Every time you want to toss a common household item in the trash, picture a big read stop sign and ask yourself, “Can I use this again?” At first, you’ll probably think no, but with a little practice and resourceful consideration, you’ll see that many of your everyday items can be used again.
For motivation and inspiration, check out these ideas for how to give it another go with household items that can be useful again.
Store empty butter wrappers in a reusable container and pull one out to grease pots, pans and baking sheets. You’ll nix using cooking spray while giving the wrappers a second life.
Since these are thicker than zipper bags, they come in handy for crushing crackers, cookies or nuts when a recipe calls for it. They also make great hamburger-patty separators when you cut them into squares.
Use these to store can goods. After labeling the boxes with names such as “cream of mushroom,” “green beans” or “diced tomatoes,” easily manage expiration dates for your cans by watching the older ones roll to the front.
Unused wood pieces/blocks
Create levels in your pantry for your spices, like a homemade spice rack. You’ll see them all at once instead of rooting around and picking them up one by one.
Soup and aluminum cans
Create planters in the garden using a variety of can sizes. It adds to the eye appeal, while paint adds more flare and color to the outdoor space.
These guys make great hanging potters for flowers and plants. If you’re really handy, sketch out a climbing structure or wall for the kiddos. You can do a lot with wooden posts, nuts/bolts and power tools. Old tires also can be cut in half to help coil and hold your garden hose.
Hanging shoe organizer
Plant a variety of herbs in each shoe pocket to have easy access to an herb garden. Succulents would also work as a clever way to create a wall of greenery.
Those singles that seem to lose their mates make great dusters for blinds and ceiling fan blades. They’re also helpful as scrubbing mittens for washing your car.
As these become worn and ratty, cut them into customized cleaning rags. Make shapes and sizes that work for whatever chore you have to handle. Or use them as smocks for when your kiddos get creative with art projects.
These helpful papers are perfect for cleaning glass and mirrors since they don’t leave behind fibers or residue. They help absorb odors, too, so shoving some inside smelly gym shoes is helpful for keeping the stink away.
They helped you get into the hard-to-reach places in your mouth so why not do the same in your kitchen and bathroom? Try them on tile grout, around the drains, along faucets/handles and around your shower door.
What can these NOT store might be a shorter list. They make great storage containers anywhere in the house: 1) In drawers to organize small things such as paper clips, hooks, clothes pins, keys and batteries. 2) In the garage or shed to stash screws, nails, bolts, wall anchors, electrical parts and a variety of tape. 3) At the kiddos’ art station to hold buttons, ribbons, stickers, crayons and scissors. 4) In your bathroom to store cotton swabs/balls, hair accessories, bath salts and toothbrushes or toothpaste. 5) In the kitchen to hold pastas, beans, baking cups, tea bags, coffee and pet treats.
Empty toilet paper tubes
Coil up your extension, phone and computer cords and store them in the tubes. Next, label the tube with the cord length and type so you’ll know just what to grab when you need one.
You can make these sparkle and shine by storing your earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other accessories in the individual compartments. They store nicely in drawers (without the lid) or stacked up in a closet (if you keep the lid).
Old makeup bags/pouches
These are great for traveling with small gadgets and electronics like flashlights, chargers, cameras and gaming consoles (and all their cords, batteries and connectors). They also work well at home to store and organize batteries—use different bag sizes for different battery types. Ladies, these former makeup holders also work well under your sink to straighten up your stockpile of lotions, perfumes, razors and other body products.
What’s next for you?
Now that you know how to reduce waste in your life by repurposing, find more green living tips to keep you doing good for the planet. One easy way is to sign up for 100% clean electricity. We’ve got plans and services to help your home be the greenest one on the block.