Monday, February 27, 2012

Step up to the Plate

Got baseball equipment sitting around your garage or basement just collecting dust? Maybe your kids have outgrown their little league bats and balls. Well you can dust them off and donate them.
Pitch in for Baseball is a program that takes gently used or new bats, balls, and gloves then gives it to kids in impoverished communities all over the world.
If you are a gym teacher or a little league coach, this recycling program hits home.
Maybe you know someone who would like to collect these items within your community and start a drive, go to for more information.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Spring cleaning is just around the corner and maybe your linen closet could use some updating. Maybe you want to change the color of your towels and/or bedspread.
Old towels make great rags to use for heavy duty cleaning. I use hand towels and wash rags for cleaning my floors. Yes, I clean my hardwood floors the old-fashioned way...on my hands and knees.
But if you have comforters you aren't using anymore and towels in good condition...consider contacting your local animal shelter to see if they could use them. Also check out local pet rescues on to see if they are in need of linens too. Many times animal rescues will list their needs on Petfinder. You can send them an email to see where you can drop them off.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Etsy Seller's Clever Upcycling Idea

What pretty flowers!!! But look closer. These flowers are made from t-shirts. Tania Prosser created her Etsy shop "Fairy Shadow" around this clever concept.

Early on, her parents inspired her to be creative and she finds working with her hands to be a rewarding experience. Her father was a professional sculptor and her mother sewed for her family.

Fairy Shadow has other upcycled items besides flowers. Sneak a peek at

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Recycling Pens, Markers, Highlighters, Etc

I've been a member of Terracycle for several years now starting with raising money for The Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League. I used to send boxes upon boxes of plastic coke bottles to raise money for them.

Now I am involved in collecting pens, Sharpie Markers and Highlighters from work when they get dried up. It's an easy system and you can raise money for your favorite charity. What I like about Terracycle is that you can print a pre-paid label and shipping the items doesn't cost you anything. A lot of recycling programs can get expensive because they don't cover shipping expenses.
It's really easy to get started and register. And besides writing instruments, they collect all sorts of packaging that normally can't be recycled. So you might want to check out their website to see what things you can contribute.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loved Twice

I saw this non-profit mentioned in this month's Oprah Magazine. Loved Twice is a non-profit that accepts gently used baby clothes for mothers who can't afford them. They are distributed through social workers in hospitals, shelters, and clinics to helped disadvantaged children.

There are a lot of drop off centers in California but you can also mail clothes to the organization. I have a ton of bibs that my daughter has recently stop using so I'm sure this organization would put them in good use because they are still in great condition.

There are locations throughout the US that you can mail the clothing to which might be closer to you than California. Please go to to find the nearest location to you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Taking Credit

Credit cards, bank cards, store rewards cards, and hotel room cards can be shredded or tossed. But as long as they aren't laminated, they can be reused. I saw the following tips on They can be useful as cable organizers. If they feel flimsy, then glue a few of them together to create more support for heavier cables.
The next one I really liked was to trace a guitar pick with a sharpie on a plastic card then cut out the design with scissors.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New use for dryer sheet

Although I do hang my laundry outside most of the time, sometimes, I do have to use the dryer on days like today when we are having snow. I was lucky this week because our temp was mild and it was sunny.

My point is... I do end up having to use dryer sheets when my bounce bar eventually disentigrates.

I can't remember where I learned this tip but dryer sheets are great at removing nail polish. The only problem is that it doesn't absorb nail polish remover very well and if you add too much, it will drip down your arm.

I just fold it as tight as I can and dip it in some nail polish remover. A small amount will go a long way. The texture of the sheet really does a great job removing the polish. Just designate a container in your laundry room to put the sheets in after removing the laundry and grab one when you need it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Donating Backpacks

My family uses backpacks for all types of reasons. My kids use them for school. My husband uses a few for hiking. He has one for hiking for a few hours and a bigger one for overnight trips. I used a small one when I was travelling in Slovakia last summer. I have a bigger one for my good camera and photography equipment.
That's a lot of backpacks. I found a few programs that are willing to take gently used backpacks.
The American Birding Association takes adult sized backpacks for their scientists to use in the field and carry equipment. The address is Birder's Exchange, American Birding Association, 4945 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80919 or you can visit their website for other items they need donated. I was having trouble with their "items to donate" link.
The Aspire, Inspire Foundation in California has a program where they donate new and gently used backpacks to kids who can't afford them. Their website is
The Orphan Outreach Mission gives gently used backpacks to children overseas. Their website is
These are just a few of the programs available. You can choose which one works best for you. Your local thrift store, the Salvation Army, and Goodwill will also take them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tag...your it

Last year, I challenged myself to only throw one bag of garbage a week. The rest, I either recycled, repurposed, donated, sold at a garage sale, or composted. Whew!
This year, I will share with you all the little things I did to achieve that goal because making gradual changes helped me make them a habit. It took me a few months of pausing when I was about to throw something away and thinking about what I could do with it besides throw it in the garbage. This was no easy task especially since I had one baby in diapers and another toddler. Sometimes, I would overthink it and practically drive myself crazy. Hopefully, I can spare you that overwhelming feeling and keep it simple.
Let's start with an easy task that anyone can do. You know how clothes have several tags attached. I removed the tags from new clothes and recycled the paper tags. You can't recycle the stickers on the leg of pants, plastic tags, or the little plastic piece that attaches the tags but at least they are smaller than the paper tags.
I would also throw the hangers in my hamper that I keep for items I intend to donate to Goodwill. They can always use hangers. Same goes for dry clean hangers. You can recycle the paper that is attached to the metal hanger and either donate to Goodwill or recycle the metal. Whichever is easier.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eco Gift Wrap

As I mentioned before Valentine's Day is coming and there's always birthdays throughout the year. Mother's Day and Father's Day will be here before you know it. Put the fun back in gift wrap.
I found this great article that gives options for wrapping gifts that are eco-friendly and frugal too. One idea that stood out for me is to use paper shopping bags as the base of the gift wrap and adorn it with newspaper or the comics.
Wrapping gifts with the comics appeals to older boys and men, who can be challenging to shop for not to mention, difficult to find wrapping paper for. When I mentioned this, my husband actually recalled a gift he got wrapped in the Sunday comics and said he thought it was great.
If you have map brochures or old maps not being used for anything useful, they make great wrapping paper too. Be creative...have fun with it.