Ask Thriftfulness: Smell Ya Later?

1 Jul

Patti from Chicago writes:

Q: I’ve been meaning to ask you this.. what can I do with old perfume bottles?  This one is little but I just know there’s something cool I could do with it.  I can’t bring myself to throw it away.

Kind of Smelly in Chicago,


A: Oh Patti, from nostalgic t-shirts to that part of the Kleenex I didn’t get any snot on, I’ve so often uttered the phrase “I can’t bring myself to throw it away.” Especially when it comes to things I’m convinced could have a brilliant “second act”. Just ask my collection of other people’s driveway rocks, or unpaired earrings, or gently used sandwich bags.

Perfume bottles are so very pretty and probably half the reason we bought the perfume in the first place. That Sephora salesperson didn’t spend an hour and a half trying to find that “you know like a drunken summer evening but not so woodsy, kind of like what Julia Roberts would smell like if she was a little edgier” scent for you just so you could get rid of the bottle after the perfume was gone! Really, you owe it to them to craft something out of it.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Tiny Flower Vase: the most obvious suggestion I can make is to take the top off and use it as a tiny flower vase for real small buds or even paper flowers. You could also make use of it to hold other tiny things: loose safety pins, toothpicks, cat hair…
  • Backyard Decoration: Amanda over at featured this little centerpiece made out of old glass bottles:
You could get the same vibe from old perfume bottles or any small glass bottles. Just throw a few weeds in there, tie it up with some string and you’ve got a wistful little tree chandelier perfect for gazing out of your window at. (Could you also fill it with sugar water and hang it as a hummingbird feeder? I don’t know how clean you can get the perfume bottle and I don’t want to kill any hummingbirds, hence the parenthesis).
  • Room Spray or Cooling Mist: Wrench the top off of that sucker (directions on how remove a spray top from a perfume bottle here) and refill with a refreshing scented room spray by filling the bottle with water and adding a few drops of essential oil. Spray it on your sheets or, if you’ve been lying in your own filth a few days, quickly freshen up a room with it. You can follow the same steps, only call it a Cooling Mist and spray it on your skin. This is especially fancy-seeming to houseguests you may want to impress: “A moment please: I simply must mist myself with my cooling spray. I’ll return shortly with the crumpets to discuss my interpretation of Madame Bovary.”
  • Scented Reed Holder: If your house still smells, you can make one of these scented reed thingies like they did over at YoungHouseLove (a super great blog) that makes your room smell…better. It also makes a great gift (hint hint). The directions are here.
  • Paperweight: If the bottle is so beautiful, why don’t you marry it? Or you could fill it with tiny pebbles and decorate it with a little paint and use it as a paperweight to stare at when you should be working.
  • Stupid Ideas: Hey, how about getting 2 perfume bottles and making mini maracas! You could start an awesome percussion-based band and call it The Notes. Get it like notes of scents but like notes of music? Yeaahhhhhh. Or how about a tiny 8-ball? Just find the world’s tiniest dice that still has readable text on it, and it’ll be a piece of cake.
I hope these ideas help Patti! Send Thriftfulness a picture of what you make and we’ll put it up on the blog. Also, you should probably get some new perfume.

One Response to “Ask Thriftfulness: Smell Ya Later?”

  1. Patti July 2, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Awesome Annie!! I like the idea of putting some good smelling oils in there. Or some scented reeds. Thanks for featuring my question!

    P.S. I’m not THAT smelly…

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