curtain reuse

photo by mike burns

It's easy to keep or toss some items. You might have an idea for ways to reuse something and, if you don't, out it goes. But it can be tough to decide what to do with some items, such as vinyl shower curtains or liners. They're cheap to replace, so many people opt to throw them away and replace with a new liner (consider replacing with cloth). But they're easy to clean by hand or in your washing machine. And there are plenty of ways to reuse them. If you're going to throw a liner away, you can cut out and keep the magnets and reuse them. How have you reused a shower curtain?
Here are a few more practical ideas.

DROPCLOTH: Place a liner under the highchair to catch baby's dropped/thrown food. Makes the mess easy to clean up. Works well when painting or doing arts and crafts. I've used one when my kids use play dough and cutters, finger paint or any art project that used markers, glue and glitter. One reader, Kathryn in Louisiana, shares: "My aunt uses them around the holidays when she does all her baking. She puts one on the floor for quick cleanup when dusting powered sugar and such." You can pull a liner out when repotting houseplants, too.

IN THE GARDEN: Cover weeds or grass areas you want to kill with a liner. Weigh it down, and in approximately 10 weeks, the area should be cleared by solarization. Use it to kneel on when gardening or to haul leaves or branches. You can even tie a rope to the curtain holes to make it easier to grab when you drag it.

KEEP IN YOUR CAR: Line your car's trunk. You won't have to worry if something leaks or spills. Or use a liner for times you're hauling potting soil or mulch. Another reader, Belinda in Missouri, shares: "Throw it in the trunk of your car to use as an instant waterproof ground cloth for picnics or for tables." Place it on the car floor, and use it as a mat to prevent muddy-shoe messes. It can come in handy if you have to change a tire, too.

PROTECTIVE LINER: Use as a mattress protector. Add it onto the mattress and underneath a fitted sheet. It works well during potty training or the occasional accident or illness. Nichole in Iowa, a community member, said after the throw-up-a-thon she had at her house a few weeks ago, she would be tempted to use it to create a safe path between where the sicky mcsickerson is lounging and the toilet.

A liner makes a great waterproof barrier for the bottom of your tent when camping. Or use one as a grill or patio-furniture cover, over a woodpile or to protect interior furniture when moving or when rearranging a room. Try one in your entryway on the floor during winter for muddy, wet or snow-covered boots. They make great drawer liners, too. If you're having a garage sale, you can set one on the ground and place items on top of it.