This Earth Day you may be looking for ways to move beyond your regular recycling routine. All of your light bulbs are energy efficient, you’re eating organic wherever you can and you buy recycled paper towels. Is there any other way to be eco-friendly? Of course! To help you on your journey to unique decorating while still honoring the planet, here are 7 easy ways to keep things out of landfills!
Mixed Glass Centerpiece – You know all those leftover jelly jars, specialty oil bottles and perfume bottles? Their different shapes and heights make them perfect for a centerpiece in your living room or outdoor living space. Candles can be placed in short glasses and sprigs of flowers or grasses (even twigs) from your own yard can be interspersed in the others. Leave some empty for open spaces!
Cost – $0 when you use what you already have.
Sweater Chairs – When you’re ready to recover your kitchen table chairs, don’t toss your old cable knit sweaters. Cut up the side seams and across the shoulders, trimming the neck hole and sleeves. Leave two squares of sweater, slightly bigger than the seat of the chair. Unscrew the seat cushions from the chair (usually underneath the cushions) and drape the sweater over the seat, securing the underside with a staplegun. Trim any excess sweater edges and reattach the cushion. Cozy!
Cost – $0
Business Napkins – Old button-down shirts get new life when you cut them into uniform squares! All it takes is a quick stitch around the edges to make a neat hem and you have the softest, coolest cloth napkins around. If you’re feeling really rustic, leave the edges unhemmed for a frayed look.
Cost – $0
Homemade Candles – When my favorite candle burns out, leaving a good half inch of aromatic goodness and no wick, I could almost cry. But instead of throwing away that leftover, simply remove the wax, melt over a low flame or in a double boiler and pour into a terra cotta flower pot. Cover the hole in the bottom of a pot with a stone or other flat item, and secure the wick by tying it to a pencil that you balance on the top of the pot. As you pour the wax in, it will surround the wick, leaving it firmly in place after hardening.
Cost – About $2 for the wick (which you can buy at hobby or craft stores)
T-Shirt Pillows – Sometimes it’s so hard to part with our favorite tees. But when the pits are stained and the hems are totally frayed, you can still salvage the shirt. Cut two identical squares from the shirt, front and back. Lay them on top of each other with the outside facing in. Stitch together three sides of the squares and and turn the new “pillowcase ” right side out again. Stuff with batting or insert your favorite pillow and sew the fourth side closed. VOILA!
Cost – $0 if you’re using pillows you already have. Under $5 if you have to buy pillow stuffing.
Remnant Coasters – Every year landfills are loaded with old carpet and carpet leftovers. Before you throw it all out, save some and cut it into uniform squares, or any shape you like! Trim the fray and you’re done. If they get dirty, just wash them in the sink with your other dishes. It’s seriously that easy!
Cost – $0
Scarf Quilt – Most of us have drawers of scarves that we’ve gotten but never, ever wear. Just lay them side by side and stitch them together. You’re done. If you want to make it really fancy, sew a large piece of fabric on the back to make it warmer. The fun of it is still being able to use and enjoy your scarves without wrapping them around your neck.
Cost – $0
BONUS!!! Using the same idea as above, you can make a quilt from old baby clothes that you love. Either save them for your babies once they’re grown up, or keep it for yourself to remind you of the cuddly, snuggly days!