The Second R: Remember to reuse

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I had a conversation recently with a friend about the “three R’s” and how these days it’s pretty common to reduce and recycle, but what about reusing? How much around us can we actually reuse? A lot actually! A little imagination, maybe a little bit of DIY mastery, and you can save some major bucks by doing this one easy thing: save the packaging.



 



Save the packaging! Tins, jars, plastic containers, egg cartons, paper shopping bags, and so much more can actually be reused. Not for the long-term maybe, but oftentimes I find reusing containers is a great stopgap solution for something that you only need temporarily anyway. It’s such an obvious concept, but I find not that many people can see right away how it can be reused. This week let me share with you some of the ways I reuse things to eliminate the need to spend on all kinds of containers and little products which can add up over time.



 



The blue or black plastic trays mushrooms come in at the supermarket are great for holding your soppy, soapy dishwashing sponge. Why would anyone want to <strong>buy</strong> a tray for that? At Bed Bath and Beyond, that could cost you north of $10.



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Those circular cookie tins that show up every Christmastime with delicious cookies inside are great for storing things you don&rsquo;t want to get dusty. Everything from that stockpile of phone chargers and cords you have drifting around to a bunch of tea lights. The deep rectangular tins are also great, and can store scarves and belts. Tins are also excellent for keeping and carrying any desserts you may bake. Put some homemade cookies in there and give it as a gift.



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Keep any glass jar you have left over from salsa and sauces. You can easily clean it out and take the label off (Protip: If any gluey residue is left scrub it off with a mixture of baking soda and any kind of oil. Google it). Those Tostitos salsa jars are gold for holding overnight oats, homemade salad dressing, or yogurt. If the jar is big enough you could probably make your own fruit salad. Remember getting fruit cups in your lunch? You can make your own in an adult portion! The possibilities are endless!



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Plastic jars from peanut butter or Nutella, or tin cans from tomato soup are also really useful. These cylindrical objects are great for tidying your space up. Use them to hold the toothbrushes in the bathroom or the pens on your desk. If it&rsquo;s cleaned properly&mdash;labels and glue have got to go&mdash;it can even look classy. Plus they&rsquo;re easy to either clean or recycle if they get too rundown or dirty.



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I also like to cut the lid off of the tiny containers cherry tomatoes come in and just use the bottom half for dropping random stuff into: spare change, loose cough drops, hair ties, receipts, my keys every now and again. If you have a lot of toiletries on your dresser you can tidy it up by putting your hair brush, nail file, or razor into a bottle/tin/jar on top of your dresser and just like that your place is cleaner.



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The round plastic containers from sour cream or yogurt are great for storing nail polish bottles, batteries, USB sticks, jewelry, cellphone chargers, etc. If you&rsquo;ve ever received jewelry as a gift and it came in a tiny drawstringcloth bag, I love reusing those to store my headphones in so they don&rsquo;t get dirty. They&rsquo;re also great for storing earrings, cufflinks, and necklaces of varying length&mdash;especially if you&rsquo;re traveling.



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The best part is all of this can be thrown into the recycling when you need to move out! You can acquire these things slowly over time and then put it in the blue box when you move; cutting the amount of heavy lifting you have to do every four to eight months. Maybe keep the tins though. A good tin can last you a good long while.&nbsp;
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