Sure, tossing that used jar or other item into the recycling bin is better than throwing it in the trash, but what if you could reuse that item around the house in a way that’s both handy and “green”? You can! There are hundreds of uses for all sorts of items you might normally throw away. Here are a few to get you in the creative spirit of “up-cycling.”
Looking to freshen up your car, storage bins or drawers? Cut the feet off of old pantyhose and fill with them potpourri, tie the ends shut, then put them under the car seat, in drawers or storage bins. (For more ways to reuse pantyhose, read “25 Ways to Reuse Pantyhose” from AARP.org.)
Dryer sheets also make great car fresheners and cost only pennies each – just toss one under the seat and replace when the fresh scent wears out. Dryer sheets can also be used in linen closets and other storage areas.
Save plastic and glass jars (such as pickle, peanut butter and mayonnaise jars) to organize garage or work shed items such as nails, nuts and bolts. Glass jars also make great vases.
Glass jars and containers can also be reused in the kitchen. However, only certain types of used plastic food containers should be used for storing leftovers (visit Earth911.com for safety guidelines). A permanent marker can label them “leftovers” to avoid confusion with the previous contents.
All sorts of old items can make great planters for the garden, from tires to sinks, to old mugs, rain boots, ice skates and even large plastic soda containers with the top half cut off. These items can make for a fun and eclectic garden, or make for great gifts with a pretty plant inside.
Save wine corks to make a cute cork board for notes, or use a round slice of them to buffer cabinet doors from slamming.
Old pieces of clothing and other materials make great cleaning rags. Used toothbrushes work for scrubbing hard to reach places, and plastic ice cream containers make good scrub buckets.
Save an empty tissue box to use as a plastic bag dispenser. The used grocery store bags can then be reused as dog potty picker-uppers, bags to hold items for donation and any number of other things.
Old blankets and towels are great for dog beds and dog baths. If you don’t have a dog, donate them to your local shelter or animal rescue.
Fill unused or mismatched socks with rice, sew or tie the end shut, and it makes a reusable microwave pack to soothe aching muscles.
The ideas listed here are just a few ways to reuse common items around the house. The possibilities are endless. Click the links below for more ideas, and then let your imagination set sail. With a little creativity, items that once appeared to be trash can turn into handy tools.