Phillips: Old sock, egg carton embody recycling idea

Phillips: Old sock, egg carton embody recycling idea

March 19th, 2011 by Ellen Phillips in Business Diary

As I continue the recycling theme, thanks to several readers, perhaps you'll find one or more to suit your fancy.

• Old wool sweater-Whether it's old or you just don't like it anymore, take that sucker, boil it until it shrinks and Fido will stay comfy in cold weather.

• Old socks-Tie a knot in it to make a free cat toy. You can also stuff socks with other ones, sew them together for a pet's "pet."

• Egg carton-Use the bottom half to transport Easter eggs to a party or boiled eggs to a picnic.

• Baby food jar-Fill the jar with potpourri and cover with a paper doily or some tulle (for holes). Secure with a rubber band and either tie or hot glue ribbon around the rubber band. Smells good and looks pretty!

• Paper towel tube-Cut the tube into 11/4-inch rings. Then use a glue gun to attach assorted beans all around each ring in a decorative pattern to make - of all things - napkin rings.

• Empty cassette holder-Open up the case and fold back (to fit business cards). Mount a photo on card stock and cut it out in an interesting way; hot glue the photo to the lid flap and then hot glue either small rocks, shells, or "gems" to the front to make a really cool business card holder for someone's desk.

• Empty box-This is my personal favorite, along the lines of the "Friend's Locket" phase of a few years ago and makes a memorable gift from any child to a loved one. Any size box will do; wrap it in wrapping paper and tie with a ribbon. Attach the following note:

I took an ordinary box

As empty as can be

I filled it with a special gift

And wrapped it carefully.

But please don't ever open it

And leave the ribbon tied

And hold it tightly near your heart

Because my love's inside.

Tax Tip: Shop carefully for a tax preparer. These folks have various degrees of expertise from an H&R Block preparer who's taken a course all the way up to a tax attorney, and their fees vary, as well. I suggest using a CPA or attorney if your returns are complicated, but just remember you're responsible for all the upfront and correct information.

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. E-mail her at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com.