Using and Re-using Packaging Peanuts

Every precious photo frame, figurine, vase, and glass has safely made it into your new home, but what do you do with those useful packaging peanuts now that they have lost their use?

First, if you have used a recyclable packaging peanut, take them to a local shipping store. Most stores will accept your left over peanuts and reuse them. But, what if you haven’t used a recyclable packaging peanut? Before you reach for the trash bags, consider that Styrofoam consumes up to 30% of space in our nations landfills while releasing toxic chemicals into the earth and producing harmful greenhouse gasses. Do you really want to add to that pollution? Well, don’t become down heartened. There are many, many different ways to use those packaging peanuts.

Do you have a dog or cat? Try stuffing some into an old pillow case to make a pet bed? This really works great because if Rover or Fifi should chew up their bed you can just pick up the mess and use the pieces to stuff another pillow case!

What if you have a green thumb? Place some left over peanuts in the bottom of your hanging baskets or potted plants. Packaging peanuts are great at providing drainage and in effect giving you a healthier plant. Or stuff a scare crow with some to keep your garden free from unwanted pests.

Maybe the great outdoors is your calling? String some up and attach to your keys or phone. The bright color will stick out against the ground and keep you from losing them if you drop them. Or maybe you are going to the beach? Having some attached to your keys will keep them from sinking.

To make a room smell really fresh, you can sprinkle some packaging peanuts with perfume and place in a potpourri jar to display on a dresser.

Or simply pass along. If you know someone else who is moving, just donate and let them become someone else’s problem.

One way to help protect your valuables and the environment is to look for a biodegradable packaging peanut, especially if you buy large quantities or if you buy packing peanuts in bulk. There are a few different kinds to choose from, but whatever you choose you can rest easy knowing that you have done something to go a little greener. Biodegradable cornstarch packaging peanuts dissolve in water and leave no toxic waste behind. They are also static free! Other biodegradable packaging peanuts are not made of cornstarch but are all natural just the same. They are just as durable as other packaging peanuts and will not shrink in humid conditions. Some biodegradable packaging peanuts also claim to be good for your lawn and plants. You just add to your compost pile or sprinkle directly on the lawn and spray with the hose or wait until the next rain. They dissolve right into the ground and do not leave any toxic chemicals behind. To go really green, you can even make your own biodegradable packaging peanut. Simple instructions can be found online.

How to use Conserve rain water with Rain Barrels

Since my blog is all about house and home, I thought I would include some information on rain barrel systems. I have recently installed them on my home and love them! In these times conservation of water is becoming more and more important, and thats why all of us should do our parts to help save water. One easy and inexpensive way to do this is to collect rain water using rain barrels. In the process you will find that this method will actually save you money when it comes to watering your yard and/or garden. This is especially a good idea if you live in a region where rain may be scarce or there are droughts. In even if you don’t live in an area where there are droughts using rain water to conserve water will help the environment as there are water shortages in various places. Studies show that the water table is lowering all over the planet, and many freshwater sources are beginning to dry up in the United States as well as other countries. While the amount of water on the planet doesn’t change most is salt water and before it is able to be used for human consumption and irrigation for farming it must first be desalinized, or in other words have the salt removed from it. You can do your part by trying to conserve as much water as possible for you and your family. This is where rain barrels come in.

Building a rain barrel system is easy and inexpensive, let’s go over the steps on how to do this. You’ll be able to find the supplies for this system at most hardware stores. Using a rain barrel system will be much easier if you have a drainage system already installed on your home , such as a gutter system. If you don’t already have a gutter system you may need to purchase one or you can make one using a large circumference PVC pipe with the running linkth of your rooftop. You can take the PVC pipe and you will need to split it in half so that you have too long C shaped pipes. You also need to buy a 90° elbow that will fit on the end of this C. shaped PVC. You can buy wire to support the system, or some other means to connect your new drain to your rooftop. You also need to buy pipe that will be inserted into the 90° elbow and run down the side of your house. Hopefully your house already has a drainage system, if so you can skip all these steps. Let’s go over what you will need to purchase in order to build your rain barrel system.

1. You will need a large barrel around 90 to 200 gallons. This barrel will need to come with a lid and cap. You can buy a PVC insert , but this insert will also need to expand to a larger circumference at the top, this is in order to collect more rainwater. It would be a good idea to also get a piece of metal mesh that you can use as a screen for the top of the rain cap to catch any pieces of debris such as dirt and leaves, this can be secured down with a hose clamp.

2. Drill a small hole into the cap of the barrel. You can buy a few metal plumbing pipes, one 1-2” male to male pipe, one 90° elbow, and male to male pipe that should be a least 10 inches long. These should be connected in that order using Teflon tape to make sure there are no leaks. The small metal pipe will then be inserted into the hole on the cap. The elbow and other pipe should should run out past the side of the barrel here you can attach a water hose spigot. Now you can flip the barrel over and cut another hole on this side where you will then put your PVC insert with screen filter. Place the barrel underneath your gutter drainage system. To make sure the barrels been placed properly, you can take your hose with water running and put it into your gutter, then make sure your rain barrel is in the proper location to collect all the water. You then attach a hose to your spigot. Making this system should be easy and inexpensive.

Not a Waste of Time

Working on what you own is never a waste of time. You’ve probably heard the expression, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in this case working on something that doesn’t need to be worked on can in fact be a waste of time. The amount of money you can save by working on something yourself is mind boggling when you stop and really think about it. Whether it be home improvement situations or a broken car. True not everyone has the skills that are required for a particular job, but you may be surprised what you can accomplish if you do a little reading, research and asking around.

Ask a Professional

If you are attempting to work on your home, car, boat or any other possession you own, there is someone out there who is a professional at it. Pick up the phone, get online or watch an instructional video. You tube is full of free videos that you can watch that show step by step how to’s on so many topics. If you still dont feel confident about the task you are trying to accomplish, do some research online. There are countless websites set up to offer tips and advice on how to accomplish just about any job. Still dont feel confident? Pick up the phone. Look through your local phone book and call a professional. True not all people will give you the time of day, but you will find that most people are willing to share a little advice over the phone if approached in a warm friendly manner. Do not ask 20 questions, have a particular question already prepared and stick to it. Don’t waste their time, and be brief.

When all else fails

So you have tried all the above suggestions, and still don’t feel as confident about a job as you would like. You now have a couple options, dive in head first and just give it your best shot. Chances are you can’t mess it up any more than it already is, so why not give it a shot? If you still dont think it is something you can do, or you tried and completely failed, you can always hire a professional to come in and fix your mess.

So my personal example of failing at trying to fix my home may make you feel a little better about attempting a task around your home. Last year we had several tropical storms come through and were on the edge of a hurricane. Some of our siding was damaged and needed to be repaired. I have installed fiber cement siding in the past and really its not all that hard. Repairing damaged siding however is quite a bit different. Siding overlaps the previous piece and so on and so forth up the side of the house. This overlapping really makes repairing the siding kinda difficult. I was really nervous about making it worse cause I wasn’t 100% sure what to do, but I researched several sites, and even talked to a couple different contractors. I had a contractor come out to the house and give me an estimate of $579.00 to replace the damaged siding. I thought to myself that If it took me all day or even all week to do this repair it would be worth saving the money.

So I dove in, head first not knowing what would be the final outcome. Well needless to say, I really didn’t get very far. I spent about 6 hours pulling off the damaged siding and trying to figure out how to reinstall the new siding. Well after so many hours of staring at the wall I gave in and called back the contractor who gave me the bid. So he comes out the next day to repair my home and actually gave me a 150 discount for the fact that I had pulled off all of the damaged siding. So it wasn’t a total loss and I look at it like I got paid 150 bucks to tear off the damaged siding.

I hope my experience motivates you to try to repair something you may own whenever it may need fixing. Working on your own property is never a waste of time and in fact is time well spent. There are many ways to ask for help or simply research the task at hand. Take your time and be confident that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You may fail like I did, but at least you tried!

Little Money, Great Value

Trying to do what I can to save money (like always) but really wanting to change up my kitchen, I had the daunting task of trying to remodel on a small budget. Right away I knew on a small budget I could not afford to replace my cabinets. Instead of replacing the cabinets, I thought I would paint them and replace the doors. There are several ways to save money, and reusing old materials is only one of the ways I like to save money. Often times I will hit up second hand reseller shops, use the internet or find materials(e.g. cork flooring) at whole sale prices to save even further. You will be surprised at the amount of money you can save when shopping around for whole sale priced flooring and other materials.

I pulled all of the old doors off and measured the openings, top to bottom and left to right. I then added a 1/2 inch to each measurement, this allows for the doors to overhang 1/4 inch in all directions. I found the door style I wanted and ordered the 26 new doors and drawer faces my cabinets needed. At about 30 dollars each this cabinet make over will cost less than a thousand dollars.

While the doors were off and the cabinets not yet painted, I pulled of the old formica countertops and measured for new formica to be installed. I ended up buying the premade blocks of formica that you can get from home depot. They are cheap and usually only take one or two cuts to install.

Three weeks after my order, the new doors and drawer faces came in. I had them painted to match the cabinets, and installed them along with new hardware.(knobs and pulls) Over all this project took me about 5 weeks of nights and weekends. Kitchen remodels bring a big return whenever your ready to resale your home.

Remedy for an Aching Back

If you are anything like me, chances are you dont get much of a good night sleep after you past 35 or so. Well I have an uncle who owns a mattress store. All my life I can remember him telling me, is that the best things to spend your money on, is on your shoes and your bed.

If you dont know why, its because you spend all day in your shoes, and you spend a third of your life in your bed. So having a good mattress would obviously help with a good nights sleep. In turn a good night sleep solves all kinds of problems. When I wake up in a bad mood, the whole world around me suffers.

So anyways, growing up I was always given hand me down beds and it has never bothered me. Even when I got married I slept on a bed that was given to us and did so for the first few years of marriage. A few years into our marriage we decided we needed a bigger bed, this didnt mean a more expensive bed, just bigger! We both were at the point that we need a little more room.

So we spent a few hundred dollars and moved up to a queen size bed from a full. Wow, what a difference in room! It was nice for the first few months, but we quickly noticed that the bed was sagging and pits or low spots were developing where we slept. We attempted to rotate the bed often but it didnt seem to help.

At this point I broke down and decided I would be willing to spend a bit of money If I could really find a bed I liked. For the first time I was going to shop in my uncles mattress store. He showed me around to his top 5 beds and I was in love. I tried some latex beds and some pocketed coil beds as well. After about 3 days of consideration, we settled on a visco elastic foam mattress a little out of our price range. I didnt care, it was so comfortable that I had to have it. Well Im glad we got it, I sleep better than I have ever slept my entire life and I wake up with more energy than ever before.

My back, especially my lower back, feels really good and I seem to fall asleep much quicker than before. Visco mattresses take a little time to warm up to your body heat, but when they do its fantastic. You feel yourself sink a little, almost like mud. I heard our sales rep refer to visco as a feeling almost muddy. Well anyways thats my bed story and If you are looking for a bed to soothe an aching back, I highly suggest a visco bed.

Marcy’s all about house and home

I am all about house and home…Just call me the next Martha! Anything and everything I can do on my own or totally invent, Ill do it. I love a challenge and I really like to turn nothings, into something spectacular. From small crafts to yard work and landscaping, I do it all. Well I dont think I would reshingle the roof, but I would for sure help if I needed to!

So my goal is to hopefully keep track with the little things I get done around the house on my own, and write little articles here and there describing either what I did or maybe just an idea I have of what I would like to do in the near future.

As a house wife I spend much of my time at home and I really prefer to not turn on the tv unless I am completely bored to death and there is nothing else I can do to entertain myself. However, if it is raning outside, make no mistake that I will pull down the blinds and shades, turn off the lights, roll up in a blanket and spend the entire day on the couch watching movies from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Something about the rain that makes me feel like a kid again. Oh ya and forgot to mention Ill go through a few cups of hot chocolate as well!!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you make it by often. I may not post too often, but dont forget about me.