Creative uses for binders
photo by clicksense
DEAR SARA: I have about 10 plastic three-ring binders that I bought for back to school two years ago. My kids never used them. Do you have any great ideas on ways to upcycle them? — Andrea, West Virginia
DEAR ANDREA: You can decorate the outside with fabric or contact paper. Insert page protectors, and use them to hold recipes, photos, appliance manuals, coupons, magazine clippings, artwork, printable activities for kids, report cards, scrapbooking, craft-project instructions or holiday planning, or donate them to a local school.
DEAR SARA: I have some Christmas cards someone gave to me through Freecycle, and I don’t think they are very pretty as Christmas cards. They are pictures of the sky with stars and pictures of the moon and the earth. Nice cards, but not nice Christmas cards, so I wouldn’t send them out. They have messages like “Peace on Earth” on the inside. I was thinking I would give them to a local resale shop, but if I can find a decent use for them, I won’t. Any ideas? Thanks! — Leslie, Illinois
DEAR LESLIE: You can use them to make gift tags, bookmarks, for decoupage projects, cut them for puzzles for kids, donate them, put them into a craft box for kids or make ornaments. There’s a cute ornament craft at www.junkmailgems.com/DIY_Ornament.html.
DEAR SARA: Whenever my sister stays at a motel or hotel, she takes home the extra roll of toilet paper provided. I don’t. I figure it’s for my use while I’m staying on the premises, not to take home with me. What do you do? — Kathleen, Wisconsin
DEAR KATHLEEN: I don’t take hotel toilet paper. I consider that stealing. I’m sure there are people who take whatever they can get, from sugar packets to hair dryers. Hotel toilet paper is definitely not something I would want to stuff into my suitcase. I think most hotels assume the shampoo and soap will be taken home by guests. I usually bring my own and don’t care to stock my shelves with mini toiletries. I have taken my son’s half-eaten doughnut from a free continental breakfast and poured the rest of the coffee I brewed in my room into a travel mug. If an item such as a doughnut, pot of coffee or opened bottle of shampoo is going to be thrown away if I don’t take it, then I will consider bringing it home with me so it’s not wasted.
DEAR SARA: I am wondering how realistic it is to become a one-car family. My husband and I have each had our own cars since we met (about five years ago). I recently totaled mine only two months before paying it off. There is not great public transportation where we live, but we do have the option of carpooling to work. — Summer, Oklahoma
DEAR SUMMER: You haven’t given enough information for me, but we are a one-car family of six. Everything we need is within walking distance. And my husband works close to home and has a flexible work schedule. I have neighbors I can turn to if necessary, and there’s public transportation, too. It depends on your lifestyle. Transportation for work is one of the biggest hurdles, and you have that covered. You have to consider how much you used your car before it was wrecked. We’re homebodies during the week, and on weekends, we do a lot of family activities, so I never feel that I’m sacrificing anything. I’m sure some people probably think I’m stranded. That’s not at all the case. If I want the car, I simply drop my husband off at work and pick him up. Appointments and shuttling kids to activities can be tricky if you and your spouse don’t have flexible work schedules.