10 things I do that I suspect might make me a bit weird…

Since starting My Make Do and Mend Year, and our quest for a more sustainable lifestyle, I have picked up some new habits. Things I now do without even thinking. Things that I now regard as ‘normal’ and forget that other people might see them as slightly weird…
Below is my list of the first 10 things I could think of that fall into this category:

1) Re-using tea bags. I have a dish next to the kettle, and after making tea, I put the tea bag in the dish. Once there are two tea bags, I use them both for the new cup of tea-it’s not quite an nice as a fresh cup, but if I use teapot it’s actually pretty ok!


2) Freezing bread crusts and half-eaten rolls.
The Smalls have that annoying Small child thing where they seem to find it impossible to eat crusts. There is a veritable crust mountain in our house. Every day.
So I now freeze them all in a bag, along with half eaten sandwiches and toast, and when there is enough, I make a savoury version of Bread Pudding .

3) I re-use plastic sandwich bags again and again and again.

In fact, until they get holes in them.
And then I recycle them with the rest of the plastic bags

4) I make my own deodorant
This is cheap, and means to plastic packaging to feel guilty about.
AND it works!

5) I have started using my homemade deodorant as a face scrub.
I have quite oily skin and am prone to spots. We used to buy exfoliating face scrubs, but they were a) expensive b) in un recyclable packaging and c) I have seen recent reports that all the little exfoliation scrub beads are actually damaging the marine environment.
So for a while I have been making ‘Face Balls’, but I was doing some research into natural products that were good for the skin, and kept seeing coconut oil, bicarb and tea tree oil being mentioned. And these are all in my deodorant! So I am experimenting with rubbing some on my face before I get in the shower and then gently rubbing it off with a loofah.
I did warn you that I might be a bit weird…

6) I have patched my socks.

Sock selfie!

Sock selfie!

Hubby’s thicker sports type socks have been darned, but mine are thinner and I didn’t know if they would withstand darning, so I sacrificed one pair, to make patches for several others. It has worked surprising well!

7) I get twitchy if I go round to other people’s houses and they have their lights on in the day.
Is it really rude to ‘accidentally’ knock against the light switch and turn them off..?

8) I have small children, and we don’t use baby wipes.
We went cold turkey last year, and haven’t looked back. Good old flannels do the job just as well!

9) If I get a gift or some flowers with ribbon on, I spirit it away to my ribbon box to use again. And I re-use wrapping paper, and also make cards from smaller bits.

10) I have darned my jeans. And it has worked really quite well!


They are now almost reaching the point where the darned bit is getting bigger than the not darned bit, but I can’t face the thought of trawling round the charity shops looking for a ‘new’ pair, so I am persevering for now

Do you have things that you do to save resources.money/waste, that you consider ‘normal’ but that cause other people to raise their eyebrows..?!
Do feel free to share below-we’re all friends here…!!

69 thoughts on “10 things I do that I suspect might make me a bit weird…

  1. This is a really great post! You are not alone. We also do many things that seem odd to others. We keep a bucket in the shower and run the cold water at the start into it until the hot comes through then we use that to flush the loo! I need to sort my socks out so that’s a great idea. We sit in the evening with one lamp on as well!

  2. I re-use greetings cards too: cut off the fronts to make postcard-style notelets for Thank you notes, and smaller ones for gift tags( punch a hole in the top & thread a loop of Christmas ribbon through). Always saved ribbons, including the annoying thin loops sewn into the shoulders of many sweaters and T shirts. They make wonderful gift tag ties. Re -use large envelopes, padded bags, wrapping paper etc. I also re-use the plastic bags that are now used for post bags. Turn them inside out and stick an address label on the front. I use sturdy plastic wrapping instead of brown paper for parcels. Patch my little granddaughter’s trousers with funky hand made flower patches using Bondaweb and scraps of fabric. Tip the old hand soap/washing up liquid/shampoo/tomato ketchup bottles upside down on top of the new one to get every last drop out before recycling the plastic bottle. Keep jam jars for my own chutneys etc & also for various neighbours who have allotments & make lots of jams. Use margarine tubs as freezer & fridge containers. Use left over veggies cold next day as a salad accompaniment to lunchtime sandwiches or stirred into homemade soup or curry. Leftover veggie pasta sauce and pasta tossed together make an excellent cold salad lunch next day. I often cook an extra portion of salmon etc which makes the basis of a salad next day with rice, pasta or salad veggies. When clothes are too ragged for the Charity shop I cut off the buttons to keep and tear the clothes into suitable sizes for cleaning cloths. Buttons can be reused, especially as a set for hand knitted baby cardigans. List is endless really!

  3. Hehe. This made me laugh. I’ve always reused wrapping and ribbon (a habit inherited from my mum) and I won’t use anything disposable, so no wet wipes for me.

    I use towels, tea towels, underwear and scruff clothes until they collapse. This means I go to fitness classes wearing a T-shirt over my gear that’s more hole than shirt.

    I won’t recycle paper until it’s fully used. I have scrap divided into four stacks (depending how much white space is left).

    I could go on…

  4. I use loose leaf tea and a Chatsford teapot that has a fine mesh filter in it. After reading about how much paper is used to make tea bags and the bleach used on the paper to make it white…I decided simpler was better. After the first pot, I leave the old leaves in the filter and only add a small amount of fresh, at least once. Sometimes twice. Once used up, the leaves go on the compost pile.

    I have just switched to Clipper Organic Everyday Tea but also really like the Co-op 99 fairtrade loose leaf tea. It can seem a bit of a faff the first couple of times you make it, but it quickly becomes ‘normal’ The leaf tea certainly tastes better than any tea I’ve had made with a tea bag.

    • This is really interesting Lynn, thankyou! I actually got given a strainer for Christmas, and do have some loose tea, so I will start to make more use of it. Crikey, you’ve really made me think about tea-bags. I may well convert…

  5. Bizarrely I’m doing many of these things too ! I hadn’t realised it until now. Your blog has mind control 🙂

    • I was really worried about the whole no baby wipes thing, but as with most things, the thought of it is worse than the reality!

  6. We’ve stopped using paper hankies and only use pretty cloth ones, milkman we buy from the milkman not the supermarket. Dishcloths are reusable and washed and reused over and over until the disintegrate. No paper towels. We also refuse any plastic bag whilst shopping including for veg and I think the shop assistants think I must be a real old hippy 🙂 the list goes on…

  7. So many great ideas. One of the things we do, which was my husbands idea, is to run a little water into the mustard and ketchup bottles when they are almost empty and you can’t get that last bit out. Cap them and shake them then use that liquid in spaghetti sauce or chili or taco meat. And then recycle the bottles.
    And my husband has a favorite pair of camo cargo shorts that I have been patching for quite a while. After the first patch I put on them, which was from an old pair of black jeans, he said he liked the look. So I kept using that same color patching and now it seems they are more patch than original material but he still loves them.

  8. If you are weird then so am I. I drink peppermint tea but have it very weak so a teabag lasts me for three mugs. I also cut open tubes of stuff like handcream, facecream to make sure I get every last drop. My last tube of foundation once I no longer could get anymore squeezed out, I cut it open with a stanley knife and scraped out the contents into one of those tiny jam jars – 2 months on I am still using from the jar – that was how much that was inaccessible in the tube!! When Mr P throws his empty shower gel out, I drain the leftovers into another bottle – it doesn’t take long to get him a ‘new’ full bottle of shower gel – I do the same with shampoo and conditioner too. I wear rubber gloves for most housework – if I get a hole in one they get relegated to be gardening gloves. I keep the spare glove and then when I get another spare glove they become a new pair and if I end up with two rights or lefts, then one gets turned inside out!! Old cards become gift tags or get remade into new cards. Junk mail if blank on one side becomes scrap paper, I save padded envelopes and reuse those. About the only thing I don’t do is darn/patch socks as I have a lot of pain issues with my feet and even the slightest bump in a seam of a sock leaves me in agony and unable to walk. But I have little feet so only buy children’s socks from M&S, the quality is so good that the average pair lasts me for about 8 years.

    This is a fab post and I have enjoyed reading other people’s comments to see what they do x

      • Tip I saw on a UK tv programme: After you cut the end off the tube (hand cream, moisturiser etc) use the ‘cut off ‘ bit as a lid for the tube. Keeps the contents moist while you are using up the amazing amount left in the tube. Works well & it is surprising how much there is left in a seemingly empty tube!

    • If I’m making the tea, and Mr H isn’t watching, I re-use tea bags. I’ve also started to use more loose-leaf tea from Trumpers Tea, which comes in paper refill packs. And I’ve always tipped bottles upside down to drain them and cut tubes of toothpaste, moisturisers etc.
      I also go around turning lights left on, although in my own home and Mr H (who has dreadful vision and needs as much light as possible) turns them back on again. (He also wears his ‘favourite’ short-sleeved shirts at home in winter, then turns the thermostat up- grrrr!)
      This summer, I used to keep pans and milk cartons by the sink, to run water into whilst waiting for hot, then used it for watering hanging baskets and flower tubs at the front of my house. Oh, and I gave growing celery from the base of a used one a go (learning lessons for this Summer). I also baked eggshells to mix with coffee grounds use as slug-deterrant on my veggie-bed.
      As a girl, I had the same few pairs of socks throughout high school, darning them every summer. Granny taught me to cut buttons off any scrap clothes (which were largely used as oil-rags on the farm) but I draw the line at using old ‘bloomers’ or yfronts as dusters! My husband insists on using kitchen paper for cleaning but when he is not around I use microfibre cloths and old rags.
      I have recently begun using a flannel with (Christmas gift) cleanser instead of cotton wool or wipes- inspired by the lovely Make do and Mend community. A £6 bar of shampoo ‘soap’ from Lush has lasted me twelve months but I haven’t tried making deo/anti perspirant yet.
      I revive stale crusty bread by moistening with water, wrapping in foil and sticking it in the oven for a while. It comes out nice and soft again.
      I can’t believe how long my reply has been. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no ‘Eco-angel’. But this blog has influenced me to do my bit, and to take a few more steps each year.

      • Awww, so lovely to hear that you have been influenced by my ramblings Rae! Sounds like you are doing a fabulous job 🙂

  9. I have a pile of small wool blankets on the sofa – lovely and snugly in the Winter, no need for a fire. I plan to add small hot water bottles covered in hand-knitted jackets for added snug-ness!

  10. Lots of the above but great to get some new ideas.
    Any paper napkins either in a cafe or at friends’ houses go into the pocket and get torn into strips for loo paper.
    My mum cuts tea bags into four and sews them up – she has time so why not?!
    Old sheets become pillowcases. Any worn cotton clothes beyond repair become hankies (although I do admit to having a pile of yet to be hankies)
    i read somewhere about putting ends of soap into a sponge envelope to get most from them but have yet to try it.

    • Oh my goodness, the tea bags thing is hardcore!
      I was debating whether to try and repair our sheets that are going thin in the middle, but maybe pillowcases is a better idea!
      Some fab ideas-thankyou 🙂

  11. My mother used to extend the life of sheets by doing “sides to middle”. You cut the worn sheet down the middle lengthways, then turn the two pieces so that the worn middle becomes the sides and then machine the two side pieces together using a French seam so that the middle is now made from the less used ‘sides’. Obviously you would have to trim away the stitching down the sides of the original sheet before starting this operation. We had lots of sheets repaired like this and I don’t remember them feeling uncomfortable. Worth a try before you make pillowcases?

      • Growing up, I also had sheets that were turned sides to middle but then when that was starting to go a little thin, they were turned “top to bottom” which is the same only with a seam across the middle which was more noticeable to lie on. Then when that was starting to show signs of wear, the best bits of the sheets were transformed into pillowslips (just a case without the tuck in flap). The rest of the sheets got used as rags unless they were particularly fine weave when they became hankies. I’ve turned my children’s sheets sides to middle and made pillowslips.

        I’ve mended socks too. Have you read the Tightwad Gazette? She mended lots of things too.

        One Christmas, my son made me a little box in Woodwork Club at school which he filled with scrap A4 cut into four. This lives beside the phone ready for me to scribble down messages or whatever. This present cost him nothing since he made it from scrap wood at school and with his teacher’s help. It pleased me enormously and he knew I would love it because it was made from recycling and was to be used for recycling paper. It is still constantly in use over ten years later : )

      • Will check out the Tightwad Gazette-thankyou.
        Your son’s gift sounds fabulous-almost made me cry-so sweet!

    • Do you think this will work with fitted sheets Linda? Or could I just chop off the fitted bits, and make them into ‘normal’ side to middle sheets..?!

      • Don’t think it would work with fitted sheets. Didn’t have those when I was little! There wouldn’t be enough fabric left to make a big enough sheet. Better to make pillow cases and hankies.

      • If you have 2 worn fitted sheets, could you use the elastic ends of one sheet and attach to the best bits from both sheets and end up with one useable sheet? So long as the seams don’t end up where the intended user’s hips will lie… And then pillowcases from the rest? Two tone pillowcases to match a two tone sheet?

  12. When we go out to eat and the restaurant has those thick paper napkins that almost feel like cloth, I keep them, bring them home and wash them in a delicates bag. They hold up in the wash and can be kept for some other use later. It pains me to imagine all of this material and energy getting tossed.

  13. 1. I too re-use tea bags. We both have de-caff, I like it black, DP has it even weaker. So one bag makes two big mugs, left in the dish for later if only making one now.
    2. We use the ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’ approach. I am too embarrassed to use it when there are other people in the house, but hate all the extra flushing!
    3. I use an entire broccoli or cauliflower head, stems, stalk and all
    4. Something tastes nicer somehow if it was cheap, and I can’t understand people who aren’t interested in how much something costs
    5. I grow fruit and veg and work out how much it would have been to buy in the shops
    6. I have tried squashing loo rolls so less is used, but DP ‘helpfully’ un squashes them
    7. Like you and your lights on in a friends house, I get twitchy when they use kitchen roll to mop up spills – use a CLOTH!
    8. I don’t like having to buy birthday cards because I haven’t got round to making one from stuff already in the house, old cards usually
    9. I scrape leftover gravy, vegetables and meat scraps after a dinner into a saucepan to use in the soup, or it was a casserole, straight back into the pot. Chicken bones from plates go into the soup pot as well. I don’t let DP see me do this!
    10. I swill out ketchup bottles etc and use in the soup/casserole. Use a silicone spatula for the last of the jam. Keep things way past their best before date – if it looks ok and smells ok, I’ll use it

  14. re no 4 and 5. You can buy packaging free deo in Lush – try T’eo or Aromaco 🙂 there are also 2 powder ones in recycleable packaging. Also the same for scrubs – not all contain micro plastics. Lush don’t use micro plastics and brands such as St Ives don’t use micro plastics either (the st ive packaging is however hard to recycle). Making your own sugar or salt scrub for exfoliating is great too 🙂

  15. I love this post and all the replies! There’s definitely some things that I do that are considered “odd” by others:
    1. Cycling to school so save petrol, people say they feel sorry for my children even though they love it and it’s less stressful than driving….
    2. Reuse padded envelopes and any bubble / packaging that’s inside parcels.
    3. Make stock / soup from chicken bones, left over veggies or any other roasted meats. (1 small gammon has been able to make 8 dinners and 8-10 portions of soup).
    4. Lights / electric appliances off as not needed. This includes in the office kitchen / loos and at the gym. A friend made a comment as I turned off an electric fan as I left a room after a Spinning class recently!
    5. Buy in bulk to save packaging. I have been laughed at for my 25 litre drum of dish cleaning liquid that lives in my shed…

    Can’t think off the top of my head of the rest but there’s definitely lots more!!

    PS – My double u key has broken on my keyboard so I’ve had to think of alternatives so I don’t have to use it! That’s the reason number 5 is typed as it is….!

  16. I think these are some wise and frugal habits. I also reuse tea bags and so does my whole family. Turning lights off is a big deal in our house. I buy basic foods in bulk to save money and limit the number of times I have to travel to the grocery store.

  17. Pingback: Top 10 Posts of 2014 | My Make Do and Mend Year

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