Go Green Anytime By Making Use Of What You Have.

Go Green Anytime By Making Use Of What You Have.

Having too much stuff…leads to too much stuff in the trash and more stuff to recycle.  Yikes!  We all want to help save the earth….but how can we when everything comes in disposable containers?

There is something YOU and I can do to help save the earth.

Well, at least save a small part of it, by doing our part in “going green.”

The next time you start to toss a container in the trash or recycle bin, stop to think of how it can be re-used, re-cycled or repurposed.

ALERT:  Suggesting that you save containers for re-purposing does NOT mean you need to save every container for some possible future use.  That just leads to more clutter!  So be selective.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. 


  1. Bank checkbook boxes.
    • Dividers in drawers to organize:
      • Paper clips
      • Plastic bag twisters
      • Rubber bands
      • Postage stamps
      • Address labels
      • Tacks/push pins
    • Store small receipts for future reference/tax purposes.
  2. Shoe boxes….cardboard:
    • Store shoes on shelves. (Plastic shoe boxes do not allow for shoes to air out/breathe between wearings.)
    • Storage of tax/other receipts
    • Packaging for mailing
    • Storing garage supplies on shelves & drawers:
      • Electric cords & plugs
      • Adhesive tapes/adhesives
      • Various repair items
      • Tools/nails/screws, etc.
      • Gardening supplies
    • Storing office Supplies:
      • Pens/markers/pencils
      • Notepads/sticky notes
      • Tape/rubber bands/staples/push pins
    • Storing craft supplies
    • Kids’ school and craft supplies:
      • Pens/markers/crayons
      • Small toys: Cars/trucks/blocks/Legos, etc.
      • Puzzle pieces

Re-usable plastic containers for storage:

  • Food leftovers: refrigerator/cupboard
  • Dry food products: cornmeal/flour, etc.
  • Snacks/treats
  • Craft & needlework supplies

Product discards:

  1. Spray can lids:
    • Use in drawers to hold paper clips, rubber bands, and minutia.
  2. Fruit/berry baskets:
    • Store plant bulbs
    • Craft items
    • Drawer dividers
  3. Supermarket plastic produce bags:
      • Wet garbage/trash. (Do not use for clean food storage)
      • Cleaning up after the pets
    • Supermarket & department store carry-out bags:
      • Trashcan liners
      • Hang-up storage in garage or closet
      • To hold charity donations: clothes, etc.
      • Return to stores to recycle
  4. Tissue boxes:
    • Store reusable plastic bags for future use in home or car.
    • Hold used batteries for proper disposal.
    • Hold craft items.

Thinking “outside the box”:

  1. Silverware drawer tray:
    • Organize “junk drawer” items in kitchen or craft drawers.
    • Separate cooking utensils in drawers.
    • Organize bathroom drawer toiletries.
    • Hold small craft items.
    • Hold stationery items…pens, paper clips, stamps, etc.
  2. Used computer paper:
    • Reuse blank side to print
    • Use as scrap paper for notes
    • Drawing & painting paper for kids projects
  3. Cookbook holder rack:
    • Hold personal calendar/organizer on desk top
    • Hold a book to read
    • Hold documents for computer input
    • Hold a framed photo on a table or shelf
  4. Plastic shoe boxes: Storage for:
    • Office supplies
    • Craft items
    • Kitchen equipment & supplies
    • Garage:
      • Electric cords
      • Small tools/supplies
      • Tacks, clips, tape, etc.
      • Cleaning products
      • Screws, nails, etc.
  5. Wicker baskets:
    • Hold wash cloths in the bathroom
    • Dishtowels in the kitchen
    • Toiletries/products on counter top or shelves
    • Desktop/shelf office supplies
    • Cards/photos to display
    • Reading materials
    • Craft items/supplies
    • Drawer divider/organizer
    • Paper/pens at each phone location
  6. Small to medium size plastic baskets:
    • Organize refrigerator/freezer items for easy retrieval
    • Drawer divider/organizer
    • Copy paper storage
    • Phone message taking items
    • Store jars of herbs & spices
  7. Photo/video boxes:
    • Organize recipes using dividers provided
    • Hold greeting card stock
    • Memorabilia storage
    • Stationery & note pads
    • Receipts
  8. Large lidded trash container:
    • Storing of out of season clothing.
    • Storing holiday/seasonal decorations/supplies.
    • Storing breakable items…dishes, vases, etc.
    • Larger garage equipment.
    • Hazardous waste for recycling
    • Potting soil
    • Flower pots

Or…without the lid/cover: In the garage:

  • Sports equipment: balls, bats, tennis rackets, etc.
  • Gardening supplies: rakes, hoe, shovel, broom, etc.

Well, that should get you started on recycling, reusing and repurposing on your road to “Going Green”.

Authored by: Ann Gambrell

Ann Gambrell is an organizational consultant, helping busy people to get organized since 1985. Ann is the originator of Creative Time-Plus, and conducts seminars, workshops and classes throughout the country. Ann is a founder and active member, of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. Her cassette tape and CD series relate to a variety of organizational topics including paperwork management, clutter control and kitchen organizing. View Ann's Profile on LinkedIn

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