Wednesday, October 9, 2013

As the holiday season begins to get underway, perhaps you are thinking of mailing a few packages across the miles to loved ones.  Maybe you will be receiving a few gifts this season yourself.  Or perhaps you may take advantage of sales and having items shipped directly to you.   Inside of the package, we often dismiss the many uses of bubble wrap, foam packing peanuts and the most overlooked, foam packing sheets.  While many of you may already ‘recycle’ packing peanuts and bubble wrap, chances are you probably don’t recycle foam packing sheets because they may not take up as much space volume inside of a box as the other two choices.   But that doesn’t mean you should throw these foam packing sheets away!  Instead – repurpose them for many helpful and practical uses at home, by using them again and again.

Whether you are unpacking an electronic device or if you’ve finished moving – foam packing sheets have many uses other than shipping or moving.  The key is to think outside of what you normally use them for.  

The material itself can be cut into squares or circles and placed underneath the legs of heavy furniture to prevent scratching on wood floors or weighty marks on carpeting.  Uses at home do not stop with just furniture for this handy packing material. Foam packing sheets can also be cut-to-size for picture frames placed directly behind the photo before the backing is put on to fill in the gaps between the glass and the back of the frame.   One of the benefits of foam packing sheet material is that it also has a ‘non-skid’ traction texture which makes it a perfect replacement to glue on the backs of coasters, candle and serving trays, desk items such as staplers, tape dispensers or pencil cups or knick-knacks whose felt has disintegrated on the bottom. From butcher block knife holders, toasters, cookie jars and kitchen canisters, foam packing sheets also work, the same way.  They are a better material than felt, because unlike felt, they do not absorb moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew.  The water-repellent construction makes it an ideal material to use.  The bonus is protecting tables, counters and surfaces from scratching! 

While many may find foam packing sheets used traditionally between fine china plates for storage, protective for all glass and crystal household goods in the house, they are handy to keep in the trunk of your car for every grocery run which includes glass of any kind from pickle and mayonnaise jars, to wine, fruit juice and olive oil bottles from clanking inside your grocery bags for the ride home.  This not only prevents bottles from breaking inside the car, but can also protect other items from bruising fruit and vegetables or breaking precious eggs.  

Think beyond your home and the trunk of your car and you’ll find foam packing sheets ideal for your suitcase to protect snorkel goggles or inside your eyeglass case to protect eyewear. 
If you’re artistic, foam packing sheets are great for crafts – from holiday ornaments, picture and collage projects, bookmarks and creating pin cushions or earring holders, foam packing sheets are ideal for any of your creative ideas. 

If you happen to have larger sized foam packing sheets (the kind that come with new appliances in boxes such as televisions or other gaming systems, these sheets are perfect as a liner underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks.   Simply use the foam sheets the way you would normally use contact paper.   By doing this, you prevent those rusty ring circles from staining the bottom of your cabinetry from metal cans of cleaning products and also protect your cabinets from spills of other jars and bottles of personal care items such as nail polish remover, shampoos, sunscreen and more. 

Foam packing sheets also have a fantastic use for the garage or outside – particularly if you happen to have the ‘pocket’ type of foam packing sheets -  the kind that house new cell phones, zip drives or other smaller devices.  These sheets can be recycled into the perfect cover for your smaller hand garden tools (shovels or soil picks) as you store them when they are not in use.  The foam sheet pockets helps to protect your garden tools from the elements and prevents them from rusting. After  you wash and dry your tools, put them in the foam packing sheet pockets to prevent air from getting to them to keep them rust and dust free.   If you happen to have a planter pot whose holes are too large at the bottom, you can also use the foam packing sheet as a barrier so you don’t lose too much soil between the plant and the potting soil.  

Inside your closet, foam packing sheets are great for using inside your hats and caps. It helps to keep the shape of your hat or cap.   You’ll also find that foam packing sheets are perfect for layering stacks of flat shoes, flip-flops and other footwear in order to give you more floor space to store your other shoes.   By doing this, you protect the tops of your other shoes from the dirty bottoms of the shoes stacked on top.   

Inside the drawers of your kitchen, foam packing sheets are great for placing inside for your random gadgets, larger awkward serving utensils and more.  It keeps them from scratching the inside of the drawer every single time you whip them open quickly and the traction feature of the material also prevents them from sliding around when that drawer opens as well.  

So the next time you receive a package or open a new item you purchased and find the foam packing sheets, do a double take.  Rather than throw them away into a landfill where they are not good for the environment and are not biodegradable, think about recycling and repurposing them into one of the many uses we’ve provided.   Here at We Solved it, we hope you find many other interesting uses for several everyday items on your own and share them with us. Discover the fun of how you can be creative and make a difference one item at a time and save the planet just by thinking about all the things you can do before you throw something away. 

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It


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