Mr Green’s reuse ideas

Filed in Blog by on June 20, 2011 3 Comments
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Little Miss Green; as resourceful as her Dad

Little Miss Green; as resourceful as her Dad

I’ve been looking through some 2009 photographs on my old computer and discovered that both Mr and Little Miss Green share the skill of creative reuse.

Maybe there is a gene for being resourceful and viewing rubbish as a resource…


Kids are natural reusers, right? As you’ll know to your dismay if you’ve ever bought them a present only to see them more excited by the box or tried to tidy up their rooms.

“Oh that old piece of rubbish!” you’ll say as they ask you where that tiny piece of (insert object here) went with a missing corner, scribble down the side with crayon and chewed middle.
Then they’ll go on to describe in minute detail the exact use and purpose of aforementioned object before dissolving in tears about the fact you’ve ruined their lives forever.

One man’s trash

Alas, some children never grow out of that trait as my dearly beloved frequently reminds me. I see a garage full of clutter, he sees resources. I see bits of broken ‘stuff’ he sees objects which are one day, going to fulfill a need.

As you’ve heard me lament before, the most annoying thing is his ‘one day’ stash really does come in useful ‘one day’ which doesn’t leave me a leg to stand on when I start the ‘how about we declutter your garage?’ conversation…

Breaking glass

Last year back in the summer I heard the sound of breaking glass coming from the garden. I rushed out, ready to perform my best ‘stern Mum’ impression to Little Miss Green for playing football near the greenhouse, only to find MR Green had been playing football near the greenhouse.


However, a few days later he’d found some perspex in the garage. It had a corner missing, but that didn’t deter Mr “Robinson Crusoe” Green for one moment. He simply cut the perspex to size and filled in the gaps with the offcuts.

From firewood to shed

But it didn’t stop there. About 10 years ago friends of ours upgraded their shed. Their faithful friend was about to fall down in the next gust of wind, so they offered the shed to us for firewood. We went over to collect it and I noticed how meticulously Mr Green was taking it apart. I figured he was being thoughtful and didn’t want to make too much mess and noise.

Once he got the shed home, instead of putting it in the wood store, he took it through the house to the back garden. When quizzed he told me “There’s nothing wrong with this shed that a bit of mending won’t put right, we’re going to use it!” And we have done, every year since!

Mending the shed

By 2009, however, frost and wind had taken its toll, so Mr Green went to his ‘one day’ stash and found some offcuts of wood to patch up the shed with. Now it’s looking as good as new you can expect from a shed that’s about 30 years old.

Making a bird table

Meanwhile down the garden, Little Miss Green had been having a rummage and found two pieces of wood which would make the perfect bird table. When I caught up with her she was busily hammering it all together. That table is still standing and is used every day during the winter by very grateful birds.

Not to be left out, I felt compelled to join in too and although mine isn’t quite as creative, I am rather proud of my toilet roll seedling pots and the fact that when we attended a party last year for about 25 kids I wrapped every zero waste present in old newspaper and raffia.

A new compost heap

You know what? Seeing as Mr Green loves a creative challenge so much, I have something in store for him. Underneath Little Miss Green’s tree house (which, you’ve guessed it, is made entirely from the ‘one day’ stash – apart from the corrugated tin roof that was donated by a neighbour) is a bit of a scary area. A no man’s land. The equivalent of the kitchen junk drawer…

I’ve decided it would be the perfect place for a three part composting system – something I’ve always dreamt of having. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to dream of new shoes, a pink car or a new kitchen according to the adverts, but I want a three part composting system.

Let’s see if 2011 is the year Mr Green can go to his ‘one day’ stash and rise to my challenge …

What about you? what fab reuse ideas have you come up with in your home?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. CarSue says:

    We buy salt for our marine aquariums in 5 gallon buckets. I used 3 of the empties (and a power drill) to make a worm bin that tucks neatly into a small corner of the garage.

    I keep a group of flower pots and herbs on the patio outside my back door and wanted a quick, easy way to water them without lugging out the hose from the other side of the house. I planned to pick up a watering can (at a garage sale or thrift shop , wherever I found one first), but then the solution came when a friend brought a jug of tea over to my house. When we finished it, I checked the resin code on the bottle and found it was a #5, and I couldn’t recycle it here. So, I drilled about 15-20 small holes in the cap and a larger hole in the handle to allow air. It makes a perfect little watering can for the pots on my deck, is lightweight, it kept me from having to buy new, and (in my humble opinion) makes very good reuse of the old bottle!

  2. Condo Blues says:

    I love your creative reuse ideas, I don’t think dreaming of a three part compster is silly. Perhaps because I dream of a new electric composter to deal with overly soggy compost myself.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @CarSue: Love the idea of your worm bin and watering can – really creative 🙂
    @Condo Blues: yay! great minds think alike then 😉

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