Re-purposing challenge
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  1. #1
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Default Re-purposing challenge

    I love using stuff for what it was never intended! I can't be the only one who's weird that way.

    Is anyone interested in the challenge of finding one thing per week to re-purpose? It saves money to use the things we already own to serve a need in some other way, and I bet there are lots of great ideas floating around here just waiting to be shared.

    Some stuff I've re-purposed lately:

    A plastic plate stand is now our new dish drainer.
    An ice bucket holds kitchen utensils on the counter next to the stove.
    A stainless steel stock pot has become a covered bowl for my five-minute-a-day bread.

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    What a good idea! I like doing this too.

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    Registered User Brat's Avatar
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    I have 2 flower vases that hold wooden spoons and things next to the stove.

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    One thing a week huh? I do not know if I'm creative enough to do this, but I will give it a whirl!! Mahalo for inspirirng us Spirit Deer!!

  6. #5
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Not sure I'm creative enough, either!

    Oh, here's one I did years ago that I forgot about. I keep a fancy glass flower vase on the end table by the couch for little bits of trash. I don't have any place else for trash there, and I use it to throw stuff like thread I've ripped out, candy wrappers, and little stuff like that. When it gets full I just empty it in the bigger trash can in the kitchen. It looks nice and works great, and now I don't have this little collection of crud on the end table anymore.

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    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Okay, my claim for this week will be my indoor veggie planters. The planters are yogurt cups and the greenhouses are 1 gallon water bottles, cut in half. When the season is done, what I don't decide to keep is all recyclable!

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    ...and in addition to coming up with ideas of my own, I know that I will be blessed with the ideas of everyone else!!

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    That's sort of my idea, too! I learn a lot on these forums and seeing how others re-use things can only help me as well.

    I haven't done it yet since there's two feet of snow on the ground here, but I'm going to re-purpose the cinderblocks that provided the supports under the trailer house we had when we first moved out here to our lake property. They've been stacked by the garage for years now. I want to make raised beds out of them in front of our house (south side) so I can move my perennial garden into them, and expand my perennials. It just seems like they'd be a nice height and last pretty much forever, plus be put to good use instead of just sitting around being yard clutter. I plan to cap them with painted lumber so it's comfortable to sit on the sides to work in the garden.

  10. #9
    Registered User tiffanyamanda's Avatar
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    Love this idea!

    This week I re-used an old bath towel to make a bath mat for when we get out of the shower/bath. We didn't have one and I didn't want to spend money on one. I topped it with blue crushed panne velour, then put the towel inside to absorb the water and a dark brown fleece on the bottom to hold the moisture in so it doesn't leave a sopping mess on the floor. It's so much cozier on my feet than a store bought one.

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    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    This is a great thread!! Here are the ones in our house at the moment:

    - I have two instant coffee cans that I've covered with decorative contact paper that I use for cooking utensils (one for wooden spoons, etc; the other for baking stuff like spatulas) and another of the same cans but half the height that I have all my measuring spoons in.

    - They sell dried herbs here in large rectangular tin cans that don't keep humidity out; I put the herbs in jars and I have two of the tin cans housing my sewing kit (one for thread, the other for notions) and a third that I keep on my desk for putting notepaper and post-its that I want to throw away but am too lazy to get up and walk across the room to throw out. In addition to useful they are decorative and retro, and will probably last forever.

    - I start my seeds in egg cartons, then move them to yogurt cups, then to cheese boxes, and finally to mushroom boxes.

    - Here they serve ice cream in really nice decorative little plastic cups (meant to be thrown out of course) - I use one for storing the head of garlic that is "in progress," one for my steel wool/scouring pad, one for rubber bands, one for twist ties, etc.

    - I use shish kebab sticks to prop up my plants when they need a little support.

    - I use my pasta maker to make pasta, but I also use it to roll dough very thin for tortillas and crackers, and to cut tissue paper or aluminum foil into ribbons for gift bags/Easter basket grass/ etc.

    - I filled a glass soda water bottle with tap water and put it in the toilet tank so that it doesn't use as much water when it fills the tank.

    - I wash out jars and re-use them to store absolutely everything. I arrange them by size and shape and fill them with dry goods and spices and they are very attractive in the kitchen. I end up throwing out very little in the way of packaging anymore.

    - I use mushroom boxes (about 4" x 6" x 3") in organizing in my pantry and kitchen drawers. They help keep all my stuff in order rather than having to buy a drawer organizer.

    - We needed a shelf for books so we repurposed a door that was being thrown out propped up on some discarded bricks - underneath, we put shoes; on top, we have our books. Because it's a door, it's deep enough for books to be lined up regularly in the back and another set of books to be stacked on their side in the front.

    - I use market baskets to hold toiletries in the bathroom; potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and citrus in the kitchen.

    - I use the free toothbrushes they give you at hotels for cleaning hard to reach spots (fridge, appliances, grout, etc) since they are not good enough for everyday brushing. Can also do this with an old toothbrush that's no longer good for teeth.

    There are lots and lots more but that's enough for now. I will try to come up with a new one every week!

  12. #11
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I use mushroom boxes as drawer dividers, too. Also stuff like cut-down milk cartons and laundry detergent containers.

    I cut the tops off of two pour bottles that cat litter came in, washed them up, and put them in a large drawer in our buffet. They are the perfect size to fit end to end front to back in the drawer, creating a divider in the middle. I have dozens of the 'round square' Tupperware containers, and the lids to go with them. One of the new drawer dividers perfectly holds all the lids. The other one holds all the lids for small plastic containers, such as those little round Tupperware dishes that only hold a couple tablespoons and always get lost at the bottom of a drawer. To the left of the dividers are all the lids for medium-sized bowls. To the right are all the little bitty plastic containers that get lost in a stack or fall out of a door when they're not stored in a drawer. This system has worked out fantastic! Instead of having to paw through a huge drawer of miscellaneous lids and waste time removing lids by the dozen to find one of the little ones that has migrated to the back bottom of the drawer, and never being able to lay hands on the tiny containers because they were roaming around a disorganized cabinet, we can now instantly find whatever we need. I love that!

    I forgot about the tiny jelly jars I mentioned in another thread, the kind that come in gift boxes during the holidays. They hold about two tablespoons and have been re-purposed into herb and spice jars we take for camping.

    I cut the bottom out of another cat litter jug to use as a scoop for feeding the deer. We throw corn off our front deck for them, and the scoop works great because the jug handle gives us a good place to hang onto when we throw the corn. It holds a gallon or so and is stored in the trash can where we keep the food.

    We use Spam cans for nails and other fasteners. Since they're rectangular, they fit together well in a drawer with no wasted space like round containers would have.

    I use whatever's handy for pattern weights when I sew, even though I have actual pattern weights. Sometimes they're in the sewing room and I'm not. Most anything will do to set on the pattern and hold it in place. Usually it's something like canned foods but I've been known to use stuff like snacky cakes.

    I also use tuna cans with the tuna still in them to set boards on for painting, so they're up off the work surface.

    I posted about my DIY self-watering planters made from cat litter pails in another thread.

  13. #12
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    I have one cat litter pail now, since I have Miss Kitty in my life. She isn't going through it very quickly, though. I just need one more!

  14. #13
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Buy another one with litter and put the litter in a trash can or something (in a tight fitting plastic bag) so you can use the litter pail!

    You could also use round or square five-gallon pails, if the drill would fit in them or if you can cut holes some other way. As long as they're sturdy enough for the bottom pail to support the top one full of dirt, that's all you need. You might have better luck picking up pails from delis or bakeries or someplace that gives them away or sells them cheap.

  15. #14
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Well, I haven't even opened the first one yet, and I don't know if she will stick around long enough, once her leg heals, to merit purchasing another one. Can one stockpile litter in anticipation of having a cat?

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Here's a couple of my all-time favorite re-purposing successes.

    I picked up this folding tray stand at GW for $3. It's solid as a rock and is all stainless steel. As soon as I saw it, it hit me like a brick to the forehead it would make a dandy Dutch oven table. I couldn't grab it fast enough! I wasn't sure what I'd use for the top, but I knew something would turn up.

    A few months after I bought it, I ran across a heavy roasting pan at a rummage sale for .50. Instant top! I had to buy some tool clips to hold the top securely to the tray stand, and I bought a utensil rack that hangs from the tray by a couple of binder clips, so all told I have about $10 in the DO table and maybe another $10 in the canvas carry case I made for it.

    I love my first DO table, too. I walked up to a garage sale and the first things I saw were two camp stools with the seats all ripped up. The price was a dollar for both. The idea of making a DO table from them hit me like lightning that time, too. I love when that happens! I was so excited to get them, I'm sure the guy having the sale thought I was nuts. I had a large cookie sheet wandering around in my garage, so I used that for a top. Again, I had to buy tool clips which were the most expensive part of the deal. I have about $10 in this table, too, including the ripstop nylon carry case I made out of fabric I got for about six cents per yard. This table is very lightweight but supports a ton of iron and food. I estimate about seventy pounds in this picture. (Easter dinner.) The table comes apart for storage and fits nicely in the bench seat of our camper. No more having to cook on the ground, because the table is small and lightweight so no worries about overloading the trailer or having to sacrifice too much space for the commercial tables, which are huge and heavy, not to mention expensive.


    Come to think of it, the little silver booster seat my #5 DO is sitting in on top of the stacked ovens is a re-purposed pillar candle holder. The legs of the DO are too short to stack over the handle of the lid below it, so it needs the booster seat. The candle holder works like it was made for the job! I wish I could find another one for my second baby DO.

    I guess this isn't really a challenge thread but it's sure fun to see everyone's ideas!

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