50 Creative Reuse Ideas For Your Home And Garden

Creative reuse“Creative Reuse” is the transformation of everyday items that would otherwise be thrown out into something useful. It’s where being “green” and the arts can converge. 

In every home, there are literally hundreds of items that be reused and repurposed, including such disparate items as chipped coffee mugs, step ladders, and bubble wrap. After transformation, for example, these three items can become a simple storage container, a plant stand, and greenhouse insulation, respectively.

Real Simple made a list of “50 All-Time Favorite New Uses For Old Things“. It’s a list of Creative Reuse projects from which you’re bound to find inspiration.

For example, the magazine suggests using an old Twister Mat as a children’s party tablecloth; or an old eyeglasses case to hold nail care essentials such as clippers, files and scissors.

Some of Real Simple’s other top ideas included :

  • Distinguish your glass from other party-goers’ glasses at a party with peel-on/peel-off window decals
  • Protect counter tops from hot dishes with and old mousepad-turned-trivet
  • Eliminate travel bulk. Carry non-prescription medicines in an old contact lens case.
  • Use Play-Doh as a candle or sparkler holder
  • Pour pancake batter into an old ketchup bottle for no-mess cooking

With Creative Reuse, you’re limited only by your imagination and, even then, Google can be a terrific project resource.

Check the Real Simple list for 50 great ideas.

How To Install A Dimmer Switch

A Winter Park home’s lighting accounts for 15 percent of its total energy consumption, a fact that’s both costly to homeowners, and “un-green” to the environment. It’s simple to reduce those effects, however — all you need are dimmer switches.

A modern dimmer switch works by rapidly opening and closing a light circuit, providing less energy to the bulb, and consuming less energy from the source.   

In this 2-minute video, you’ll learn how to reduce your home’s standard on/off lighting switches using dimmer switches. The dimmer-switch project is a do-it-yourself project and requires only basic handyman experience. 

First, determine whether you need a 3-way dimmer switch, or a single-pole dimmer switch. If your fixture is controlled my two light switches, you’ll want a 3-way dimmer switch. Otherwise, the single-pole choice is best.

Next, just follow the directions :

  1. Cut the power to the light switch via your home’s circuit breaker
  2. Remove the existing light switch plate and pull the switch from the wall
  3. Disconnect the in-wall wires from the existing light switch plate
  4. Connect the in-wall wires to their same-color wires on the dimmer switch plate
  5. Push the wires into the wall and reconnect the power via the circuit breaker

The amount of energy that dimmer switches will save your home depends on light-types and to what degree you use the switch’s dimmer capabilities. One caveat, though — not all energy-saving light bulbs are dimmer switch-capatable.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, for example, don’t work with dimmer switches unless the bulb is specifically designed to be “dimmable”.

The rooms with highest wattage rates are typically the master bathroom and the kitchen. 

Lower Your Fall/Winter Energy Bill With Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans for all 4 seasonsNovember is here with many parts of the country are already feeling the chill. This weekend, a nor’easter dropped up to 20 inches of snow in cities along the eastern seaboard  — a reminder that winter is coming.

No matter where you live, though, the seasonal change in temperature throughout Orlando serves as an excellent reminder to reset the blades on your home’s ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans don’t warm or cool air, specifically. Instead, they circulate air which can have the effect of making a room feel warmer in the winter months, and cooler in the summer months.

When it’s cold outside, ceiling fans push warm air down from the ceiling, balancing the heat within a room. This can make a room feel 4-6 degrees warmer. Then, during warmer months, ceiling fans push a room’s cold air back into circulation, which creates a windchill effect, of sorts.

This, too, can change a room’s temperate 4-6 degrees.

The secret to a ceiling fan is in the rotation direction of its blades. 

  • When fan blades rotate clockwise, the fan makes a room feel warmed
  • When fan blades rotate counter-clockwise, the fan make a room feel cooler.

This Weather Channel video explains how it works.

If your home is without ceiling fans, consider installing one (or more). Ceiling fans are economical and “green”, using the equivalent energy of a 100-watt light bulb, while lowering your home’s energy costs.

Plus, they’re relatively simple to install. 

Tutorial videos are available online for the do-it-yourselfers, or just call a qualified electrician for assistance.

Installing a ceiling fan is a 1-hour project.

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