Repurposing Containers

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I was thinking of posting this tip, when another reader asked the very question, so here goes: Save the containers that grocery and consumable items come in and repurpose them!

Here are a few examples:

  • Plastic foam meat trays: cut notches on each end and use them to wind articles to keep them from tangling, from Christmas lights to fishing line.
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  • Jimmy Dean pre-cut sausage patty slices come on a very hard plastic twin tray, suitable for beading projects, to set on a bathroom or kitchen counter to hold jewelry, perfect size for a pencil/pen tray, etc.

  • Coffee creamer shaker bottles can be used for glitter, powdered sugar, a few loads of laundry detergent to the laundromat instead of the whole box, bath salts, you name it.

  • I always, always buy products in glass jars versus plastic, like salsa, jelly, peanut butter, etc. These are then washed and recycled as homemade jelly and jam jars (yes, they are safe, as long as you seal the jelly with a parrafin wax layer on top). I put hot peppers in vinegar in them, etc.

  • Other plastic jars with screw on lids are saved for camping trips and the like, to carry shampoo, syrup, ground coffee, sugar, etc. Keeps things from spilling, also raccoons, bears, and sugar ants can't unscrew the lids!

  • Metal coffee cans instead of plastic store cooking oil after use.

  • Spices in clear glass or plastic bottles-when empty, I use them to store beads I have sorted

  • Rectangular plastic baby wipe containers store and carry medicine bottles all together neatly

  • Green plastic berry baskets store kitchen sponges upright to air dry

  • Plastic net onion bags are perfect for bathtub toys.

  • Plastic liquid laundry detergent bottles with the spout removed are perfect to sit beside the sink for compost scraps; screw the lid on to keep bugs out, odors in, until you are ready to take them outside.

  • Any type of food or food safe container with a screw lid in your cabinets or pantry to store flour, sugar, corn meal, grits, macaroni, etc. and will prevent bugs. No food, no air, no survivors! Simple as that!
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When you wash a lidded container, even though you dry it, before you store it, place a paper towel in it, then close the lid. This will absorb excess moisture until you are ready to use it,and will also prevent rust on metal canning jar lids stored on their jars.

By dollyslaffn from Darien, GA

January 9, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for some good ideas.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

I found, by accident, that the huge jars of pickles are so much cheaper, $1 more than a large jar from the regular selection shelf. The jars are perfect for new canisters because they hold so much. I did have to soak one in bleach to get the pickle smell out, but it was worth it. They are big enough to hold those bulk packages of stuff you don't use much.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

Love hibbardg's suggestion about the pickle jars. Did you know that you can close the jar up with a piece of newspaper (the more black in on the paper the better) and the pickle smell will be gone in a few days.

Also, the net onion bags make wonderful scrubbies. just accordian fold them, about 2 inch folds, and tie tightly in the middle with a piece of string (I use the string taken from the bottom of the sack). Fluff out and it does a good job on all those things that need a little "elbow grease". And it is so sanitary, as all it needs is a quick swish under running water to clean it. It also does a good job cleaning the sink.

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful

I'm adding to my own post; he he he!

The big gallon pickle jars make wonderful sun tea jars,and for extra oomph, a rubber band and saran wrap instead of the lid lets in more sun, and if you put a mirror underneath,i t seems the tea is stronger, and how about coffee creamer containers for garden seed storage and applicator all in one!

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful

Of late I have been cutting my empties down to use for craft stuff! I get so messy but try to stay on top of it. I covered a box to fit these in the picture with contact paper so all them can be loaded out of the way in a wink!

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January 11, 20100 found this helpful

Very nice tips. I save all these containers and think hmm what could I do with this ? Now I have a few more ideas, thanks.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

Great ideas, with the exception of reusing meat trays. Plastic and Styrofoam are porous and unless soaked in something like bleach, they would never be 100% clean/safe.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

Maryeileen: why would the meat trays have to be "safe" to use them for winding fishing line, christmas lights, extension cords and the like?

I don't understand;none of these type things are food products, (extension cords lie on the floor and ground, lots of times),and the meat trays have worked for about 25 years, now, for the purposes I mentioned.

Is there some hazard in handling them which I am not aware of?

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January 22, 20100 found this helpful

Dolly...I guess I was just thinking that bacteria could grow on them which would get on anything they touch. Please see this related ThriftyFun link:

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf196926.tip.html

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January 24, 20100 found this helpful

Maryeileen, I went to the link and read through the posts, and again. The emphasis was placed on the lady using the trays in ways which caused food to contact the tray itself. After a tray is washed, dried, and allowed to have air and/or light circulating around it for even a few days, there is no way any bacteria could be a threat for a non-food use, as I have used them for.

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December 29, 20120 found this helpful

Another use for the green strawberry containers is in the garden - turn them upside down over your small plants to protect from the strong sun, wind and "critters" until they are established. I have done this for years!

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December 29, 20120 found this helpful

I love all this, you and I think the same! I get a glint in my eye when I see a container and think how to reuse it!

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August 5, 20140 found this helpful

I like to use the large rectangle containers from cascade or other pillow pack detergents under my kitchen sink to hold swiffer cloths and dusters, unused sponges, cleaning rags, SOS pads, or any other small under the sink items that are difficult to store in their original cardboard packaging. The containers are all the same size so they stack nicely.

Also, for those who have qualms about the meat tray issue... fruit is also sometimes sold packaged on these trays... just use those instead.

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August 5, 20140 found this helpful

You can use meat trays for insulation behind outlets instead of buying them.

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August 18, 20140 found this helpful

Ok ladies, here's a great way to store your heating bed wires, or extra cables to games not being used, my hubby loves pickles. I buy the huge jar from GFS. These containers are pretty sturdy. I would even consider putting my lights in the there. But only 1- you don't want tangles. However if you place wrapping paper over them then you can add another set of lights.

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