Thursday, June 4, 2009


I love that word ~
repurposing ~ to use or convert for use in another format or product.

I get flack for not doing more to take care of the environment (I'm wasteful in that I use paper towels and paper plates, and I use plastic utensils and disposable drink cups at parties, I probably only recycle most things because I’m forced to, and I have to admit that I really am guilty of being wasteful at times). But I think I do my part as far as repurposing. Instead of throwing a lot of things out I find another use for them. I’ll even take other folks cast-offs and put them to good use. So I think that by salvaging items from their trip to a landfill has got to be helping the environment a little bit anyway! I mean isn't repurposing a form of recycling?
I’m hoping my fondness for re-purposing is my small way of going green.

Here are some examples of my repurposing:

I use old baby lap pads as shelf liners in my bathroom.

I use a jewelry box in my kitchen to hold sweetener packets. (I know the paper from the sugar packets is wasteful, but I don't use sugar a lot except when baking and it's usually used up quickly then, I never use it in coffee, tea, or on cereal, so I only need it for guests, and if I buy a big canister it gets lumpy, no one wants to use it, and it ends up getting thrown out, so for me, packets are less economically wasteful).

I use empty maple syrup bottles as vases.

I use empty honey jars and cookie jars to house beach glass.

I use an old planter holder in my kitchen to hold breads and biscuits.

I have an old floor lamp that Ray has now repurposed as a planter (well, it’s still kind of sad looking, but the flowers are just getting started, I’ll take another picture in a few weeks to post, maybe it won’t be so pathetic looking by then, Ray thinks it looks like a bird's nest right now.).

My outdoor sink was once in a friend’s kitchen and when she was doing over her kitchen the sink was slated for the dumpster if I didn't want it (didn't want it??! Of course I wanted it, I've been coveting this sink for over eighteen years!). It is now used for quick wash-ups outside, it's used as a potting table, and it's used as a bar for parties and barbecues. And the skirt under the sink was once part of a shower curtain that I used in my bathroom. Oh! And as you can see, the sink is used as a plant stand sometimes!

Ray and I rescued this little table from a neighbor’s garbage pile, it now sits in our back room.

I also repurpose other things but I don’t have any pictures to go with these examples. I use empty egg cartons and plastic trays from chocolates to hold jewelry and buttons and safety pins in dresser drawers (a tip I learned from my Mom). I use cardboard coffee cup holders/trays to hold paint pots for the grandkids, and I’m also going to use them in some craft projects for the kids this summer. I use old cans as pen/pencil holders. I use empty water jugs and orange juice jugs as watering cans. I use old cookie tins to hold crayons and small toys for the grandkids.
We also have all those reusable shopping bags from IKEA, and also many other canvas shopping bags (unfortunately Ray and I are both so forgetful and we almost never have those environmentally friendly bags with us when we go shopping so we either have to be wasteful with our money and buy even more of these bags, or we have to be environmentally UNfriendly and use plastic).
Okay, so I’m not going to win any awards for being ‘green’, but I don’t think I’m the most wasteful person in the world either.


  1. Hi Eileen,
    I love the word "repurposeful" (hope I spelled it right)...and I think you are doing very well with doing your part of the 'green' thing. I especially loved that sink! What a great idea, what I am wondering is...what did she replace that beautiful sink with? I too have a lot of those 'green' bags that I always forget to bring with me when I go shopping. I also think it will take us a little more time to really get into the swing of things though! I am sure I won't win any awards for being green either!

  2. I enjoyed this post so much and picked up many useful tips from you. Oh I really liked the outside sink, gorgeous. My grandmother had something like this in her kitchen. I recycle as much as I can but sure am not as good as you are at repurposing. So Miss Martha Stewart keep letting us in on more of your repurposing tips LOL Have a great day....Hugs

  3. Hello, Teresa and Bernie! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a hard time going 'green'! And the sink! Can you believe it was replaced with stainless steel? Her kitchen looks absolutely beautiful, but no way would I have let that sink go! We did our kitchen over before she did her kitchen, if she had done hers first, I would have built a Shabby Chic kitchen for myself around that sink! I LOVE IT!!
    Bernie, I laughed out loud when I read you calling me Martha Stewart, I am the EXACT opposite!

  4. I will be coming back again for a second indulgence on this post...I super enjoyed it. the sink is gorgeous beyond words and then you have those two beautiful plants up!
    Eileen, you are definitely doing your part to help the environment.
    I, too, have saved empty boxes to use as drawer dividers or to keep things organized on shelves.
    Love what you did with the old floor lamp and Ray's comment made me chuckle, but did you check to see if you have any eggs in there? jk

    I am so impressed by all repurposing and I love usual, you are after my own heart!

    blessings and hugs,


  5. Eileen I really loved this post and I do remember reading about when you got your sink and how excited you were! I love the Syrup bottles, they are beautiful. And that old lamp/planter is crazy funky! I imagine that it looks very cool when it's all filled in with flowers.(you can't tell I'm a retired hippy can you?)I too only use artificial sweeteners except for baking. I keep mine in a pretty little cut glass bowl that I got at a thrift store,where else. Hey wouldn't going to thrift stores be repurposing?

  6. Thank you, Marcy and Diana for stopping by. Oh, Marcy, I was afraid you'd think me insane for trying to justify my re-use of things as doing my part for the environment because you are so good at it all! A real honest to goodness 'naturalist'! Thank you for your kind words.

    And, YES, Diana, I agree that thrift store shopping is repurposing!
    I'm glad you like the lamp/planter, one of my friends said we should spray paint it, but I can't bring myself to get rid of the rust yet, I like it. Maybe when it gets worse I'll do it, but for now it's perfect for me.

  7. So enjoyed your post Eileen...I like to "think outside the box" too...I have an old globe of a Mediterranean style light fixture turned upside down on a pole in my once belonged to my I love your rustic pole planter idea...I have an old washboard on my wall just like even has a figurine on the front too...and we have an old claw foot bathtub in our barn with we have similar ideas...I love your syrup bottles...wish I had them!!!Smile and take care!

  8. Oh, Wanda, do you have any pictures posted of your claw foot tub, washboard, and light fixture? I'd love to see them!
    I wish I had you here to photograph anything I want to post, you're so good at it! I'm always having to re-take everything because it's out of focus or not centered, and then I just end up settling for the least horrible one!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Lots of fun the second time around too!

    You are doing a great job of being green...there are many ways to help save our environment and we can all add on a few new things as we go!

    Thanks for being you and thanks again for loving are so cute I could just hug you!!

    blessings and hugs,


    p.s. Do you know that when I am at your site, blogger makes me ALWAYS type in another goofy word, rejecting the first one every time!!???

  10. Good evening Eileen, I like all of the tips you have given us. I try to use things over for other purpose too. I'm not a big fan of recycling though. I have to improve on that. I especially like your idea of using the egg cartons for jewelry and pins. I love your outside sink. I hope you are having a wonderful evening ♥

  11. repurposing sounds so much better than saying you are going green. Looks as though you are doing a fantastic job.

  12. I like the word repurposing. I don't think I've ever heard that before. Interesting what you found uses for. I especially LOVE the sink!!! No wonder you use t envy that.

  13. Hi Eileen,

    I enjoy reading your blog too...what clever repurpose ideas...especially the old floor lamp turned planter....

    Well I leave in about an hour or two to my Laughter Yoga Workshop...I am sure I will have stories to tell...


  14. Thanks for stopping by, Sandy. I hope you are enjoying your weekend away.
    'Can't wait to come over and read all about it!

    Jill, I've really been loving your walk down memory lane!! Thanks for sharing all that!
    I think your blog is really meant for family, I hope you don't mind that I horn in all the time!