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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when....

 
pollinator
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Location: South-central Wisconsin
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Lauren Ritz wrote:Question for the "reuse everything" experts. I have some pans that have been sitting around for years. The "non-stick" aspect has long since passed on. They are shredded, trashed, have been used extensively with metal utensils (which is the reason we now use cast iron exclusively) so probably not good for the thrift store. That's where most of my "still good enough" junk goes.



-Sand them well to remove every trace of the coating, then season them with oil the way you would cast-iron.

-Use them to melt things that aren't food, like pine sap or soap.
 
Posts: 86
Location: Upstate New York
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Larry Pobiak wrote:....one of my mini-blinds bit the dust, so.....;


5. Great garden plant labels.  I use a carpenters pencil to write on them.  The writing will not fade at all!  Even years later they are just as clear as the day I made them.



Hey, I just did this and sold them to my townsfolk this spring. I cut 1 end at an angle to make them easier to insert. I made enough money to buy a 2-person auger for my next fencing project, planting trees and installing posts and piers for an addition to my house.
 
pollinator
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That is awesome M! I am certainly going to do this to any out of service blinds I get my hands on in the future! It is more work, but people throw SO much trash on the ground here, I get a lot of plant labels from just random plastic yogurt pots, coffee bottles, etc. The white ones do of course seem to work the best. I just keep losing my writing in the sun here! lol

I sometimes get teased because I turn everything into plant pots. Old broken dinosaur toy? A hole saw and some leftover spray paint and it is a plant pot! An old wooden desk someone tossed to the curb because the top was too bowed from use to be salvaged, but hey it had good drawers I was able to carry home on my walk, and those are great plant pots for my accidental succulents! An old metal watering can that the bottom has rusted out of? punch a few holes in a yogurt tub lid and it too can become a plant pot! Though, I am much pickier about what I put my edibles in. Support plants, like flowers, succulents, house plants for cleaning the air are all fair game. You can even build collections that look really good together. Just also keep leeching in mind if it is a material that could contaminate soil. But there are tons of old food containers to use, like metal tins that had olives or tomatoes in them before! This is also a great way to gift plants to kids and get them very interested in gardening.

I took one of my nieces plastic barbie cars she had torn up and was getting rid of and fixed the broken wheel with a not working one, and turned it into a "barbie" garden that is easy to care for and slow growing. She loved it so much she started coming over just to learn and help a bit in the garden here and there. She even has a garden of her own now. =D

Also, I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere but practically any fabric that is worthy of something more than being used as cleaning rags can be sewn together with other remnants to make pillows/cushions or spare blankets. I never ever seem to run out of uses for spare blankets and towels. No many how many I have. Old towels, or thrifty remnant blankets are great for injured critters, picnics, covering plants that need just a bit of extra frost protection for the night, stuffing around holes to prevent drafts, make-shift forts, you name it. When helping evacuate people in the Australia bush fires of 2019, I used every spare blanket I had. I know it sounds weird if you haven't been through it, but the fires make the air temperature afterwards and in the surrounding areas just plummet afterwards, and scared kids like having blankets, they are comforting. It seems to work on critters too, something warm and soft. So it is in my opinion, something worth dedicating precious storage space to as you can never ever have too many.

One I saw someone do here locally and never would have thought of on my own was using old/broken spoons of all types (plastic, wood, metal) to make a little spoon person garden. It was cute, I saw it in a local park and I think maybe many people have been adding to it. Seems like a good craft project for kids.

I have a near clear globe (just flat enough on the bottom to sit) empty plastic kimchi jar from my roommate, the top is a heavier plastic and screws on with a carrying handle. I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I estimate it could hold about 1L of potting mix were I to cut the top out and turn it into a hanging strawberry pot. Any other ideas for it? It is too small to be good for holding pens, or tools really, which is unfortunate. It is cute for being a plastic food container so I have been trying to think of something cool to do with it other than using it as a plant pot. lol So, I am open to suggestions!

 
M Wilcox
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Aimee Hall wrote:That is awesome M! I am certainly going to do this to any out of service blinds I get my hands on in the future! It is more work, but people throw SO much trash on the ground here, I get a lot of plant labels from just random plastic yogurt pots, coffee bottles, etc. The white ones do of course seem to work the best. I just keep losing my writing in the sun here! lol



The writing instrument to use on plastic row markers is a grease pencil, or what they now call china markers. They're wax based so weatherproof and they never fade. At the end of the season if you want to clean off the writing, you can use hot soapy water or alcohol. The only caveats are don't touch the writing much because it may smear, and keep the pencil out of hot sun.
The guy who started this topic uses a carpenter's pencil and swears it stays readable for years.
 
gardener
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M Wilcox wrote:

The writing instrument to use on plastic row markers is a grease pencil, or what they now call china markers.  The only caveats are don't touch the writing much because it may smear, and keep the pencil out of hot sun.  

Sorry - need to add one - don't accidentally leave it in a puddle for two days or the paper cover will swell and split. (I'll swear the puddle wasn't there when I put it down - gravity maybe???) That said, it still works, but I have to handle it much more carefully than if it hadn't gone through a wet/dry cycle!
 
master steward
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When your son spots a hole in his underwear and asks you to mend it. Having mended underwear as a teenager, you know it doesn't work out too well and is uncomfortable. So you tell him that. He then insists upon putting the underwear in the scrap fabric pile, saying, "It's red cloth! And if you need a word, you can just cut one off the top!"

Well, I couldn't say no to that, and now we have underwear in our scrap cloth pile!
 
M Wilcox
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I don't know about your areas but around here food grade buckets are cheap or free from restaurants. They churn out empty buckets like mad.
 
pollinator
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I had some scrap pieces of Rock Maple wood left over from another project.
I decided to make myself a pair of chop sticks.  They turned out nice.
Since the school I teach at has loads of foreign exchange students, several from Asia, I figured I'd get an Asian's take on whether they were any good or not.
I walked over to the nearest Asian student and held out the chop sticks.
She looked at me with a "What the hell are you doing?" expression.
I found out later that in her country giving a woman a nice pair of chop sticks is an old traditional way of proposing.
OOPS!
 
pollinator
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Phil, that's hilarious and completely awesome! LOL!

But if she had accepted them and smiled broadly with tears in her eyes ... what then?
 
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We've had some "late frost" here in Indiana just after  I had just planted some root stock for Rhubarb and Elderberries.
To save them from the frost I decided to use buckets turned upside down but I only had enough empties to cover the Elderberries.
For my five Rhubarb plantings I decided to use some of my Bird Seed sacks saved up over the winter.

I rolled the open end of each of the five bags down the height of a Paver brick. I stuck one brick under each fold down and folded down one more time.
I simply made sure the bag opening was open and placed that over each plant. The brick held the light weight bags in place perfectly.
 
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Marco Banks wrote:We were on vacation and needed clean clothes so we swung into a laundromat to do a couple of loads of wash.  As we were waiting, I noticed a "perfectly good" drier sheet, just sitting there in the bottom of one of those wire-frame cart things that you use when you pull your clothing out of the drier.  I grabbed it.
Then I saw another one, this time still inside one of the driers.  I grabbed it.
Before we were done, I had gone through the trash can and found a dozen or so more.  
Hey, they work for 2 loads of laundry -- you don't throw them away after just one trip through the drier!


Howdy!
And if you don't use dryer sheets, they are great for chasing away flying insects (shove them in a pocket and mosquitoes will be more inclined to stay away),
                                                             good for chasing insects out of drawers and closets  - it's either the chemicals or the scent (which is still the chemicals ...), but it works
                                                             good to stuff in a shipping box to prevent any "stale" odors
                                                             good for shoving in a box no matter what you're doing with it, really  
                                                             useful as a last minute static cling/pet hair remover
                                                             if left to soak with hard food stains in water will do wonders at helping the stains on non-porous stuff come out, not as good on porous stuff, but it's worth a shot.

Once they are free of Smelly Stuff they are :useful as a lightweight interfacing for any sort of embroidery/cross-stitch, or other handwork
                                                               really good at reinforcing paper for crafts (just layer the sheet with the paper products for sewing, and some gluing applications)
                                                               great at all those little jobs where you just need a bit of something nonwoven to repair something else (re-enforcements for pocket corners, tops of kick pleats, backing for repair patches on fiber things)
                                                               more permanent than tissue paper if you have a tear on a book page and need a small repair job  
                                                               they are great lightweight non-woven stuff for sachet liners, manure teabags, and other non-edible filter-ish things
                                                               you can draw on them and use them for sewing/craft pattern reinforcement, or fasten a bunch of them together for a full sized pattern piece (running stitches, glue, staples - I haven't had luck with tape)

I had only gotten this far in the thread before my thoughts exploded. I'm sure there are lots of other suggestions along similar lines, but these insisted on being let out.
 
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