Practical Reducing, Reusing, Recycling Tips

Donate Your Sewing & Quilting Equipment & Supplies to Change a Life

A very special thanks to April K., a recent Simplify Your Green Lifestyle workshop attendee, for this super tip and these local resources for donating or purchasing sewing and quilting machines and supplies.



Two local sewing centers support the Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility where incarcerated women are given the opportunity to learn a new life skill through the Coffee Creek Quilter's Program (CCQ).  The students' first two quilts are donated to charity.  The student may choose to keep the third quilt or gift it to a loved one. Graduates are given a quilting release kit in which to use to apply their skills when the return to life after incarceration.

Montavilla Sewing Centers

Montavilla Sewing Centers will service donated machines prior to sending to Coffee Creek Women's Correctional Facility's Quilting Program either for student use or for CCQ to sell to fund their programs.

Montavilla Sewing Centers will also accept full yardage fabrics, thread, batting, and sewing tools for donation in support of Quilts of Valor.  "The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to cover U.S. service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. "


In the market for a machine?  Purchase a used sewing machine or get an estimate on a trade-in. 

8326 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97216
Mon. - Sat. 9:30am - 6pm
Sun. 11am - 5pm

4955 SW Western Ave
Beaverton, OR 97005
Mon. - Sat. 10am - 6pm
Sun. 11am - 5pm

971 NE Kelly Ave
Gresham, OR 97030
Mon. - Sat. 10am - 6pm
Closed Sundays

Quilter's Corner Store

12580 SW Broadway Street
Beaverton, OR 97005
Tuesday– Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm

The Quilter's Corner accepts donations of sewing tools (rotary cutters, seam rippers), sewing machines, cotton yardage (no scrap), quilting and sewing books.

These items support the quilting program at Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility either for use by the program or to raise funds for ongoing support.

For many more donation, recycling, thrift, consignment, and green building resources, visit The Practical Sort's Resources page by clicking here.


Pardon the expression.  If you are an ardent shredder at the beginning of the new year like I am, then you know what I mean.  There are reams of paper that contain information that I choose not to throw into my recycling bin without nearly annihilating them first.  So many documents despite enrollment in electronic bill and brokerage statement delivery.  For some reason, the paper accumulates.  I choose a day in January where I go through the previous year's folders and ditch any documents I no longer need.  Looking for suggestions for what to keep and release?  Check out my May 25, 2017 blog Practical Tips for What to Keep and How Long by clicking here.

My advice for what it is worth is to research heavy duty, cross-cut shredders.  This literally was a game changer from my ancient long strip shredder.  I used to re-feed the paper or hand cut the strips for extra security.  My new machine eviscerates the documents into 0.17" x 1.77" pieces up to 10 sheets at a time.  At that rate, the process goes surprisingly fast.

Credit cards, staples, and paper clips are no match for my Ativa. 

If you plan to invest in a shredder, be sure that it does the job thoroughly and quickly.  This will save you time while giving you peace of mind.


What to Do With Foam Packaging?

Did you receive holiday gifts embedded in polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) packaging?  Your trash can is likely overflowing after the celebrations, and you might be loathed to toss the foam into the landfill.  Polystyrene generally does not biodegrade which makes it a useful packaging material and insulator for our hot beverages.


Labeled as PS #6 for the recycling symbol, it is rarely accepted in curbside or other recycling programs.  But we need to be mindful that polystyrene is hazardous to animals and marine life who could mistake it as food and it is highly flammable.  As of 2006, Portland was one of roughly 100 localities* to ban polystyrene foam use in restaurants, yet there are a multitude of other uses.  Chances are you received at least one gift package that contained the foam. 

So what do you do with it?  Far West Fibers is no longer collecting it, but Agilyx in Tigard has a no-fee 24/7 collection receptacle at their facilities (business or large quantities require special arrangements).

Their patented process can transform the foam into crude oil.  They also produce a liquid used in food packaging, pharmaceuticals, construction, durable goods. etc.

According to their website "Agilyx is committed to demonstrating not only the economic viability of our technology, but also the environmental value. We have completed an extensive Life Cycle Analysis on our process to measure carbon impact against traditional forms of crude oil extraction, with the results indicating a significantly favorable environmental impact."

Drop off your polystyrene at:

7904 SW Hunziker Street
Tigard, OR 97223

If you need more information contact them at:  503-271-3160 or visit their website for additional facts.


Last Bits

Some may say I am cheap.  I prefer to think of myself as eco-minded, thrifty, and resourceful. 


Before tossing a used up bottle of shampoo into the recycling bin, I opted to turn it upside down to ensure that it was fully depleted.  I could tell there was about 1/4" of shampoo left inside, but the container's design made squeezing out every last drop difficult. 

Ten days later I was still using that same bottle of shampoo.  I often use this technique with jars of ketchup, mustard, honey or any other liquid that is too viscous to pour out easily as it nears the end. 

You might wish to place the bottle inside a sturdy, water-proof container in the event the product leaks out.  To keep the bottle propped, I situated it between the wall and a larger bottle out of the reach of the sprayer so that the lid does not fill with excess water.

By year's end, I will save nearly $40 and recycle 5 less bottles!

Recycling School Supplies


The end of the school year is approaching. You will be clearing out backpacks, old papers will be recycled, and used crayons added to craft boxes, but what do you do with those old binders that may have seen better days?

Office Depot/Office Max has teamed up with Terracycle to offer a binder recycling program. Empty binders in any condition/any brand are accepted.

How it Works...

Participating is completely free and very easy. Simply bring your old empty binders to any Office Depot® OfficeMax® store and a store representative will provide you with a $2 Instant Savings off a same day binder purchase (see rules and restrictions).

Binder Recycling: Get $2 off the purchase of any new binder when you recycle any binder in the same transaction. Discount applies only to binders purchased and will not be applied to any free binders with a purchase. Multipacks count as 1. Discount excludes tax. Binder to be recycled must be empty. No cash/credit back. Not valid on prior purchases or purchases made with Store Purchasing, Procurement or Retail Connect Cards. Limit 6 discounts per household/business.

For more information and to locate participating Office Depot/Office Max stores, click on the link to visit the Terracycle/Office Depot/Office Max Binder Recycling Program website.

Need a hand getting things in order before school lets out for summer break and your schedules goes topsy turvy?  Contact and we will get you sorted.