Still not done with current crafty project, but figured I’d use the lull to mention some “solutions” I’ve implemented in our home (mostly using a favorite of mine: cardboard from the recycle pile)
Way too many cups and glasses used every day, especially after summer—and hot hot weather—arrived again! The top dishwasher rack was constantly full of “dirty” plastic kiddie cups. “Dirty” as in, used once for a meal or a snack, then off to be washed.
We do give them a quick rinse after each use – who wants orange juice residue from snack time mixing with milk at dinner?!? – but I see no need to suds them up if the same person will be using the same glass all day. (Jenny, lover of Germ-X, are you shuddering as you read this?)
Every night, they’re put in the dishwasher. Last summer, I used a little rectangle, folded in half, with a person’s name on it. Not that summer is the only time to do this; honestly, I don’t remember why we quit last time. Probably the little nametags got buried under counter contents and so the system fell apart…
Way too many paper napkins or paper towels being used at meal times!
Cloth napkins. Some I made – the bright floral, green-backgrounded ones. Some were wedding gifts – neatly tucked away in the drawer, never being used! The rest… (OK, Jenny, you’ll really flip your lid on this one) are old handkerchiefs. Old used handkerchiefs.
But I figure, they’re washed so they’re clean, right? Plus they used to belong to my Oma and Opa (German grandparents) so every time I see the “napkins,” I’m reminded of the wonderful people they used to belong to. The girls especially like using my Oma’s cute, smaller ones (note Heidi’s down below). Oh, and another bonus of using old handkerchiefs: after several decades of being laundered, they are so soft!
But then there was Problem #2-B:
Constantly running out of cloth napkins, because they’d get mixed up after clearing the table and then be tossed in the hamper for laundering, even though they maybe weren’t even used!
Same as the cups, the napkins got labeled – napkin rings made of toilet paper rolls, cut into thirds – and got a designated spot when not in use. Some people’s still get tossed in the hamper after almost every meal(ahem, Lucy); other people’s stay a little cleaner and last a little longer.
Perhaps, some afternoon, the girls and I will sit down and make “pretty” napkin rings and coasters, but for now, the crude cardboard versions do the job just fine.
Oh, and while I’m on the topic of repurposing “garbage” for a new useful function, I came across the most amazing transformation of broken flip-flops, saved from the trash and turned into alphabet stamps, manicure toe separators, and window bumpers; see Lisa @ cuci cuci coo’s description and photos here.
Do you have any tips on cutting down on waste? Or making home stuff more efficient? …Or keeping my $%@# kitchen counters cleared off?!?