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Banana Peels, Bras and Baby-Wipe Containers

Re-purposing items is both "green" and frugal.

There are so many reasons to save money.

Saving is important even when the economy isn't shaky. People squirrel away money for their future. They put cash aside for emergencies (who wants to break the dryer and the bank simultaneously?). They save funds to maximize the potential of assets they already have.

I once worked with a person who was an admirable steward of the planet and thrifty, too. One day she told me that she and her husband generated less than one full garbage can per week. I have to admit, with two little kids, diapers and baby food jars, I put out at least two nearly full cans twice a week!

A quick story about this former coworker. She is a shrewd, capable woman. She has this amazing quality of being able to immediately assess an object. If she doesn’t need it, she finds a new home for it, one that isn't a garbage can or, ultimately, a landfill.

The best example of this was when I saw a new brassiere she had ordered. She displayed the lingerie item on a dressing table in the ladies' room with a note that said "free." Joking around, another coworker and I stuffed the bra liberally and positioned it just so, on the shelf. Well, apparently that sold it! A new owner was seen with the strap hanging out of her purse at the end of day.

Unwanted items can take on a new life.

While I could do a better job of reusing items, I do make an efffort. Here’s a list of some simple things I try to do to save some money and help the planet.

I’d love to hear some of your suggestions in the comments too!

Organization

Plastic pouches from household goods: A friend recommended saving those strong, plastic zip bags that curtains and bedding come in to organize children’s toys. I tried this and loved it! My daughter can easily see what the pouch contains and it keeps thing orderly.

Plastic baby-wipe containers: I use these to sort my daughter’s hair products--one for barrettes, one for hair ties, etc.

Diaper boxes: If you’re like me and buy the big cardboard boxes of diapers, you may have these on hand. I like these boxes for storing out-of-season baby/toddler clothing in the attic.

Household cleaning

Clothes line: I have an outdoor clothes line. I find it’s great for towels and sheets, although it became too time consuming for full loads of laundry.

Rags: We wash, then re-use my husband’s old T-shirts in a rag bag hanging inside our linen closet. We use them for dusting and polishing furniture.

Kitchen

Bananas: Three or more too-ripe bananas become banana bread in my house. My daughter loves to help mix the ingredients. Here's a recipe.

Banana peels: Roses love banana peels. You can push them discreetly into the soil to add nutrients.

Coffee canisters with plastic tops: I use them to store flour and sugar inside my cabinets.

Coffee grounds: My grandfather always put them into his plant beds. I do it too!

Egg shells: Crush them (so they don’t look so obvious) and scatter them in your plant beds to add calcium.

Egg cartons: There are so many fun kid projects to be done with these. Here are some ideas.

Entertainment

Magazines: I love them, but they pile up. My parents own a rental property, so I often drop off a bunch there, for others to enjoy. I also offer them to friends and family.

Donations

Towels: When towels are clean, but faded or have pulls, instead of tossing them, donate them to an animal shelter. They're great for clean-ups or for drying off the animals.

Clothing: Give clothing to friends or family or donate to the charity of your choice.

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