Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Around the Home

I am swimming in clutter.  No really…I am.  Or maybe it’s drowning.  Everywhere I look there is a PILE of toys or paper or craft supplies or or or or.  I am plagued by the “But you might NEED it one day”.  I am also plagued by the fact that members of my family seem to have the hoarder gene so I must fight against piles!

My first line of defence is reducing.  I try to buy less junk.  I prefer products with less packaging and I am reading more online these days.  We do get the paper every day because Cherry, our nanny, reads it.  We’ll see if we continue that when our new nanny arrives.

Then there is recycling ….aka donating or putting it in our big blue bin (I LOVE Calgary’s recycling program).  I used to save stuff for a yard sale but that yard sale never came.  We are just too busy and there are too few nice days in Calgary to waste them having a yard sale.  Now I keep a box in our laundry room for donatable items.  When it’s full I take it to donate or I wait until a charity has a donation drive where they pick stuff up.  There’s one this Friday…SCORE!  I also keep a bag in our pantry for recycle items.  I then empty it in our blue bin when it’s full.

Reusing is sometimes harder to do.  Once you’ve used something for it’s original purpose it is often hard to think outside the box for a new use.  We often repurpose household items into craft supplies and I even have a guest post with upcycling ideas but I really feel I should be doing more.  One thing that totally bugs me is when things need to be thrown away because someone didn’t take care of them…like stale chips (because they weren’t closed properly) or dried up markers (left out without lids).  I ran across an idea the other day for ways of using markers that were dried up & thought I would try it out with Evan.

I spend an hour doing this to find a marker that works!

Repurpose Your Dried Out Markers as Watercolor Markers


Old dried out makers (though the ones with a bit of moisture in them seemed to work better)

A cup of water

Thick craft paper to draw on (because it gets a bit wet)

He left this one in the water a little TOO long.

Dip your dried out marker in the cup of water for a few seconds. Put the tip against the lip of the cup to let any excess water drain off. Draw on your paper like it is a watercolor paintbrush.  I was amazed at how well this worked with most of the markers (there were a few that were beyond reuse).  Some of them looked like they weren’t going to work but then the color appeared as the paper dried.  We will definitely do this again!

My little artist using his repurposed markers.

Here are some other neat ideas I found for repurposing dried up markers: permanent marker removing marker, coloring on snow or weave a pen jar for your desk.

What are your favorite ways to reduce, reuse or recycle?


  1. says

    I am drowning in pre-school crafts. Both kids bring home colourings each day and Little Girl brings home a craft each day. I have no idea what to do with these and they take up so much space and clutter EVERYWHERE! I usually try sneak them into the blue bin a few weeks later.
    I need to go through the kids toys and do a massive donate to the thrift store.

  2. says

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