Long before local councils provided recycling facilities, we used a different form of recycling in our homes – it was more a case of re-using.
I grew up in a family where my nan kept buttons and the cards from tea packets in old toffee tins, my dad stored nuts and bolts in old coffee jars and my mum kept ‘odds and ends’ in an old biscuit tin. Things were re-used in all sorts of other ways too, rather than discard perfectly good items.
Today, many a jar, tin and box can be found in my house, put to some good use or other. I too have a button tin, but mine is in the shape of a house and once contained stationery. I fill it with the spare buttons that come with items of clothing and also buttons from garments that are past their wear – you never know when they may come in handy.
My sewing items are stored in a rather snazzy Marks and Spencer biscuit tin, circa 1984, which is just the right size and shape for all my needles, pins and reels of cotton. Then there’s the box full of things my children made at school, the jar of small change, the old sweet tin that gets refilled with treats (didn’t like the latest plastic version of Christmas chocolate containers though), the ‘odds and ends’ pot, the old tins containing pencils, pens etc – need I go on?
Just like my dad, my husband keeps assorted nails, screws and ‘things-we-might-need’ in numerous jars. Amongst the gifts I bought him at Christmas was a retro radio shaped tin containing toffees, in which he now intends to keep stationery items.
I love some of the clever designs of tins that exist and I much prefer to use them for storage than some of the (frankly quite expensive) trendy, purpose-made options in the shops. Why buy empty tins to put things in, when you can buy full tins, use or consume the contents then re-use for storage? It’s cheaper, kinder to the environment and much more fun.
So take my advice, it can be good to keep the old.
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