Thursday, May 20, 2010

Off Topic Thursday - thinking outside the box

I have learned that being frugal & green sometimes means thinking outside the box at resale locations. I often substitute things for things that I need. I go to oodles of garage sales & thrift stores for my sweatering, so to keep my house from getting cluttered, I have to have a specific purpose for each thing I buy. That is my rule for myself, so if I really want to buy something, I have to get my creative thinking cap on!

This cute laundry basket was a great 25 cent find at a garage sale, and came along right when I needed more truck storage.


When we adopted our dog Spots, we needed a dog dish and a dog bed. A 25 cent garage sale Corningware dish became her dish...

... and a 30 cent thrift store king size pillow sham (with a couple of cheap garage sale throw pillows inside) became a bed for her. I might even sew an old baby bumper along the edge to make it cozier. I think she'd really like that.

When my son had a play kitchen, I found this vintage teak wood fruit in a bowl at a garage sale. He loved to play with them, and they looked so much nicer than the plastic stuff! Also just taping an empty box (mac & cheese, cereal, crackers) closed is instant "play food". If they get bored, just take new boxes out of the recycling and put the old ones back in!


Did you know that if you unscrew a Swiffer, and remove the middle piece, it will be the perfect size for a toddler? They are under a dollar at every other garage sale. Jack LOVED to swiffer as a toddler (and still does!) and was very proud to have his own. I just used a cleaning rag instead of the disposable refills.

10 comments:

LazyCrazyMama said...

Great ideas!! :) I will keep those in mind while hunting at garage sales this summer! :)

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Love the garage sales! My granddaughter loves to sweep using a broom/dustpan set that is short enough for her. I should get her a swiffer - she can do my housework for me!! :)

Celeste said...

My 6 year old son's chore is to swiffer the house every week.
Thanks for the great ideas.

Shanna said...

LOVE the Swiffer suggestion! I have been trying to find a pint sized mop and broom set for my girl as she is really into the "helping" stage right now. I am sure in a year or 10 that will disappear but if I can find or make her her own sized set of tools she would be thrilled! You rock!

I♥thesecrazykids said...

Your little guy is so cute!

Resweater said...

That picture was when my son was around 18 months. He's 4 1/2 now and still loves to swiffer! I love that he likes to get the dust under the furniture :)

Crystal said...

Shanna, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to make your own kid-sized cleaning tools from full-sized ones by simply cutting the wooden handles to the desired size and a bit of sanding and finishing - given you have the proper tools for the job. That's our problem currently! :O) No tools for anything! We have screwdrivers and a hammer and that's about it.

Great ideas. I love this site!

The4Rs said...

Stop by my site for how to crochet a swiffer cover. They work great and they are eco friendly!
http://the4rsRamblings.blogspot.com

look for the post in april about useful crochet!

love your idea!

Anonymous said...

my husband found rechargeable electric brooms (like a small vacuum excepts it doesn't 'suck' the dust in, a brush rotates it into a dust container) on sale for about $25. He bought one and made the handle smaller. My kids have been cleaning under the kitchen table (their crumbs, after all!) since they were 2!!

Resweater said...

anonymous,
I did the same thing! My son loved to "vacuum" and even insisted on dumping the dirt cup in the garbage himself. Too bad at 7 he's not as eager to help as he once was ;).