Re-Purposing the Stuff in Your Pantry

As you probably read in my recent post on The Art of Re-purposing, I have a wee bit of a thing for the concept. . .but it doesn’t stop with re-purposing STUFF! I’m hugely fond of re-purposing foods and sundries, too!  Especially when I get them for free or nearly so!

Sounds a little weird, but hang in there. . .it’s not as odd as it seems. You just need a little creativity and a little vision, and you might be surprised at what you can come up with.

Pantry surplusFor me, it started a couple of years ago when I got a bunch of free bags of stuffing. I had more than I needed for their intended purpose, and I forgot to include my excess in a large donation I had just made to my church food closet. The bags were pretty big and I didn’t really have room to store them, but I wasn’t going back down the mountain for quite awhile. Throwing them out wasn’t an option, either. Nope! Not. In. My. House.

But, seriously, how many bags of stuffing can one family reasonably eat?

So I thought. . .stuffing is just little cubes/pieces of bread. A couple of the bags were pre-seasoned, but most were just plain. I joked to myself that I wished I could just crush them down to save space. . .and the light bulb went on! I crushed each and every one of the huge bags using a rolling pin.  I then stored the resulting bread crumbs in ziplock bags (one seasoned, one plain), and popped the compact little packets in the freezer for even longer shelf life. I had perfect bread crumbs for ages. . .which I used in Eggplant Parmesan, Oven “Fried” Chicken, Real Macaroni and Cheese (to DIE for!), and a host of other recipes. I was set for ages.

And that set things in motion. . .I started to look at what I had in my stockpile that was excess to my brood’s current needs to see if there wasn’t at least one or two alternative uses hidden in there somewhere. I was pretty impressed with my findings!

Pantry surplusI’ve always known that if you use hairspray on a recent ballpoint pen ink mark, it removes it! (check your fabrics first, but I haven’t yet had a problem) But did you know that toothpaste (which can almost always be found for free) is great for crayon marks on walls? Or that mayonnaise/Miracle Whip is a GREAT hair conditioner? (use it like an oil treatment. . .warm it gently, apply to hair, leave on for a bit, then shampoo and condition as usual!)

Using broken bits of spaghetti in home made rice pilaf is also nothing new to me, but cleaning shower heads and tea kettles with vinegar (submerge and soak for at least an hour) was something I didn’t know until moving to an area with hard water. Making a gorgeous Lemon Sugar Scrub was new, too, which was a great find. I often have often more lemons than I can figure out what to do with, and usually pass by loads of deals on sugar because we don’t use that much.

Did you know that Epsom Salt can be used to rot a tree stump? Drill holes into the stump you want to get rid of, pour in the Epsom Salt, add a little water, and let nature do the rest! And kitty litter is GREAT for icy sidewalks, steps, and to help your tires grip if they start slipping in your driveway.

Get the idea?  Re-purposing your pantry is, perhaps my newest addiction. . .I wonder what other uses I can discover!


Update: Had a very ‘re-purposing my pantry’ day today . . . used some inexpensive hair conditioner to make a huge bottle of home made fabric softener (works great and SO inexpensive!!), learned that olive oil is GREAT for shaving (in place of shaving cream) and used vinegar on some weeds (spray on full strength, but aim well as it will kill grass, too. Best used for cracks in concrete or paths, etc.). I am SO getting into this!

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