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50 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Reuse

When money is tight, the important things should be paid for first. Many times this leaves very little money for anything else. Sometimes you’ve just got to do without. However, with a bit of ingenuity you can take common household objects and create, re-fashion or re-purpose them into some thing awesome.

Check out our list of 50 items you may not have known that you can re-use:

1. Soda Bottles

The birds are always grateful when someone uses a one liter bottle to create a bird feeder. It doesn’t take much engineering skill. Just a few holes in the sides for the dowels and a hook in the cap to hang the feeder!

2. CDs and DVDs

Finding something to do with those old, scratched or broken CDs and DVDs has always been a problem. However, there are some options. The reflective surfaces of the CDs/DVDs are a very interesting material, especially in smaller pieces. Mosaic picture frames made from CD pieces are good looking and would make a nice gift.

3. Vintage China

An adorable tea cup and saucer set can be used to plant herbs. A tea party of cups and saucers could create an entire herb garden.

4. Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls

Modern life seems to be ruled by cables and cords. It’s time to take charge! Use the cardboard paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls to manage those cords and cables.

5. Old Credit Card Guitar Pics

Guitar players – especially ones who go through a lot of pics – should take note that old credit cards can be used to create new guitar pics.

6. Silk Scarf

For ladies that need a new camera strap or just don’t like the one that came with the camera, a silk scarf is a wonderful replacement. Silk is actually incredibly strong but won’t bother the wearer (around the neck) as much as a camera strap would.

7. Photo Slides

Not exactly “stained glass” but a window shade created from a mosaic of photo slides is certainly something to get your guests talking.

8. Jeans

A lot of material goes into the creation of a pair of jeans. If the owner can’t wear them anymore they should be re-purposed to make use of as much of that good denim as possible. Besides making jean shorts or jean skirts another use for the remaining material from blue jeans are denim coasters. They can be created from the back pockets, the hems or from other available material.

9. Picture Frame

Serving trays are expensive and not used very often. Picture frames can do double-duty as serving trays and might even be sitting unused in a closet. A frame approximately 8 inches by 10 inches with a nice looking high, thick frame works well.

10. Child’s toy

Gardens are often a place of whimsy. Utilizing a colorful child’s toy, like a plastic dump truck as a planter just adds to the fun.

11. Binder Clips

Cords and cables are everywhere in our modern life. Manage them easily with a few leftover binder clips attached to the back of the desk or bureau.

12. T-shirts

T-shirts that are old, too small, ripped or stained can have a second life as the base material for a colorful, round braided rug. This is also an excellent project for a craft enthusiast.

13. Small Suitcase

Old suitcases are just not practical for modern travel, even if they are in good shape. If the item looks nice and is the right size, repurpose it into something useful that is needed, like a medicine cabinet.

14. Hanging Shoe Bag

On the inside of the pantry door a hanging shoe bag with clear pockets works well to hold all those tiny items that get lost in the dark corners at the back.

15. Old Cookware

When a tea pot or colander are no longer usable in the kitchen, with a cheerful coat of paint, they can take on a new duty in the garden as planters. Colanders make excellent hanging baskets. Tea pots can be watering cans or planters.

16. Bulletin Board

An extra bulletin board is excellent to keep around as a jewelry organizer. Necklaces and bracelets are conveniently hung at eye level from the board with plenty of room for everything, plus earrings can be punched right into the cork as well!

17. Matching Buttons

A pair of matching buttons from an old blouse headed for the rag bag can easily become a cute pair of earrings instead. The hardest part may be deciding what to wear with the “new” earrings.

18. Magazine Rack

For anyone who has a jumble of cookie sheets and baking pans making them crazy, look around the house for an old magazine rack. The size is just right to hold cookie sheets, cup cake pans, etc.

19. Round CD Storage Cases

Cables and cords wind up and fit nicely into the round CD storage boxes that the CDs originally came in from the store.

20. Old Sheets, Blankets, Beach Towels

Kids love playing make-believe. A multi-color gypsy tent can be created from old sheets, blankets or beach towels that will give them endless days of play.

21. Used Coffee Grounds

When placed in an open top jar, used coffee grounds are an excellent way to deodorize the refrigerator, possibly even better than using baking soda.

22. Plastic Ring from Milk Jugs

Everyone loses a sock or two in the wash now and then? There’s an easy fix. The plastic rings from the standard gallon and half-gallon milk jugs can be used to pair socks together at laundry time.

23. Ladder Book Shelf

Old wooden ladders are becoming antiques themselves, but they are cumbersome to keep around. Repurposing a wooden ladder into a book shelf can solve two problems at once.

24. Tea Bags

Some cooking odors – like onions – are nearly impossible to wash off. However, rubbing a tea bag or loose green tea, across your hands before using soap and water usually does the trick.

25. Tissue Box

After a cardboard tissue box has run out of tissues, it can be utilized to manage plastic grocery bags instead, the ultimate in re-use!

26. Berry Baskets

Who knew the humble produce department berry basket was a hero in disguise? A berry basket can be placed upside-down over small seedlings in the garden to protect them from seedling predators.

27. Beer Bottles

Even when money is tight gardeners can usually come up with nice gifts of flowers from the garden. However, it isn’t always as easy to find something to present them in. Creating bud vases from beer bottles and spray paint is an easy fix. For a nice touch, keep a few different colors on hand so you will always have a complementing color available for the flowers.

28. Pillow Cases

Even if the matching sheets can’t be saved, if a pillow case is still functional, don’t get rid of it. Pillow cases make excellent laundry bags. You’ll need to make a hem or cuff at the top opening of the bag leaving a two inch gap. Plus a rope or cord long enough to serve as the drawstring. Cloth bags like these are also good for holding delicate items during the wash cycle.

 29. Plastic Ice Cream Container with Handle

Loving ice cream isn’t a bad thing, especially if the container can be repurposed as an excellent mini bucket for use around the house or washing the car.

30. Tennis Balls and a Muffin Pan

We Americans love our dogs. We want to spoil them regardless of what our bank balance says. But just because you’re short of funds doesn’t mean you can’t make a dog toy from household items. Using leftover tennis balls, a muffin pan and dog treats make Fido an “interactive” toy that he will love – and love you for!

31. Wine and Beer Bottles

Gardening is an enjoyable and relaxing hobby. However, seeing the prices of gardening supplies and decorations would make anyone tense. If you want to add a decorative edge to your garden without the expense, try this wine bottle and beer bottle edging design.

32. Bridesmaid Dress

Most bridesmaid dresses have two things in common. They are usually made from beautiful material of good quality, and they rarely get worn twice. So instead of letting that beautiful fabric go to waste hanging in the closet, why not turn it into something you (or a friend) would like to use, like a lovely purse. Maybe even a gift for the bride, but wait a bit first.

33. CDs

It’s uncertain whether or not birds like music, but we do know that they don’t like CDs – well at least not on the end of a string flapping in the wind. If you’re having problems with the birds pecking away at your garden produce, don’t waste your money purchase any anti-bird remedies. Just create a new garden security system with your unwanted CDs. Hanging them in and around the garden should keep the birds away from the fruits and vegetables.

34. Jeans

When you’re doing heavy housework, yard work or gardening, a sturdy bib apron is in order. Unfortunately such an item of good quality is not that easy to come by, and also not inexpensive. Not unless you make it yourself. An old pair of jeans is a good, sturdy material to work with and will hold up to your heavy work load.

35. Toothpaste Tube

Knives with bare blades stored in overcrowded cutlery drawers can injure the unsuspecting. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by creating a sheath for each of your knives from finished toothpaste tubes.

36. Toilet Paper Rolls

Start your garden out right this year (and next year too) by staring seeds in biodegradable “pots” that can be planted directly into the ground and left to dissolve. These incredible pots will be made from toilet paper rolls with one end closed up. The cardboard will dissolve in the soil over time.

37. Old Throw Pillows

If your old throw pillows are still functional, but just stained, “nubby” or tired-looking, don’t get rid of them, just recover them. You could even use fabric that has been repurposed from another project or household item. Old throw pillows become NEW throw pillows.

38. Prescription Pill Bottle

Cats love any toy that rattles and peaks their curiosity. A prescription pill bottle is perfect for a cat toy because of the size and the strong lid. Put a few hard objects like buttons or small bells inside the pill bottle, close the lid securely and then roll the bottle toward your cat. Mission accomplished!

39. Cookie Cutters

With the addition of a colorful ribbon, a cookie cutter can become a holiday ornament or other home decoration. Not a baker? Why not turn those antique cookie cutters into holiday gift ornaments for your extended family.

40. Glass Plates and Bowls

Unused glass dishware can have a second life as beautiful garden décor and a bird feeding station when properly engineered.

41. Mailbox

Install a mini tool shed in your garden with a used, sturdy mailbox attached to a post or fence.

42. Plastic Bottle

All those extra plastic bottles can be put to good use as part of your garden’s simple irrigation system. Just cut the bottom end end off the bottle, drill some holes in the lid and place it in the soil, lid facing down. Fill with water and don’t re-fill until the water has gone down significantly.

43. Old Towel

Dogs love to chew and tug on things, and why not let them do it. An old towel is perfect for this. It’s strong and it really can’t be damaged.

44. Books

Don’t rush off to the office supply store to purchase a business card holder when you probably have the makings for one right at home.  An old book works well for this project.

45. Plastic Water Bottles

When painted, sliced open and properly displayed, plastic bottles take on the look of a year-round outdoor flower decoration.

46. Shower Curtain Liners

Old plastic shower curtain liners, if still intact are a very useful items. The plastic is durable and the plastic liners are fairly large. They make excellent drop cloths or a cover for the patio furniture.

47. Popsicle Sticks

After the popsicle is gone, keep that stick. It can be repurposed for a number of projects including as a garden marker.

48. Clear Glass Plate

With the assistance of a flower calendar, a clear glass plate can take on a new life as a home décor item, a floral plate. The theme doesn’t have to be flowers, it just depends on the subject material you plan to cut out and attach to the plate.

49. Parmesan Cheese Container

Not only can this container do double-duty for food items like powdered sugar, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, but also for small food items like gold fish and teddy grahams.

50. Lint and Toilet Paper Rolls

If you’re not very good at getting a fire started then you should make your own fire starter “lint and flint kits.” After a dryer load of sheets and towels (made of cotton mostly), remove the lint from the lint tray and place in an empty toilet paper roll. When it’s time for a fire this roll is much better at getting things going than newspaper or kindling.

Do you have anything else we haven’t mentioned that you like to reuse? Let us know!

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