Archives for category: recycling

pallettableedited2Hello, I am Brooke from Start at Home.

I am a self professed DIY addict! Nothing makes me happier than finding something old and worn and turning into a treasure. Well, I may have to take that back, nothing makes me happier than finding something FREE that can be turned into treasure. So, on that note let’s jump right in.

Who doesn’t love a good pallet project, or at least enjoy admiring them from afar? I know I do. If you’re anything like me “FREE” pallets are always a little enticing and stirs up that creative energy which needs an escape.

Look how much fun this pallet table is I made for my 2 daughters. The pallet top was left raw rood with a dark stain to show off the character of the old worn wood. Since pallet wood is already worn it is great for kids, a few more dings and scratches can’t hurt it! If you are worried about splinters use a Polyacrylic to seal it up!


I know many of us don’t need a reminder of what to do in the kitchen, but just in case you do, I have created these large letters. These too are stained, to bring out the grain and imperfections, after all aren’t imperfections the root of character?

Kitchen Edited

Painting your pallets is also a great alternative. Since pallet wood is usually pretty rough, painting it perfect is not necessary, just get that pain on there and sand it off a bit in places to let the wood show through. These worn frames make the perfect display for my energetic girls!


The possibilities with pallets are endless, so next time you find that old sad looking pallet don’t be afraid to pick it up and experiment, after all it is probably FREE!

Post by Brooke from Start at Home.

We have piles of pallets accumulating behind our store on a daily basis that are taken away by pallet pickers .  What they do with them,  your guess is as good as mine.  But, look what other clever folks have done to transform or upcyle old pallets; pallet love.

Pallet Bed

Just add a futon.

pallet swing

For Swingers.

pallet garden

Vertical Gardening.

pallet shoe storage

Shoe storage.

pallet rolling storage

Rolling storage cart.

pallet table

Pallet Table

pallet playhouse

Little playhouse.

Pallet big house

Big real house.

Disfuntional Designs says: “Recycling shipping pallets into furniture, home decor and art is currently one of the biggest DIY trends! But before you can create anything with wood pallets, you first need to take them apart!”  Go on over to their website to learn the first step, how to disassemble wooden shipping pallets, they have a good 411.

If you have crafted from pallets, please share with us.  We would love to post your pictures.

– Kelly

Holiday travel is right around the corner. Just in case you’re traveling with small children, look what we have for you! The foot powered Skootcase looking much like the iconic Italian scooter wouldn’t you say? Available in pink or blue and ride ready for airports or a spin around Grandma’s house. There is plenty of room inside to store your child’s favorite things.
Plus, it features a sturdy tow strap that makes it convenient to throw over your shoulder when your child gets tired. It is approved for carry-on luggage plus boasts a full steering column and can hold up to 110 pounds.

Check out these tips for traveling with kids and beating backseat boredom. The love story video is sure to put a smile on your face.



Yesteryear’s pint size suitcase has been up-cycled to a hanging vanity.

Help save the planet and save some cash!

Earth Day – April 22nd

Take 22% OFF

Everything & Anything

Offer not valid on prior purchases, with gift cards or other offers.


stepping stones

Save your cereal boxes to up-cycle, and see how you can create stepping stones for your garden.

cereal box

Head over to Pink and Green Mama to learn how to craft your own garden stepping stones.

Calling all parents in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area!
Totally Kids in Bloomington, is accepting new or gently
used toys for local families economically challenged by
the affects of Autism. Aside from helping our friends
and neighbors, this is an excellent opportunity to clear
out your closets as well as keeping those unused toys
from ending up in a landfill for the next 100 years.
Please stop by and visit us.
Bring whatever you can, as even the smallest toy
will brighten one child’s day.

    For Earth Day 2012 teach your children about sharing and responsible recycling by donating toys.  All children donating toys on Earth Day April 22 will receive a FREE surprise toy from Totally Kids.

This Sunday we must remember to spring ahead our clocks one hour.

Totally Kids fun furniture and toys gives away piles pallets which are left out behind the store for pallet collectors. We are always curious about what folks do with the hundreds of pallets that are hauled away. One of our Pinterest boards is dedicated to pallet love where some are re-used most imaginatively. With spring in the air this pallet garden looks like a simple re-purpose pallet project.

Life on the Balcony has a tutorial on how to turn a pallet into a standing garden. When choosing a pallet for edible gardening pick the heat treated ones.

While we’re thinking Spring – here is a salad garden fit for a small space from Go Green Gardners.

Up-cycle or give ’em the boot.

Nope, using a bicycle in an upstairs bathroom is not an upcycle, but sort of could be called that I guess.

Actually a German chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough coined the term in their 2002 book,  Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. To upcycle simply means to use waste or discarded products to make useful things.


While speaking of upcycling in bathrooms, let’s take a look at Hammers and High Heels picture of a laundry basket hanging vertically for holding towels. Plus there is a clever use of TP (luckily not upcycled) for holding sprigs of what looks like pine.

This bath can be visited at the  Bachman’s Idea House in south Minneapolis, a place filled with inspiration for holiday decorating and upcycling.


Are you aware that you can not donate a drop side crib or even give it away on Craig’s List or Freecycle.

Look at this brilliant idea of an up-cycle for a defunct or whatcha gonna do with it crib! A Little Learning for Two has the the how to for “green” cribs.

On June 28, the Consumer Product Safety Commission  put new crib safety regulations into effect that not only prohibit the manufacture or sale—including resale—of traditional drop side cribs, but impose stricter guidelines for crib manufacturers.

These new standards,  will require that all cribs have fixed sides, and also require the slats to be made stronger to prevent breakage.  Safety testing will be even more stringent in proving compliance. Crib manufacturers will have to meet these new standards or face possible mandatory recalls and civil penalties.

These new mandatory standards, now gives the U. S. the most stringent crib standards in the world.   After years of advocating by many consumer groups these standards were approved in December 2010 and as of June 28, 2011 they are in effect.

This also applies to cribs used by hotels and childcare centers, although those organizations have been given an extension and won’t have to replace their cribs until December 28, 2012.

Now for a little green cribs and Sp-ham:

You grew up with the great taste of SPAM® (maybe)! Now, play SPAM™ The Dice Game. An instant classic, and it’s fun! Use the SPAM™ tin container as a dice cup and for travel.

Oh, the exciting places part of this chair may have visited.

In its previous life it was a traveling companion and desired  piece of Samsonite luggage. Today South African interior/furniture designer Katie Thompson has brilliantly repurposed it into this chair which is  included in her collection called  Recreate.

Now there is a new kid (suitcase) on the block!

It’s a  carry-on – it’s ride-on! The Trunki is a unique suitcase that doubles as transportation for your little ones.  Featuring lightweight and durable materials, the Trunki Ride-On Suitcase is an easy-to-carry piece of luggage. When you close and stand it up, your kiddos can take a seat on top and start riding! It holds up to 100 lbs plus features integrated wheels and stabilizers, making it a safe ride for all children. What a great carry-on and way to pack for an airplane trip, a long weekend, overnight at Grandma’s house, or even as the perfect place to store toys at home. It includes a tow strap, carry handles, and secure catches.

Time for a trip! Where in the world will we go next?

Look at Halle Berry’s daughter with her Trunki

This afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting with Jim and Heidi from Bridging  to discuss our Fall Furniture Harvest 2011.

Bridging’s  purpose is to “bridge the gap” between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

Their mission is to provide families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty with a one-time gift of quality furniture and household goods to stabilize and improve lives while effectively using community resources. Bridging will serve approximately 5,000 households (over 13,000 individuals) in the Twin Cities area.

Heidi explained that there is a greater need than the furniture donations we planned on collecting. Our gears have now shifted to meet the immediate needs of local children who may be sleeping at night huddled up in their clothes, or sleeping under a coat.

Going to bed is safe and comforting for most of us, but a shocking number of local children go to bed each night without the sheets, blankets or pillows to keep them warm and cozy. For the first three weeks of November will be accepting donations for Sweet Dreams In Warm Beds that we know every child deserves.

A Friendly Friday Shoutout for other greatly needed items such as; Recycle Your Quilts, Duvets, Towels, Lamps, Kitchen Essentials: Dinnerware, Silverware, Cookware, Bakeware, Drinkware, Pots/Pans & Utensils

Of course anyone wishing to donate items before November, please feel free to do so and THANK YOU! Plus you will receive a storewide 10% OFF discount with your donation.

Summer won’t last forever you know.

Sidewalk Chalk – DIY

Sidewalk chalk is really easy to make, lots of fun and the end result provides you with a brilliant excuse to get outside according to Kate at Mini-eco. Here is her recipe for fun!

To make your chalk will need:

♥ Plaster of Paris (one cup)
♥ Water (one cup)
♥ Powdered tempera paint
♥ Disposable container
♥ Greaseproof paper
♥ Toilet rolls
♥ Masking tape

1) Get your toilet roll and tape one end with masking tape to seal it off. Line the inside of the tube with greaseproof paper.

2) Pour the water into your disposable container then sprinkle the plaster on top (generally its a 1:1 ratio but check the instructions on the packet). Start by adding 1 tablespoon of powdered paint to the mixture and give it a good stir. Add more paint if necessary.

3) Stand each tube, taped side down, on a level surface. Pour the mixture in the tube and tap lightly to get rid of any air bubbles.

4) Once the plaster has set you can remove the toilet roll and greaseproof paper. You will need to allow the chalk to dry fully for a few days before using.

TIPS: If the toilet roll tube is a little chunky for your taste then you can split the tube, overlap, then tape to reduce the diameter. You can also use different kinds of molds; ice cube trays and silicon muffin trays make good ones and don’t need lining with paper.

Once you have made your stash of chalk you can do all manner of lovely things:
♥ Play hopscotch
♥ Play bean bag toss
♥ Play noughts and crosses
♥ Draw a brilliant picture
♥ Trace around each others bodies

Remember not to pour Plaster of Paris down the drain!
Plaster of Paris can get quite hot when setting so make sure little ones are properly supervised.