We all want to do our part for the environment, and there are lots of ways to contribute to the health of our world. A great way to go green is to start recycling – but not just in the traditional sense. Taking an item that no longer serves its purpose, and turning it into something else to give it a new life instead of tossing it out is a form of recycling that is gaining in popularity.
Not only can you create some really original items from your old stuff, but you can save yourself a few dollars in trash pick-up too! And for those of you who think you aren’t crafty, don’t worry; there are projects that appeal to all skill levels out there! Here are just a few repurposing ideas for some common household items that often end up in the bin.
Repurposing Old Jeans & Clothes
Most people think of taking their old jeans to the thrift store, but everyone has at least one or two pairs that aren’t even good enough to donate. Don’t throw them out; there are several creative projects you can do to transform an old pair of jeans!
Make a rag rug: Stop by your local library, craft store, or look online for easy instructions on how to make these neat rugs. They’re perfect in front of the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, or in your kids’ rooms. And don’t be afraid, there are sew or no-sew options for all craft skill levels.
Tip: Don’t limit yourself to denim – if you’ve got some old sheets, t-shirts, or even towels – almost any old or mismatched fabric will work for this repurposing project!
Make a purse or book bag: Cut the legs off of your old jeans and sew the resulting holes closed. Add a funky belt or necktie as a strap, and you’ve got a great bag!
Patch your favorites: Got a pair of jeans that have a rip or tear, but not ready to part with them just yet? Cut some patches out of your old denim, and mend your favorite jeans to extend their life a little longer and make them unique!
Repurposing Board Games and Puzzles
Taking an old board game or puzzle with missing pieces to the thrift store doesn’t really make sense, but you can still save them from the trashcan.
Give your fridge some personality with repurposed fridge magnets! Take a hot glue gun, or fast adhering multipurpose glue, and attach a magnet to the back of a puzzle or game piece, and as soon as the glue dries, you’ve got yourself some new fridge art!
Tip: Miscellaneous buttons are a neat twist on this idea too!
Repurposing Shower Curtains
Got an old shower curtain that is still in good shape? Don’t get rid of it, turn it into a covering for your patio table instead!
If it’s a plastic curtain, give it a good scrub down with a germicidal cleanser, then trim the shower-hook holes off, and you’re all set. If it’s a fabric curtain, run it through the wash and then trim off the shower-hook holes, sew up the rough edge, and you’ve got a new outdoor tablecloth!
Repurposing Milk Cartons
Milk cartons can be recycled the traditional way, but why not have some fun with them, and make some bird-feeders instead? This is a classic repurposing project, and a great way to introduce recycling if you have kids. Take your clean, one or two-liter milk cartons and let the kids color them; then, with a few quick snips to create an opening, and some string to tie them up with, you have an eco-friendly addition to your back yard!
Repurposing Postcards and Greeting Cards
Don’t throw them away or even toss them into the recycling bin until you consider this last project idea; take your favorite postcards or greeting cards that you’ve been hanging onto but didn’t know quite what to do with, and frame them to make original art pieces for your walls!
Trim up the cardstock to include only the portion you want – so some of you may want to crop out the “Greetings from…” part of a postcard, while others might leave it in for a quirky touch; it’s totally up to you and your personality – then center in a frame and hang.
Tip: Pages or covers from old books or magazines work well for this too!
These are just a sampling of the many craft projects that you can do to give renewed life to objects otherwise headed for the landfill. There are tons of projects like this out there for the “green-thinking” individual. If you’ve got an item, you’re getting ready to toss out, try to puzzle out a repurposing project before you give it the old heave-ho – you might be surprised at how many options you can come up with!