Okay, I have to admit it…my husband is a complete pack rat and this has always clashed with my obsessive-compulsive personality and striving to get rid of clutter and unwanted junk. However, some of his hording ways have rubbed off on me over the years and actually make really great barn tips. I've adopted his propensity to make use of things most people would throw away – collecting and recyling empty glass and plastic containers. We have a huge stash of containers of every conceivable shape and size stored away here on our farm. With all the different concoctions that I like to mix up to take care of various issues with my animals and traveling back and forth to horse clinics and my daughter's FFA activities, they've really come in quite handy.
Some of the uses I've found for the plastic containers include supplement and feed containers for travel to clinics or shows, storage for extra batteries and various little nic-nacs, grooming supplies and home-made mixes. Since a lot of the pelleted and powdered products tend to come in large bags or containers not easily transported, the mid-sized containers are the perfect size to transport just the right amounts for a single days feeding off the farm without having to take it all with you or worry about product spills from the opened bags. The larger plastic containers are great for alfalfa cubes and when you need to carry grain or pelleted feed for a weekend clinic or show. These containers can can hold several days worth of feedings. The smaller containers are great for storing treats or supplements on the road and to organize and store nails, screws, washers, batteries and smaller items that tend to get lost in the tack box.
When you have multiple animals and need to travel somewhere with just one or a few of them, it can be frustrating to figure out how to split up all the different feed bags and supplements between the two locations. It's not always practical to take an entire feed bag or supplement container(s) with you. Having various containers handy saves me the hassle of trying to figure out how I'm going to divide everything up for the trip.
I like to purchase supplements and treats online in larger quantities than what you'd normally get at the local feed store. These tend to come in bags that once opened aren't great for long-term storage. I can usually find a reusable container in my stash that is the perfect size to store these products securely. I don't have to worry so much then about bugs and rodents getting into these items.
Essential Oil Remedy Storage
Reused glass containers are a great resources for storing home remedies that contain essential oils. I often will mix up large batches of a mixture that I use as an all-purpose spray for everything from cuts, scrapes, and basic wound care to fungal-type skin issues like rainrot and scratches. Therefore I go through quite a lot of it. Plastic containers are not the ideal storage media for these products since the essential oils can break down the petroleum products found in plastic. So by saving various sizes of glass containers and jugs I can still be efficient by making up larger batches without worrying about toxic petrochemicals leaching into my mixtures and onto my horses.
Squirt Bottle Uses
Old dish soap containers that have the squirt-type top also come in handy. I've found them quite useful to use during sheath cleaning or hard to reach wound irrigation. The squirt top on them allows me to spray a directed volume of luke-warm water into the area easily without having to use the garden hose and uncomfortably cold water. This can be very handy during colder weather when you need a more forceful directed stream of warm water and/or you don't have access to a hose.
So these are just some of the ways that we try to recycle and save our resources for use at the barn. One man's trash can truly be another man's treasure. It's all a matter of perspective! If you've got a unique and useful way to recycle your containers, please feel free to share it in the comment section below.
Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT), with multiple certifications from several different equine bodywork schools. She incorporates her knowledge and experience with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, equine bodywork, using essential oils for animals and as a veterinary technician to provide her clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions for their horses. She encourages and facilitates network building between equine health care professionals, working together to find the best combination of therapies to meet the needs of the "whole horse".
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