11 Ways To Do More With What You Have

Posted: 07.24.2012

In this world of increasing consumerism, affluenza and credit card debt, it is little wonder that some of us are becoming more aware of alternative ways to source what we need. In my opinion, there seems to be an increasing number of people and organisations heading towards buying handmade, creating simpler lives, purchasing second-hand and becoming involved in collaborative consumption and events such as the Buy Nothing New month.

This tendency doesn’t mean never buying something new again, just exploring different ways to meet your wants and needs.

In line with this month’s topic of Saving, is looking at ways of doing more with what you currently have. We’ve put together 11 fun tips to help you look differently at what you already have and save money at the same time!

1. Use the cans up in the back of the pantry cupboard
You probably have a pantry and freezer full of food you’ve forgotten about. How about spending a few minutes going through what you have there and creating your meals using those ingredients? This action is guaranteed to cut down on your shopping bill for a few weeks!

2. Knit a scarf for winter using crafting scraps
Not everyone may be in the same situation, but I know I have a box full of unused yarn. Knitting a scarf or some other beautiful creation from these bits gives you a great creative outlet and the end result is something useful.

If you don’t know how to knit and would like to, there are some simple tutorials on YouTube or google “free knitting class + your local town” to find a fun and social knitting session you can attend. Here’s one I found in Sydney.

Then voila, you have a new scarf you made instead of having to buy one (I recommend using big knitting needles as you’ll have a scarf in a much shorter period of time and it is cold now!).

3. Rent out your stuff
Do you have a bunch of things lying around the house that you are not using very often but don’t want to get rid of? How about listing it on Australian collaborative consumption site Open Shed? There, you can list your item, rent it to someone locally, make some money and get the item back and do it all again. Cool idea, huh?! Now, where did I put that drill I’ve not used for a year? And those golf clubs? And that Hungarian language course? And…

4. Repurpose your furniture
You may have some furniture bits that don’t suit your colour scheme or style anymore. With a little tender loving care you can make it beautiful again or find a new use for it.  Here and here are some ideas to spark your inspiration.

5. Upcycle your wardrobe
Another gold mine if you google it. DIYs and step-by-step tutorial galore! If clothes don’t fit anymore or just aren’t acceptable to wear in public do something cool with them and wear them again! From turning long skirts into short ones, bloomers into a shrug or scruffed up heels into glitter glam,  give your closet a cheap or free makeover. This really makes me want to learn to sew!

6. Hold a swap with friends
If there are things you don’t want to repurpose, upcycle or rent, consider holding a swap with friends at your home. You could keep it as a clothes swap or you could have a range of things people could bring. From kitchenware, knick-knacks and makeup, to games, stationery and books you could walk away with a whole new array of things you love. Plus you have the opportunity for a fun girlie day and the feel good factor of donating the left overs to a charity of your choice.

7. Set up a market stall
If you just want to try selling things that you don’t use anymore set up a stall at a local market or go online to places like ebay.

8. Natural cleaning products
You have vinegar and baking soda somewhere right (check under the sink!!)? Instead of buying more of those expensive cleaning products how about trying these tips for vinegar and baking soda around the house?

9. Greeting cards
Birthday cards, thank you cards and Christmas cards; we receive a lot throughout the year and while some are definitely worth keeping for memory’s sake, others we may throw away (in the paper recycling bin) to save space. What if we kept those to use again? It saves paper and money!

Use a pair of scissors and cut off the side that has the writing on it. You now have a beautiful one page card you could use again by penning your heartfelt message on the back.

10. Read the books you have
I am guilty of owning a lot of books I’ve yet to read while buying more all the time. Put yourself on a 2 month book buying ‘ban’ and start reading what you already have. There is probably a lot of fun, escapism and wisdom waiting for you on that shelf!

11. Scrap paper notebooks
If you’re anything like me, you have a stack of scrap paper lying around from mis-prints, printed manuals and drafts of projects. How about gathering a pile of them up and stapling them together to create a notebook for to-do lists, musings and planning projects?

Do you have any other suggestions? Have you done any of the above? Share with us below!

Photo Credit: Open Shed

Arienne is the content manager for 10thousandgirl and head she at Savvy Sassy She where she muses about life and wants to help everyone wake up to the lives they love and start living it now. A stationary fiend, she is struggling to do #11 above, but still thinks it is a really good idea so she’s off to tackle that stack of paper now, well, perhaps after she goes and finds some glitter for her shoe project.

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