I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday list in a few weeks — and I’m sorta starting to get withdrawal. But I also don’t just want to post something to be posting — so I generally try to put a lot of thought into these things.
I recently started a list of the things I tend to reuse and repurpose every day — and I think you might be surprised to find what you can actually make use of more than once. Some of them may be pretty obvious, but hopefully there will be at least a couple that make you tilt your head and say, “Wow, I never thought of that.” 😉
It is so easy to reuse things — and even if you just give something you’ve got one new purpose, it’s still better than just throwing it away.
- Water (from dog bowls, the shower, washing dishes, etc) — I water my plant from the water that our dog washes her mouth with. Let me explain. Newfoundlands tend to rinse their mouths while they drink water, and when Ayla is done, the bowl will be full of thick slimy drool. If she can help it, she won’t drink from the same bowl twice (which I can definitely understand), but that causes me to change her water bowl all throughout the day. That’s a whole lot of water (almost 10 liters a day sometimes) that I would otherwise just pour down the drain. I started watering plants around the house right from the bowl, but now I have a bucket there which I just pour the old water into. I’m able to fill my watering cans with that water to keep our window boxes alive and even water the garden when there is enough. You can also use clean water from cooking, soapy water from pots and pans if it’s not too greasy (the soap will actually get rid of a lot of bugs in the ground) and water from your condensation washer.
- Coffee — Did you know that your houseplants love old coffee? I started adding that to the bucket of Ayla’s water as well and my plants have been blooming like crazy. You can either pour it directly out of the pot into your plants or mix it with water. Just never add anything with cream to your plants and don’t water them with it more than once a week if you’re not diluting the coffee.
- Coffee grounds — Speaking of coffee, you can also dry out your coffee grounds and put them at the base of your roses bushes. The roses love the acidity in the coffee grounds and it will feed just about any plant with lots of nitrogen.
- Egg shells — If you eat a lot of eggs, you will be happy to know that there are a few things you can do with the shells. If you have a slug or snail problem in your garden, crush up the egg shells coarsely and add a ring of crushed shells around plants you want to protect. The slimy creatures won’t crawl over the shells because it cuts up their undersides. You can also use eggshells to improve the quality of your soil. Add a few broken shells to the bottom of a hole where you’re planting tomatoes, peppers or eggplants to give them a calcium injection as the shells break down. You can also add crushed shells to your bird feeder, because female birds especially will benefit from the calcium when they are about to lay eggs.
- Cardboard boxes — I love ordering stuff online because of price and convenience, but it also leads to an insane amount of cardboard being stacked up in our barn. I do save some boxes for our eBay selling phases — but there are generally far more boxes than we will ever need. One great thing you can do in your garden if you want to stop weeds from growing is to put down a layer of cardboard. It works much like garden foil and will completely biodegrade eventually without leaving little plastic pieces in your garden. We’ve got some thoughts about what we want to do in our own garden in the coming months, so hopefully a lot of this will get used up in that process.
- Newspaper — Several layers of newspaper can also be used in the same fashion in your garden. In fact, I often lay it down under mulch and have found it generally lasts about 2 years. It makes it so much easier to pull weeds since they can’t set in their roots too deeply. You can also use newspaper to make your own origami seedling pots.
- Old t-shirts — My husband always wears white undershirts under his suit shirts. So when we recently replaced them with new shirts, I had to wonder what to do with all the old shirts. I have found that they are perfect for cleaning windows and my Ceran cooking field. There’s a whole lot more you could do with them, not to mention over clothes. And there are project all over the Internet from people who are super creative if you need inspiration.
- Baking soda — Did you know that baking soda is an excellent fungicide? Or that you can use it to clear clogged drains? Once your baking soda has gotten a bit old, or is no longer absorbing odors in your fridge, pour about a cup of it down your drain followed by boiling hot water. I’ll be talking more about the use of baking soda as fungicide on Friday. 🙂
- Glass bottles and jars — There are tons of things you can do with things like wine bottles, olive oil bottles and mayo jars. I’ve turned some blue prosecco bottles that I really liked into slow waterers in our window boxes. They get so much sun during the day that the plants really appreciate some extra water on demand. And if we go away for a couple of days (or I forget to water), the plants have a far greater chance of survival! With a bit of hot water, your labels will usually peel right off. And for stubborn sticky spots, use some WD-40. Spice jars are also great for reusing, especially if you mix your own spice blends.
- Plastic bottles and containers — You can find a massive number of things to do with old plastic containers, from storing screws and nails, to keeping things better organized, to making quick and fun toys. I love peanut butter jars because they are so sturdy and clear. I use them a lot for things like milk powder or nuts and seeds. Set up 10 similar plastic bottles and grab a rubber or Nerf ball and you’ve got an instant bowling set.
What are the things you reuse and repurpose in your home?