Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Simple but effective repurposing idea

Image from here
I am always on the look out for frugal ideas.

The kids and I have a tendency to borrow lots of books from the local library. Borrowing from the library is a environmentally friendly and frugal, provided that you don't keep your books too long and end up with a fine.

I haven't always had an effective system for keeping track of the long list of books we borrow (I get a print out of the list from the library now) and sometimes I just couldn't find the damned books when we were heading to the library. With four kids, each with their own secret hiding places, book wrangling can be a time consuming task.

So up until a few months ago, I pretty much always ended up with a fine of some size. The killer was the one we got for more than $15. At 20c per day, that is a lot of days looking for our missing book! Something had to be done about this budget busting habit.

We were doing the Buy Nothing New for a Year thing at the time, so I had to come up with a repurposing solution, rather than buying something to solve my little conundrum.

It was simple in the end. I got an old box from a pair of boots, wrote "library books" on the front, placed it next to the bookcase and put the books in it. I told the kids that the library books needed to be kept in the library box now and, hey presto, it actually worked.

Not a single fine since.

Simple, but effective.

Have you got any neat, frugal ideas that keep your cost of living down?

12 comments:

ClaireyHewitt said...

My Mum made the girls library bags out of wonderful old cot sheets and fabric that no one wanted. They now have bags for the public library and for school library.

And back of the couch is now first place to look for missing books of Miss3!

Ali said...

That is a brilliant idea. I am so sick of searching the house looking for a lost library book. We make our own party bags out of cheap brown paper bags from the supermarket. You probably don't save much but it is fun anyway and they turn out great.

Nita Davis said...

What a great idea. I could have used this tip when my kids were small. It got to the point still tease me that the library has a wanted poster with my photo on it. I actually returned one book 2 years late as it accidentally got packed with my daughters books when we moved. :O
Have a great week.

Mama of 2 boys said...

What a clever idea, amazing how simple it is to actually get everyone to conform. Sometimes a visual reminder like that is all that's required. I really need to start getting into the library. I guess for so many years now, the idea of it terrifies me... my boys aren't exactly the quietest, calmest duo to be taking along to a super quiet place. I look forward to enjoying it more with them in a couple of years, I think xo

Erin said...

I'm regularly paying $10 for fines, thank goodness they give me a capped family rate, I put off paying for weeks and then pay a few times a year, figuring it a 'subscription'. blush. I've just started using a bookcase shelf, too many books for the box lol. hoping this will solve the problem.
neat, frugal ideas? Have lots.
1)Keep a birthday box running. when out and about and you see toys on sale grab for your children and for birthday parties. Save money and time
2)repair clothes. stitch in time saves nine. a button, a rip yes even replace elastic (sometimes I don't, depends on how easy to remove)
3)Into sewing? consider opshoping to recycle, or even use sheets to make outfits.

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Great idea, MM!

A couple of weeks ago, Dave bought home some wooden offcuts from a job he's working on at the moment. As the pieces were going to the tip, it was a great rescue!
We've since used the random pieces to make swords (like Mike the Knight), and golf clubs, shelves for treasure, and little wooden bench seats (balanced on wooden blocks) to sit around our pretend fire when we play camping.
A small armful of offcuts has gone a long way!

Have a great week :)
x

Lisa H said...

The DVD rentals are a prob in my house these days. My kids hire them on my account and forget to return them! I've told the video store countless times not to let them hire on my account. Annoying!!

Great idea for the shoe box! I've got a number of shoe boxes with flip-tip lids that I covered with pretty contact paper and use them for storage - for all sorts of bits and bobs. They work a treat and last for years!

E. said...

Great idea.
We don't go to the public library but Girl Child borrows 5 or so books at a time from the school library. My solution to keep her books together is to keep the library bag on the back of her door and keeping them all in there.

Mum on the Run said...

Simple and effective!
I love it.
:-) x

Maxabella said...

Last time I was at your place I noticed your box, went home and made my own. Thanks! x

River said...

I did a similar thing. Not a boot box, but a section of the bookcase covered in contact. Low enough for the kids to reach of course.

Tat @ Mum in search said...

I've got a separate shelf for my library books, too. Never lost anything, but I still forget to return my books on time occasionally.

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