Pack~Ratting With a Purpose…

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When I first dreamed up the title for this blog, I was going to call it “Channeling the Inner Pack Rat”…but I think that most of us have no trouble channeling our inner pack rat…in fact, if you are anything like me, you spend most of your time and energy suppressing that old rat! Ha! I come from a long line of pack rats…it’s written into my DNA. We are experts when it comes to looking at random items and coming up with infinite possibilities for its usefulness. It’s a talent, really. Not everyone can tap into that level of creativity….

Now, I’m not saying that we should all start hoarding like crazy, but I have one word for you to consider: PINTEREST. Ah, yes, Pinterest has justified many an other wise useless collection of odds and ends. For crying out loud, there are hundreds of pins displaying toilet-paper-roll artwork…and it totally looks legit! Ok, so in all seriousness, I believe that there is definitely something to feng shui and a lot of pointless clutter in your home will certainly clutter your mind and cloud your judgement. At the core of every pack rat is a real issue of poverty mentality. My sister, Starla wrote a really good blog about poverty mentality that is definitely worth reading. You can check that out here:

https://lifefullandfrugal.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/what-is-poverty-really/

So here’s my confessional: I have narrowed down the weird things that are difficult for me to let go of…boxes. Shoe boxes…any kind of boxes. I know, totally weird, right? But man, I fight it when it comes to boxes. Think of the endless craft projects that start with a humble little box! Another serious weakness I have  is…glass. Anyone who has any kind of packrat sensibilities should never, ever have to pay for glass–well, at least not outright. Here is where we will find the focus of this blog…in the wonderful world of free and/or recycled glass. I found my inspiration for endless crafting projects with glass here at marthastewart.com (http://www.marthastewart.com/268444/bottle-beauty) I absolutely fell in love with the beautiful colors and shapes of these re-purposed bottles.0506_msl_bottle_l

So, for the last several months I have been collecting jelly jars. Why throw them out when I can recycle them and make something beautiful and useful out of them? Here is the key to being a successful pack rat with a purpose…not a crazy cluttered candidate for the tv show”Hoarders”:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris

If you start collecting ANYTHING, make SURE you have a specific purpose in mind for it or it will just become clutter…which will just end up being a burden rather than a blessing. So, obviously, I had to pay for the jelly, so I bought jelly that happened to be in lovely shaped jars…and it was free of high fructose-corn syrup, imported from Europe and sold at a discount price at Big Lots. =)  And now, instead of adding them to a landfill, they will be little sculptural pops of beauty and color!

So, what now? Well, I love the art of setting a table. In truth, I rarely get the chance to do it, though I love it so much. It seems a little overly-done and fussy for my household of guys. However, on special occasions, I love to make the table a feature of beauty and celebration. Now I will have my recycled jelly jars to place tea lights in, or to use as bud vases. I have some of them displayed in my china cabinet. Use your imagination! Parties! Baby showers! Wedding receptions! You name it. Recycled glass objects really do have a world of opportunities for usefulness.

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Here are some more tips for successful, purposeful pack-ratting:

*A PLAN! Do not just randomly collect junk…have a PURPOSE. Have a PLAN.

*Location, location, location! Have a specific place to store your treasures. Don’t let it take over your house! Out of sight and out of mind is essential. As you collect new treasures, get rid of others that have outlived their usefulness.

*Shopping Savvy: check out buy-out stores like Big Lots (or Odd Lots) for bargains on  jellies, vinegars, oils…anything you NEED for your pantry. Buying staples in containers with dual purpose gives you that much more bang for your buck. Look for containers with interesting shapes and varying heights.

*Collecting Savvy: you can often find bottles for FREE from coffee houses, bars, restaurants, etc. Ask around and often, they will save a few empty bottles for you and give them to you for free. I’m not much of a drinker, but I love so many of the colors/shapes of liquor bottles…people go crazy for the cobalt blue bottles and shades of green. And don’t forget, with a little glass paint, you can have just about any color your heart desires.

*GOO GONE…yes, you read that right. It is an orange oil based product that helps to remove stickers from glass, or any other surface, for that matter. I honestly would have nothing to do with this project without it. There is another product called “Goof Off” which also would probably work well. They also remove paint–even from carpet– which we have discovered to be very useful during renovation projects.

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*Creativity: As always, creativity is a must. I am amazed by the creativity of so many people on Pinterest. If you are not the ‘crafty’ type, it is an endless source of inspiration. Copy a project from Pinterest, use your glass treasures as you find them, or paint a series of them in an ombre effect. Most of all, just have fun! God bless!!!! ~Shanna

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