Example: last weekend, I cleaned out our boys’ drawers, removing stained, thin, or otherwise unwearable clothing. Then I took a pair of scissors and harvested all their usable parts.
I saved all the elastic bands from shorts and underwear – our youngest wasted no time in turning some of those into sling shots. I could also see myself using them to keep a bedroll, well, rolled; or corralling that pile of dowel rods I keep above the washer.
I cut long strips out of the cleanest parts of some patterned shirts and set them aside to use as ties for less fancy gift wrap (picture it: cotton strips, tied around brown paper). They’d also be perfect for anything I make for the tree house (banner, flag, knotted rope ladder). Everything else got cut into squares and rectangles, to use as rags and dust cloths. I felt so industrious, excited to see how many uses I could find for what I previously considered trash.
As I said, I know this idea isn’t new – just new to me. I got the idea after reading about a woman who weaned herself off paper towels and now uses only rags, made from old, stained t-shirts. Talk about inspiring – she uses cloth napkins, instead of paper; handkerchiefs, instead of tissues; reusable coffee filters, instead of disposable; and reusable menstrual products (oh, the humanity!).
P.S. Look closely as the picture of my freshly made rags – that’s a shoe box I covered in scrapbook paper, sitting on top of a second hand drop leaf table, my husband and I bought for maybe $20 when we got married. Hmmm, maybe all this frugality and saving the earth isn’t as new to me as I think.