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  For instance I have a long narrow china dish originally made for holding things like celery.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.


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