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Sometimes, the most effective way to resuse something is to enhance its original purpose. Reader Kate, writing in from Utah, sent in a couple of ideas for reusing gift containers around the house. Jump below for descriptions, as well as a special sweet treat to help you along as cooler weather approaches.
First off, a de-cluttering solution:
Object: Candy box
Project: A catchall box for the bedstand
Instructions: I took the plastic packaging that nestled the mints into place out of the box and was pleasantly surprised to see that it is sturdily built. I did consider decorating it in some way, but the only part of the box that is slightly unsightly is the small net weight listings on the front. I decided that it wasn't worth messing with and that it adds to its reused/antique-y look.
Inspiration: This was a gift from my partner's grandmother for Christmas. It was filled with the mint chocolate sandwiches you see on the box, but when I finished them, I liked the picture on the front so much that it became a clutter trap for my beside table.
And now, for that sweet treat....
Object: Danish cookie tin
Project: Hot cocoa container
Instructions: Eat all the cookies...then clean out the tin and use it to hold the hot cocoa in the recipe below.
Inspiration:This was originally a cookie tin. Specifically Danish Butter Cookies. I received this as a gift for my mother for Christmas. I ate all the cookies (they remind me of my childhood) and then reused the tin to keep hot chocolate mix.
I make my own hot chocolate mix. The recipe is simple and large enough to last through two or three winters for one person. It's my mom's recipe and hot chocolate is also a childhood comfort food.
Hot Chocolate Mix
Serves a lot, so feel free to half this recipe. I generally do and it still lasts me more than one cold season. Of course, it's because it's just me who drinks it, and I drink quite a it of it.
13 and 1/2 cups instant powdered milk
12 oz. jar coffee creamer
3 cups powdered sugar
2 lb. box (or tin) chocolate drink mix--the kind added to milk
These are approximate. If you find you're short half a cup or so of something, it should still taste great. Don't be afraid to add a little more or take away depending on whether you like more sweetness, more chocolate, or more milk. I find as I make the mix every other year that each batch tastes a little different; one year I swore it tasted like mint chocolate.
Thanks to Kate who reminded us that every container can be reused, something to remember especially with the holidays coming up.