Day 251 Use it up challenge revisited

Back on day 159 I instigated a Use It Up Challenge which quite a few of my readers jumped on board with. We found some interesting uses for things that we were desperate to use up in ways other than intended and made special efforts to just focus on others. The end of the last challenge were on Day 171.

Since then I have been continuously using up things that I have excess of and today I will share them with you.

  • Three sample size bottles of perfume that had been given to me from friends.
  • Aluminium foil & plastic wrap that we had doubled up on due to my husband working away for a year.
  • A small bottle of salt (same reason as above)
  • A jar of body butter. Every time I think I am going to get my moisturiser down to one bottle/jar someone gives me another one as a gift
  • A sample bottle of bubble bath (one of a pack of six) also from a friend who had been away on vacation in Hawaii.

I get the greatest pleasure when I get to the end of each these items even though they are small it is one more thing not cluttering  up my home. I am hoping to eliminate plastic wrap altogether.


Here are the items I used up but I am sure this won’t be the last we will see of Use It Up

Use it up 2

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Use It Up is never-ending. Sometimes it seems the entire world’s mindset is I have 5, 10, 15 of this item, you should too! Many people just don’t grasp the concept of “I don’t want more, I want less.”

  2. Hi Colleen

    The issue of not being able to get the moisturiser down to one jar is so familiar, and it prompted me to finally leave a comment here asking you if you can please consider asking your readers at some point how they manage birthday gifts and receiving them for the upcoming birthdays, their own and especially their children’s.
    From the decluttering point of view, with my birthday coming up I just know that a few people will buy me something. A few I have in mind make a really big fuss of it and I can always tell they put a lot of effort into finding what they believe is the right gift for me. The problem is that it was not always that right, and I felt really bad because it’s pricey. Plus, I hate it when I have to fake I am thrilled. In the light of my new attitude towards things and clutter in general, I want to manage gifts better. To some friends I can explain I only want the gift that is has value to me, to some I can tell I prefer the experience over the thing (“take me to the cinema, dinner, play, any experience”), but to some I can’t.
    It’s even worse with the children’s birthdays, when either there’s no opportunity to say “little one really likes this specific toy” or with some people it’s really awkward to even start such conversation (cultural differences), and some just don’t see that as a family we don’t support certain types of toys at all, yet they keep coming in.
    To sum it up, everyone knows there’ll be gift exchanging for the birthdays and it is pointless to fake it is all a surprise. What I would like to learn is how to put it across that we (my family is on the de-cluttering wagon as well) don’t want stuff, or if there’ll be stuff then we want specific things the value of which is measured by it’s relevance for us, not its price tags, and most importantly – we would like to be consulted what gift we would prefer to start with.

    • Hi Ornela,
      I somtimes feel with this subject that we continue to put other peoples feeling ahead of our own commendable desire to not polute the planet. I think that the only way around this is to put you belief system first regardless. You just have to be honest and straight forward with the ones who won’t easily comply until they understand that you are passionate about this. Why should their feelings be of more value than yours?

      This may sound a little harsh but the more I look at it the more I believe this is the case. I have written about it serveal time in my blog and if you use the search engine on my page and type in gifts you will probably find my other post on the subject. I wish I had more time to write a more lengthly reply but I am pressed for internet time while on vacation. I wish you luck though!!!

      • I’ll search indeed, this blog is a real feast, I know I only scratched a surface.
        I couldn’t agree with you more, my belief system comes first indeed and while I do understand why you say it may sound harsh, I also know from other situations that in the long run that’s how it is best for each side. I guess birthdays is one of the last areas left to deal with. Until I get it sorted, I’m bracing myself for a few more box sets of body butters.
        Kind of you to respond while on your holiday, enjoy and looking forward to reading your blog.

    • I understand your feelings on this one. For myself, I am still in the mindset where a gift is a gift and with people I don’t know well I would feel rude to even discuss it. However, I feel less rude if the topic comes up and I mention that gifts are not necessary, and if they still want to, what I would most appreciate would be a donation to X charity in my name. This avoids the unwanted gifts and helps others.

  3. Did you have a unique use for the cling wrap and aluminum foil? I also have extra rolls of these hanging out around my house and 1 of them I have had since my husband and I got married 5 years ago! (we stocked portions of our kitchen at a price club)

  4. Rachel – Free yourself and offer your extra rolls to your friends.

    Colleen – Have you found any good “bowl bonnets” for covering instead of seran? They’re heavier plastic (or something) with an elastic band sown around the edges that you wash and reuse.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I have been using lunch wrap instead when necessary and the rest of the time I have been trying to use tupperware or other containers with lids to eliminate the problem.

  5. I’ve been using up my herbal teas and facial cleansers.
    On the gift front, my family is aware of our view on gifts and send us gift cards. Amazon cards and spa cards are great from family that live far away. Locally, a dinner out is nice, a museum pass, theatre tickets.
    My MIL sent me gift cards from this very expensive spa, the tip to the aesthicians cost $20 for my niece and I to get our $50 pedis– crazy prices. They would not take the extra money for the tip from the remaining gift cards I had. I plan to ask her to contact a different salon.

    • Hi Kathy,
      thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. They do sound like prices I would certainly not pay so I would also be asking my MIL to use a different salon. The idea of getting gift cards for a little pampering is a great idea though because if you are like me it is something I don’t do all the time with my own money.

  6. Another Rachel checking in on this. I am fortunate that most of my friends and I have now agreed not to exchange *gifts* but do look forward to spending some time together at lunch or a museum or play.

    As for an body or cosmetic items, everyone I know knows that I love to receive these for donation to our local homeless women’s shelter. When they travel, they bring me the small soaps and shampoos, etc, from the hotel rooms. These are most welcome at the shelter and everyone knows they are helping someone who needs the items.

    Since our shelter also has showers, they are able to take large sized shampoos, etc as well.

    Just a suggestion. Rachel in San Diego, CA

    • Hi Rachel K,
      thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to leave a comment, you ar most welcome here at 365lessthings.
      I love your idea of dontions of hotel toiletries to a womans shelter. I will keep this in mind for the future. We tend to travel very light though so do not usually bring them home.

  7. Cling wrap: I am one of the few women that I know that hates the stuff. The only thing it tends to stick to (for me at least) is itself. The last of ours (almost a full roll) went to a wonderful lady we know that loves the stuff. It left, she was happy, and we had one less “box” in our drawer.

    • Hi Gen,
      I actually bought my last box of cling wrap in December 2010 (I wrote the date on the box) and I am still using it up. The longer my decluttering goes on the more green I become therefore I rarely ever use cling wrap anymore and my son just follows my lead. I use a reusable cover in the microwave which has also helped cut back on the amount of paper towel we use. I put leftovers in existing containers with lids rather than being lazy and just whipping cling wrap over them and even containers without lids get plates or a glass bowl placed over the top rather than cling wrap. I doubt I will replace it when it runs out. I have been using the same roll of aluminium foil for quite sometime too but I forgot to write the date on the box so I am not sure how long that is.