From Trash to Treasure: Your Ideas for Re-Purposing Old Stuff

I’m so impressed by how creative my readers are! During my reusable tote bag giveaway, I had more than 300 people send me their tips to re-purpose their old stuff into something new.

I really wish I could share them all with you (and maybe some day I will), but for now I thought I’d highlight some of my favorites. I’ve tried to organize them by category so they’re more user-friendly. Be sure to check out some of the blogs, too!

Baby and Kid Stuff

  • I’ve turned an old milk crate into a toy box. – Rachel B.
  • I took a baby wipes dispenser and used it for a cloth wipes solution. – Terra J.
  • I reused a plastic coffee can to store homemade baby wipes. – Heather
  • Use a clementine crate as a baby doll bed (not my original idea, but they are cute!) – Sheila L.
  • We use containers with lids – like whipped topping or oats for my son to play drums with. – Cindy@Adventures in Baby-dom
  • Even though my daughter is beyond the bottle age, we use her old baby bottles for her to drink out of with a straw. – Kay
  • My kids’ favorite (which has unfortunately met its end) was an old diaper box that I cut into a palace for my daughter’s My Little Ponies. It had a drawbridge, windows and toilet-paper-tube turrets. – Anna  
  • I have been using various items to do crafts with my 3 yr old.  We use tp rolls to make animals, telescopes or rockets.  We also use milk jugs for ghost lanterns on the porch and then they become scoopers in the sand box.  He also decorates tin cans to hold toys and pens. – TLBR
  • I got the idea from another blog to re-purpose formula containers. You wrap Christmas wrapping around the container and use it to give cookies or holiday treats as gifts. – Shayna H.
  • I took metal lids from concentrated juice cans, cleaned them up and used permanent markers to write out the alphabet and numbers in bright block colors. My daughter loves them, plus they’re a good teaching tool. – Joy
  • I’ve made sweaters into diaper covers. – Kristin@See Mommy Sew
  • I used a silicone baking mold in the shape of letters and numbers to melt broken crayon pieces into nice crayon letters! It was fun and easy! The crayon bits were like 20 years old and I gave them new life! – Can-Can@My Greening

Arts and Crafts

  • I use the packing/stuffing materials from  boxes mailed to me as art materials for my daycare.  Whether it is paper, bubble wrap, or packing peanuts, we use them for a project. -Heidi K.
  • We reuse plastic butter containers for food or storage of beads. – Meredith
  • I have used old tiles and dishes for mosaics. – Ellie
  • Right up my alley! I collect  trashed computers and tear down to create sculptures, furniture and jewelry! – Cheryl@Fractured Toy  
  • I like turning garbage or shopping bags into pretty holiday wreaths. –  Jess@And She Lived…
  • Empty peanut butter jars (with label removed) hold the latest craft projects to be seen  but not touched by the littlest ones! – Laura at Cooper Family 
  • I turned soup cans into a windchime. – Stephanie P.
  • We are always reusing egg cartons for painting. – Patty@The Dirty Work 
  • I’ve used the plastic from a box a robe came in and turned it into a mini scrapbook album!  I cut the ends of the box, punched holes in them, and then used c-rings to hold them together after I decorated the “pages”.  Turned out cut and a great way to recycle something. – Anita H. 
  • I re-purpose holiday greeting cards. Elizabeth@Thoughts from an Evil Overlord


  • Kleenex tissue boxes. I use them to store any plastic store bags that DH brings home. They work great for dirty diaper disposal on the go! – Kathie R.
  • I re-purposed a clear glass flower vase to hold my cooking utensils. – Sheila@My Personal Reviews
  • I now use my Wine holder for my fav. magazines, just curl and set where the wine would be. Perfect! – Heather@Heather’s Heartfelt Stitches
  • I rinse out any size baggie/snack bag and reuse them. (except for meat used bags).  – Tina
  • I made my own bottle dryer out of a jar, some marbles, and some dowels I cut in half. – Susan B.
  • I recycle cans for pencil and pen holders. – Sarah B.
  • Glass jars are the most commonly re-purposed item in my house-for food storage, mainly. – Kelly
  • My favorite is turning burlap rice bags (15 and 25lb. bags) into re-usable shopping bags. I have three of them, and they’re awesomely sturdy and cute besides! – Deb
  • I’ve been sewing reusable produce bags out of sheer curtains that I get from the thrift stores. – Stacy@Up On Eagle’s Wings
  • I use strawberry baskets to organize small items in drawers. – Niki@Free2BeFrugal
  • We re-purposed an old bbq fork as a very short dowel for a hanging storage dohickey in very narrow space. It was quite the conversation piece.  – Robin@Around the Island
  • I also recently reused all the drawers from a neighbors broken down bureau to put underneath the kids’ beds for storage. – Kellyann
  • I use a recycled box for nuts and bolts (the kind with little drawers) to keep my jewelry in.  Each compartment holds rings, or earrings or necklaces. – Elaine
  • I have turned old Tshirts into bags! – Rebecca@The Little House on Nortwood
  • I found this idea online, take old window shutters and repaint, then spray so they are stuck. You now have a wonderful slotted area to keep mail and bills. – Audrey
  • A small clear flat plastic prescription drug container is now a holder for my insurance & registration cards in my car.- Bobbi B.

Home and Garden

  • I’ve taken a quilt, loosely sewn a area rug “stableizer” to the back of it and then had my very own “uniquely crafted” floor cloth. – Kara
  • Repurposing is my passion! Although, it’s not an original idea, one thing I repurposed was a couple of vintage packing crates that I hung as ‘shelving’ in my kitchen.  – Jennifer@Jennifer’s Junky Life
  • I have used old blankets to make rag rugs(the blankets were to bad to be donated) – Kellyann
  • I use Stonyfield yogurt cups as plant pots for transplating small flowers in my garden! – Amber G.
  • I reused old fashioned glass and rubber coffee dispensers from a diner as holders for my office supplies. I get compliments on them all the time! – Elizabeth@The Spotted Ottoman
  • My favorite is magazine pages turned into a bowl! – Katie@Bring On the Lloyds
  • I reuse the Starbucks glass bottles!!! Embellish them with some fancy paper and doodads (I work at a scrapbook store) and then you can fill them with anything you wish.  Something really neat is buy a 4 pkg. of these with the cardboard bottle holder.  Cover the holder with colored or patterned paper and then do the same to the bottles.  Fill with candy and you have a cute personalized gift!! – Amy@Stahl Family Blog
  • Cereal Boxes into magazine holders are my favorite! I’ve also repurposed old windows into picture collages, doors into headboards, a dresser inton a buffet and my personal love: a gym room locker into a neato storage rack in my kitchen! – Katie@Bargain Hunting Wife
  • I made a composting bin from an old holey garbage can. – Harriet 
  • Old crayons into new chunky crayons, gift bows from recycled paper, record bowls from old records – all found on my blog. – Meg@On Our Way
  • One of my favorite re-purposings was actually done by my husband. He took an old water bottle (20 oz) and soda bottle (2 liter), cut them off a the neck, and voila instant funnels! Now I have two sizes of funnel, they’re easy to store and clean, and they’re replacable if we ever wear them out. Since I was in the middle of something and didn’t want to go out and buy a funnel, I was thrilled. – Mrs.Micah
  • I take old blue jeans and use them for making placemats, hotpads, and quilts. – Beverly G.
  • I have been cutting up paper that I would normally recycle as is and using the back for scratch paper before recycling it! – Michelle at Leaving Excess.
  • I think my favorite is to make “plarn” out of plastic grocery sacks and make reusable grocery bags out of that – Tamara

 And a few odds and ends…

  • I used my sister’s bed screen holder (round decorative) and attached clothespins to use for drying socks and underwear. – Karlie
  • Old t-shirts can be used to make new panties! – Mrs. Money@The Ultimate Money Blog
  • Worn-out panthose and tights, when cut into small squares make wonderful nail polish remover cloths. They work better than anything I’ve ever tried! – Ruth
  • I shred my Sunday newspaper every week to make my own cat litter! – Carey@Frugal Fullfillment
  • I use old sheets to wax my eyebrows.  – Goin-Crazy@The Insanity of Organized Chaos
  • I’ve recycled old white socks into a stuffed hedgehog family. It was actually quite easy, since the inside ‘loopy’ part of the socks made perfect plushy hedgehog needles. – Olga

Thanks so much for all of your creativity! I hope this post inspires you to look at things in a whole new way!

---------- Continues after advertisement ----------

About Christina Brown

Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *