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Things I Do When I’m Not Writing: Turning Trash Into Reusable (and useful) Home Treasures

Sometimes a person can get so caught up in working (especially if they work from home and can’t switch it off in their brains) that they forget to take time for the non-work related things they also genuinely enjoy. I thought I’d share a peek into my family life for minute and one of my favorite hobbies that does not involve writing to remind myself and others some of the best times in life are when we step back to enjoy the small things for a while.

It’s good to be a serious writer and spend time taking workshops, writing, and building a platform. But it’s okay to NOT write sometimes and enjoy something non-writer related. It rounds us out as people, I think, and does the mind and body good. Of course, when you’re done, be sure to sit that ass down again and write 😉 Only takes a pen and (hopefully many sheets) of paper. So, here I am being a hypocrite and writing. Lol. But, I took a few weeks off (mostly) from social media and did some things I enjoy. This is ONE of my favorite things. Turning trash to treasure.

There are many people out of jobs, on tight budgets, and barely getting by to provide for themselves and/or their families. A great way to save on a tight budget is to remember everyday items and trash have the potential to be very useful for storage and organizational purposes around the house.

Why would you want to take the time to turn trash to treasure?

Most storage containers, even at a dollar-discount store, will be around $1 for the small containers and more for the larger containers. These containers are usually see-through for convenience and pretty colors for well…color-coding? Lol. Why spend money on containers that will remain hidden most of the time, anyway? Save money by taking a few minutes to transform boxes, holiday tins and baskets, etc… and organize for your daily routine. It saves time, too, when everything has a place!

It’s also fun for kids. I have a 4 year old who loves doing craft things…I don’t. 🙂  The way we do it at home is – I usually do the practical and boring things to put the container together, then she decorates it with markers, stickers, glitter, and whatever else she can find. I love seeing things she and I made “together” when I look into a drawer or open a book. Here are some bookmarks we made, and how we did it:


My daughter finger-painted with Crayola “invisible” metallic paint using the special paper. I used an empty granola bar box and cut out the side (perfect bookmark size), then wrapped her artwork around the cardboard and laminated it with boxing tape. Cut around the edges for the finishing touch, and voilà! Instant bookmark and useful preservation of a beautiful memory.

After the holidays (Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s day, etc…), we also use the tins and baskets to stay organized and save time. Here is my daughter’s craft center. We use her Easter baskets for storage. I also re-used a Valentine’s Day tin for writing utensil storage. Because even romance writers have a practical side 😉


I’ve re-used this old sunglasses case box in addition to my spice rack to have the frequently used spices on hand and stored together beside the stove….


Then the most recent 5 minute thrifty project I’ve done: make a straw caddy for the every-day flatware drawer out of an empty aluminum foil box.


Here’s one I invested some time in during pregnancy bed-rest several years ago. Yes, I had some time on my hands and we couldn’t afford the frivolous, pre-made and festive holiday shapes. So, I made this Christmas tree with my crafting pliers, multi-colored lights, and a holiday tin.


 This is my next project. Oh, yes, I’m now out of control! Lol. Came across this idea on Pinterest. Use an old dresser drawer for a bookshelf! Consignment stores are great places to find such things – then remembering to donate back the gently used (new) items you buy so someone else could use the “treasure.” 🙂


I’m fortunate to have a spouse who appreciates my thriftiness and creativity. After all, he didn’t take issue with me burning a design into the first piece of furniture we bought for our house after he stained it and was relieved to know I didn’t put clovers on it (I was on an Irish kick then)….


It truly is a team effort to save money, as a family. My daughter is learning such things as turning the light out when she leaves a room, turning the water off while brushing her teeth, and participates in these fun (and money-saving) activities.

 It may be the fact that I grew up poor, but I still and never will regret or be ashamed of my thrifty-minded nature. It’s one of the advantages of a creative and practical mind to be able to stretch a dollar in today’s consumerism-minded society. I’ve seen both sides of the fence. Thrifty, creative, and family fueled memories and projects are one of the most priceless moments of all.


Happy New Year, and I hope you’re able to enjoy something that makes YOU happy soon! Take care.

4 thoughts on “Things I Do When I’m Not Writing: Turning Trash Into Reusable (and useful) Home Treasures

  1. Love the bookshelf. Laurie, with your ideas, you are also recycling which is so good for our environment. Nice work 🙂


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