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30 Clever Upcycle Ideas

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30 Clever Upcycle Ideas

According to the Solid Waste Generation study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American produces about 4.5 pounds of solid waste everyday. This includes food waste, sustainable goods (like furniture), and non-sustainable goods (like paper and packaging). Even with a large portion of this waste being recycled, the majority ends up in landfills.

If you really want to do your share towards creating a greener planet, try to reuse and repurpose household items that are broken or no longer serve a purpose—and give them new life!

Clever Ways to Repurpose Household Items:

  1. Use bent or broken silverware for drawer pulls or hooks.
  2. Turn old silverware into a wind chime.
  3. Make soap dispensers out of glass bottles. Just stick a pump into the top of any sized glass bottle and you have a reusable soap dispenser.
  4. Use an old cheese grater to hang earrings on (try painting it a fun color).
  5. Old tea cups also make beautiful jewelry storage.
  6. Glass jars make great vases, food storage containers, craft supply containers, vessels to give gifts, and bring meals to work.
  7. Reuse an old cupcake pan or ice cube tray as a drawer organizer.
  8. An old colander can serve as a hanging planter. Holes are already built in!
  9. Save empty toilet paper tubes! Use them as seed starters, a compost ingredient, or even turn one into a smartphone speaker instead. For free amplified music, simply cut a hole the size of your phone into the long side of the tube and slide your phone in it. More ideas here.
  10. Turn empty wine bottles into flower vases, or even tiki torches for your garden. If you have more wine bottles than you know what to do with, stick them upside down into the ground and create an edge for your garden.
  11. Attach some legs and turn an old door into a table.
  12. Use old drawers for under the bed storage. You can even add wheels onto the bottom for easy access.
  13. Paint an old drawer fun colors and mount it on the wall as a shelf.
  14. Use old door knobs as wall hooks.
  15. Refinishing or repainting furniture is actually not as tough as it looks. Revamp that old side table or night stand rather than toss it to the curb.
  16. Old t-shirts can be turned into reusable cleaning rags and work great for cleaning windows.
  17. Turn an old shutter into a wall display. Hang it inside near the entryway and tuck pictures and mail into the slots.
  18. Turn an old window frame into a picture frame.
  19. Remove the handle and hang an old garden rake on the wall and use the “hooks” to hang wine glasses, kitchen utensils or garden tools.
  20. Turn your unused outdoor fire pit into a small garden.
  21. Tires take up a lot of space in landfills and take ages to break down. They however are great items to up-cycle. Beyond your traditional tire swing, tires can be turned into hanging planters (drill some holes into the bottom for drainage, and hang on an outside wall – pictured), a rope covered chair or ottoman, or a potato grow box. See video below!
  22. Wood from around the house can be reclaimed and turned into many things. Try building a book shelf or if your feeling very crafty, create a headboard for your bed.
  23. That old screen door or baby crib can serve as a charming trellis in your garden.
  24. Take an old chair and paint it a vibrant color. Add it to your garden or front porch for lovely decor. Add a plant to the seat area if it’s no longer usable.
  25. An old mirror, bicycle, shutters, benches, ladders, and doors also add character to any garden, especially if they are painted a fun color.
  26. A old or vintage mailbox makes a great place to organize your garden tools while you work in the garden.
  27. Paint an old wood pallet and use it to hide garbage cans or air conditioner units.
  28. Use old wood pallets as raised garden beds for lettuce and other vegetables. Keeps them in even rows! Or hang them and make shelves for herbs, flowers and garden accessories.
  29. Use an old tall lamp base and a hanging planter basket to create a garden pedestal.
  30. Make a sprinkler out of an old garden hose. Simply take a nail and poke holes in the hose. An instant sprinkler the kids (and your lawn) will love.

What are your ideas to upcycle or repurpose household items found in your home, garage or garden?  Tell us in the comments below!

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1 Marjorie { 10.11.16 at 9:05 pm }

I turn things into flower pots. I just started some seeds in a plastic ice cream container. The Blue Bunny containers are kind of cute. I also use things like sour cream containers inside clay pots to help retain moisture since my garden is in full sun. (I like to paint the clay pots and make them interesting.) It is easy to poke holes in them with a sharp pointed knife.

2 Diane { 04.20.16 at 9:54 am }


3 Joe { 09.09.15 at 6:00 pm }

I planted a Japanese Plum tree to shade my central air conditioner from the sun as air conditioner unit is on the south side of the house. I wrap the air conditioner with plastic window screening using magnets. After cotton wood season, it is easier to pull off the screening and hose it off to clean them and maintain good air flow. The louvers on the air conditioner make it impossible to hose off the coils unless the professional comes and opens up the machine to hose it off. In the winter, I place a plastic garbage can lid on top to keep leaves out of the air conditioner. On top of this I place a box with some dirt to weigh the the trash can lid down. Then I jam in my solar lights into the dirt. Each solar light is covered with a plastic zip lock back that is open at the bottom. That keeps the snow from blowing up into the solar lights corroding the electronics. Keeping the bags open on the bottom allows humidity to escape. My cheapo lights have been going strong for 15 years with the same batteries. Solar lights need to be charged daily or they seem to become useless over a winter or two.

4 Jerald Lastrape { 08.31.15 at 2:55 pm }

He Brought A Plastic Bag Home From The Dump. The Only Way To Get This Dog Outta Bed Is By Saying The Magic Word — So Funny!

5 Susan Higgins { 08.02.15 at 6:09 pm }

Thanks, Marsha! Great ideas!

6 Marsha { 07.31.15 at 8:22 pm }

These are great ideas. Thank you for posting. He 93rd a a few of the things I used:I picked old chairs from dumpsters and alleys, painted them to create a chair wall in my yard to hide my chain link fence. Planted peppers and herbs in hollowed stumps and wooden crates that had fresh corn in them. Used empty Bert bottles by sticking them in the holes of the chain link. Looks really pretty with the sun shining through them.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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