How many times have you thrown something in the garbage can, only to wonder if there was something else that could have been done with it, but you didn't have time to think it through at that moment? If you've run into that situation, you might find some helpful hints in here to get you thinking along those tracks.
Get creative with old clothes:
Until a clothing dryer manufacturer comes up with a machine that doesn't eat socks, there are many things that can be done with the orphans. If you have kids, you can sew buttons on the socks for eyes, and embroider noses and mouths with yarn. Fashion a puppet stage from an old box, using fabric scraps for curtains, and watch them have a great puppet show. They also make good rags for cleaning hard-to-reach places, especially silver pieces like candlesticks.
Plan for Christmas all year long:
Teach your children a little about charity. Old toys don't have to be tossed. If your child is involved in picking out some things that he is willing to give up, put them in a box and go to a charity to give them away. Your child will learn about those folks who have very little and the joy of giving. It will also make way for all those new Christmas presents that Santa left under your tree.
Use your trash for crafts instead:
Creative uses for things from your kitchen:
Cardboard oatmeal boxes are wonderful containers for small objects, such as toy blocks and building pieces. Or, in your tool shop, they can hold paintbrushes and other tools. For a decorative touch, you might use contact paper or paint it and decoupage it once the paint is dry.
Velveeta Cheese boxes make perfect drawer organizers. They are the perfect size for pens, pencils, scissors, markers, etc. Or you can use them in the refrigerator to hold the extra fast-food packets of ketchup and mustard that you don't want to throw away. In the pantry, they can hold the packets of gravy mix and other sauces, to keep them organized.
If you prefer your bread soft and fresh and tend to toss the bread that gets hard, consider this: Stale bread is great for French toast, bread crumbs, and casseroles like strata. You can also make bread cubes, seasoning them as you go, then store them in an airtight container. As a last resort, make friends with your neighborhood birds by tossing it out the back door!
Over-ripe bananas can be frozen and used later, if you remove the peels first. They can be used in banana breads, muffins, and banana milk shakes. Likewise, with apples, peel out the bad spots, cut them up, and bake them with apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
All it takes is a little creativity to use those things you might otherwise discard without a thought. You know what they say.a penny saved is a penny earned.
Mia Cronan is a married full-time mother of three girls, ages 5, 3, and 1, living in Pennsylvania.