You may not know it, but your house is full of old items just waiting to be turned into new treasures. Repurposing is a great way to cut down on waste, saving you money and helping the planet at the same time. Get children involved in the fun and show them how powerful a little creativity can be. Try out some of these projects to unlock the hidden potential in objects from every corner of your home.
You can use items that are lying around collecting dust to help organize your kitchen, cutting down on clutter in two ways. Hook an old oven mitt on the wall by the stove or grill and use it to hold utensils that you may need to grab quickly while cooking like tongs, stirring spoons and spatulas. You can stash the whole kit in a drawer when not in use and know that everything will already be together for your next cooking session.
The segmented cardboard carriers that come with glass-bottled drinks make great organizers for condiments. Choosing ones with interesting designs will help you bring ketchup, mustard and relish to the table in style, and in one trip. The cardboard boxes that house wine bottles can also be reused. If you remove the top flaps and wrap the other five outer walls with decorative adhesive drawer liners, you can have a shoe organizer for your closet or breezeway in no time.
Empty bottles themselves can be useful in many ways. Remove the labels from larger glass wine, liquor or juice bottles in varied colors and shapes; you can fill them with chilled drinking water when entertaining. This is both decorative and functional, allowing your guests to help themselves at the table.
Old glass mason jars can be easily turned into oil burning candles by purchasing wicks with glass sleeves and lamp oil at a craft or hardware store. Simply pour the oil in the jar, drill a hole through the lid, place the glass sleeve into the opening, and then insert the wick through the glass and down into the oil. Flowers can be suspended in the lamp oil for a few days to create a beautiful and romantic centerpiece.
Picture frames can be transformed in countless ways. To make a custom chalkboard, first cut a sturdy piece of card stock to fit a decorative frame. Next, paint the surface with chalkboard paint and then place it into the frame without replacing the glass. If you make several of these in different shapes and sizes, they can be hung together on a wall for a dramatic work of handmade art.
Frames can also be made into beautiful vanity trays by placing a piece of colorful paper or printed fabric under the glass. Use hot glue to attach a sturdy piece of wood or cardboard to create a level surface underneath the frame. This same technique can be used to make a drink tray that can be used to protect wooden coffee or end tables.
Showcase the pictures on your fridge in a sophisticated way by removing the glass and backing from small frames and placing self-adhesive magnetic strips along the back edges of the frames. You can also make an earring holder out of an empty frame by fastening clear fishing line or metal jewelry wire horizontally across the back of a frame. This project can be customized to showcase earrings of any length, so look at your collection before you begin.
Aside from organization and decoration, there are many ways to use old objects to make your life a little easier. Real Simple magazine offers several great suggestions. Rubber bands can be wrapped around the corners of hangers to prevent shirts and dresses from slipping off. They can also be placed around jar lids to make them easier to grip and remove. Sticking magnets to the inside of your medicine cabinet can help you never lose your tweezers or nail clippers again.
Let these ideas inspire you to continue to find new ways to recycle items around your house. There is no limit to the things you can create if you start looking at unused objects with a sense of purpose and imagination.