33 Tips For Re-Using "Stuff" Around Your Home!

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33 Tips For Re-Using


33 Tips For Re-Using "Stuff" Around Your Home!


Apart from general commercial recycling, there are other ways to give old items a new purpose in your home, or other places.  Almost anything can "live again" if you think creatively! 

Not that you should keep everything "just in case", or you will end up with a huge amount of clutter that you can't properly store, nor find the thing you wanted to use, but if you are crafty or just like to create your own style, think about what you can realistically re-use.  Or who else might have a use for it... such as kindergartens, schools, child care centres, craft groups etc.

10 nifty ways to reuse everyday items

Here are some suggestions to get your creative ideas flowing:

1. One thing my son absolutely loved- we would take apart things like clocks, wind up toys, computers, devices of all kinds (once they were no longer working, or needed) and put them into what we called "The Invention Box".  He would then create all kinds of new toys or contraptions with them. 

Great for stimulating creativity, and for helping children learn how things work, such as springs, levers, cogs etc.  Always make sure the parts are safe and age appropriate- some things can be dangerous, or even contain toxic compounds (i.e. some computer parts.)
recycling around your home

2. Leaky toddler paddle pools can be turned into sandpits. recycling around your home

3. Waxed milk or juice cartons can be used to make attractive ice candles; tip old oil or other liquids into; grow seedlings in.  Adelaide used to have a "Milk Carton Regatta" where people created water crafts and raced them on the river Torrens.  Why not let your kids create rafts and boats out of cartons or bottles and float small ones in the bath, or sit on larger ones in the swimming pool or other appropriate place- keeping age/skill appropriate safety in mind. 

Can they make one that they can sit on that won't sink?  Send us a pic!

Here's a cool video of some amazing milk/juice carton boats!

recycling around your home

4. We have often used old wire coat-hangers to make nets for catching either our aviary birds, or our pond fish, when they needed transferring to a new location, or vet treatment etc.  They can also be used to hang a myriad of other things than just clothes.  The wire in them can also be cut off for other uses. recycling around your home

5. An old bathtub or sink can become a garden pond.  My father-in-law has two, with a bridge going over where they join, to give the appearance of a bigger pond. recycling around your home

6. Pull the wires out of old electric blankets and use them as pet beds.  If you don't need them, donate them to an animal shelter! recycling around your home

7. Old toothbrushes make excellent cleaning brushes for small crevices, inside things and bathroom grout etc. 

Kids can use them for spatter painting... and to clean up their nails and hands afterwards- as can big kids!
recycling around your home

8. Net orange bags have various uses.  Hang herbs for the kitchen, or flower petals for pot pourri, up to dry.

Use them as washing bags for delicate or easily tangled items.
recycling around your home

9. Old cloth nappies make great rags, or towels for small pets.  They can also be made into washable feminine pads or even absorbent materials for slight bladder weakness products. recycling around your home

10. Newspapers can be shredded and added to compost, or used to cover areas in the garden to kill weeds before planting, and left to decompose into the soil. 

Newspapers are also ideal for papier mache.
recycling around your home

11. Use unwanted CD's as coasters; my mum uses them to deter birds from her plants by hanging CD's around them; create a wall hanging or screen; use them to create a mirror ball or other kind of decoration; create unusual invitations by writing or printing the details on the CD- especially good for a music lover's party or a party with a musical theme.

This video shows some stunning uses for old CD's & DVD's.

25+ Brilliant DIY Ideas How To Recycle Your Old CD’s

recycling around your home

12. Give cardboard toilet rolls a new life by using them as seedling pots.  Rolls from plastic wrap, foil, paper towel etc can also be cut down to use for this. recycling around your home

13. Make Christmas bonbons out of cardboard tubes, by hiding a small gift or sweets inside, wrapping in bright paper and tying off the ends with ribbon or string. recycling around your home

14. Use longer cardboard rolls such as paper towel, plastic wrap etc to store precious children's artwork or small posters, or to keep small items of clothing untangled and neat. recycling around your home

15. Egg cartons can be used as storage for small items; keeping jewellery untangled; protecting delicate small Christmas balls.  They make good kids paint palettes; building blocks for creative construction; sorting things such as buttons, jewellery fittings and screws. recycling around your home

16. Make scribble notepads or shopping list pads from junk mail and letters with a blank side.  Old photocopies, including misprints/messed up pages, are also great for this, if you have access to them. recycling around your home

17. Egg shells make good shell-grit for birds, can be ground up and used as extra calcium for growing puppies  (check with your vet that this is ok for your particular puppy) and can also be used in the garden around plants that like alkaline soils.

Here's something cute you can make with egg shells!

How to make a Penguin Couple from Egg Shell

recycling around your home

18. Use empty coffee tins etc for storing things such as nails, screws, bolts etc. recycling around your home

19. Tennis ball cans and pringles containers are also useful for storage, especially of long things such as craft chenille sticks, sparklers and spaghetti. recycling around your home

20. Use old mirrors for seeing around corners and in awkward spots for things you dropped or need to access, or to add light and space to darker cramped areas. recycling around your home

21. Turn old sheets into covers for special outfits; covers for furniture when you are doing dusty or dirty work in the house, or painting; make the good parts into pillow cases, bags, or dolls clothes- or even people clothes; turn into big- or small- rags;   recycling around your home

22. Old towels make great pet towels; have some as outdoor towels, for drying off before coming inside after rain, drying hands on after gardening or working on cars etc, when hands may still not be totally clean after washing; cut and them into good portions for face washers and hand towels; use as absorbent rags, and for drying floors after washing. recycling around your home

23. Holey watering cans make decorative planters.  Lots of other things can be turned into planters, such as holey old wheelbarrows, rubber boots and old plastic bottles.

Here's a rather cute little planter made out of a bottle.

How to make a recycled soda bottle kitty planter/organizer

recycling around your home

24. A washing machine drum can live again as a planter. recycling around your home

25. Old cutlery can be used as tools in the garden. recycling around your home

26. Fallen pine cones and seed pods can be decorated with paint, glitter etc to make attractive Christmas decorations or other ornamental displays. recycling around your home

27. Cut off holey or twisted sections and keep good sections of garden hose for use where you don't need a long hose.  Attach an old hose to your rooftop evaporative air-con water overflow, and lay it in your garden. 

Hose also makes good handles for all kinds of purposes.  
recycling around your home

28. Remaining small bits of candles, or the melted wax, can be used to make new candles- ice candles are particularly attractive; to make drawer runners operate more smoothly; artwork; and waterproofing. recycling around your home

29. Old socks can be used for making hand puppets; cleaning mitts; storing or transporting delicate items such as glass Christmas balls or ornaments. recycling around your home

30. Pantyhose have lots of uses- cut into strips make great ties for plants, especially staking up veggies. You can use them for lots of cleaning jobs, such as venetian blinds, polishing and scouring.   recycling around your home

31. Make legs and arms for a scarecrow or life-size children's toy out of pantyhose legs. recycling around your home

32. Cut off a pantyhose leg and fill with sawdust or other material and use as "door snakes" to keep draughts out.   recycling around your home

33. Your kids might also enjoy making a 'Grass Head' by adding wheat or sprout seeds to the toe of old pantyhose, adding potting mix or sawdust, then tying off in a ball for the head.  Draw on eyes, nose, mouth etc.  Sit in a saucer and keep damp, on a windowsill which preferably gets some sun, or at least plenty of light.  Watch the hair grow!  If you have planted something edible, you can trim the hair now and then and eat it. 

They could also experiment and make a hairy worm, snake or caterpillar.  What else can they make?  We'd love to see photos of their creations!

Kid's garden craft - make grass head snakes

recycling around your home

This is just a small selection of suggestions.  I am sure you can come up with lots more!  Send us your ideas so we can include them too.  If you have some photos and a description of how you went about putting your idea into practise, all the better! 

Happy Home Recycling!


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