This was a GREAT idea for a swap! I guess I never thought of money-saving, until I stopped to look at what my tips are. Pretty much the main thing I believe is RECYCLE & REUSE seemed like my theme! Or as I call myself, “A Shiney SH*T Saver* -NOT a “pack rat” — I USE my stuff (for the most part)! Of course I keep thinking of more ideas after I already sent the swap! Oh well…
Here are my tips with photos.
1.) I work at a family practice doctors’ office as my day job. There is so much waste & disregard for recycling, that I finally took action.
a.) The sign in sheets come in pads of 200, with chipboard backing on each pad. I asked the girls to NOT throw those out & please save them for me. Chipboard can get pricey & might as well save it for crafts or to send to partners for THEIR craft projects! So always look around especially in an office setting, there are chip board pieces that come in forms boxes (at least at my office they do).
b.) Also a big + of working in a medical office, I noticed one day there were these AWESOME trays with about 30 little round spaces – 1 tray had deep ones & 1 tray had shallower ones. So I asked one of our nurses what those were from & she said that the Pap smear (female GYN test) tests came in those trays. OMG – those are AWESOME for sorting beads! So, from that point on, I’ve had the nurses save all those trays for me. I have exceeded MY personal limit of them, but I take them to my monthly craft group and they LOVE them –for paint trays, beads, glass pieces, etc. So I stock them up each month! (If you’d like any PLEASE let me know – I have plenty – I’ll post a pic on my blog)
c.) Also working at the doctor’s office, on the exam tables are rolls of white paper that is changed between patients. Well, I have a parrot & since she loves foraging (searching) for treats, I make her foraging toys out of old paper towel tubes. Since we don’t go thru too many paper towels at home, but she can rip through the tube in seconds, I wasn’t able to keep up with her demand. So again, at work I asked the nurses to save the tubes from the table paper. The tubes are pretty much the length of wrapping paper, so I just cut them down smaller and stuff them with her treats & give her one tube each day.
d.) During the flu season, I noticed a bunch of colored little button size plastic tops that came on each vial of the influenza bottles. *light bulb* So, I asked the nurses (again) to save those & any other ones that they have from immunizations. I was not aware that other immunizations/vaccines had different color tops – BONUS for me! So, these are great replacements for buttons!!
2.) I save & reuse EVERY little plastic bag that stickers, jewelry, you name it, comes in. The sticker size ones are great for punches that I’m working on a specific project. I also will use the bags to send swap stuff in. I think the BESTEST invention EVER is the zip-top bag!!! I can NEVER have enough!
3.) I am a ribbon hoarder. I LOVE ribbon (especially when on clearance!) So besides buying Christmas ribbon @ 90% off, I swap the ribbon on swap-bot. I am in almost every ribbon swap! I love seeing the different ribbons people have!!! Then I use small pieces to tie up swaps before sending them off. I believe each swap should be like getting a small present in the mail! I have my ribbons arranged by color. I saw this blog and fell in LOVE with her method of storage for ribbon. For the most part, my ribbon is in those drawers, however any ribbon I have purchased or swapped since, oh, say, November, are in the purple baskets or white trays on top and still need to be sorted. OH, this is one of my uses for my chipboard I save in #1 – I cut the pieces down to appropriate size to fit. LOVE this storage method!
4.) Spice bottles. I don’t go thru too many, but I do save the glass ones for my buttons. Good size doesn’t take up much room & looks great!
5.) Make your own rubber stamp cleaner. I was first introduced to cleaning your rubber stamps by Stampin Up! Since I don’t want to buy another bottle from them, I found the recipe on Splitcoast Stampers & made a few bottles of my own. The stuff lasts a long time & smells great. From that link, I used this recipe: Recipe #2: 2 Cups Distilled water1 Tsp. Dawn dish soap5 drops of Glycerin
6.) Gerber plastic baby food containers. I have no kids but have LOTS of friends/coworkers that have had them. Those containers are SO awesome for saving beading projects, baby powder, glitter, and so many other things – they ARE NOT leak proof for liquids though, so be warned! So find someone with a baby under a year old & ask them to save them for you!
Gerber baby food plastic containers
7.) Tissue paper from gifts. Yeah they make fun of me at work for saving the tissue paper from gift bags, but WHO do they come to when they need some for a gift? HMMMM? Yeah that’s right ME! Whether its for another gift bag, or to cut it down smaller to wrap jewelry or just a small swap package, tissue paper is so universal! LOVE IT!
Hope yall start searching around your jobs, stores, and home for other ideas! Let me know if you have any!! 🙂