Re-purposing......

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

I love to take everyday things...and re-purpose them. Right now,I am washing a load of old white sheets that MIL gave me. She no longer wanted them. I am washing them with my homemade powdered laundry detergent, rinsing with water from my rain barrels, and then hanging them out on the line when the sun comes up. After they dry, they are going into my yard goods collection of sewing fabrics. On some of the fitted ones, the elastic is dead. I will just rip that off, press them all flat, and fold. They will come in nice and handy (and cheap), for some of the many sewing projects I am currently doing now.

Middle, TN(Zone 6b)

Moving this post



This message was edited Jan 26, 2012 4:23 AM

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

I pick up old sheets at garage sales and thrift stores, especially brown and green ones, and use them in the garden as weed block. It also helps shade the soil here in sunny (read: HOT) Texas so helps conserve water and keep the ground cooler for plants that don't like hot roots (like bell peppers.)
I make pouches from the back pockets of old blue jeans to store things like a magnifying glass, ulu knife, or extra night light bulbs. Vitamin/pill bottles are good for storing seeds, beads, buttons, nails, etc. We get baling wire from a friend that has horses and it is useful in the garden for securing tomato cages, fences, etc. The blue drapes used in operating rooms are good for covering/protecting your plants during a freeze. They are also useful to protect the floor and doors from drips when painting your walls. Old afghans folded up make good dog beds and are easily washed and stored so you always have a fresh bed ready when one gets soiled (dogs come in with muddy feet.) It's easy to make hot pads from an old blanket (cover several layers with a fabric that matches your kitchen.)
Sure would like to hear more ideas from others .......

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

I am going to see what kinds of used jeans I can get hold of. I also have some cute ideas to re-purpose DH's old plaid shirts... WEG ;)

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Yep, old jeans and shirts are very useful....

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

Quote from Ladypearl :
I pick up old sheets at garage sales and thrift stores, especially brown and green ones, and use them in the garden as weed block. It also helps shade the soil here in sunny (read: HOT) Texas so helps conserve water and keep the ground cooler for plants that don't like hot roots (like bell peppers.)
I make pouches from the back pockets of old blue jeans to store things like a magnifying glass, ulu knife, or extra night light bulbs. Vitamin/pill bottles are good for storing seeds, beads, buttons, nails, etc. We get baling wire from a friend that has horses and it is useful in the garden for securing tomato cages, fences, etc. The blue drapes used in operating rooms are good for covering/protecting your plants during a freeze. They are also useful to protect the floor and doors from drips when painting your walls. Old afghans folded up make good dog beds and are easily washed and stored so you always have a fresh bed ready when one gets soiled (dogs come in with muddy feet.) It's easy to make hot pads from an old blanket (cover several layers with a fabric that matches your kitchen.)
Sure would like to hear more ideas from others .......




I lived in TX for a year. Up by Fort Hood. It was hot, and dry, and all of my transplanted bushes died. That was back in 94...and I left soon after. Jobs just weren't materializing there where we were. Ex had to drive to Waco for a job, and it didn't pay that well.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

My old t-shirts become dusting rags.

I've repurposed two French Provential dressers as buffets in my dining room. They look like buffets, but they store scrapbooking supplies and office supplies.

I have another long dresser in my office, serving as a credenza. On top are several pieces of office equipment and inside are my painting supplies.

I love using dressers because you hide so much stuff in a nice piece of furniture.

In my living room, instead of having end tables, I have a couple of French Provential nightstands, each with two drawers. I can put remote controls, heating pad and dog grooming supplies in them.

In my potting shed, I have a stainless steel kitchen island with drawers which I bought at a yard sale. It serves as my potting table.

In my storage room, I wanted a work bench with storage. So I used a big bathroom cabinet that we took out of a house we remodelled. I put a wood top on it, where I set my big compound miter saw. In the drawers and cabinets underneath, I store all sorts of tools, spray paint, and caulk.

Anytime I add furniture, I look for something with lots of storage behind doors. It keeps me from having to dust so much. With two big hairy dogs tracking in mud and living on a gravel road, I have a lot of dust and dander to deal with. Having few open shelves and very few things out in the open cuts way down on the amount of time I spend cleaning.

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

Most definitely! Multi-purpose furniture! I lived in a tiny (14x65) mobile home for 11 years, with the ex and 3 kids. Everything had to be multi-purpose to fit.

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Yep, Moxie, Texas isn't the easiest place to live sometimes. The weather can be crazy, and jobs hard to find. We've had a lot of our plants die also. I was particularly unhappy about the pecan trees we planted dieing in the drought. So I can understand you moving to SC (where there are big trees. I miss the big trees where we lived in Alabama.) The people of Texas are really nice, though (from my experience).

Those are great ideas, Butterfly! I especially like the idea of the stainless steel island for a potting bench - I'll be looking for one of those.

Another thing I re-purpose is old vegetable oil (yes, we still partake of homemade french fries from time to time). I put the used veg. oil in a big coffee can and take it to the garden to knock stink bugs, squash bugs, potato bugs and other such pests into. They instantly drown. ( I got tired of squishing so many bad bugs and somebody told me about this.) After finishing the hunt (for bugs) I put the lid on the coffee can and set it where it won't get knocked over and it is ready there in the garden next time it's needed.

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

It is so nice out today...almost February. I decided it might be time to start some seedlings in my hothouse. So, I proceeded to fill up 3 trays of flats with potting soil. Got to the little round plastic pots..and noticed they have many holes in the bottom, for drainage. Hmmm.......
Looking around my hothouse, I see my collection of coffee grounds, currently drying in the sun. I grabbed some coffee filters, from the collection of coffee grounds...and flattened them out. I put them into the bottom of the round pots to keep the soil in. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!!

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

It looks like we might have an early spring here as well... Good tip about using coffee filters to keep the soil from going out the drainage holes - I'll be trying that. Can't believe it's already time to start seeds.......

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

I have been saving coffee grounds all winter....when I read somewhere online that they are good for cutworm deterrent. We def. had cutworms last year. The coffee grounds and filters were just going into the compost bins, but not any more. For storing the dried used grounds, I made a bag from some nylon tent fabric...so there is air flow.

This message was edited Jan 29, 2012 4:18 PM

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Coffee filters are also great for drying your seeds. I use them a lot at seed-gathering time.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

You can pick up free coffee grounds at any Starbucks or other coffee joints, and they may come with used filters, too. They are happy to give them away to save on their own disposal costs.

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

I read about the Starbucks thing. Closest ones to me are 35 miles away, and since I don't go there, Columbia SC, I ahve to make my own. But it would be a great score for somebody!!

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

Lot's of great repurposing ideas here. Hey LadyPearl, I may just give bell peppers another go after reading your suggestion! I live in the High Desert of So. Cali (Zone 8a/b-ish) and we seem to have a lot in common with TX gardeners. I gave up on trying to grow bells a few years ago. Most of my repurposed large fabrics become bird cage drapes. I rescue parrots and currently have 6 huge cages in what used to be a dining room. A couple of the FIDS do such a good job of shredding them that if they are cotton they just go directly into the compost bin when they no longer serve as drapes. I also save any old clothes with interesting fabrics for quilts, skirts and such. I have a couple of bags full of old jeans and I make purses from thetops portion to sell on Etsy and use the legs for everything from long, tube type sandbags idf they are stained or paint spattered (which we occasionally need around here during flash flood seasons) to again, quilting fabric. I'm thinking I'm going to make a cage drape for my fussy cockatoo from the denim. He likes it to be very dark when he sleeps at night.

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Yeah, bell peppers are a little picky. They like a lot of sun, but don't really like to be as hot as it gets down here. And the wind in the spring is hard on them - we use some old privacy fence boards nailed to some stakes to provide shade for the soil and block the gusty south wind from breaking the branches of peppers plants. (2 to 3 foot high little privacy fences stuck in the ground on the south side of the pepper plants) If there is a late cold front I cover the young plants with 5 gallon buckets that my daughter gets from the bakery where she works part time. They are kind of a hassle but some years we get so many peppers that it is well worth it. And home grown don't have any pesticides on them! They will keep producing until frost.
That is an interesting idea about using the blue jean legs for sand bags, will keep that in mind. From time to time we have need of sand bags (this clay soil can only take so much water, so there has been flooding (such as in 2007 and 2008.)

I found a big piece of brown upholstery fabric at the the thrift store a few years back and it makes a great drape for my parrot (Maximilian pionus). Her name is Pearl and she is why I picked "Ladypearl" to go by. I guess I can be thankful she doesn't shred her cage drape! : )

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

I have 2 who LOVE to shred their drapes! One is my Cockatoo (Triton), "Mr. Kisses", who enjoys cutting holes out so that he can actually hold a piece of fabric and nibble on it. Your heavy upholstery fabric sounds perfect for him. His base has to be something he can't cut through quickly. The current upholstery fabric is due for replacement. He's been chewing at that one for about 5 years and I don;'t think it will stand another washing! The other is my African Grey, "Hildy" whose favorite fabric to shred is flannel. I don't really mind as she only goes through about one a year.

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

We once had a German shepherd that ate any shoes she found on the porch until she was almost four years old. The kids would often forget and leave their shoes outside (boy did that get expensive.) You are so right, replacing cage drapes is no problem really ...

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

When I finally got rid of my old king waterbed a decade+ ago, I saved the 'mattress' and liner. The mattress (water drained and dried) is just a huge (king) piece of almost indestructible vinyl (a double layer thick). The liner, also king sized, is a thinner but still waterproof piece of vinyl. I just knew both of these would be good to have around. After they were thoroughly dry, I folded both and put them in the garage. I use them like tarps to keep things clean and/or dry. I'm keeping them for that 'aha' moment when I'm trying to figure out what to use for some project or problem and suddenly realize that one of those giant sheets of vinyl, cut down to size if necessary, will be absolutely perfect.

I also keep old, worn out comforters. I have 2 really old, king, poly 'satin' comforters, both with a zillion snags and with 1/2 or more of the quilting stitches ripped out. They are no longer much to look at, but they are practically indestructible and have countless uses. I use them when I need a blanket on the floor or ground, something to sit on for a picnic or lie on at the beach (folded), for instance. I use them as tarps to cover the floor when I'm trimming the dog's hair, dying my own hair, painting or using other craft materials which might damage the floor. I spread one in the trunk of the car when transporting plants, mulch, pine straw, compost, etc. After use, I shake them out and toss them in the washer. I use them for all kinds of things.

Once I was helping a friend move a very large, incredibly heavy sofa that was so overstuffed we simply could not get our arms past the stuffing to get hold of the frame underneath to carry the thing - and it was as heavy as an ox to boot. After several failed attempts at lifting the thing and after realizing that we could neither reach the frame nor lift it by the stuffing, we were very frustrated and about to give up when it suddenly dawned on me that one of those comforters would make the perfect sling for carrying the sofa. We couldn't reach past the stuffing to get to the sofa frame, but we could put the comforter under the sofa and then lift it by the comforter. There may have been better ways to do this, but we didn't have any of those things on hand 9PM at night when we were desperate to get that furniture moved. We did have the comforter on hand (I keep one folded in the trunk), and it actually worked. It was strong enough to hold the weight of that monster sofa, and it made it possible for us to carry the thing - even though we could only move in about 10ft at a time before we had to set it down again and rest.

I can't tell you all the things I've used those old comforter for over the years. I've folded them down to make emergency pet beds. I use them any time I need a quick way to protect something, a cover, padding, tarp, any time I need something I don't have to worry about getting dirty or snagged or getting paint on it.

Another idea for old and severely worn comforters is to donate them to the SPCA. They are always in need of things to use for pet bedding.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

When bath towels and other items made of cotton or poly cotton get too old and worn to be of use, I rip or cut them into large square-ish sections to use for cleaning rags. I do this with bath towels and also with old t-shirts, tank tops, sweats, knit pants, etc, even an old cotton gauze dress. I've designated whites and pastels for kitchen use, darks (black, navy, brown) for the bathroom, and colors for everywhere else. I use them for general cleaning tasks and to wipe up spills. I don't use them (EVER) to wash or dry dishes.

I 1st got the idea to do this after reading a book written by the owner of a cleaning company, a book that explained their system for cleaning a house fast. Instead of using a single rag or sponge for cleaning, they use a large stack of cloth baby diapers. They clean with a folded cloth (diaper). When one side gets soiled, they refold it to use a different side. When all sides are soiled, they toss it in a pile on the floor and a clean one. When they finish the room, they gather the pile of used cloths and put them in the washer. This way they don't have to keep stopping to clean the cloth/sponge, and they don't have to worry with hairs and other debris. Just use them and toss them aside, always getting a clean one to keep going.

I like that idea but didn't have any diapers. To try it out, I started ripping up old clothes. Now I have a stack of rags 'neatly' folded under the kitchen sink, another stack in each bathroom, and a final, all purpose stack in the laundry room with other cleaning supplies. I've been using them as detailed in the book (except that mine are color coded to insure that I never use a bathroom rag in the kitchen and vice versa). I find that I really like this part of their system. I like being able to toss rags to one side and keep cleaning w/o having to deal with washing them out by hand. I like the idea of just tossing them in the washer when I'm done. Except, instead of buying a few dozen cloth diapers, I just use old cotton and cotton-poly clothes and towels for this purpose.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Sorry if I'm filling the thread up today, These are my last 2 ideas for the day.

When I'm ripping/cutting up old clothes/towels to make the cleaning rags mentioned above, there are often long thin pieces that just don't fit the model for cleaning, areas like long sleeves from a knit top or legs from tights. I cut these into long, narrow strips to use for sweatbands when gardening outside in summer. A few years ago I reached that point in a woman's life when being outside in the heat causes me to sweat so much that w/o a sweatband I can't see for the water running down my face.

I cut the sweatbands so that they are roughly 4-5in wide and long enough to wrap around my forehead and tie. Before putting them on I fold them in half width-wise. I tie them in back and then wrap and tuck the ends. I keep a handful of these in a small container on a baker's rack by the back door. If one gets too wet, I grab another. I toss them in the wash when done. They work great for soaking up sweat and keeping it out of my eyes/face. Before I got the idea to make my own this way, I paid some $10-15 for a single terry cloth band with velcro closure. I actually like the ones I make (free) from t-shirts and sweats better. They stretch to give me a good fit, and the tie actually works better than the velcro because the latter (1) irritates my skin if I put it in front, (2) pulls my hair out if I put it in back, and (3) picks up lint in the washer/dryer so that it no longer stays closed.

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My last idea for the day involves fast food napkins. I try not to toss anything I use/buy and that includes the various things they put in my bag at the drive thru. Thus I have a large stack of napkins. Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I do not condone the practice of taking a handful of condiments, napkins, etc just to use at home. I am speaking only of the items passively collected, items they put in my bag as part of my meal.

Anyhow, even though I haven't been to a fast food establishment in ages, I have a hefty wad of napkins collected over the years. I was trying to figure out how I could make use of them. Those cheap napkins aren't that great for much of anything, yet I hated to toss them out. I tried using them as facial tissues, but that idea quickly bombed. They tear & shred too easily. I keep a handful in my car for emergencies - in case I need a napkin or tissue and nothing else is available, but I still have quite a healthy stack of those things. Then suddenly I had one of those 'aha' moments - wiping grease from pans!

Now I keep them in a kitchen drawer by the sink and use them to wipe the final layer of grease/oil from a pan or dish before putting it in the sink. I'm talking about that pan I cooked the bacon in or the roasting pan I cooked the chicken in. Even after I pour the bacon grease in a container to save or spoon the drippings from the roaster, there is always a very small amount remaining in the pan. To avoid having it clog my drain (over time), I like to wipe that last bit of grease out of the pan before washing it. For that, those cheap napkins are perfect! For some time I had been using paper towels for this job, and while paper towels do the job well, it pains me to 'waste' them in this manner, especially since it seems I'm forever having to wipe traces of butter or bacon grease or drippings of some kind out of something. Now I finally have a use for those extra napkins and a way to wipe up that grease w/o wasting costly paper towels. (If anyone has another, possibly better idea for dealing with that final layer of grease, I would love to hear it. This has been an ongoing problem for me.)

Okay, I think I'm done for a while. :-)

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh no... we hope you aren't 'done for a while'!

Good thought on the napkins... I have always used them and old newsprint and shredded paper from work to enhance my flower beds and garden spots.
I had used paper towels in the same manner as you do. We've been in the same home since 1988 and never had plumbing problems. (((knock on wood))) I take it one step further. I save empty containers that would normally be thrown away. I put any grease soaked paper towels and grease in the container, seal it and add to the garbage. Doing so prevents the stray dogs from smelling good odors from our garbage and tearing into it.

And, I clean house and at work in a similar way but use cheap microfiber cloths from the auto section of the dollar store. When they are soiled, I have a sealed container that is like a diaper pail. I put them in it with soapy water to let them soak till I get enough launder.

Old comforters or mattress pads work well to use as a sling to carry a large disabled pet if needed as well.

So tell me, did you have a day off from work? Or just a slow day at work? I hadn't seen you post often as of late.
Hope all is well... Kristi

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi, Kristi,

Sometimes I post from work at lunch time. Today I got off early. I was trying [not] to clean house today when I kept thinking of things I just had to post.

That's awesome to hear that by keeping grease out of the drain you have managed to go that long w/o a backed up drain. I've been in this house 12yrs now w/o a problem. It's very hard for me to 'waste' costly paper towels to wipe grease from dishes. Every time I have to remind myself that the cost of that paper towel is negligible compared to the cost and inconvenience of a clogged drain.

As for not posting for a while, I've been working LONG hours, 10 & 12 hr days for a while now, so not much time for anything else. I did post a few times but mostly to a couple of my ongoing threads. Recently, I also posted to the thread in this forum about ideas for insulating around the house - just had to tell them about using cardboard strips to weatherstrip around doors/facings. Don't know if you recall when I did that to close the air gap around my doors in 2010 while I was unemployed. Those strips are still there 2yrs later and still working great. Hmm, I guess that (converting old cardboard boxes to weatherstripping) also qualifies as re-purposing.

Great to 'see' you again!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

So glad to hear all is well. Yes... I read your insulation technique. Necessity being the mother of invention. It is always a rewarding feeling to have done it yourself and be successful.

Your posts that stick in my mind though were when you were eating out of your pantry inventory while shopping for employment. I think of you while adding items to my pantry, think of you when I look at the 'best when used by' dates, think of you when I open a can and sniff the contents. Hoping you are restocking your pantry and would love to see a thread on what you are doing differently with it this time. OTOH, I know it is hard to host a thread when you are putting in those killer hours. Best wishes... enjoy your weekend.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I save up my popsicle sticks to use as plant markers - they only last a season but I'm always making more and they mark nicely with a sharpie. I cut up pantyhose and use the strips to tie up plants as it is fairly soft and stretches nicely. Last Fall I unknit wool sweaters from the Goodwill and wound the yarn into tennis size balls. Then I put them in panty hose with a knot between each ball and washed in very hot water with a very cold rinse anddried in the dryer. When the balls are felted sufficiently I use them in my dryer to cut down on wrinkles and drying time. They do a great job!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I used to use pantyhose strips as plant ties, too. They have many pros. They are soft and stretch which makes them less likely to damage plants, yet they are strong enough to hold considerable weight (as in tomatoes) w/o breaking. They do tend to rot by the end of the season around here, possibly due to the high humidity, long growing season, damage from intense sun, and relatively high qty of rainfall, but that's not problem since they hold up until the end of a season when it's time to remove them anyhow. Best of all, they're free and easy to make. If I were gardening right now (and wearing pantyhose more than once or twice a year), I would probably be using them still.

I like the drier idea. Very creative. Although totally different, it reminded me of something I used to do with old pantyhose. This one may not be that unique, but...when I was growing onions and garlic, I cut the legs off of old pantyhose, stuffed each leg with onions or garlic, tying a knot between each orb, and then hung each filled leg from a high beam in the garage/utility room. I kept to all onions in one leg, all garlic in another, although I don't know if that matters.

The panty hose leg allows good air flow around the onions/garlic so they dry partially (like the ones at the store) and keep longer. Tying a knot between each one keeps them from touching which would limit air flow and encourage rot. Hanging the filled legs makes for good use of vertical, storage space & helps with air flow. Best of all, when you want to use one, just cut the bottom one off below the knot. The others remain undisturbed. I grew quite a lot of onions and garlic one year, and this method allowed me to store them so that I had onions/garlic throughout the entire winter w/o loosing any. (We don't have basements or root cellars here. The ground here is too wet to safely support underground spaces.)

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Ok, this one is a little unusual. It's very product specific, so not for everybody, but it's a definite example of re-purposing.

My brand of birth control pills comes with a simple, black vinyl pouch with fold over flap. The pouch, which has no label or logo, is just solid black and is textured to resemble suede or micro-fiber. Best of all, it just happens to be exactly the right size to hold a stack of 25-50 or so business cards. It's also the perfect size to hold drivers license & credit cards. I've also used one to carry an assortment of those little artificial sweetener packets in my purse. It's wide enough to carry 2 types of sweeteners, say the blue ones and the yellow ones, side by side for easy access. They can even be used to hold money, a number of folded bills. They are perfect for use in a purse and are excellent for corralling money and cards in one of those tiny, envelope style evening bags. Best of all, every pack of pills comes with its own black vinyl pouch. That means I get 12 of these things per year - and having recognized their many uses, I don't throw them away.

I keep one stashed in a side pocket of my purse to hold business cards and another for sweeteners. I keep one in my office desk drawer. I've given a number of them away to colleagues for use as business card holders. I even have some guys walking around now with business cards stashed in one of these things. Of course, they have no idea what these things were originally. The things actually look just like they were made to hold business cards.

I realize this suggestion has limited use, being only applicable to those who happen to be using the same brand of pills or perhaps another brand packaged with a similar pouch, but then again, maybe it will encourage everyone who takes the pill to take a 2nd look at whatever pouch or carrier comes with theirs, and maybe it will even encourage everyone to take a 2nd look at any thing of this sort they may find packaged with any product.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I get those pouches too, Dream, and I also use them for business cards. I hadn't thought of using them for anything else though. But I will now that you've given me ideas.

You mentioned a waterbed liner earlier. I used one to build a little garden pond. It held up for years! In fact, when I decided I needed a bigger pond, the liner was still in great condition when I dug it up.

I just started taking a martial arts class. And I had this inflatable queen size mattress I didn't want. I asked my instructor if he wanted it, thinking his children might use it. He said, yes he wanted it. He intends to wrap the whole thing in gorrilla tape after it's inflated and it will be our "mat" for doing throws. The gorrilla tape will reinforce it so we don't blow it out.

A friend of mine had one of those expensive gazebo type things with the canvas top on it. A storm came thru and ripped the top of and mangled the tall posts that go up to the top. The base was a nice iron fence thing that formed a 10 x 10 or so square base. She was wanting someone to haul off the base, which was screwed into concrete. So I pulled it up from the concrete and brought the fence home. I used it to make a divider wall between two sections of my garden, partitioning off my butterfly garden. It looks so cute! People who visit my gardens are always commenting on it, wanting to know where I got the fence.

At a flea market, I found these 4 two-side posts. They had once been part of another gazebo kinda thing. Each post has two panels to form a corner. They'll be great to grow vines on. I intend to use the 4 posts as corners again and build a gazebo or arbor out of them covering a nice bar and bar stools in my gardens. I got all four wrought iron posts for a whopping $10.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Lots of great ideas, ButterflyChaser, and very creative, I might add. Great ideas for re-purposing that old waterbed liner and inflatable mattress. I hadn't considered a pond liner. Good to know. I have both a king liner and a king mattress dried, folded, and stored away in the garage. At some point if I decide to build a pond, I will certainly keep that idea in mind. When I decided to change beds, I just knew those 2 items would come in handy someday.

The mattress is unbelievably rugged. Once when moving, we forgot to drain it ahead of time. We couldn't get all the water out, esp since it had a baffle inside holding water. It was so heavy due to the remaining water that even several guys could not lift it, but we needed to move right away or loose money. The guys ended up dragging the partially filled mattress across concrete walkways and up wooden stairs. I was sure it would leak after all that, but, incredibly, it didn't leak a drop - even though it had all kinds of scrapes and scratches etched into it from being dragged that way. I used it for more than 10yrs after that before I decided to change beds. It's a very large and very tough piece of rubber/vinyl. I wasn't about to throw it away.

I also love your idea for using the gazebo parts as supports for vines. In my mind I'm picturing a couple of clematis on that, contrasting colors. Fabulous deal on those wrought iron posts. Oh, and have you considered painting them? I love some of the magazine spreads I've seen of gardens with items painted in shades of purple or blue or green.

I have one more re-purposing idea to add. I have a stash of zippered cosmetics bags/cases, most of which I acquired as part of a 'gift with purchase' deal on high end cosmetics over the years. I don't use a lot of cosmetics now, but I saved these from the younger years. Some are rather ordinary. Others, like a Dior bag in evening blue, satin stripe (fabric) with goldtone accents (zipper, name plate, etc), are quite nice. I've found a variety of uses for some of them, uses which have nothing to do with cosmetics.

There's a little, silver, satin bag that came with Nexus samples. It's the perfect size to hold my pill bottles - so long as I don't acquire any new illnesses, that is. It's the right height, length, and width such that a few regular pill bottles stand side by side and upright in the case. It even has a little zippered pocket inside that is perfect to hold a card or two of my OTC allergy/sinus meds. This keeps my meds corralled all in one place in a drawer where all I have to do is pick up the one bag, unzip it, and take my meds. At one time I was taking more meds, some morning, some evening, so I used 2 different bags, different colors, one for morning meds, one for evening meds. That way I didn't have to think about what to take when. During my morning routine, I took 1 of everything in the morning bag. At night, I took 1 of everything in the evening bag.

I use another of the bags, a slightly larger bag, different color, different design, to hold my dogs meds (flea, heartworm) along with his comb, scissors, clippers, tweezers, etc. I used another bag to hold certain toiletries, especially things I wanted to be able to grab in a hurry - that was in the days before 9/11 changed the way we travel. I find those little cosmetics bags come in handy for a variety of uses. Heck, I even keep my handgun and ammo in one in the nightstand (no kids here).

They are very handy for organizing and keeping a group of items together, especially since they are each very different in appearance. I find that I quickly get the hang of reaching (w/out even thinking about it) for the silver/gray one for my meds or the gaudy black and white patterned one for doing my nails, etc. I can just pick up the one bag and take it to the sink (to take meds) or the sofa (to do my nails) instead of having to get several items together and carry them all where I need them. I can just toss the one bag of toiletries in my overnight bag or take the one bag with me to give the dog his meds, trim his nails, and tweeze his ear hair (yes, he has ear hair. It's a Maltese thing they don't tell you about until after you buy.)

I also keep a pen, pad, and some sticky notes in one in my nightstand for when I'm on the phone and need to write something down. Before I did this, I could never find or keep track of a pen. Keeping it in it's little case in a drawer means I always know where a pen is when I need one - and I don't have to go upstairs to my office or to the kitchen to find one in the middle of the night. Oh, and I keep one in the headboard of my bed with AA & AAA batteries for when the [bedroom] remotes die (so I don't have to chase down batteries in the middle of a show).

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Just realize that I have recycled my recycle bins! My city changed how it collects recyclables giving us a huge can with wheels making the two bins they had given us earlier last year obsolete. The bins are now in the catio (cat patio) as lounging stations. The bottom is up and the holes in the bottom let water drain away from the sitting area. :)

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Good to know, AYankeeCat. My city is now in the process of distributing the large, wheeled bins for recyclables, so I will soon have several of those smaller bins to re-purpose, too. Thanks for the idea. I have a total of 4, one from the city and 3 smaller (shorter) ones that I bought. I might try your idea for the taller, city bin.

I'm thinking about painting the 3 shorter ones white (using paint for plastics) and using them like storage bins in the mud room. Have to see if they will fit on the shelves in there. Or maybe in the garage.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

You could always grow stuff in them.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Oh, wow, that IS a great idea! Glad you mentioned that. I'll need to be careful about paint if I want to use them as a planter, maybe avoid painting at all or at least the interior. Might need to check what they are made from to see if it's ok before using them to grow anything edible. Such large 'tubs' would make nice planters though.

Dahlonega, GA

Desert Witch , Could you post a picture of a blue jeans purse ?

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

No more coffee grounds to save. DH and I both gave up coffee a year ago.
I don't wear panty hose, so I can't re-use them.
I will need to look around and see what else I have that is re-usable. Too bad old electronics are hard to re-use. We have a dew of them laying around waiting to go to the E-recycle bin that the county runs.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

As to those old electronics, some very enterprising types have made money by removing the circuit boards from obsolete computers and such and cutting them up to make various things like coasters, clipboards, notebooks, pendants, drop earrings, etc. That industry seems to be limited only by ones imagination. Such items are especially desirable among geek types: engineers, developers, technicians. I bought a set of the coasters (round w/cork on bottom) - I'm a software engineer. Recycled items are very popular these days.

On a totally unrelated note, the other day I looked at my cat's dish and realized that I must surely have THE most unusual re-purposed item ever. His food dish is one of those kidney shaped plastic things they give you in the hospital (or used to). I don't even know what that thing is for. Scared to ask. It had never been used, btw. It was part of a set of disposable, plastic things they gave me at the hospital. I was about to throw it away but gave it a good look 1st to see if I might be able to use it for something. That's when cat food bowl came to mind, and the cat has been eating from it ever since.

I guess if anyone saw him eating from that thing they would surely do a double take, but it actually makes a nice dish for him - filled with dry cat food. It's wide enough for the other cat to eat from one side easily - which she does, even though she has her own dish. Hey, re-purposing is about thinking outside the box. Right?

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

Emesis pan. The kidney shaped plastic bowl...for when people have to vomit. Nothing at all wrong with repurposing them. I use any hospital pans I find. They are good, and cheap if you find them at a thrift store, or if some one is tossing them. Use them in the green house, or hosing off veggies from the garden. Or filling them with greens to take to the chickens or goats.

columbia, TN(Zone 7a)

I buy old cotton sheets at goodwill or salvation army, cut them into strips and crochet them into rag rugs, and they last forever.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

:)

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