Crystal Valley Blog

100+ Uses for Everyday Items

POSTED April 14, 2020

For those of us who didn’t have time to follow all seven of the green Rs before the pandemic – rethink, refuse, reduce, repurpose, reuse, recycle and rot – we’re now looking for ways to try. Reducing the number of trips to the grocery or big box stores, gives us more time to contemplate, “how can I McGyver this disposable knife into a functional garden tool?” And so on. Keep reading because we found 100+ ways to use everyday items that are way beyond what they were created for!

If you want to jump in with both feet, head to DuneDin for serious advice on developing a greener conscience, starting with a template for an at-home waste audit. You’ll also find 20 ways to upcycle glass jars and bottles into vases, planters, containers (from Houseful of Handmade), plus tutorials on making your own t-shirt produce bag and how tos for community composting. Keep scrolling to find ways to repurpose ordinary household items for your own and the greater good.

Repurposing Plastic Bottles 

Since plastic water bottles don’t disintegrate in the landfill – or in the ocean as we’ve seen from research and images by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, put them to good – and other – uses. Budget Dumpster shows you how with ideas for lawn and garden sprinklers, snack storage containers, planters, piggy banks, herb gardens and crayon or colored pencil holders. You’ll need a box cutter, markers, paint, fabric, zippers and hot glue for most projects.

All by itself, Instructables has 100 unusual uses for everything from lemons (to clean pots AND vegetables) and rice (DIY heating pads) to baking soda (anti-acid and pesticide!) and condoms (fishing bobbers and cold packs). We’ve picked up an easy dozen other uses to try, just from this site!

Gel Packets, Tennis Balls and Berry Boxes

The Family Handyman came up with a running ton of ideas for repurposing common ordinary items that we haven’t seen yet. Like organizing your wrenches with a carabiner and using pipe insulation between your car seat and console to keep things from dropping to irretrievable places. You’ll see how to use a tennis ball to pull off a bottle cap, how to use your food tongs to clean window blinds, how bread tabs can help identify the cords and cables to your plugged-in electronics, and why a plastic berry container is the perfect grass seed spreader!

You know those silica gel packets that are packed in everything from medicines and electronics you buy to leather and cloth garments? They absorb and hold water vapor and prevent things from spoiling, molding, or degrading from humidity. You can use those in an emergency after dropping your smart phone in water. Just pull out the battery and SIM card and leave them overnight in a bed of silica gel packets. (You can also use rice, you know.) 

For eight more ways to reuse these handy little non-toxic packets, check out Waste Connections. You’ll see they also prevent damage to important paper documents and absorb odors in lockers and gym bags. But like the packaging says, they’re inedible. And because they absorb water, they’ll stick to the mucosal lining of your innards so keep them away from kids and pets.

Coffee Filters, Dryer Sheets and Olive Oil

Out of toilet bowl cleaner but happen to have a full bottle of mouthwash? Yep, pour a capful of the minty freshness into your toilet bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. Grime will come off easily. Money Crashers details 21 other uses for household items that will save you money AND trips to the store. 

If you’ve been spoiled with make-up remover towelettes but don’t feel like now’s the best time to go shopping for more, try olive oil. It’s a great makeup remover and it’s also a natural moisturizer. Dryer sheets make magnetic dust “cloths” because they’re designed to attract/grab lint. And for your computer, smartphone, tablet or television screen, coffee filters work just as well as a $14 screen cleaning kit. 

Wine, The Spice of LIfe

We’ve noticed some of the spices in stores are sold out – like thyme, which we tend to use a lot, wine can rescue your recipes from boredom. A simple reduction made with red wine is a major flavor enhancer for ground beef. Best of Life Online makes the case for using it in burgers, meatloaf, meatballs and for tacos. You can add red wine to a red sauce and punch it up, or white to seafood sautés and to dishes with risotto,  

And timely for our times, a bike safety app that has been repurposed to help people find necessities during the pandemic. It’s called Our Streets Supplies – look for it to become crowdsourced in Colorado soon – and available in both Android and iOS. Inventor and CEO Mark Sussman says, there’s not a shortage of supply, there’s a shortage of information about where that supply exists.” Our Streets can show you where the closest store with the items you need. 

Getting Creative in Crystal Valley

We’ve always been creative in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley, just look at the variety of new homes, floor plans, exterior elevations and personalization options in these Castle Rock neighborhoods. Listings for existing homes may be scarce, but Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton will build new – just for you. Set in wide open natural surroundings with easy access to nearby amenities, there’s a floor plan to fit every home buyer — in ranch and two-story designs, priced from the $300s.


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