Our grandmothers (and mothers, depending on your age!) grew up in a time when money and resources were scarce. That scarcity forced people to really make the most of the few things they had at their disposal. Our foremothers were as creative and savvy as they come, and they always found a way to repurpose and reuse things!
While we might be better off in certain ways today, there’s still a lot we can learn from the way our grandmothers lived. If you’re working through a tough financial situation, finding ways to reuse things can help ease the strain on your wallet. And on a larger scale, global climate change and other environmental issues affect all of us. Finding ways make the most of our resources is probably more important now than it’s ever been!
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So today’s post is all about learning to be more resourceful by following our grandmothers’ examples. I’ll be sharing 9 things that Grandma never threw away, so that we can learn how to reuse those things too! With the help of these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way toward living a less wasteful, and more resourceful life!
9 Things Grandma Never Threw Away
1. Worn Out Fabrics
Grandma was a real pro when it came to reusing fabric. If Grandpa’s suit started to fall apart, she would hack it up and turn it into something new! You can apply this “make-do” mentality by finding ways to fix or reuse old clothes, towels, and bedsheets.
You might be able to salvage your favorite pair of jeans with a new zipper! That old sweater may look as good as new after a good de-pilling session. Or you can cut up a hole-ridden towel to use as dish cloths. Even an old sheet can be used as a drop cloth!
Related: 17 New Ways To Use Old Bed Sheets
2. Aluminum Foil
Depending on how you used a piece of aluminum foil the first time, you may be able to rinse it off and use it again! Reuse foil to cover up different leftovers, or ball it up and use it to scrub stubborn messes out of your pots and pans. You can also use foil to sharpen scissors! Just fold a piece of foil up a few times, then cut across it several times with your scissors.
3. Shirt Buttons
Grandma would never have let good shirt buttons go to waste! If an old shirt starts to fall apart, reuse the fabric (see #1 above) and put the buttons aside somewhere safe. Use your stashed buttons to replace missing buttons on other pieces of clothing, or on clothes you sew yourself!
4. Jars, Jugs, Boxes, & Other Containers
Many food items come in plastic or glass containers, and those containers can all be reused in hundreds of ways! Use larger jars to store bulk ingredients in your pantry or homemade spice mixes, and smaller jars to keep track of screws or nails in the garage. You can even remove the labels from your containers to make them look a little nicer. (Check out the link below for details!)
5. Food Scraps & Bones
Grandma would never throw out chicken carcasses, fatty bits of meat, or the tops and bottoms of veggies. You can use all of those things to make your own broths and stocks at home! Just keep a freezer bag in your freezer, and add scraps to it whenever you have them. Once the bag is full, dump it into your Instant Pot with a few cups of water and some seasonings to cook up a delicious stock!
Instead of tossing your eggshells in the trash, save them! After washing and drying them, you can use them for all sorts of things. They make a great fertilizer for your garden while also deterring pests. Check out the link below for more brilliant ways to reuse eggshells!
7. Bacon Fat
Cooking oils and fats cost money to buy, so why get rid of perfectly good bacon fat? You can use it to add flavor to homemade gravy, soup, cornbread, potato salad, and more! Keep bacon fat in an airtight container in your fridge, and it will stay good for about a month.
Grandma had no shortage of ways to reuse newspapers and newsprint. Use it to wrap gifts and packages, to clean glass and windows, to cushion fragile items in storage, to line pet cages, or to make your own fire starters!
Related: How To Make Your Own Fire Starters
9. Soap Scraps
When you use up a bar of soap, you usually end up with a little sliver that is too small to use functionally. But don’t toss it out, because it’s still perfectly useable! Save those soap scraps and store them in a worn out stocking (or one leg of a worn pair of pantyhose). Once you have a good supply of soap slivers, tie off the stocking, and trim the excess material. You’ll have a perfectly good soap pouch to use in the shower or at the sink!
What’s your best tip for reusing or repurposing things at home?