We’ve all got things lying around the house that we don’t use, gathering dust yet never quite making it into the trash can or donation pile. The inner hoarder in us simply refuses to get rid of them, as we tell ourselves one day they may come in handy. Newsflash: they’re not!
But you can save yourself the trauma of throwing your old stuff out by recycling, repurposing or upcycling an item into something new that actually serves a purpose. Not only does this save the planet by avoiding unnecessary waste, repurposed things also add a quirky flair to your home or apartment, and you’ll look even cooler because of it.
Here’s a compilation of nine old things probably sitting around in your garage or attic that you can make new again.
Make a recycling center from an old basket
If you have an old basket lying around that you were planning to throw out because it has holes in it, we have the solution. Make it into a recycling center by placing your smaller recycling bins inside. If the basket doesn’t have a lid, fashion one with hinges from any wooden boards you have lying around. Label the lid so people know where to put recycling items.
Turn a vintage suitcase into a swanky chair
Got an old, large suitcase sitting in the attic you’ll never use? Go out and buy four small chair legs, place a thick sheet of wood on the inside of the suitcase, screw the legs through the suitcase into the wood, then place poofy pillows inside the suitcase. When it’s open, you’ve got yourself a suitcase chair!
Recycle your old flip-flops
Have the straps of your favorite flip-flops finally given up on life? Don’t throw them out, you can rebuild them! If you’ve got any non-abrasive rope or fabric around the house, you can use them to create new straps to give your flip-flops another shot at life.
Repurpose old wire baskets into cool lighting fixtures
Even if you don’t have use for them, wire baskets are basically indestructible. Rather than recycling them or taking them to the dump, with just a few easy steps to prepare them, you can attach them to the ceiling or wall for an ultramodern lighting fixture.
Repurpose an old ladder into a bookshelf
The beauty of repurposing old, beaten-up wooden items is that the more dilapidated they are, the better they look. Cut your ladder in the middle, join it to the other half at a right angle, then fix the ladder to a wall corner so it wraps around both sides. Position it so that the ladder is a small distance away from the wall, to accommodate your books.
Upcycle foldout chairs into shelves and clothes hangers
Got a bunch of old wooden or metal foldout chairs sitting around gathering dust? If you’ve got some space on your walls and a need for more simple storage, you can screw the top of these chairs at head height onto the wall and they’ll form a natural combined shelving unit and open closet. That’s some serious upcycling right there.
Repurpose neglected books into shelves
Continuing the shelf theme, turn any unwanted or downright boring books into chic mini-shelves by simply fixing them to the wall with L-brackets. Easy peasy!
Make a lamp from plastic spoons
If you’ve had a party or social gathering and have been left with a truckload of plastic spoons that you don’t know what to do with, how about making a swanky new lampshade? Grab an empty one-gallon plastic water bottle, remove the bottom and use a glue gun to stick the heads of your plastic spoons around the outside.
Turn baby lotion bottles into phone-charging stations
Chances are someone in your household goes through a bottle of baby lotion on a regular basis, creating loads of trash over time. Chances are you’ve also got cell phones and charger cords coming out your ears, so why not clean the lotion bottles out, cut them so that they sit flush to the wall with a hole to sit around the power plug, and cut open the front to hold your phone and charger? It’ll save waste, cut down on tripping hazards and keep things nice and tidy.
Feeling the upcycling buzz? Here are six environmentally friendly ways to upcycle your coffee grounds.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.