

Buttons and other small items – As I’m cutting up those old clothes? I pull all of the buttons off of them. That way, when I need a button for something, I don’t have to go buy one. They’re also really great for crafts too so that helps cut down on my crafting expenses each year. I also tend to save nuts, bolts, nails and the like. I’ve actually been known to be getting rid of something and pull all of the nails or screws out of it. We’ve not had to buy a nail or screw in a LONG time. Its a little savings, but little savings adds up.

Shampoo bottles – Another use for them is homemade cleaners like a homemade soft scrub, homemade sunscreen or to use with my homemade shampoo. I might store it in a peanut butter jar, but I prefer the shampoo bottle for use in the shower. Keeping old shampoo bottles on hand is a great way to just fill it with my own mixture and go. To get all of the soap residue out of them after the commercial shampoo is used, rinse the inside of the bottle with a 50/50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar. Let it sit for a bit then rinse well.

 

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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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Comments

  1. Kelly in MA says:

    Thanks for a great list. My mom and I have saved lots of these things for years.

    Couple of quick things. Please be careful about storing food in old peanut butter containers. I have a kid with a peanut allergy so this is always at the front of my thoughts. I use my old peanut and peanut butter jars for things like bacon grease instead of for food my kiddo might get into. If I do use them for food items I try to fill them with more nuts so again she doesn’t get into them, I also always make sure that those jars and lids stay together to keep me reminded.

    Also, about containers, I have found that the mid size coffee containers (like Folgers) are great to use as scoops. We have a property we do snow removal for and we set up a couple sand buckets at, I always toss in a coffee container because they are bright colored, durable and have an easy to grip handle. Plus they can carry a good bit of sand.

    Great tip on the cereal bags being good to stave off freezer burn! I’ll be using this tip!

    Just something I heard on the radio for the first time. Many goodwill organizations are now accepting old towels, sheets and clothing that is not usable due to wear or stains. They are selling these items to fabric and yarn manufactures to be recycled into new cloths and yarn. The only requirement for condition is they can’t smell. The PSA recommended calling your donation center to see if they have a program like this. I also use old knit gloves as dust rag. I get them just slightly damp, put them on (or more like my 4 year old puts them on) and dust! I love it because she can help, she is great at baseboards and under tables!

    • For sure on the allergies! Most of the time they’re just used for screws and nails and things because they’re kinda odd shaped for food. 🙂

    • I use socks that have lost their mate for dust rags.

      • Ditto on that. We have a bin for odd socks and if they have been lonely a long time, they get used for other things.

        • I pair up lost mates and wear them. I try to match similar socks (like both have hearts, or both have a lot of black, or both have cats(you know the old crazy socks that are hard to find now, so unless they have holes they are matched up and worn)). I do the same with some of my sons socks. And old jeans can be used to make back pillows for the cars or the couch, etc (kids sized jean legs are perfect, my mom has snagged a few of my sons old jeans for this purpose), and adult size can be turned into durable aprons for kids, and adults (I find the leg is a little short for me, so I’m going to add about 4 inches of a fabric ruffle to give me extra length. You rip the pockets off and put in on the bottom center for a pocket, and add bias tape around the edges for edging and ties.)

    • St. vincent dePaul charity collects rags too. Just put them in a plastic bag and mark “rags”
      I save snippets of cotton t-shirts to clean eyeglasses. Perfect.
      The pull tabs from canned veg/soup are great as hangers on the backs of picture frames. Just glue it on.
      We compost kitchen garbage and my husband puts smaller bread bags inside a coffee container, or even an oatmeal container and we fill it up and he takes it down to the bin. No mess left behind.
      Save denim, including the jeans pockets and seams for crafting.
      packing material which comes with any purchases including peanuts, foam.
      Wool sweaters for felted crafts
      plastic containers from mushrooms, etc for keeping in drawers to corral loose office supplies
      Donate blankets, small throw rugs, etc to the Humane Society for keeping the animals warm.

    • The Humane society and rescues LOVE OLD TOWELS.

  2. LOVE this list. I do all except the shampoo bottles, and now I’m going to start saving those. Brilliant!! I get oodles of samples too and it’s a pain to open those little packets with wet hands!
    I save the toilet paper tubes, and use them to wrap small gifts (earrings, candy, etc) in. I use an old utensil holder and berry baskets to corral everything in my bathroom drawers and lots in the craft room.
    Berry baskets, cut down cereal boxes, and jello boxes now fill my junk drawers and everything has a place.
    Those butter bowls for storing food, I remove the printing with nail polish remover, then use a sharpie to write what’s in them, and the date. Nail polish remover again when I’m ready to re-use them.

  3. I am stopping in from the Frugal Friday Link Up. I save all types of plastic bags and plastic containers. I hate seeing them go to the landfill. We don’t have a lot of recycle options around here. Great post!

  4. I save and reuse tissue paper from gift bags and boxes. So long as there aren’t any tears in the paper, it can be ironed flat and look good as new!

    • That’s another one we do too! We also save gift boxes for the same reason!

    • Ann Dudley says:

      You don’t need to get ride of the torn pieces of tissue paper. Use them for art. Find a canvas or make one. Wet hair he canvas lightly. Take bits of the tissue paper and randomly lay out (or if you like and can make a picture)the paper. Let dry. Seal with decopodge or other type surface sealer I.e. glue/water mixture. Find a frame you like & frame/hang. You can use wrapping paper with the tissue paper. The thinner paper is best. If you like you can do this treatment to those white gift boxes just wet paper not box. Complete as above.

  5. I have prescriptions that I take monthly so I have a lot of pill bottles, I use these for storing small items such as small nails, tacks, nuts, screws, & wire nuts in my tool box. Thanks for the nail polish and cereal bag ideas!!

    • That’s a great idea just make sure you’re rinsing them really well so there isn’t any residue left over in them. Ya never know when a child or pet will get a hold of them. 🙂

  6. Sarah Dewey Melchiorre says:

    I save prescription bottles for small things. I reuse Crystal Light containers for scoops, pencils/pens, and storing small pieces. I save plastic bags from everything, packaging materials when I get items shipped, plastic dishes from frozen meals to feed my cats, tidy cat containers to store pets food, litter, blocks in, and tissue boxes to feed my guinea pig hay in.

  7. I liked your post. Most of my life I had to save and reuse things. I don’t have to now but I still do. I can’t stand to waste anything. We put things up at the road with a “FREE” sign on them and they are usually gone in less than an hour. I just hate to throw something away when someone else can use it. Glad to see a young person with your attitude. Keep up the good work.

    • Lois Adams says:

      I also put things at the road and it always disappears.

      One mans junk is another mans treasure.

  8. Judy Brady says:

    I love your post! I do many of these things already. I hate throwing away anything that can be reused. I save bows from gifts, gift bags, tissue paper and if the wrap is really nice, I save that too. My family laugh at me on Christmas when I put all the mess into a basket to sort through later. One time my daughter went to a birthday party and the gift bag was used by her friend for another party and after 3 or 4 parties, the same gift bag came back to my daughter on her birthday. It still was in good shape….so guess what, I saved it to use again!

  9. Judy Brady says:

    I forgot to mention on my previous comment, that I use prescription bottles for rattles in stuffed animals and toys that I make. They are child resistant, so I put rice, or jingle bells in the bottle then stuff them into the toy along with the fiberfill. I have my friends give me their wet-wipe bags because they make a nice crinkle sound when stuffed into toys. I make my own wet-wipes, but many of my friends have babies and buy them.

    • This is where you can use your cereal bags as well. Rather than the wipe container use the cereal bag. They make a nice crinkling sound also. I save cereal boxes as well for making my own mini bolts for storing my fabric on. Then I can see all my fabric at a glance on the shelf.

  10. I save cereal boxes and such for my kids to use in their play kitchen. They love using “the real thing” when they play. If they play too rough with it, no problem. Same thing with any of the food safe containers without lids. The boxes can also be used for tons of crafts or just open it up and let them color or paint the inside. I use the grocery bags to wrap up nappies before putting them in the trash. I realize that isn’t necessarily helping the landfills, but it really helps the smell. Along with the toilet paper rolls, you can stuff your dryer lint into them and bring them along as awesome campfire starters.

  11. My husband laughs at the glass jars I save! I also save any kind of packaging (bubble wrap, etc.), gift bags (I actually just gave about 20 gift bags away because it was getting out of hand), and even wrapping paper!

  12. Sue Caswell says:

    In the fall, I start saving cereal boxes, pasta boxes, those kind of boxes. It is so much easier to wrap presents in a box, than not. You can always put the grey side out, but its kind of fun to open a package and there is a box of mac and cheese.. Works great.

    • That’s an awesome idea Sue!

    • I use cereal, pasta, and cracker boxes for wrapping also. My grandkids were not quite sure how to respond when they opened their Christmas presents and thought they were getting cereal or mac and cheese. It was great, loved their expressions as they “thanked” me before they actually opened the boxes.

  13. Brigitta M. says:

    I love this post. My boyfriend often teases me that he has to ask for my permission before he throws anything away. lol As well as what you have listed there are a number of other items that I save due to my hobbies: bookbinding and dollhouse miniatures. Any paper (even if it has been written on) can be pulped and remade for a homemade smashbook. Used wooden matches make for a variety of wooden details in a dollhouse such as bedposts and even a wooden paper towel holder. Lotion and shampoo bottles can be washed out and used as bathtubs. I’ve even used teeny-tiny scraps of fabric from the holiest of clothing to make throw rugs, curtains, tablecloths and bedding for the dollhouse. I’ll be able to get even more out of the fabric after I learn to sew dollclothes. My only rule in fabric is that it can’t be smelly or too stained after it has been washed. Even if it’s a color I’m not particularly fond of (like an old workshirt of my boyfriend’s that was bright yellow) I’ve always found a use for it (the shirt in question, in particular was used for the center of mini daisies).

    • Brigitta, He might tease you now, but later on he’ll thank you when you have more money. 🙂

    • I like the matches thing. I also do a lot of crafts and when I saw that, light bulbs (ideas) starting popping up…so many uses.thanks

  14. these are some pretty good ideas, i’ve reused most of these and i’m glad to learn new ways to reuse. My MIL is best at reusing things, she created a empanada cutter out of a clean tuna can.

  15. Dee Thomas says:

    I love the stuff you re use? I have been doing this for years? One thing I do? Instead of buying paper towels? I make my own napkins from shirts,old dresses,etc, as long as it is mostly cotton? It will work! Been doing this for years? I have a 3 roll paper towels that I save in case someone gets sick & don’t make it to the bathroom! I love your blog!

  16. I love all of these ideas! Here’s my addition: My husband and I shred lots of junk mail, newspaper, used computer paper (after I’ve already cut it up into scrap paper and used the blank side), etc. We also save and wash all of our prescription bottles. Every month or so we take them to one of the local animal shelters, where they use the paper shreds for an absorbent layer in cages, and reuse the bottles for meds! Call your local shelter to see what they can use. Some also ask for clean old towels, bath rugs, fabric scraps and other things you might be saving!

    • Great tip Jill! I never thought to check the shelters to see if they could use the paper or bottles!

  17. Julie Sinclair says:

    Here in South Africa we buy washing powder and sometimes dry dog food in very strong plastic bags. I save mine to use if I have a broken glass or anything that could injure the refuse workers hands when they collect or sort the rubbish. I simply staple the bag closed and put in the rubbish bin without fear of anyone being injured.

  18. Plastic milk jugs have many uses. By leaving the handle on and cutting a hand sized hole on top taking off the spout as you do, you have a great container for small kids toys. Slice the handle along the lower portion and slip it on your clothes line to hold clothes pins. Cut a bigger hole and keep one near the toilet to hold the toilet brush or plunger. Cut the flat surfaces into 3 1/2 inch circles as meat separators for hamburger patties. Put one on each side of the patty and stack them in a bread bag for freezing. By turning the jug upsidedown and cutting off the handle and spout, you have the basis for a kid’s mask. Cut out slots for the eyes, a flap that juts out for the nose and a hole for the mouth. If you cut slits up the back toward the top it can fit over the child’s head. (Think a knight’s helmet to help visualize this.) My boys loved these. We did Batman as well.

    2 liter soda bottles make great bird feeders. Cut a 3 inch hole on either side of the bottle near the bottom, the shape of a sideways “D”. Pop some small holes(smaller than the seed) in the bottom for drainage. Hang it up and fill the bottom with bird feed.

    5 gallon food safe buckets can be used to grow vegetables. Drill 1/2 inch holes in the bottom and about 3 inches up the side. Put rocks in the bottom for drainage and fill with good soil. They need to be watered more frequently but lend themselves to many types of patio plants and herbs.

    Metal cans can be used to prevent cut worm damage. Cut off both ends and use as a collar around seedlings. Larger cans, like those for canned peaches or tomatoes can be used for watering. Cut and remove the top lid, punch holes on the bottom and the lower sides. When you are putting your plants in bury the can open side up about flush with the soil near the roots. Fill the can with water to water the plants instead of spraying the entire garden.

    If you use heavy duty aluminum foil, it can be reused many many times.

    Bread bags are great to store meal sized portions of bulk purchased meat.

    Grocery bags fit small trash cans. Most are brought back to our local thrift store and reused by them. They work as “fluff when mailing breakables. And our grocery stores take them for recycling where they are made into plastic “lumber”.

    I frequently use jars with lids for gifted jellies and home canned goods and rarely have problems with them resealing. That way I never have to worry about getting a canning jar back.

  19. I use old kleenex box in my car for trash and when full just toss.

  20. Melanie D says:

    I have a Kleenex box in each room of our home that has a trash can in it. The Kleenex box is full of reuasble store bags for the trash can.

    • I love that! Kleenex boxes can also be used as baby and toddler sensory boxes. Put a few small baby safe toys inside that have varying textures. Babies enjoy this fun new game.

  21. My father’s family saves Sunday comics, and whenever possible, gives Christmas presents completely wrapped in jokes.

    I always reuse giftwrap, but I really struck gold when I started giving away cloth gift bags. Some people are as excited about getting a pretty bag made from repurposed fabric as they are about the gift itself, some people reuse the bag for a gift as usual or hand it right back.

    I save glass jars to use with cups and leftover jars. I’ve been trying to go glass more and more with my leftover storage, particularly with acidic leftovers like tomato sauce and things I’ll need to reheat. Some pasta sauce jars even have measuring marks on the side, which doesn’t hurt when storing ingredients.

    I save some cardboard. It’s startlingly versatile. Long pieces can be used to make storage drawers and pantry sorters, and generally fill in when an object is needed around the house, but it doesn’t have to be as strong as wood. It’s easy to decorate. For not very visible places, I use duct tape in a pretty color. For more visible places, craft or wrapping paper or fabric look better. Large sheets of brown cardboard can be used to smother weeds and grass to clear a new garden bed.

    I save brown paper from shipments, and use it under garden mulch.

    I save leaves and grass clippings in fall for leaf mulch. I cram them into not so visible corners of the garden that are awkward to weed, and around plants that I’ll need to be flourishing in April before the dandelions. Most of this will dissolve back into the ground quickly, some will need to be cleared away around the time of the last frost.

    Coffee grounds make good fertilizer.

  22. feliciana says:

    One of the best things I’ve done is buy a large bag of microfiber cloths at Costco and use them for everything from paper towel replacements to dust rags and scrub rags, and you can always fold one over a Swiffer bottom to dustmop the floors. I just wash them and hang them out to dry on the clothesline (another frugal habit) and use the rags over and over again. I’ve had them for at least 5 years and still going strong. I do most of the other listed things, but the cereal box liners is new to me; great idea for the freezer.

    Remember “waste not, want not”

  23. As with most of the ladies here, I to save/reuse most of what you said. One I love is coffee filters. You can get a good three uses from one coffee filter if your careful. Just rinse and dry on and upside down peanut butter jar that you saved! 😉 Also, I’ll add fresh grinds to the used ones because you don’t need as much. If I used two scoops first, then my next pot would only need one scoop. Just don’t tell my hubby! 😉 Thanks for sharing this, I’m not alone!
    Kristine 🙂

  24. Diane Middleton says:

    You mentioned reusing foil…I have found that a hint I read some time ago really works…balls of foil make good fabric softeners..I was unhappy with the commercial softeners as the liquids sometimes left blue streaks on white clothes and the fabric sheets were quite a nuisance to round up and reuse…just use a ball of washed foil after it has outlived its usefulness in the kitchen…throw it in with wet clothes and it does fine. It will eventually disintegrate into smaller pieces and can then be thrown out.

  25. I use the lint off my dryer, stuff it inside an old roll of toilet paper, and use it as a fire starter. Since I also love the outdoors and have a hiking backpack ready to go at all times, I make my own diy fire starters. I use old straws from my fast food drinks (the thicker the straw, the better) I use a skewer and stuff some dryer lint on it, get a small amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly -equal to about about a cm worth in the straw and then stuff some more dryers lint on it. (make sure you leave some empty straw at both ends so it’s easy to seal) use a lighter to heat one side of the straw and when hot and melty, use the plyers to seal shut. They’re no more than 1 to 2 inches long, so I can make 4 to 5 out of 1 straw and I ALWAYS have fire starters. God forbid, an emergency. The dryers lint catches fire quick and the Vaseline is an extender, so even on extreme weather conditions, you have a good chance at a fire. I also use the same straw technique to alway have antibiotic ointment at hand, toothpaste, etc. I also use empty pill bottles, glue some fine grit sand paper on the inside of the lid and put some matches in the bottle (face down). The repurposing lists that I have are endless. Glad to know that there are more people out there with the same mentality. Of course, some of my reasons are different than just saving money, I also like to repurpose, to save the landfills

  26. Use a razor blade(carefully!) or small scissors to cut open all those plastic tubes of product after you think you have squeezed everything out of them and you will be amazed at how much is still clinging to the sides. A cosmetics salesperson taught me this trick years ago and it has saved a lot of products from being discarded.

  27. I use the plastic bags that newspapers come in when the weather is bad. If you have a glass that sweats really bad with cold drinks slide the glass into the narrow bag and the liquid catches in the bag and saves a mess on the table or counter it is on. I use this especially on my desk at work so all my papers don’t get wet.

  28. I save the containers that individual drink mixes & pitcher size ones come in. They are great for my pencils & other craft tools. I also save coating containers. I make play dough for school & these are great for storing it in.

  29. Anyplace that takes grocery bags to recycle usually takes other bags like dry cleaning and bread bags. Look it up online.

    We do lots of the thrifty things mentioned. We also reuse plastic utensils. They hold up in the dishwasher, so we use them until they die to limit plastic being mindlessly tossed in the trash. I wish more people would watch Plastic Paradise, and that would convert people to the idea of reusing and reducing plastics.

  30. Wow!… It’s good to know I’m not the only ‘nutcase’ out there!
    I save everything you mentioned above. In addition I save coffee cans for crafts and storage, and pet food bags (I use these to scoop the litter box into). Like you, I make my own washing powder and have also learned to make my own soap from scratch.

  31. Most of your tips I’ve done all my life, learned thwm feom Mom! But 1or 2 don’t make since for me. The cereal bags! I would use plastic wrap, or that aluminum foil on meat and the rest the shopping bags! We have so many of them…. but for the shoes! Wear boots!

  32. Norma walker says:

    I do boxes for Operation Christmas Child I save the empty medicine bottles to make fishing kids for boys.

  33. I save the twist ties from bread bags and the plastic ties and rubber bands. I also save cereal boxes, Apple sauce plastic bottles, all glass jars with lids and I’ve been know to dry a paper towel and reuse again. I also reuse those plastic travel wipe bags. I reuse them for trash to throw away used qtips, cotton balls and wipes then just toss when full. I’ve never done this but you could save junk mail envelopes and just glue some scrapbook or wrapping paper or even a paper bag to the front and reuse. I like to cut of brown paper bags and use them as liners when baking. I’ve also used brown paper bags for wrapping items to be shipped. I LOVE reusing things.

  34. I save every jar we get for storing smaller sewing, crafting, or stained glass items. Like glass nuggets to ribbon and buttons. I also save butter containers, (with lids of course to store sting and cording) and slit the top with a small x in two or four locations depending on the size of the spool and then slip the string end through the slit and it keeps it from getting tangled. Then they can stacked if you have more than one. Baby fod jars and cans are also, great items for storage. I save vegetable cans and duct tape them together with fun duct tape or if I’m using regular gray I will spray paint it to use to store paint brushes, pens , and markers.
    It drives my husband crazy at time with everything i save but he knows it saves us money. 🙂

  35. I save the plastic mesh bags that some produce comes in. They can be folded into a ball and used as scrubbers for cleaning dishes, works really well. I also use them for putting peanuts in for birds, and those tallow cakes for birds that you are supposed to buy a cage thing for.

  36. Oh my gosh, so many great ideas! I’ve done many of these, but some are new to me – I especially like the tips about the cereal bags fending off freezer burn, pulping paper scraps to make new paper, removing print with nail polish remover, and finding out what the local animal shelter can use!

    My tip may be out of date, but I used to use old film containers to carry small amounts of laundry soap for trips.

  37. Big yogurt tubs with lids I use for container gardening inside. It’s easy to poke drainage holes in the bottom then use the lid to catch run off.

  38. I reuse different types of lids. With some trial and effort they can come in handy. Some squirt tops from dish washing liquids can be used on coke bottles for a easy pop up top while driving, And some can be used on shampoo and lotion bottles that have a screw off lid. I Like the twist ones that come on Gatorade fit great on Kroger dressings It can be twisted closed and no loose lids left on the counter. I then keep the insert from the inside top of the dressing bottle (the one with the little hole and I cut a few V shapes around the edges and insert them in the 1.50 juices (fruit punch and orange drinks) from Walmart. Then when we go somewhere with my grandkids I stick a straw in the top of the dressing insert and into the juice bottle and have a. Instant Sippy cup. Can also keep the bottle and top and refill with the cheap Tropicana drink and have it ready for babysitting day. I also save my empty spice jars and make my own BBQ rub, KFC, and steak spices. I am a spice nut.

  39. I save the plastic closures on bread bags to use as bobbins when knitting with several colors of yarn, such as intarsia or fair isle.
    I also save the 8 oz juice bottles, you know the ones you get to throw in your bag incase they get thirsty on the go or pack in lunch boxes. I cut off the label and wash them, most of them get refilled with water and thrown into my freezer, when we go to the zoo or the beach, etc, they get packed in a cooler or insulated bag with our lunch. They make perfect ice packs and as they thaw they become extra drinkable water. A few of the bottles I leave out to pour new juice in when I pack my sons once a month lunch with teacher (he goes to preschool). I don’t just save the small 8 oz bottles but they are the ones I have the most of. Any thin bottle is perfect to use as a ice pack as they aren’t too bulky and you have extra water at the end of your trip that is cold.

  40. Hubs is a Boy Scout leader and when the Webloes come up from Cub Scouts he teaches them camping. He uses plastic peanut butter jars as first aid kits. Waterproof! When I was younger my Dad would dip wooden matches in hot wax to make them waterproof.
    One thing I did about a year ago was, cutting up a fitted and flat flannel sheet set that was worn out. We cut them into squares and rectangles, serged the edges ( or zig zagged) and I use then instead of paper towels.
    We take empty prescription pill bottles with us on vacation and fill them withstand from a beach or rocks from special places. I use a sharpie to label them and when we get home I put the contents into a pretty jar.

  41. I also reuse bread bags….i cut them in half for sandwiches or chips and use twist ties. I use hamburger and hot dog bun bags for biscuits. I also use grocery bags for many things except for ones that had fresh meat in them. If i am out of foil or plastic wrap i simply slide plate or bowl of leftovers in and use a twist tie.

  42. One thing to keep in mind about bread wrappers… Bread wrappers are printed with pliable paint, which ( at least in the past) has been shown to contain lead. The clear sections of the bag are fine, but not the bright paint. So, if you re-use them for food storage, please be careful how you handle them. If you do a quick internet search on this issue, you can find hundreds of articles about this.

  43. Joan McKee says:

    Do lots of the above too. I cut out pictures from cards received for birthdays or other occasions and glue onto blank cards and hey presto I have beautiful cards then to send to my friends for a fraction of the cost.

  44. I make herbal infused oils. When it is time to strain the plant material out of the oil, I use an old, clean, cut up t-shirt placed in the metal strainer/colander. I use them for straining my plum jelly also. A coffee filter makes a good strainer also but I can wash and re-use the t-shirt many times.

    • That’s a great use for them Judy! I wonder if they would work as a temp coffee filter too if you were out?

  45. Karen Hart says:

    Love all of these ideas. I do most of them already. I save butter dishes, cottage cheese containers, large yogurt containers and then take them to relatives houses during the holidays for holiday dinner leftovers, write on the outside what the leftover contents is and put in fridge or freezer. We all pitch in bringing the food and then divide it up afterwards. I have also used them to store/freeze fresh squeezed juices of lemons and oranges from my sister’s trees. I have used grocery bags for trash cans in bathrooms and bedrooms and also for “breading” meat, put bread crumbs or flour in the bag with the seasonings then add meat and shake, toss in trash when done. Easy clean up. Husband takes his lunch in a grocery bag, puts it in fridge at work. Good idea about the cereal boxes, I use cardboard for making homemade greeting cards with rubber stamps so as to protect my table, was wondering what I could use to replace the “well worn” cardboard with, now I know.. :0

    • I’m glad I could give you a new idea Karen. 🙂 I’m sure your greeting cards look amazing! Some of the best ones I’ve seen have been homemade!

  46. This is really disgusting but because of my PCOS I can grow a full on beard and have to use many, many applications of Sally Hansen Microwavable wax to get rid of it so I reuse the wax with the hairs in it. I used to buy a new container every two weeks at $5.00 a container or $260.00 a year now I use them for about two months and only spend only $30.00 a year on it a $230.00 savings per year. The wax gets hot enough to kill whatever germs may be in there from reusing the wax.

    • R, have you tried sugar waxing? You can make the “wax” at home and I imagine it could be done with old tees or a strong fabric. Might be worth looking into. Btw? From one PCOS girl to another? I feel ya. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Wow I thought this I was the only one saving all these things plus spray bottles from cleaning products are great for homemade house and garden products and ketsup and mustard bottle are great for homemade sauces and jellies and craft things like paint.

  48. I do most of these things, but I never thought to save the cereal bags. They
    are really strong bags, and I can think of many uses for them. Thanks

  49. Such a great thread! And the comments are a gold mine too!

    One thought about a use for the bread bags…they make a great, easy way to “wrap” larger or oddly shaped Christmas ornaments when you are packing up in January 🙂 I used to save the plastic bags our newspaper came in for this purpose but we don’t get the paper anymore.

    Also, if you buy new Christmas lights, the extra long twisty ties that come in the packaging are really handy for securely fastening cellophane on a gift basket, then you just tie your pretty ribbon over the top of that!

  50. Connie Jordan says:

    A local animal shelter where I live asks for old socks and 20 ounce soda bottles without the lids. They put the bottle in the sock and tie a a knot in the sock to make dog toys. I did it for my dogs and they love it.

  51. Vivian Blossom says:

    I have gazillions of cottage cheese and yogurt containers because I can never throw them away. I freeze everything I can in them but still am overrun. We volunteer at a dinner for the homeless every week so now I bring them there. When we have leftovers, we now have containers to send the leftovers with the hungry. Also, we go through tons of towels and dishcloths, so I bring my old ones in to use. We don’t really care if they match the “decor”!

  52. Cassie Mydosh says:

    I keep waxed paper from butter sticks for lining the bottom of loaf and cake pans to make removing the food easier. I fold the waxed paper in half and keep in the freezer.
    I also wash out the waxed bags from cereals and crackers to use when I need waxed paper for rolling out pie crusts or spooning clusters out.
    I use TP rolls for my silicone mats.

  53. SavingMommaOf3 says:

    With old socks or ones you cant find a match for…fill with rice. You can use them as heat packs. Just throw it in the microwave for a minute & your good to go.
    This helped me with breastfeeding engorgement

  54. Carol Payne says:

    I have saved cereal liners for years. Also zip top frozen fruit and vegetable bags and bread bags. I roll them onto a cardboard paper towel roll and secure them with elastics. They are great for storing frozen berries, homemade pesto cubes, homemade roasted tomatoes etc. Thanks for all the other tips.

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