Want a more creative, and useful, solution for dealing with old stuff? We got you: Upcycling. Here are some ideas to get you started on repurposing seemingly unusable items!
You likely already know that reusing and recycling old items is great for the planet. Did you know that you can also repurpose “trash” to create cool new items for your home?
With a little creativity and the right tools, many old or discarded items can be transformed into decor, storage, or other home essentials. This prevents unnecessary consumption and minimizes the amount of trash that ends up in a landfill — and it can save you money as well!
Here are some of our favorite ways to repurpose trash into treasure.
Upcycling Ideas You Can Try Today
Used Candles and Jars
Keeping your bathroom and kitchen organized can be tricky, especially if you have a lot of small items to keep track of. Sure would be nice if the perishable/consumable items we buy all the time came in containers we could repurpose.
Ah, wait. They do!
Start by buying some jam — and maybe olives too. Use all the jam and the olives (we’re not asking questions). You no longer have tasty food, but you do have jars.
To put them to reuse, start by thoroughly cleaning out the inside and removing labels from the outside. From there, the aesthetic sky’s the limit. Paint them, add stickers, use a label maker to add text, and more.
If you enjoy making DIY furniture, old wood pallets are going to be your best friend (we can’t overstate how real this is). There are a variety of places in your community where you can source old pallets. We suggest you hit up some local businesses! Shipments of all kinds of products tend to come in on pallets, which are promptly discarded.
So pay a visit to your local shops, introduce yourself, and ask permission to take palettes off their hands! Other palette sources include social networks, like Facebook and Nextdoor.
When picking up used pallets, make sure to inspect the wood for quality, as they can stain or even break during transit. Keep in mind that before you start your project, you may need to clean, sand, or cut your wood down. Once you have the pallets, the DIY options are endless! Popular pallet furniture projects include garden chairs, coffee tables, and benches.
If you’ve moved recently, or bought anything online, you likely have plenty of extra cardboard boxes on hand. It can be tempting to recycle them, but consider repurposing them instead.
There are so many different things you can do with reused cardboard. If you have pets or kids at home, you can get creative and turn cardboard boxes into toys. For example, you can cut and assemble boxes to bring your child’s dream castle to life.
Wine Corks & Bottles
There are plenty of ways to repurpose wine bottles once the good stuff is gone. They can make beautiful vases, planters, lanterns, wind guards for tea candles, or traditional candle holders.
These projects can be particularly fun for bottles that have some sentimental value — for example, a bottle that you drank for a special celebration or from your birth year. If you don’t drink wine but still want to enjoy the aesthetic, ask friends or family who do!
Bonus points: Because of their texture, wine corks can be reused to make bulletin boards.
Once you finish a prescription, you can remove the labels from your pill bottles and use them to keep organized (like jars, but small). Pill bottles are great for storing small items that are easy to lose, like bobby pins, nails and screws, rubber bands, and more.
You can also create a compact first aid or sewing kit with an old pill bottle and take it on the go as needed!
Torn or Stained Clothing
You probably already know how to donate or sell old clothes that you no longer wear, but what should you do with clothes that have become damaged? Well, if you have basic sewing skills, this one’s for you: You may be able to transform the fabric into something else you can use around the house, like a pillowcase or tote bag. You can also reuse fabric for more practical purposes. (Hint: old t-shirts make great cleaning rags!)
Where other people see trash, we see endless potential — because we’re creative and resourceful, and so are you. 🥰 There are so many different ways to reuse old items and minimize waste around the house.
Speaking of minimizing waste — and wasteful purchases — hi, hello, we’re Sparetoolz. We’re on a mission to minimize one-use-and-done purchases and save you some money with a peer-to-peer platform that allows DIYers across the nation to rent the tools they need from others in their community. Stop in and say hi.