We throw out more reusable items in our homes than we may realize. As many people are making an effort to help the environment, upcycling—turning potential waste into new and useful products—has become incredibly popular. You can also reuse traditionally disposable products for new purposes. Start transforming the objects in your home so that you’re using more and throwing less in the trash.
Cardboard egg cartons can be used for countless different purposes. You can use them to package mini cupcakes or muffins, to organize small Christmas ornaments, or to store small objects like jewelry or office supplies. Egg cartons also work well for gardening. Just cut up the carton so that it’s separated into different squares, which you can wet with water and place right into the ground—the wet carton is biodegradable. You can even reuse egg cartons to freeze small portions of food or to act as molds for Jell-O.
Don’t toss your disposable razors in the trash right away. You can use them to remove pills from fabrics like sweaters and blankets. If you don’t have a lint brush around, an old razor is the next best thing and will get the job done.
Empty tissue boxes
Empty tissue boxes are surprisingly handy to keep around the house. Use them to store plastic bags or as small trash cans for your desk, office space, car, or bathroom. You can also cut the tops off tissue boxes and use them as drawer dividers to separate the items in your dresser.
The next time you go to throw away the cardboard from your paper towel or toilet paper roll, think again. Use them to hold together loose cables, like extension cords or chargers. You can also slice the tube open lengthwise, place it on the bottom of a hanger, and tape the cut portion back together. Hang your pants over the tube to prevent them from getting creased and wrinkly in your closet. You can also use cardboard tubes as makeshift pencil cases for your office space. If you’re feeling crafty, decorate the outside for a colorful twist.
Dish soap bottles
If you’ve used up your dish soap, save the bottle, clean it thoroughly, and try using it to hold premade pancake or waffle mix.
Consider using unused tiles to make an art piece for your home. All you have to do is break up the tile in a cloth bag and arrange the pieces into a pattern, using floor-tile adhesive to stick the pieces onto a solid surface. Once the adhesive dries, use grout to fill in the cracks between the tile pieces and let everything dry. Use this same process for making a mosaic table or revamping a tabletop. Learn how to transform your old tile flooring into a birdhouse here.
Use your old shirts as cloths or rags, or, better yet, make the sentimental ones into items you can keep in your home. If your favorite old t-shirt is ripping at the seams, sew it onto a pillow. If you have a bunch of old shirts that mean something to you, sew them into a quilt. These objects will preserve your memories without crowding your closet.
If you have old shower curtains that are no longer hanging up in your bathroom, use them as tablecloths when eating outdoors. You can also use them to cover the floor if you’re doing a project or painting the walls in your home. If it’s winter and you’re worried about frost building up on your windshield, cut your shower curtain to the size of your windshield. Then, hem in magnets so that you can stick the windshield cover to the front of your car.
If you look at your trash in a different way, you’ll often find that it isn’t trash at all. Try these tricks to reduce waste and get the most out of your household items.