5 Things to Do With Bubble Wrap After You Move

December 6th, 2010 - 
Keep it. Even if you aren’t an active eBay seller, bubble wrap comes in handy for shipping anything even semi-fragile or making your own padded envelopes. It’s also great to bring to yard sales and flea markets for wrapping up delicate treasures. Or take it to the grocery store for insulating frozen foods or meats during the car ride home on particularly hot days.

Get crafty. Make bubble wrap printed art or wrapping paper (see a how-to on daisy yellow). Make curtains or shower curtains. Make bubble wrap “stained glass” windows (these are also probably great for providing insulation).
De-stress. Keep some sheets of bubble wrap by your desk at work or in your car. We all know that pop, pop, popping can soothe the soul during times of trouble.

Insulate your plants. Even popped bubble wrap is useful for protecting your plants from cold and frost.
There’s a bubble wrap greenhouse how-to on BBC Gardner’s World, but you could also create a simple tent or cover for plants and bushes during the winter months.
Recyclet it. If your curbside recycling doesn’t take bubble wrap, you can check whether you can donate it to your nearest mailbox store for them to reuse.

8 Bathroom Items to Repurpose Around the House

December 6th, 2010 - 

Let’s say you’re upgrading or renovating your bathroom, and you don’t know what to do with a couple of leftover shower pipes, an old medicine cabinet, or a sink you no longer need.

Here are a few ways to rethink those things.
1. Install a medicine cabinet on a bedroom or entryway wall to create a space-saving vanity, or use one in the dining room as a wall bar.

2. Hang shower curtains on the windows. They’re just the right length for big windows with a 72-inch (or less) sill-to-frame height.
3. Martha Stewart suggests using a toothbrush holder as a flower vase. Just slip the stems through the holes for an instant arrangement.
4. Another idea from Martha: use a wall-mounted soap dish as a key catch in the entryway. You could also try one above a bedside table or dresser to hold earrings.
5. Cardboard toilet paper rolls make good cord wranglers, especially if you cover them in fabric to make them more durable (and prettier).
6. There are lots of different ways to repurpose pipe plumbing into furniture or wall racks. For ideas, click here.
7. Make a wooden bath mat into a boot tray, or use it as a door mat.
8. Fitted into a hallway alcove, an old sink becomes a heavy-duty, industrial looking planter. The porcelain is easy to clean and it’s moisture-resistant, so the plant won’t cause it any damage.

20 Creative and Repurposed Kitchen Storage Ideas

December 6th, 2010 - 

It’s quite a blessing that there are so many creative and innovative ways to store things in the kitchen. With a fresh take and a will to repurpose, you can create an eclectic, functional kitchen space with a variety of different elements—some of which you never thought would end up in the kitchen!

So, what kinds of things can be reused for kitchen storage?

For utensil storage: 
Card catalog drawers

Empty cans
Flower pots

For linens: 
Vegetable crates
Another dresser!
Vintage silver hooks

For a kitchen island: 
A dresser as a kitchen island
A salvaged industrial table
A Lego sculpture
File cabinets and a butcher block
A library card catalog
More dressers!
An antique woodworker’s table
A lab bench

For dishes, pots and pans: 
A vintage armoire
Chicken coops

For everything else: 
Vintage Airline Food Carts
Card catalog drawer
An IKEA white EXPEDIT-like bookshelf
Test tubes for spices

10 Simple Uses for Spaghetti Jars

December 6th, 2010 - 

After a thorough cleaning and de-labeling, a simple spaghetti jar has many great uses. See our 10 favorite ways to reuse them below the jump, and share your own tips!

1. Water for the dog at the dog park: our dog gets exhausted from all the play, and if BPAs aren’t good for humans, they’re probably not good for her either.
2. A drink shaker or cold drink storage: add some lime juice, fresh ginger, basil or some cucumber to a jar of water, put the lid on and give it a little shake. Then stash in the fridge until you need some refreshment, or use one to make your cold-brew coffee!

3. Breakfast to go: add oatmeal, dried fruit and a little flaxseed to a jar and toss in your pack. Once you’re at work, at some hot water, mix well and enjoy.
4. Leftovers: instant non-plastic, non-leaching, non-staining, BPA-free container for food. Great for soups.
5. Storage of bulk foods: re-use what you’ve got for storing sugar, flour, grains, rice, etc. from your local grocer’s bulk food section.
6. Organization: during our ongoing green renovation, we’ve amassed various screws and nails of all sizes. The jars help keep things organized, are very durable and clear so you can see what’s inside.
7. Gifts: we had an explosion of okra this summer. We shipped off our little darlings in these jars to our happy neighbors.

8. Make your own flavored olive oil: fill a jar with oil, add some herbs like rosemary or lemon verbena, cap tightly and let sit for a few days. Then enjoy over salad or on pasta.
9. Ribbon or string/yarn/twine storage: cut a hole in in the top for a twine dispenser or slit for ribbon dispenser.
10. Piggy bank: cut a slit in the lid, decorate with a ribbon or recycled wrapping paper, and let the cents add up.

New Uses for Old Jars

December 6th, 2010 - 

I have to admit that I have been quite slow to jump on the “reuse” bandwagon when it comes to food packaging. Childhood cafeteria memories of sheepishly eating leftover spaghetti out of yogurt containers while friends showed off enviable prepackaged goods like “lunchables” and “snack-size Doritos” left their mark. However, time has healed many insecurities, and I’ve come to appreciate many thrifty ideals gleaned from my granola-nut parents. So much so, that I’m now guilty of selecting food goods based on the decorative weight of their containers for future uses. Glass jars clearly take the cake. Here are some reasons to save a few…

– Candle-filled jars outdoors make magical floating chandeliers. For a helpful how-to for achieving this look, check out Martha Stewart’s instructions. They also make beautiful, simple center pieces for casual al fresco dining.
– Suspended and filled with a bit of bait, they also make creatively stylish fly catchers, as demonstrated in Michele and Brad’s recent house tour. For instructions on how to create your own fly trap, click here.
– This idea is not new, but it never fails to win my heart. There are so many gorgeous options for flower containers found right in the pantry that I don’t think I will ever buy a clear vase again.
– Backyard BBQs don’t have to mean mountains of disposable plastic cups. Jars are hardy, stylish alternatives.
– Time capsules for vacation memories! We love this idea from Sherry of This Young House. Inspired by a mason jar
collection in a Pottery Barn catalog, she decided to display her vacation memories by filling and labeling jars with mementos from places she and her husband visit.
– I decided to disband our “junk drawer” a long time ago because no drawer organizer, however clever, could seem to keep it from becoming a chaotic jumble of keys, pens, batteries, etc. So I love Martha Stewart‘s idea of stashing small items like this sewing kit together in clear, not to mention cute, containers. For a how-to, check out her site’s instructions. I could see this being a perfect solution for a craft room shelf where various craft supplies are grouped by type and jarred candy shop style.
– Antique mason jars are often pretty enough to display on their own too.