Don't Throw It Out!

This is not a post about recycling—at least not the type that involves saving up plastic bottles for the local recycling center. This type of recycling is quite a bit more interesting because it seriously challenges your creativity.

If you’re keeping a close eye on your spending, there is one key question that will arise over and over and over again: How do you obtain the equipment you need without blowing the budget?

One answer is to save everything. Well, maybe not literally everything. But you can certainly collect scrap metal, extra lumber, broken-down farm equipment, and a host of other materials normally designated as trash.

Once you have a stash of spare parts, the fun begins. The uses “junk” can be put to are amazing:

  • Deflated inner tubes can be trimmed into rubber patches.
  • Craft sticks and worn-out spatulas can be converted into plant markers.
  • Threadbare blue jeans can be cut into rags for use when working on trucks and tractors.
  • Scrap wire of various types can be used to repair fences.
  • A broken plastic fence post can be made into an insulated gate handle with the help of a little caulk.
  • Wire nuts can keep the rooster from accidentally cutting his hens with his spurs.
  • Leftover chicken wire can be shaped into protective cages for garden plants.
  • Dead plants can become the start of a compost pile.

This is just the beginning. The list could go on and on.

One common issue that comes up in this process is where and how to store everything. After all, most of us don’t really want to live on a farm that looks like a junkyard. Here are a few tips for saving useful materials without accumulating clutter:

  • Throw away anything that is damaged beyond use.
  • Disassemble bulky items such as appliances into their constituent parts immediately prior to storage.
  • Keep only what fits into designated storage bins and containers or can be stacked neatly on a shelf.
  • If a large object must be stored intact for a specific project, add the project to your schedule to make sure it happens in a timely manner.
  • Sort out items that have sat in storage for more than a year; most can probably be discarded.

So stretch your creativity and your dollar. Start looking at the many resources you haven’t tapped into yet. Before you throw anything away, challenge yourself. What use could you put that piece of junk to? You may surprise yourself with the answer.

Helpful Resource

Bicycle Garden Plow
How to convert an old bicycle into a useful plow or cultivator.