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10 Household Items You Should Re-use And Re-purpose (And Never Throw Away)

jugChances are pretty good you’re already thrifty. Maybe you compost your kitchen scraps and save newspapers and rags. However, there are many items you may take for granted as trash that you should be stockpiling and using now to save money around the house and to help you make your household more self-sufficient. Here are some great ideas:

1. Rubber bands and twist ties

Ok, this one is a bit obvious, but if you haven’t started saving rubber bands and twist ties, now is the time to start. To collect rubber bands, wrap them around a small rubber ball or make a ball out of several rubber bands to begin. This will keep your rubber bands tidy and easy to find when you need them.

2. Two-liter soda bottles and gallon jugs

Use these bottles and jugs with tight-fitting lids to store water. Using a permanent marker, write the date on the bottles. Refill water every 4-6 months, keeping a fresh store on hand in case of emergencies. Store enough water for every household member for at least seven days. Or, use it as a garden irrigation system. Prick holes in it and place it beside a plant. Then, pour water in it and the roots will get the water they need, without any waste.

3. Peanut butter jars

These jars are excellent for pantry use because of their hard plastic and tight-fitting screw-on lids. Rinse thoroughly and use to store all manner of dry goods.

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Using masking tape and a marker, label the jars with contents and date.

4. Foil butter wrapping

After the butter is used up, save the foil packaging for greasing pans. Reuse several foil butter wrappers to top a roast or ham while cooking to preserve moisture and add browning. This won’t work with paper butter wrappers, but save those ones too, as they make excellent fire-starters.

5. Bacon fat

What a wealth of flavor and texture is being lost if you dispose of bacon drippings after cooking! Instead, strain the bacon fat through a fine sieve into a mason jar, and keep it in cold storage with a lid screwed on tightly. Use it in baking biscuits, pancakes, corn bread and savory pastry such as pie shells for quiche — once you try bacon fat, you’ll never go back to using butter for these.

6. Old CDs

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Image source:

Old CDs are a real pain; they’re difficult to recycle, and becoming more and more useless all the time. There are many decorative projects you can do with old CDs, but if you want to make something useful try hanging them in your garden to deter pests. Using fine thread and three dowels or sticks, build a stand and suspend a CD above your bean, tomato, strawberry or squash plants. Birds and small furry pests will avoid the spinning reflector, helping you get a greater yield from your plants.

7. Toilet paper tubes

Toilet paper tubes and other cardboard tubes should be saved for a multitude of uses. One of the best will save you time and trouble in the garden. Fold one end and fill them with a bit of topsoil to create seed-starters.

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When the seeds sprout, transplant to the garden by carefully unfolding the bottom to release the root ball and soil into a hole dug to the appropriate depth.

8. Dryer lint

Dryer lint may seem like one of the most useless things around the house. Start saving it now to make excellent fire-starters. Collect a ball of lint, and soak it in a bit of grease or oil. Wrap it in used newspaper, cardboard or paper and twist the ends to seal. Place one or two of these beneath kindling when building a fire, light the end and watch them burn.

9. Baby food jars

These small glass jars are the perfect size for collecting screws, nails, nuts, washers and other odds and ends in the workshop. Mount jar lids to plywood which in turn is mounted to the wall or workbench for easy access to small fixtures. Label the bottom of jars, sort findings, and screw jars into lids to keep everything close at hand and organized.

10. Silica gel

You know those little packets that come in shoeboxes and leather bags? Their purpose is to protect products from moisture, and you can capitalize on that. Save those packets now, and put them in the drawers of your toolbox, sewing kit, tackle box, and anywhere else where equipment could suffer from rust. The silica gel will absorb moisture and protect your tools.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking of creative ways to live self-sufficiently, use your trash for good, and solve household problems with items on hand.

Do you have a trick that you want to share? Add it in the comments!

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  1. This is about the stupidest list I have ever seen,,,,really?????

  2. Hey tom, so, I see you are rich or have a healthy bank account right, I save tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, foil, plastic wrap etc. I use them for seed starting, why BUY plastic trays that will never decay like paper, also I save dryer lint for starting a fire, I take a tp tube and pack it with lint that has oil/grease in it, use it to start fires. And I have 5 – 4×4 s 2 foot long with baby food jars filled with nuts bolts screws nails etc. working on 6th. I also keep the heavy gauge plastic meat trays to hold odd tools large bolts etc. I collect old cell phones and ink cartridges because there is GOLD in your junk, not much in each but if you collect enough it will pay off, ink cartridges have gold inside and outside. You should try these things while you are sitting around calling people stupid. I recycle a lot of what you call junk and stupid and Tom, I AM ENJOYING MY BANK ACCOUNT and I want to thank you and people who think like you for helping me, GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    • bicycle bobs Prescott Wi

      Same here on saving things. I save peanut butter plastic jars for salvageable bicycle parts since I repair bikes for charity. 40 oz. work the best, old milk jugs for water to wash bikes etc. etc.

  3. We have a lot of large, clear, plastic juice bottles that we just don’t want to send to the landfill. Another way to use those is to remove the lid & then cut the bottom off of them to make a mini-green house for individual plant starts that are already in the garden. They protect the tender plants in case of an overnight freeze but then remove them during the day. I like the idea of a toilet paper roll for seed-starting but I wonder what the chemical content is?

  4. Good ideas, I currentlyu use many of them. I reuse CD and DVD container for various things. I find the small containers hold wires such as USB cables and audio patch cables very organized. The large 100 count containers work for keeping toilet paper clean and tidy in the trunk of my car for emergencies.

  5. Such creative and useful ideas! My sister is recently tying to recycle almost everything useless and old in her house and these are some great ideas for her to try. I’m definitely showing her this post. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. When we bring home leftovers from the Mexican restaurant that include tortillas wrapped in tin foil. We save the tin foil square. We use them for baking and for heating up things in the toaster oven.

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