Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

The three R’s

The three R’s
It’s the beloved mantra of planet-saving do-gooders, environmentalist hippie-dippies, and now, me.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
I won’t harp on the importance of such a slogan in these difficult economic times, nor will I spew talking points on how humans are destroying the earth and enabling “global warming.” The fact of the matter is that I want to spend less money, accumulate less stuff, and become self-sufficient. The three R’s are key weapons in this slow fight, which is why I arm myself with them daily.
Rhonda’s post today over at Down to Earth (my favorite blog ever; Rhonda’s words of wisdom really helped push me down the homesteading path) is ‘Reusing and Recycling – a trail of great ideas.’ Her home is brimming with unique repurposed items and is truly an inspiration. She has asked her readers to examine there own lives and share tips and ideas for putting the three R’s into practice. I love finding new uses for old things, so I excitedly grabbed my camera and began combing through my home. Here’s what I found:


This is my back hall. It serves as my pantry/storage area/washroom. The basket on the left was part of a flower arrangement for a table centerpiece. It now holds dirty tea towels and wash cloths. The other basket was salvaged/stolen from my mother’s basement, and now holds recyclable cans and bottles. Once the basket is full, I take it to my basement and add its contents to a larger plastic bin.



I keep a lot of plastic and glass containers to be reused for syrups, laundry detergent, chicken stock, etc.



Milk jugs are awesome for so many things, I always keep some around. The one on the left has leftover bleach solution; instead of pouring the excess down the drain, I keep it on hand for other uses (carefully labelled, of course.) The other two containers are for my homemade laundry detergent.


This tube is from my husband’s scotch. It is made of a very strong cardboard material with a metal top and bottom, so I just couldn’t throw it out. It also looks pretty cool. I use it to store plastic shopping bags.



Old jam jars and canning jars make excellent drinking glasses. And I think they look and feel really cool. 🙂



This was my dad’s travel mug; it may be older than I am. Ugly and slightly embarassing? Yes. Perfect for two cups of tea and in great condition? Indeed.



A paper shopping bag from the The Maine Bookhouse is the perfect size for keeping my three liter jug of olive oil out of the sunlight.



This is my favorite repurposed item. It was a plastic Halloween pail from a fast food kid’s meal, now a helpful little bucket for cleaning.



I’m a sucker for cool bottles, and have more than a dozen just hanging around. You can stick a tapered candle in the top, fill with homemade syrups, or tuck them in a bookcase for a unique decorative touch (especially if it has a nifty label).


This tin once held the addictively delicious pirouline wafers, and now is a home for q-tips.
This super sturdy Trader Joe’s shopping bag is the perfect size for grilling tools, which tend to be bulky and cumbersome.
Be sure to pop on over to Down to Earth for more fabulous ideas and inspiration, or to add your own!