17 Household Items You Can Repurpose Instead of Throwing Away

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By Darryl Henderson

In an age where eco-friendly living is more important than ever, being able to repurpose what you already have to avoid waste (and save money) is a huge boon. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 17 household items you can use for something else.

Empty Glass Jars

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Glass jars can often pile up. The good news is there are plenty of other uses for empty glass jars. You can use them for creative storage solutions, especially around the kitchen. Not only that, you can decorate them to match your style! They also make for perfect candle holders.

Cardboard Boxes

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There’s an estimated 110 million metric tons of cardboard and paper waste in the U.S. thrown out in one year, according to NREL. Which means repurposing it will be a helpful thing to do. You can use boxes for organizational storage, or if you have a cat, corrugated cardboard makes for a perfect scratcher.

Old T-Shirts

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If you have far too many t-shirts and are looking to reuse a few, then they’re ideal for extra cleaning rags. This is perfect for helping the environment, too, because you can wash them and reuse them. If you’d rather not focus on chores, you can upcycle them to stitch together a handy tote bag!

Plastic Bottles

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Plastic bottles are the ideal solution for many gardening needs. If you’re looking to repurpose, you can easily make a DIY bird feeder to hang outside. Or, plastic bottles make for perfect vertical herb gardens you can fill up.

Wine Corks

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If you’re racking up quite the collection of wine corks thanks to your favorite evening tipple, don’t worry: you can reuse them as cork coasters by cutting them in half and gluing them to shape. Wine corks also make for perfect garden markers if you need to keep track.

Egg Cartons

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Egg cartons are the ideal shape to repurpose into something that needs to be sectioned. A great idea can be to use them as jewelry organizers. Or, if you’re green-fingered, cartons are perfect for seed starters in each compartment. If you’re feeling creative, they can also double as a paint palette.

Broken Furniture

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Don’t be so quick to throw out your broken furniture pieces. You can actually use them to make new furniture. Salvaged wood in particular is great for upcycling projects. And according to House Beautiful, upcycling furniture is a sustainable and cost-effective option for the home.


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Newspaper is ideal for polishing and cleaning glass. It buffs out those finger marks better than any cleaning cloth. You can also use it as an eco-friendly option for wrapping gifts during the busy holiday season. Or, simply add to your home compost!

Empty Tin Cans

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Looking to tidy your home office? Empty tin cans make for perfect pen holders. You can also paint them to add a little flair. If you’re looking to dress up your garden, cutting holes into tin cans and pairing them with fairy lights can make for great DIY lighting, too.

Plastic Grocery Bags

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If you have too many plastic grocery bags taking up space, one amazing thing you can do with them is help the homeless by crocheting them together to create a sleeping mat. Alternatively, you can recycle them as dog waste bags if you’re constantly picking up after your pet!

Empty CD Cases

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If you held onto your classic CDs as long as you could, you can create a DIY picture frame from them. Simply pop the printed photograph inside and decorate how you wish! Additionally, you can separate them and build a small greenhouse with them for smaller plants.

Fabric Scraps

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According to Earth.org, there are 1.92 million tonnes of textile waste every year. If you’re looking to do your part to cut down on fabric waste, you can reuse scraps to make a patchwork quilt by stitching them all together. If you have plants, you can also use fabric to wrap around pots.

Old Socks

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If you have a ton of old socks and particularly odd ones, you can repurpose them as dusting mitts! If you have pets, you can also use old socks as toy covers or even storage if you have more than one toy ball.

Paper Towel Rolls

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It’s easy to get inundated with paper towel rolls. To put them to good use, you can create a pair of binoculars or a toy telescope for young children in the family. Paper towel rolls also make for ideal seedling starters. Additionally, they’re a helpful shape for cable organization!

Scratched DVDs or CDs

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CDs and DVDs you can no longer play are the perfect shape for DIY coasters for your coffee table. Or, if you’re thinking big, you can create a personalized mosaic wall art by connecting them all together. Due to their reflective surface, they’re also ideal bird repellents.

Wine Bottles

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Due to their shape, wine bottles make for perfect vases. They can also be turned upside down to make a tiki torch for the garden path. Country Living also writes that wine bottles are ideal for creating homemade lighting gifts for Christmas or birthday gifts if you’re looking to save money.

Plastic Takeout Containers

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Unless you want to get rid of the evidence of too many takeouts, repurposing these containers is a great idea. They make for fantastic craft supply organizers if you have a lot of loose items to store. They also make for easy lunchbox dividers if you need to section up different food.