Part of my daily routine is to listen to podcasts while I work in the kitchen. One of my favorites is the 21st Century Homekeeper. Sylvia Britton really speaks to what I try to do with my own family, and is so generous with sharing her experiences and ideas.
A great example is her post entitled, Don't Throw it Away...But Have a Plan. Sylvia shares ten things that she saves that many folks would simply throw away -- but moreover, she shares the uses she puts them to, as well. And she's absolutely right -- saving something because it has potential to be useful is quite different from saving something with the intent of putting it to use, or even having a notion of what use an item can be put to.
Her post inspires me -- I save many of the same items, and I have to admit it. I've had a bucket of small jars soaking (to remove labels) for a loooonnnngggg time now. But, to be fair, I'm also starting to put some already cleaned jars to use (saving seed). So I expect, between the nudge of Sylvia's post and the need for storage, I'll be seeing to those jars soon.
After you read Sylvia's post about what to save and what to do with it, I have a few more to add:
- Scrap paper. We use paper until it can't bear the weight of ink (or crayon) any more. One side is used, then the other side is used. (I learned this trick the year I taught in Catholic Schools -- in that diocese, every piece of paper, printed on once, was used again for printing or photocopying. There were plenty of children who had old memos on the backs of their math work.) After both sides are full, the pages become airplanes or origami...lately, someone figured out how to fashion capes for Lego figures. Eventually, the paper makes it's way to the shredder. Shreds then wait in a bin, for later use in trays under the rabbit hutches. When the trays are changed, the contents are dumped either directly on a garden bed or (more usually) into the composter, where they in turn, provide carbon for the garden. So --
- write/print/draw on one side
- write/print/draw on the other side
- (Maybe) become a paper airplane. Or crane. Or bookmark. Or superhero cape.
- shred for rabbit litter
- carbon for compost
- Leftovers. I posted about this in Re-cy, but it's really true. There is no excuse to throw away food for spoilage. Keep track. Use it up. there are plenty of times I don't feel like eating something, but eating isn't about entertainment. With the exception of celebrations, it's about nutrition. A boring meal is motivation for me to plan a little better. And --you know it happens -- I make a meal that's just awful. I mean, bad. If I absolutely canNOT find a way to make it palatable...well, my dog is perfectly happy to eat it. She's convinced that anything we eat MUST be better than what we offer her (with the exception of lettuce). Don't worry, we never feed her chocolate. I have never had the family pronounce anything chocolate a disaster (although I have).
- Garden waste. There's plenty of stuff you can't eat: kale ribs. Hard stems. Dried out looking browned outer leaves. Rather than straight to the composter -- the rabbits' digestive system gets first crack. They cannot eat the inedible parts of everything we grow, but by eating the parts that they can eat that we cannot, they contribute to our soil fertility (faster than my patented compost-by-neglect method) and they save us money on rabbit feed.
- Old canning lids. Before you ask -- NO! I do not re-use metal canning lids for canning. Remember, this is SMART Food Storage, and smart always means safe and it is never safe to re-use a metal canning lid for canning. BUT...I use them for plenty of other things. Old lids are only disposed of if they rust.
- As lids for jars that hold shelf stable things or items in the fridge.
- Vacuum sealing jars containing dehydrated foods (this only works with pristine lids).
- Starters for crafts (such as Christmas ornaments).
- Flashing metal to hang in the garden and kid myself I'm scaring birds away.
- Yarn. I suppose I have a little knit/crochet problem (as in a 12-step kind of problem), but really -- yarn is useful. I'm not even going to get into non-fiber arts things you can do with it. But seriously -- I took an "old" afghan off someone's hands -- they just wanted to be rid of it -- frogged it and used the yarn to knit a perfectly good child's pullover. Ta-da. NOT trash. A brand, spankin' new sweater. (Clean is important here, of course).
|Dress for my niece,|
made from an old skirt of mine.