Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Restuffing the Old Dog Bed

In 2015, as I work to reduce my budget, I’m going to share more posts focused on the green living which was the original mission of my blog. Living Green often means living with less and reusing what you already have, both of which also help the cash flow during times of financial crisis. Today I had my first opportunity to put that into action. 

I share my home with two massive labs, each weighing in at about 100 pounds. My dogs love their bed, and they spend much of their time piled up on it, like this:

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As you can see, this bed is a little worse for wear. Having two 100-pound bodies slamming down onto it has pretty much smashed the stuffing to worthlessness. Ginger, the red dog, is also a bed licker, which has imparted a less than pleasant aroma to the outer fabric. We have been discussing replacing the bed for the last month or so, but so far the options we have found that are big enough for these two have either been prohibitively expensive for our current financial crunch, the wrong shape (a round bed doesn’t work well with two dogs), or looked too flimsy to bother with. I’ve been putting off buying a replacement, which worked until today, when the cat decided to barf on it.

I’ll spare you a photo of that.

I figured that I could at least take the cover off and wash it, right? But when I tried to remove the outer cover, I was dismayed to see that those two adorable morons had managed to shred the inner lining, leaving me with this under the cover:

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That foam crap in there generates a lot of static cling and comes in sizes ranging from kiwi to molecule. It got everywhere and took a good 30 minutes to vacuum off the lining, the carpet, my jeans, and the other furniture in the room. I came away from the experience with a better appreciation of what a nightmare it is going to be the clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Once I had that cleaned up and the cover had taken a trip through the washer and dryer, I needed something else to restuff the good-as-new outer shell. Fortunately, my family had just finished sorting all our worn out clothing for donation, and if there’s one thing the dogs like sleeping on more than their nasty old bed, it’s a nice pile of laundry.

I sorted through the donation pile and pulled out anything that looked suitable for bedding material, mostly T-shirts, sweatshirts, and pajamas. I skipped anything with buttons or zippers because I wouldn’t want to sleep on those, though, to be honest, I don’t think the dogs would really have cared. I found just enough for a decent stuffing, but I probably will add more after future wardrobe purges.

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I did consider cutting the items into smaller pieces, but decided that keeping the pieces whole would make it easier for me to clean up after the next cat barf incident. If the dogs are happy sleeping on lumpy laundry now, then they should be just as happy sleeping on a bed stuffed with lumpy laundry. Besides, I can always cut it in the future if I need to, but I can’t uncut it. To help it feel a little softer, I fluffed up the clothing up as I put it in, rather than leave it folded…or, semi-folded as the case may be.

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The end result was lumpy and a lot heavier than the foam had been. The real test, though, wasn’t what I thought of it. I hauled the “new” bed into place, fluffed the stuffing one last time, and waited to see what they would do. Ginger climbed on right away, and she seemed please. She couldn’t wait to get to work licking it.

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The other dog (Orion) joined her soon after, and they’ve been snuggled up together for the last hour. I think this project can be called a success. For $0 I “replaced” my old dog bed and made use of soon to be discarded materials, giving them a few more years of usefulness.

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