Wednesday, June 19, 2024

PLEASE Use Things Up - Not Just For Thrift

 Good morning, all.  First, thank you all for the great responses on yesterday's post!  So many neato ideas!  I will take all of them into consideration before going out this Friday!

It is a muggy morning here.  The temperature is about 77F first thing this morning and the air is just heavy.  Today starts the heat ride.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be the worst - with highs in mid to upper 90's.  UGH - but I need to stop - it is better than below zero!  This too shall pass.
I hope everyone stays safe and cool and hydrated.
(Grrrrr - local news just showed the first story of the summer of kids being left in a non-running car yesterday.  They are OK - and parents have been arrested.  How do you forget kids or animals???    These stories just tick me off to my last nerve.)

Today, let's talk a minute about using it up, making do, getting creative and not wasting.  I know I talk a lot about not wasting food - but it is so important.  Not just for your pocketbook, but for the planet and the environment.  WHY waste???  There is no good answer!
All things can be used in a new way.  IF they cannot then we should recycle them in some way (not trash).

I know some of you have strong opinions about waste - and I don't want to get into any huge debates or disagreements - I just want to remind folks to THINK and recalculate everything, before throwing it away.   THIS IS IMPORTANT!
It is estimated that American households throw away about one-third of all food they purchase!!!!  This does not include other countries, waste at groceries and restaurants, just groceries purchased.  That is disgraceful.  I think of how many would love that food!  I think about the energy used to raise and harvest.  I also think about the money.  Seriously, would one just go and throw dollar bills in the trash or into the fire?  I think not - but they do just throw it in the trash with waste.
It is said about 219 lbs. of food per person is wasted each year.  That is A LOT!!!!

We talk about using leftovers or do-overs a lot.  It is easy, it is good eating and it is important.
Several of my area grocery stores have now started (in past few years) giving past date items and some end of days produce to the Helping missions.  They give to Wheeler's and Midwest food banks - that food is then redistributed to those who need it.
We have a couple organizations that help in other ways.  There is Second Helpings - they get leftover food from restaurants and catering business and grocers and TEACH many people to be chefs!  Yes, it is a learning situation, and gives many people (many have trouble with hiring) a situation to learn a worthy trade and it uses the food and it is creative AND it feeds many homeless!
I noticed another 'restaurant' the other day called Second Servings - much the same thing.  I love that people are getting educated and that they are getting creative and that they are feeding others.

It isn't just food.  Find new uses for other things.  Don't just trash things.  Use them or donate them to bless others!

I had a great conversation with a schoolmate last week at lunch.  He was talking about what he does now that he is retired - I overheard and started asking questions.  He volunteers for an organization called Changing Footprints.  They collect used shoes of all sorts.  They clean them as well as can be - tennis shoes washed and such.  They provide shoes and 'new' socks that people have donated to homeless, to children in schools, to anyone in need.  They keep it local (in state) and have several giveaways.  What a wonderful thing to do.
One of our local church thrift stores (Mission 27) are begging for men's good used clothes.  I still have a lot that will be donated there.

There is generally a use for most everything.  It just takes a little thinking and a little creativeness.
Take a minute and go over to the blog Millies Cozy Cottage (on my sidebar) and look at her post from June 11th!  It is all about her 'junk' garden!  I love it.  It looks like something I would definitely do.  It is so cute.  I often find places to 'plant' throw-aways and 'curb finds' in my yard.  I know the look is not for everyone - but I love it.
Couple old tires, scrap wood and some old bedding - provides shelter for stray cats during the winter weather.  How creative.

Think, think, think before throwing things in the trash.
PLEASE try to be resourceful with your food and water.  Both are limited, both are needed, and both are wasted each and every day.
Save yourself some funds and save yourself some goods to use in other ways.

There is a house a few doors down, adding a room to the house.  Tons of scrap construction goods - they have set aside usable stuff for others to take and use! Love it.
Have a shed or out building that needs a roof?  Use what shingles you can find - they don't have to match.  I know people scoff at that - but a house down the road did that and it is neat looking!  This is especially easy to do - out in rural areas.
USE it up!!!

It isn't just waste on a personal level, but also on a corporate level.  If you see something - say something.  Place the idea in someone's head.  It may surely help another.
Do something yourself as well - if we each get creative, just think of what we could save and who we could help (including ourselves).

Be WISE and get CREATIVE and DON'T waste.
One man's trash is another's treasure!

Have a lovely day!


  1. If a person wastes food, they might as well flush their money down the toilet. I am still working on preparing smaller portions.

    I pulled out some vintage handbags, a big box of gloves and handkerchiefs which I will send to my granddaughter Zoe as she is studying fashion.

    Getting ready to brown and season some hamburger to put in the freezer.

    Gonna be hawt! Stay cool and hydrated!

    1. I agree - just wasted and trashed money! I have gotten pretty good at no waste. It all gets used in do-overs.
      How cool on the vintage items. That should be very interesting for her.
      Always nice to have some things ready to heat and eat!
      Stay cool.

  2. I was just thinking the other day, that I no longer purchase new items of clothing, with the exception of underwear, socks, and shoes. And those purchases are infrequent, maybe once a year to replace something that has worn out. My mom once said that used shoes can be hard on the feet because we all have create different patterns in our footwear. But it's good to know that shoes can be passed along.
    I purchase most of my clothing at the thrift stores and donate items that I no longer wear/fit (as long as they are in good shape - I tend to be hard on my clothing). Not only are the prices much better, but I frequently find quality items that I'd not be willing to pay for at the new prices.
    Food is definitely an issue for potential waste - I've read about the average food waste of various households and it is frightening. I'm not perfect, but getting better at using up what is in the fridge by having a "leftover" night at least once a week. This week, there is taco meat (from the freezer), some leftover Chinese fried rice or pancakes and sausage (from the last couple of evening meals) as our choices for dinner tonight. Whatever one is leftover will likely be my lunch for tomorrow. I also pulled some cauliflower from the freezer on Monday and made soup for my lunches.
    Lastly, it's a great idea to send any leftovers to the compost bin. Our city now has a green bin program, but if there is room in one's yard, a compost bin is a way to re-use those scraps. Lots of nutrients for the soil when added to leaves, etc. and allowed to break down.

    1. I love that you buy your clothes at thrift sales. Same here. I could have spent a small fortune last week on 'special' items, but it cost very little. I will wear and when I am done they will get passed on.
      Yes, if you have no shoes - any would be a wonderful gift. I am glad there is an outlet.
      Super neat that you have gotten to using up those odd and ends. They can make for some yummy dinners and lunches.
      Yep, if it is just gone off - then compost - pure gold!

  3. It makes me sad to know that our food pantry for the poor or needy will not use "expired" cans. Like you always say, Cheryl, how does the can know?? I wonder if needy folks refuse to accept a can of veggies because the "expired" date was 4 months ago. If so, sad on all levels. Our postal service had a food drive a while back where they collect shelf stable foods in a bag left by your mailbox. I was careful to read all the dates.

    1. That is a sad situation. Some here are date aware and others are not. I tell you what - IF I were hungry.........
      I use out of date and end of saleable produce all the time - so it would never bother me.
      We have become such a wasteful society. It is truly sad.
      We had the postal collection as well - however this year they did not 'advertise' as usual. I think the mail carriers just don't want to mess with it.

    2. It's liability. The last thing this country needs is local foodbanks getting shut down! They need to be even more rigorous for inspection that retailers!

    3. Here, some have people sign off that they will take as is.

  4. Wow! 219 lbs per person? That works out to about 4 pounds per week. I read once that people tend to eat the same amount of food by weight everyday. Most people eat between 3-5 pounds per day. So 4 pounds of food thrown out a week is like throwing out all your food for one day! Yikes!

    I'm guessing most people aren't aware of how much they waste. And it probably happens in different ways like not knowing how to properly reheat leftovers, expecting to eat something different every day, buying cheap food then not liking it (my mom! Lol), not eating leftovers at all (my MIL doesn't save leftover food unless it something big like a piece of meat that can be used for sandwiches. I visit her and I wrap up food then eat it the next day. I cringe at what she throws out!).

    Using up what food we already have is a great way to save money. AND eat well!

    1. It sure is crazy. I read that figure on several different venues. That is a tremendous amount of food. Think of how many millions of people that entails!
      People don't think and many just aren't concerned. They paid for it, so they can do what they want - I think that is some of the mentality. It is TRUE - but it is ridiculous and wasteful!
      I was brought up on leftovers and using everything - I just cannot imagine wasting things on a regular basis.
      I am glad you bring mom's foods home! Thank you.
      Just being smart!

  5. Waste is crazy-making! I swear from every 5# bag of clementines (we eat a lot of them), 1-3 are molded within a day. Yesterday I had to toss 5-6 lettuce leaves. Even this tiny bit makes me crazy. So that 219? There are people wasting 400# extra to make up for our 2 person household. Even the used up, reused many times, ziploc bag that finally has to go to the trash bin makes me cringe.

    I'm sure those who know me well think I'm obsessed. Yup, that's me! Someone's gotta do it ;-)

    1. Obsessed is not a bad thing sometimes. I think we all need to be a lot more aware. I waste virtually nothing, and it is just me. So someone is wasting a lot more than that.
      I try my best to find new uses for things and eat all the food!
      Good for you.

  6. My daughter recently mentioned a report saying that the average person buys 85 items of clothing a year (not including underwear). No wonder I see so many items that seem unworn when I am visiting charity shops!

    1. 85?? Oh my goodness, I haven't bought that many in decades!!! That even includes thrift stores. That is astounding. No way that much is needed. I guess I am nowhere near average.
      I see things with tags still on them at times - it is crazy.

  7. we love leftovers and Cheryl I love the shoe thing. That would be so cool to be involved.

    1. I love leftovers too - they can be eaten as is or remade.
      Yes, and this office/warehouse for this organization is just a few minutes from my house and I now know someone on the inside!

  8. I almost always make enough for leftovers. I love them, never throw leftovers out! I'll often freeze them for quick meals at a later time. I get a bit angry when I see someone throw out perfectly good food, particularly any type of meats. I bite my tongue but want to say it's disrespectful of the animal that gave its life to feed you.

    1. YES, thank you. That animal should be put to 100% use and not wasted at all. No food should, the labors and the resources needed to get it to us is astounding. People just seem to not care about so many things. Including money - even if they have little!

  9. The cat house made of tires and wood is neat. My Dad saved all kinds of stuff and could make or fix just about anything he put his mind too. I sleep in a bed he made back when we lived in Illinois years ago We also have the night stand, chest of drawers, and dresser he made to go with the bed. You know I am in total agreement with you on wasting food. If it's going to go bad, freezing it will make it last much longer, as you already know. I've saved many a dinner that way. :)

    1. Oh what a wonderful item/items to have from your dad. Such memories and craftsmanship - not to mention he made it. That is so cool.
      I like the cat house - it would be easy and could help some stray kitties.
      Yes, freeze for another meal. I know people get tired of leftovers - but you can use them next week or next month, it doesn't have to be the next day.

  10. I am always amazed by the food waste statistic. We waste so little that someone else must be wasting 2/3!

    1. I agree. I 99% on the time use everything. So little waste here. It is hard to imagine isn't it? Then you think about restaurants and groceries and motels, etc. Mind blowing.

  11. Food waste is terrible, I am so glad that when I broke my wrist Harvey had to go shopping with me (he needed to put things in the cart as I couldn't) and got to see how expensive things were starting to get. That was a number of years ago, and now he is on the no waste wagon.
    Any clothing that we wear out I cut off the buttons, and then cut them up into useable fabric. Many a quilt or blanket has been made from those.
    Harvey is now saving all those bits and bobs of lumber left from his projects and uses them to make smaller projects.
    Every little bit helps.

    God bless.

    1. Sometimes a tragedy is an eye opener. Glad he got a dose of prices of realized how bad things were. It sure can be an awakening moment. Glad he is on the bandwagon now!

  12. About thirty or forty years ago, I kept an eye out for people clearing lots and told my friend. The people developing the land were happy for my friend to haul off wood to cut into firewood.
    I would find box fans on the side of the road, bring them home, take off the two outer screens and clean the hairs and lint from the inside mechanisms. Once I cleaned the fans and oiled them, I gave them to people who needed a fan. Otherwise, the fans would be sent to landfill and people without a fan would suffer.
    My fans were cleaned yearly and lasted over fifty years and went with my house into a dump.
    I suppose I like taking things apart and making them work or making them last longer.

    1. It is amazing what one can find for free if they just look. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it either. Like you said it helped several people for a long time. That is wonderful.

    2. A friend of mine used to date a guy who would hit yard sales at the end of the day and pick up broken appliances, power tools etc., for $0 or next to nothing. Just to entertain himself, he would take apart, clean them up and once a year hold his own yard sale. He did this just for the entertainment value but made $100s every year from it.

      My niece's husband is very creative. He picks up used wood wherever he finds it and makes furniture! He has made some super cool things that people would pay $100s for. He made a chess set that is worth $1,000s. He has quite the collection of old hardware that he has removed from scrap wood.

      I thought I was doing good when I rescued an old pallet to store tires on.....!

  13. I was very upset when I recently cleaned out my big chest freezer.
    I had to throw away some meat that had
    gotten freezer burned and corn,squash we grew.
    It hurt! In these economic times it truly hurt.
    I had an upright freezer I loved but during COVID it died. I had to buy the chest because no upright one was as available.
    But lesson learned, I reorganized it.
    I am doing an inventory sheet as well.
    That won't happen again.
    Your blog is very informative.
    You have saved me throwing out many food products. I just baked muffins using a can of baking powder that was four years out of code. It was kept in the freezer. Nothing wrong with it at all.
    I found a ham that was cryo sealed and months passed it's use by date.
    It was an expensive ham purchased for five dollars on sale.
    All the Web sites said throw it away.
    I looked on a government Web site for food safety they said hams sealed and frozen are good for years!
    I baked it and it was perfect.
    Don't throw away food until you check
    a government food safety web site.
    I refuse to pay tons of money for clothes.
    I recently purchased new jeans with the tags still on them for two dollars and fifty cents a pair. I found them at a thrift store.
    They were also buy one get one free.
    The price tags said they retailed for fifty dollars each. I hit some yard sales and bought seven cute new with tags tops for a dollar each. It's amazing what you can find.

    1. Sorry you lost some things from the freezer. That is always a tough one. Freezers can get so disorganized so quickly - at least mine can.
      Thank you for following along and for your kind words.
      I use things past date all the time. I generally don't even follow the govt. sites. I have seen some crazy info on them. I just use my nose, my eyes, my taste. Nothing wrong with getting info on those sites - I just don't trust much.
      I love letting someone else spend all the money for clothes and things, then I can get them for next to nothing.
      You have done well!

    2. Anon, I bought a 2 lb. package of dry yeast at Costco and stored it in an old mayonnaise jar in the freezer for 15 years. I would take out what I needed and let it warm up to room temperature before proceeding. It took me 13 years to use up a can of my mother's Hershey's cocoa (after she died) and it was fine. I didn't bother to freeze it, either.

  14. OMG, I literally just got off the phone with my friend who works at the food bank and she is coming over here today to help me pack up what I will NEVER use and take there.
    I am single and living in a small house and only cook for me, but my 'gather' mentality has prevented me from using all this food so i am donating it. I rearely cook anymore and I DO use what I have but I have SO much that I could never use it all. It is wasteful not only in food, but also in money.
    I will keep what I do use but this is out of control and needs to e donated before it all expires.

    1. Good for you in sharing. We all need to do that more often. It is hard to break the stock=up mentality when you are single. I have just quite going to the store much at all, so I have to use it up and get creative. I like to cook, even for myself, so I use it.
      Good job on taking care of others.

  15. Cheryl, I love this post and thanks for mentioning my junk garden! It's a great way to make a cute setting in your yard and use a few items that might be worn out. The only thing new are the plants. Most of the items I have in my garden have been thrifted or given to me by a friend who no longer needed them. It's fun to pass things on to others and see what they can make of it. I hope you have a great time at your party!

    1. Thanks and you are more than welcome. I just love your little junk garden - so clever and cute.