Search Results for: Reuse

Reuse Idea: Disinfectant Wipe Containers

With COVID-19 and because we have 2 people in the house who are immunocompromised (my daughter and I both have lupus with lung involvement), disinfectant wipes, e.g. Clorox or Lysol, have become an even bigger part of our lives. I previously posted about making your own wipes here, but honestly, these days I am more likely to buy wipes than make my own. With the rate we are using disinfectant wipes, we have a lot of empty wipe canisters. If you have any experience with this blog, you know that I love reusing things like this! Check out a collection of my reuse posts here.We already use wipe canisters as plastic bag dispensers, (thread the bags through the handles, roll up, dispense in the canister), but with the volume of wipes used these days, I think there are more ways to reuse these containers.

NOTE: Because of the cleaners that were in these, I do not store any food or items that might end up in people’s mouths in disinfectant wipe containers, no matter how much washing happens.

Here are some of my favorite ways to reuse disinfectant wipe containers:

  1. Plastic bag storage
  2. Storage for laundry or dishwashing pods
  3. Craft, art, and school supply storage (either standing or get creative and glue several together horizontally to make an organizer)
  4. Tool or kitchen utensil storage (like craft supplies, either standing or create your own organizer with several)
  5. Grab and Go toiletries kit – include toothbrush in travel case, travel toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, wipes, etc. These can be personalized for each person in the family or keep a bunch together in your car as give-always for the homeless
  6. Car or desk top trash can
  7. Bathroom tool holder – put combs or brushes in it, hair bands around it. This works especially well with the thinner containers
  8. Used cooking oil – don’t ever put your used cooking oil down the drain! Instead, collect it in a wipe container once it has cooled. When the container is full, dispose of it properly
  9. Office supplies – you can cut the containers down and create a customized desk organizer.
  10. Ribbon dispenser – on its side, cut a slot the length of the container or holes for specific ribbon, depending on size, use, etc. you can easily pull ribbon out without it getting tangled. This can be mounted with other containers for more storage.

If you want to get really creative, you can wrap the containers with contact paper or washi tapes to cover the label. Or you can do what I did and just take the label off. For art supplies, my kids have drawn on the containers with markers. You are limited only by your creativity!

Do you have a suggestion for a way you reuse these containers? Drop it in the comments!

Reuse Idea: Cereal Boxes

We don’t eat a lot of cold cereal, but we still manage to go through 1-2 boxes a week as snacks or ingredient in other recipes. I hate to throw away all that great cardboard (even to recycling) so I began looking for ways to reuse cereal boxes. Here are thee of my favorite ideas:

Decorative Stars: I have made several of these country stars out of cereal boxes. A good coat of metallic paint, and no one knows cereal file boxthey are cardboard.

Paper Stacker: We have a ton of decorative and school papers to organize.  Glue together 3-6 cereal boxes with top flaps removed for a great paper storage tower. Cover with decorative paper or fabric to match room decor.

Folder or Magazine Storage: Cut off a cereal box at an angle (see picture in link) and use this for students to store folders, to keep magazines handy, or to keep papers together. Just cover with decorative fabric or paper if it will be left out (unless Cheerios goes with your decor!). TIP: You can also use this same shape to store packages of zipper bags or foils and wraps in a cabinet.

No-Poo: Alternative to Traditional Shampoo

White-VinegarI don’t shampoo my hair. I know. You are thinking I must be crazy. But it is true. I haven’t shampooed my hair in over 2 years. While we were living in Taiwan a friend introduced me to the idea of using an alternative method to clean and condition my hair. Skeptical at first, I decided to give it a try. After all, I was living in a place where, just by the fact that I have curl hair and light skin, people stared at me on the street. If it was a total disaster I just wouldn’t take pictures of myself during my experiment. That was over 2 years ago and I am so glad I made the switch. Not only does this save me money, but my hair is actually healthier and growing faster than ever before. So the big secret… baking soda and vinegar. Yep, I wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar. It saves me a lot of money in shampoo and conditioner costs, as well baking_soda4x3___484x363as in styling product costs. I have very curly hair (my stylist described it as “ethnic” but actually I am just got all the Irish genes in the family). Using baking soda and vinegar to cleanse and condition my hair has actually reduced the frizz and lets me us much less mousse or spray gel to get the style I want, which saves money.

So, how do you do this? The “recipe” is simple. Keep a plastic measuring cup in the shower. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water. (For those science nerds like myself, this will produce an alkaline solution that also results in cooler water than what you put in). Pour that over your head and massage into your scalp just like you do for shampoo. I usually comb through tangles at this stage too. Rinse with water. Then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (you can use any type but I tend to prefer cider vinegar) to 1 cup of water. Pour this over your head and comb through. (Again for you science geeks, the vinegar neutralizes the pH of your head because it is acidic and you turned your hair basic with the baking soda). Rise. Dry and style as usual.

A few tips: I keep baking soda in an air & water tight canister in the shower and vinegar in a reused creamer bottle. I don’t actually measure 1 tablespoon, but just estimate.

To really save money you can buy vinegar and baking soda in bulk at warehouse clubs. I have a 15lb. bag of baking soda!

WARNING: Be prepared for a week to 10 days of crazy hair. Shampoos strip away your scalps oil, causing it to produce more. While your head adjusts to your new cleansing routine, there will be a few days of crazy, frizzy, and/or oily hair. So don’t start this right before a wedding or family picture! Once your head realizes that it doesn’t need so much oil, things will level out and your hair will start having shine and strength you never had before. Try to avoid styling products the first week or two (invest in a good ball cap!).

Our kids use this too. First Born has always had dry scalp. When she started using baking soda and vinegar her dry, itchy scalp cleared up and no more flakes were seen. She briefly went back to shampoos when we moved back to the US because there were so many available but decided to turn back to this routine because her hair was healthier and it eliminated her dry scalp problem.

Room-by-Room Organization: Office

office-organization-ssThe office can be one of the hardest rooms to organize. That is because it is often not really a room! We make an office out of a desk in our bedroom, a trunk in our
family room, a desk in our kitchen, a laptop on our bed…and it can go on forever! This is the space where you pay your bills, where kids do homework, where you finish projects you had to bring home with you, make home school lesson plans, and deal with all the other family business.

So how do you organize a space that may not even be a room? And what about all the “stuff” that gets done in the office? Here are some tips:

Start by Organizing Your Bills. Once you get your bills in order a lot of the rest of the office (and life in general) will flow better. This includes balancing your checkbook, getting out of debt, and saving money. Check out 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Financial Outlook for more help.

Once you bills and finances are in order, move on to organizing the “stuff” of the office. Consider re-using things like cans, ice cube trays, or even baby food jars to keep staples, binder clips, tacks, etc. organized. Add silverware trays to desk or cabinet drawers for storage of pens, pencils, scissors, etc. If your office has a door or closet use and over-the-door shoe organizer for supplies.

Remember the Habits of Highly Organized People! Don’t let your office desk or space become a collection area for papers. Sort the mail daily and put everything away where it belongs. Consider using the rule of threes  to separate and organized paper into folders or drawers for financial (receipts, bills, etc.), file (anything that needs to be filed), and frugal (coupons and other money-saving offers).

Once your desk and office stuff are organized, move on to the rest of your family papers. Organize your medical records and file them appropriately in your office space. Be prepared for emergencies with a Family Emergency Binder and Plan.

The project of organizing your office space can take an investment of time but it is well worth it!  If you spend 15 minutes a day plus 3 hours on the weekends you will have put 20 hours into this project in one month! With 20 hours you can definitely get your office space and papers well-organized.

Room-by-Room Organization: Bathroom


The first step to an organized bathroom is a clean bathroom. Start by emptying the room of everything. Then follow these simple bathroom cleaning tips. Before you start to put anything away, remember rule #7  of Habits of Organized People – keep flat surfaces clear.

Once your bathroom is clean, you can start organizing.

Consider using pencil boxes to hold things like make-up, brushes,  hair accessories, and other collections of items.

Reuse yeast or baby food jars to hold cotton balls, q-tips, and other small items. Use other glass jars as toothbrush holders and even glasses.

Put an over-the-door shoe organizer on the door to hold things like hair products, curling irons, extra soaps, even cleaning products. Consider cutting these organizers in half and using Command Adhesive or Velcro to hang the smaller organizer inside cabinet doors if you don’t want them out on the bathroom door.

Add dishwashing bins under sinks to hold towels or other toiletries. These can even be used to hold all items used on a daily basis. Then all your daily items are in one place but the bin can be put away under the sink as soon as you are done using it so the counters stay clear.

Saturday Project: Reusable Book Covers

In the spirit of back-to-school, this week’s project is for reusable book covers. While not all textbooks are the same size, there are a few standard sizes that you will be able to reuse as the years roll on by.

Here is a great tutorial from Craftzine for book covers

Moostitches also has a great tutorial (click “next” on the upper left side of pictures to advance through the instructions)

I think our home school books that get used for multiple years need to get customized covers!

Kitchen Organization Quick Tip: Keep it Handy

My home will never look like a show home. It is always neat and tidy, but I cannot keep the counters clear. This is because I believe that things I use regularly need to be handy. Cooking and baking supplies that I use everyday are either out on the counter (who wants to lug a KitchenAid mixer in and out of the cupboards 4 or 5 times a week?) or in a cabinet near where I use them. The spices and cooking oils are in the cabinet next to the stove. The cooking utensils are in crocks (and one cool tin can) on the counter next to the stove. Dry erase markers for our family calendar are in a tin can (I love re-using tin cans) on the counter next to where the calendar hangs. Keeping things stored neatly where you use them will make your kitchen run much more smoothly. And using creative storage solutions like a lazy susan or decorative tin cans keep counters tidy, while still keeping your daily use items easily accessible.

Make Your Own Reusable Swiffer Floor Mop Cloths

Since we tried making our own Swiffer duster cloths I got to thinking that it would probably be a good idea to make my own mopping cloths. As I researched the idea, I found that on they had created a tutorial for making a wet and dry reusable Swiffer mop cloth! These are super easy to make, and will save you money!

I can’t wait to try this out! We have several older towels and fleece items that I can reuse for this project, saving even more money.

Re-Use Idea: Yogurt Containers

We eat a lot of yogurt in our house and the yogurt containers, both small 8 oz. size and the larger bulk sizes, are filling the trash. So I got to thinking…how can we reuse them? Here are some of my ideas…

#1. Measuring Cup -8 oz. yogurt container is 1 cup. Mark off half and quarter cup lines and you have an instant measuring cup. This is especially good for times when kids will be in the kitchen with you so that each kid can have their own “tools”.

#2. Popsicle Molds – fill with Kool-Aid or other drink mix and add a popsicle stick or straw and freeze for great summer popsicle treats.

#3. Food storage (large ones with lids) – Use the bulk sizes that come with lids to store leftovers. You can even use these to freeze leftover foods for future use.

#4. Stackable toys for toddlers – clean 10-12 (or more) and let your toddler or preschooler build away.

#5. Office, Workshop, or Craft storage –  use the individual serving sizes to store small office, workshop, or craft items (staples, screws, beads, etc). Or set a few on a desk for pen, pencil, crayon, or marker storage. You can cover these with scrapbook paper or fabric to match your decor.

#6. Sand Toys – Let your kids use various size containers to scoop and mold sand or for sand and water play.

#7. Seedlings – Fill with soil and use the small containers to start plants for your garden.

#8. Paint – Use the small ones for older kids who are less likely to spill for paint. Use any with a lid for younger kids. Simply cut a X in the top for them to stick their paintbrush through.

#9. Bathroom – Use them to hold toothbrushes and other bathroom items or as drinking cups. Cover them with fabric to match your decor.

#10. Camera – Use a yogurt container over the flash of your camera to diffuse the light or limit the flash from actually spreading light over your image while still causing the shutter to quickly open and close.

How do you reuse yogurt containers? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Re-Use Idea: Picture Frames

We have an abundance of picture frames after 2 moves in 18 months. Rather than just keeping them in bins, I have been looking for creative ways to reuse them. Here are some of my favorites:

#1. Responsibility chart – Use this Responsibility Chart template and fill in with age-appropriate chores for each child. Frame it and hang in a central area. You can use a dry-erase marker to check things off and record earnings each week.

#2. Handwriting practice – purchase or make handwriting traceables and put them in a picture frame. Now you can reuse the sheets for more practice and fun.

#3. Math practice – do the same as you did with handwriting for math practice.

#4. Serving tray – Larger picture frames make cool serving trays for parties. Frame paper that matches your party theme to add to the decoration!

#5. Jewelry Organizer – check out the Saturday Project  on jewelry organization for ways to do this.

#6. Chalk or Magnet board – Paint the glass with chalkboard or magnetic paint (or both) to create a great new board for things like to-do or grocery lists, or for menus.

#7. Family Calendar – check out the post on creating a Family Calendar  and print and frame your blank calendar then write on the glass with dry erase markers to keep you family organized

Do you have a great tip for reusing picture frames? Share your ideas in the comments!