I’m sure not many of my readers have instant access to billboards, but a recent article on GOOD highlighting a company that repurposes billboard signage into place mats as the inspiration to see how else they’re being reused.
Spring is in the air (literally – my allergies have never been worse!), so lots of people will be taking to their outdoor hobbies or getting into some spring cleaning. Tennis balls seem to be that one item that you can find by the dozens during a hearty garage cleaning. At my family’s house, we could never have enough tennis balls, seeing as we had a dog and a brother/dad who’d use them for batting drills. But you and yours might not be strange like my family, so let’s get cracking to some solutions for those neon green fuzzballs.
- Dogs + tennis balls = natural pair. See if your local shelter/rescue will accept tennis ball donations. It’ll keep the pups happily occupied until they find their forever home.
- A senior citizen or nursing home. Why, you ask? Haven’t you seen the folks rolling dirty with their tennis ball-adjusted walkers? It’s the best hack ever created for walkers – slice & put tennis balls on the bottom of the walker feet so it will slide better (for those who aren’t strong enough to lift).
Rolling dirty with a tennis ball walker
- Local schools. Because of the same hacking concept as the walkers, but with desks & chairs. The sound of chairs scraping the floor is only worse than nails on a chalkboard (cringing now).
- After-school programs, summer camp and sports programs. Chances are, the tennis pros-in-training have lots of tennis balls that go missing daily. Keep them stocked.
- There are a few national and international nonprofits that will take product donations, including Sports Gift.
- Massage, anyone? Put a tennis ball under your foot and roll it around to relieve foot pain. Or give yourself a back massage (this one’s a little more tricky).
- If you have trouble opening jars, cut a tennis ball in half and use to pry open those stubborn lids.
- Keep your laundry fluffy by using a few (clean) balls in the dryer, especially if it’s a down feather coat/comforter.
- Tie one to a string in the garage to help with pulling your ride in without taking out the wall.
- Keep your camera steady with this tennis ball tripod.
- Check out these other lists of uses for tennis balls (10 uses, 21 usesand 50 uses), that include a cell phone case, puppets, water guns and headphones.
What alternative or philanthropic uses have you found for tennis balls?
Raise your hand if you have one of the following in your possession: a vaseful of pretty flowers, some chocolate goodness in a heart-shaped box, something shiny and blingy or something remotely resembling the most overhyped holiday of sorts (sorry, personal bias).
Yes, lovers everywhere raided their local department stores Sunday night to make sure that somebody special in their life had a token of love on Monday. Some of the most common gifts tend to go forgotten in hours, so why not make the most of your recent inheritance?
Let’s start with roses (and they probably came in a vase). Here’s some ideas of how to reuse these beauties:
- Want to brighten somebody’s day? Give your pretty petals to your local hospital, hospice or senior home. If you happen to receive an abundance of flowers (or if you have a large-scale event, wedding, etc. in the future), organizations like Second Bloom, Flower Power and The Forget Me Not Foundation handle the donation to final destination work for you.
- No use for the vase afterward? Fill it up with artificial flowers and donate to one of the said causes mentioned above for permanent prettiness year-round.
- There are SO MANY great uses for roses (besides just looking pretty). Some of my favorites include making a rose petal potpourri, eating a special treat of candied rose petals, creating your own rose petal paper or throwing together a few homemade drink coasters with pressed flowers.
- Keep the romance alive. Scatter some rose petals anywhere and everywhere… in a running bath, on the table before dinner, along the bed, (insert other random locations that make sense to you here). It’s the gift that keeps on giving AFTER Valentine’s Day.
- Vases tend to be super handy and completely underused. Give a second life to your flower holders by giving them a new job. Depending on the size/shape of the vase, you can repurpose them as anything from a new candle holder or decorative piece (fill with marbles/that lovely rose potpourri) to a fish bowl or serving dishes.
- Know somebody hosting a big event soon? See if they’re open to collecting vases to use at their shindig instead of investing in a ton. Works great at bridal or baby showers, as the centerpieces are usually given away as prizes, so no attendee will go home with the same gift.
- Back to flowers.. the ones you’ve surely forgotten about by now. If your petals are on the verge of dying, there’s a chance you can still make a rustic type of arrangement.
Moving on to the more delicious option… a box of chocolates. Maybe you’re holding onto that New Year’s resolution still and are avoiding sugary treats. Good for you, and good for the ways other can benefit from it.
- I can’t believe I found organizations that take candy donations, but bingo! Two international organizations that openly take candy donations include Ronald McDonald House Charities (helping families with children undergoing medical treatments) and Operation Shoebox (care packs for the troops), according to this WSJ article. If you’re looking to give locally, some organizations who provide meals (soup kitchens, Meals On Wheels, etc.) may be open to taking sweet treats in. Make sure ALL donations are unopened/unwrapped.
- You know how there’s always those chocolate-coated flavors you can’t stand eating? Or maybe you’re not enough of a chocoholic to down two pounds of the goods. Solution: chop up and freeze the ones you don’t eat. You can pull those goodies out to add to hot chocolate, ice cream sundaes, coffee-based drinks or any baked goods. Be sure to separate and properly label the treats if you have lots of flavors on hand.
- Those boxes… so cute, right? Apparently lots of people agree because we found lots of popular reuses for the packaging. Use them as a jewerly holder, makeshift coin bank or random items (sewing materials, love letters, etc.) holder. Or make this lovely heart-shaped clock with your former candy-toting container.
Lastly, let’s visit the wonderful world of jewelry packaging. Those velvet boxes are so lovely but usually have no use after putting the bling on… here’s a few REUSE ideas:
- Spare key holder. A distinctive holder for those back-up keys. At least if you misplace your main set, you should be able to find the spares.
- Seed storage. Keep your most treasured plant seeds boxed up and safe before planting come spring.
- Wedding vows/special love letter holder. Adorable way to keep those special words on paper safe.
In a world where Kindles and iPads are trumping the way people flip through the daily paper (negate the fact the everyday man has been seeking out news online for years), newspapers tend to be their own form of endangered species in some households.
For those who still feel refreshed after skimming through a Sunday paper, get a little extra mileage out of those quick-to-be-recycled goodies.
- Most animal shelters and rescues could use the non-circular pages to line kennels of pets looking for homes.
- Call up the local elementary school or day care to see if they could use a stack of newspapers for any art projects. Nothing screams childhood more than gluey paper mache.
- If you’re going out of town, chances are you’re NOT going to be reading each section when you get home. Most major publications will allow you to donate the print editions to local schools while you’re out of town via their Newspapers in Education program.
- Don’t use the coupons in your Sunday paper? Help out a military family by donating the manufacturer’s coupons (valid or expired for up to six months).
- Keep kids busy with this hefty list of newspaper crafts … build everything from a purse to a bow.
- Is it cold outside? Start a fire by rolling the paper tight and light to use as a starter log.
- Wrapping paper is so 1990. One of the dozens of ways to wrap a gift without the waste is using the daily paper (bonus points if you use the right section to compliment the gift – i.e. food section for cookware, news & views for a current events best seller, etc.)
- Moving? Keep your belongings in place by packing with crumpled newspaper.
- If you decide singing in the rain and jumping in puddles is for you, you can put wads of newspaper in your wet shoes to dry & deodorize them in no time.
- For dozens of more great ideas, check out this fantastic reader-submitted list of newspaper reuse ideas by the Dayton Daily News.