10 Reusable Household Things That We Usually Throw Out

There’s a Japanese village called Kamatsu that sorts its trash into a whopping 35 categories, and several governments pay their citizens when they deposit recyclables correctly. Communities around the world are implementing various incentives to help reduce waste.

You might not be able to have 35 bins at home, but you can find creative new uses for many things that you’d usually toss. Repurposing is a great way to reduce waste (and save money!). We at Bright Side collected some cool ways to reuse common household items.

1. Use eggshells to unclog drains.

Eggshells are something most of us throw away without a second thought, but they have a variety of uses. You’ve probably already heard of a few, like adding them to bird feed or using them as a mineral additive in your houseplants’ soil.

Our favorite reuse for eggshells is unclogging. Put them in your sink to trap little bits of solids and stop them from blocking your drain. The eggshell will break down over time; just wash it away and let it gently scrub the pipes as it goes.

2. Turn an old sock into a heating pad.

Socks are like that good twin and evil twin trope. One will always get lost, get eaten by the dryer, or shrink faster than its pair. One sock will wear down sooner than the other. When it does, convert it into a heating pad.

Fill the old sock about halfway with rice and tie it near the open end, then heat it in the microwave. Place it on your neck, shoulders, or anywhere else you might have an ache. If you have more socks to spare, consider reusing them in other ways. Turn them into dog toys, wrist rests in your home office, or even just cleaning rags.

3. Organize your cables with toilet paper rolls.

When you use up your toilet paper, save the little cardboard roll. Collect a few of them and make a cable organizer.

Cables tend to get tangled up and make our drawers look messy. With a TP roll organizer, you can keep them neatly arranged, stored safely, and find the one you need at a glance.

4. Repurpose teacups as fairy gardens.

If you have some excess teacups, you can give them, literally, new life with a whimsical gardening project. This is especially great for those that are chipped or otherwise damaged.

Take advantage of the cracks and use them to drain your DIY flowerpot. If the cup is broken into actual pieces, you can stick the smaller shards into the soil to make little walls or stairs.

5. Upcycle plastic spoons into a lamp.

This is a great idea for repurposing lots of plastic cutlery after an event, like a children’s birthday party. Specifically, we’re talking about spoons, but you can challenge yourself with forks and knives, too.

Collect the spoon heads and make a lamp. It can be a hanging one or a standing model. You can find instructions online for several variations. Bonus points: this project can also make use of old containers like baskets or gallons.

6. Unwanted books can be great storage.

Ever received a book you really don’t like, but your conscience won’t let you throw it away? Convert it into storage space! We have two ideas for you here.

One, turn them into shelves. You’ll need some brackets and screws and some wall space. You can arrange the books according to a theme, or even give them DIY dust jackets to make the spines and covers match a specific esthetic.

Two, craft your own box. You can make either a hollow book, if you have just one, or a secret bookcase box, if you have multiple to spare. Be warned: this requires cutting and ruining the books, so make sure you use only the ones you really don’t care about!

7. Turn an old vehicle tire into a new ottoman.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have old tires just lying around. But if you or your family own a vehicle, you’re bound to do a replacement at some point. When that happens, snag one or more of them and upcycle them into furniture.

You can transform the tires into adorable ottomans with some rope, plywood, and glue. If you’re not a fan of the rope esthetic, feel free to experiment with fabric or whatever material you like.

8. Use old ladders as unique shelves.

If you have a household ladder, you may be tempted to toss it after it becomes old and unstable. But have you considered turning it into a bookshelf instead? There are two ways to go about it.

If you have a stepladder, you can do some touch-ups and turn it into a freestanding tiered shelf. If you have a straight ladder with rungs, you can mount it onto a wall. These are especially great in corners. Use them to store books, knick-knacks, or smallish plant pots.

9. Make accent cushions from old shirts.

Ever heard of a memory pillow? Basically, you pick a shirt with some emotional meaning and turn it into a cushion. It’s a great way to pay homage to a loved one or preserve a special time in your life.

This does require a bit of sewing skill, but it’s a beginner-friendly project. You can choose to stuff your upcycled shirt with a regular pillow, or with scraps from other fabric DIYs. And it doesn’t have to be a memory — you can just go ahead and salvage a cool old shirt without the emotional stuffing.

10. Photo frames for jewelry or glassware

Most of our photos are digital nowadays, so you might be wondering what to do with those picture frames that are collecting dust. How about using them to make a jewelry display? It’s a simple and flexible DIY. You can tailor it to your specific accessories, their size, and number.

Another great reuse is to turn a frame into a serving tray. This is even more versatile: use your beautiful new tray in the kitchen, at a garden party with friends, or in a pampering bath. You can even use rope instead of handles and hang it up to hold flowers or knick-knacks.

Do you have your own favorite ways to reuse stuff around your home? Did you try any of these ideas before?


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