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Great uses for old stuff

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Great uses for old stuff

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:15 am

From the Viva Newsletter

I've always had a deep respect for creative people who could come up with unique uses for the most mundane items. I'm talking about the folks who turn old rain boots into a pair of cute outdoor planters, an old planter into a glass-topped end table, or an old door into a dining room table.

Not only do these inspired projects produce a one-of-a-kind addition to the creator's décor or wardrobe, but they also keep junk out of our landfills. And with the economy how it is, they're saving a whole lot of money in the process.

I'm not alone in this fascination. One of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, features AHA! uses for everyday items, such as using uncooked spaghetti to light candles in tall hurricanes, dental floss to cut a cheesecake or old ice cube dispensers to keep earrings sorted in a dresser drawer.

In my more inspired moments, I've used an old bookcase inside a closet for sweater storage and old shower curtains as drop cloths for painting. (Although I missed the opportunity to use old shower curtain rings to hang purses and belts in my closet.) And one of these days, I'm going to save one of the old windows that we've replaced on our house to use as a rustic picture frame.

But therein lies the problem facing every would-be artist or crafter. How long do you keep the stuff that could be just as easily donated to charity? Yes, I could turn an old toothbrush holder into a unique vase, but I don't really need any more vases. I could save old clothes in the hopes that someday I'd learn to quilt or make rag rugs, or even fashion tote bags from old jeans — but is it worth using up valuable storage space in the meantime?

Then again, that's not the kind of thinking that will make me the next Ecoist artist. (They're the folks that make purses and gift items from repurposed candy bar wrappers, food packaging and soda labels.) Until that lucrative brainstorm happens, I'll have to content myself with recycling and reusing as much as possible.

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Re: Great uses for old stuff

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:25 am

Here are some comments from readers of the newsletter:

take a bunch of old socks cut them into 3/4 inch rings and weave them into a jump rope.. i found it in family fun magizine if anyone wants to look up how to do it.

a couple of months ago, i was doing that laundry and was fed up with all her clothes having really stained up knees from crawling all over the place. so i took some of my husbands old socks and made these leg warmer type things for her to wear. i was so happy with them, they not only kept her clothes clean, but looked cute too. i used some argyle dress socks.

you can take an old baby sock and use it as a camera or cell phone cover in your purse to keep it protected!

We have used old mismatched socks and lost buttons for sock puppets with my kids, as a fun craft project. We have used broken dishes to make our own designs for new concrete stepping stones that we created for around our pond. My favorite recycle project that I have done is that I took each of my kids favorite things (first dress, etc) as a very young child up to about three, when they moved into their first big girl beds, and made a memory quilt for them, with the peices of each item.

We also use old socks with holes in them for dusting instead of buying dusting rags.

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Re: Great uses for old stuff

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:18 am

I cut up empty bread bags into strips, knit them together to make mats to use outside my camper. They never wear out, wash nicely and are colorful from the different brands of bread.

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