Saturday, January 8, 2011

Making Room for Reuse

The stress of the holidays is falling away and the anticipation of resolutions fulfilled has us buzzing about like busy bees, cleaning, de-cluttering, and planning. Around here we are clearing away Christmas things and we (ok, it's mostly me) are planning for spring projects and how to put all the stuff we were given to good use.

I am not going to lie, we regift, a lot. Between the (very nice, but not for us) presents I will be regifting and the containers, boxes, ribbons, etc...that I am sure I will reuse one day, somehow, there is a lot of stuff that I need to store if I want to put it to good reuse.

This is a challenging task for us because we don't have a basement. What we DO have is the world's most square footage of closet space (ok, this isn't an actual fact, but it sure feels that way) and a couple big garages. Here's how we put it all to the best use possible.

1. Make REUSE a priority. Like many things that help the Earth and your wallet, committing to reusing things requires a little more effort. I do contend though that there is little more satisfying than gifting your child's teacher the unique gift of homemade oatmeal cookies in a reused oatmeal canister.

2. Get organized. The more organized you are, the more room you have for reuse and the more likely you are to be able to find what you need when you need it. One way to do this is to...

3. Designate areas. For us, we try to clothing, linens, and anything else that mold or critters might infiltrate, in the house along with re-gifting and reuse things so they are at hand. Everything else goes into organized and well labeled totes on shelves in the garage(s). Re-gifting items go in a sort of treasure chest so they are all in one place. Canisters, jars, etc...go in a reused clementine crate. When the designated areas are full, I have to find other solutions for the stuff like donating and recycling.

4. Develop an eye. It's good to keep in mind what your abilities are. If you haven't crafted anything in 5 years, the likelihood of you actually making cute little trees out of old paper towel rolls may not be very high. Try to save things that are quality to begin with, you have reasonable expectations for, or you will use within the next 2 weeks. And finally...

5. Find a system that works for you. Whatever system you develop has to work for you and your family or all the labeling tape in the world won't work. Communicate with your family and find something that everyone can be happy with and put to use.

What are your tips for organizing for reuse? What is something you were able to reuse recently?

1 comment:

Lizzie said...

When Christmas ends it seems to always make me reorganize my home and my life! it's amazing what de-cluttering and reusing can do full the soul. Happy January!