Recycling has become a big thing in this nation.  We are encouraged to find a way to reuse many things that in the past we would have just pitched in the garbage.  When I was growing up recycling was a way of life we just didn’t have a special name for turning other people’s trash into our treasures.  My mother was great at finding ways to reuse things even if it wasn’t designed for that purpose.  I have continued that tradition in my home.  Let me share with you some ideas for using things you already have to help beautify or organize your home.

  1. Use old mugs, pitchers, and glasses to hold and organize groups of things. Most of us have a collection of mugs, glasses and pitchers that are the last of a set or they have a chip in them so they are not safe for liquids.  These containers can be used for all kinds of things.  I have used mugs and glasses to hold flower arrangements.  Often they are a better size than the vases that I own.  I use pretty mugs as pen and pencil holders that I place near each phone and between Larry’s and my chairs in the family room.  They are decorative and that way I have a writing utensil handy when I need it.  I use pretty glasses to hold cotton balls in the bathroom.  I have a large, heavy pitcher that holds my curling irons next to my sink.
  2. Use small candy, sauce, or pickle dishes for something other than food. I have an assortment of decorative dishes that I have inherited or been given over the years.  Most of them are never used for the original purpose.  For instance I have a long narrow china dish originally made for holding things like celery.  It is just perfect on my bedside table to hold my hand cream, nail file, and other things that I like to have handy.  I have a little cut glass dish that I use by my sink to hold safety pins and hair clips that I use regularly.  The point is to be creative.  Just because that dish was made for food doesn’t mean that is the only thing you can use it for.  It is so much better to use a pretty dish to organize a group of things and make that area look nice than to keep it stored in a cupboard and never see it.
  3. Leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper. Instead of buying shelf paper to line your cabinet shelves and your drawers, use leftover wallpapaper or wrapping paper.   Vinyl coated wallpapers makes great kitchen shelf paper because it is scrubbable.  I have heard of new brides using their wedding paper to line their drawers.  When my children were born, I used the paper from the shower presents to line the drawers in the nursery.  It was a nice way to remember all the love that was bestowed on my family by our friends.
  4. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls have all kinds of uses. I use toilet paper rolls to hold extension cords and small appliance cords. Folding them and stuffing them inside the roll saves a lot of untangling when you need to use the cord.  These rolls can be used to wrap ribbons around.  Wrap each ribbon around the roll and secure it with a small straight pin.  Next time you need a ribbon it will be easy to spot the color that you want and it won’t be wrinkled.
  5. Ice cube trays can be used to organize your drawersDo you have old ice cube trays stuffed in a cupboard somewhere?  Those little square holes could be great for those small items that you keep in your junk drawer.  You could fill those holes with hooks, nails, screws, paper clips, all kinds of little things that you don’t want to throw away but never can find when you need them.  If you don’t have a nice jewelry box or armoire, put some ice cube trays in a top dresser drawer and use the divisions to store your earrings
  6. Empty jars can be used to store all kinds of small itemsTake the labels off of clear glass or plastic containers then write on them with a magic marker or attach mailing labels to them that you can write on.  These can be used for batteries, screws, nails, hooks, innumerable things that are small and get lost easily if just thrown in a box or drawer.
  7. Empty shoe boxes make nice dividers for your lingerie drawers. Instead of investing in plastic dividers for your sock and underwear drawers, why not use shoe boxes?  If you have children at home, you probably have an assorment of shoe box sizes.  Find the size that fits your drawers and the items you want to store.  Once you work out a system for storage of these small items you will find that it is much easier to grab what you need in the morning because you are not rummaging through a mixed up mess in your drawers.

Next time you want to organize something check your cupboards and closets.  You might just find some great surprises that will improve the organization and beauty of your home.




40th Anniversary cruise 002On June 1, 2014 my husband was asked to preach the 75th Anniversary sermon at Marshall Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC.  He was their first youth pastor from 1979 to 1983.  I had an opportunity to share my testimony of all that God had done for us and taught me in the last 31 years.  The next few posts will be what I shared that day in an expanded version.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has “an expected end”  for us.  Nothing surprises God!  When we left Marshall Baptist Church there were many tears.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine why God was calling us to the Midwest to build a Christian Camp on faith.  That is what Larry told me we were called to do. In the late summer of 1982 my husband sat at our kitchen table and shared with me the burden that he was struggling with.  He felt God was calling him to go to the Midwest and build a Christian Camp.  He had already been struggling with it and arguing with God that this would not work.  After all, we were not trained in camp ministries.  He paused in his narrative, looked at me and said, “You are white as a sheet.  You look scared to death.”

Oh I definitely was!  I told him that there were many reasons this scared me.  First he was talking about moving to Iowa.  He may not have noticed but that is above the Mason Dixon line and it snows more up there in winter then I wanted to see in a lifetime.  THIS FLORIDA GIRL DOES  NOT LIKE TO BE COLD. 🙂  My next objection was moving to a small Midwestern town where everyone watched you and knew your business or at least made something up.  I grew up in Longwood, FL a suburb of Orlando.  We had lived in Greenville, SC and Winston-Salem, NC.  I liked cities with all the shopping, museums, concerts, people.  I had been to his hometown which is like a Norman Rockwell painting.  It’s a lovely place to visit but I didn’t want to live there. 🙂  Then I pointed out that I did NOT  like camping.  My idea of roughing it was Holiday Inn with the windows open.  Yes, I went to camp with our teens because I loved them and was willing to put up with some inconvenience for a couple of weeks to see their lives changed.  But, for the rest of our lives to be a camp directors wife?  Not my idea of fun!  Because I am a woman, and have the right to change my mind, I even pointed out that I did NOT want to be a camp director’s wife.  I wanted to be a pastor’s wife.  The ironic point here is that before I met my husband I had emphatically told my mother that I had never dated a preacher boy and I was not going to marry a pastor!  Last, but not least, was the fact that Larry was talking about moving on faith that God would provide.  That was NO guaranteed income.  Now, I could trust the Lord to provide all kinds of appliances, furniture and luxuries and unheard of prices because I prayed.  The problem here was that he was suggesting we trust him to provide housing, utilities and food.  We’ll starve and freeze to death!

Do you see the problem with all my objections?  It was all about me, my comfort zone, and being willing to step out on faith.  We had been teaching our teens that you must be willing to do the Lord’s will and trust Him to provide even if it wasn’t what we wanted to do.  We were serving God in Winston-Salem.  Why couldn’t we stay there?  Because you can’t serve God in the wrong place and be blessed.

When Larry and I were married, I promised to go wherever the Lord called him to assist him in the ministry.  I was not going to break my vow to God and him; but, I told my husband that he would have to pray for me to get used to this idea.  This was not even close to my plan A for our lives.  In fact, it was dangerously close to plan Z. 🙂  So we told the church we would be leaving in January and started making arrangements to move to Iowa.  Yes, I said January.  What person in their right mind moves to Iowa in January?!  We did.  In the next installment I will tell you how God’s timing was perfect and His provision was just enough