Learning how repurposing household items can beautify your home is a huge, exciting step in a green lifestyle. It’s interesting to see how people begin turning their attention outward, toward their homes and then the planet as a whole, once they begin taking better care of themselves. Have you found yourself wanting to declutter, organize your space, and help protect the earth as well? You’ll love getting creative and breathing new life into your old objects.
The Beauty of Repurposing Household Items
Turning something old into something new can be absolutely thrilling. It’s fun, it can be therapeutic, it reduces waste, and who doesn’t like making their house look more beautiful, more “them”?
- You spend less money: If you’re using what you already have, you’re certainly spending less money. Say you bought a product that came in a glass jar. The price of that jar was built into the price. Why toss it? That’s throwing your money away and adding to the landfill (if you don’t recycle). When you reuse it, the money you spent on that jar stretches further and you’re less likely to go out and buy a vase, a pencil holder, etc.
- You waste less: Though some things are recyclable, others are not. If you can hold on to the items with potential, at least temporarily (no need to become a hoarder!), you’ll reduce the amount of waste you produce. Be mindful of what you buy. When you’re making a decision to buy something new, consider the container it’s in (and whether you can reuse it) or what you may be able to use the item for after it’s served its original purpose.
- You have less clutter: If you do tend to keep random things around the house, just in case you need them, try repurposing them in ways that makes them functional. You’ll still be able to have those items on hand in case you need them, but you’ll be less inclined to have those and other things (like a whole lot of jars and bottles and a collection of vases).
- You have more opportunities to embrace your creativity: Exercising your creativity sometimes works almost as well as meditation for calming your mind and reducing anxiety. You can get fully engaged in creating something new and the stress of the day just melts. You get to practice looking at things in new ways—a shoebox or an old window is no longer just a shoebox or old window. Being able to shift your perspective and see potential where you might not have seen it before is valuable in daily life, not just crafting.
Green Crafts to Get You Started
Once you get into crafting mode and give your items makeovers on a regular basis, you probably won’t need much help, but here are some starting points for you:
Shoeboxes as Storage
Do you keep shoeboxes around, maybe even to store and stack your shoes? Give your closet a makeover and keep the boxes. Cover them in fabric or wrapping paper you already have lying around the house and use them as cute storage baskets on bookshelves or in deep drawers.
Glass Jars or Bottles for Flowers
You could recycle glass jars the traditional way, but it’s fun to dress them up and give them new life. Wrap them in twine or tie a ribbon around the neck (or both). Drop paint around the interior until it’s all covered so a jar or bottle will match your décor, then use it to beautify your home. Add flowers if you like.
You can also use jars to hold pencils on your desk, makeup brushes on your vanity, or pretty handmade soaps or lotion bars on your bathroom counter.
Mason Jars as an Indoor/Urban Herb Garden
Want to grow your own food but you’re low on space? There’s a way to turn mason jars into an indoor herb garden (assuming you’re not using them for Glowing Green Smoothie storage). Maybe you have a jar that’s a little cracked or chipped and still usable, but you don’t really feel comfortable drinking from it.
Set aside some time on the weekend and use Mind Body Green’s tutorial to not only beautify your home, but grow fresh herbs and make some use out of old jars.
Magnets on Stray Oversized Buttons for Hanging Artwork and More on the Fridge
Do you find yourself feeling obligated to keep the spare buttons that often come with your clothes because you think as soon as you throw one away, you’ll need it? You may even have them scattered all over the house in the tiny little baggies they come in. Attach a small magnet to the backs of the ones that are big enough and use them on the fridge.
Toilet Paper Rolls as Art
This one seems a little funny, but you can actually make some pretty outstanding wall art from those little cardboard tubes in the middle of toilet paper rolls. Again, these are recyclable, but it’s still fun to put them to use in another way and make your home even prettier in the process.
Flip Wine Glasses Over on the Table with Flowers Under Them, Candles Perched on Top
This one is so incredibly simple, and it’s a great use for the glasses if you no longer actually drink wine but feel guilty getting rid of the pretty stemware. You’ll clear out some space in your cabinet, too. You can cluster them together or place them in a line down a table runner. First, put down flowers (or stuff the glass with petals, colored rocks, etc) and carefully place the wine glass upside down on the table. Perch a short, sturdy candle on top. You can change these out as much as you like so they’re holiday or seasonally appropriate.
Turn Old Suitcases into Tables (with Additional Storage Space)
Do you have some old-fashioned suitcases that you’ve been less than thrilled to part with but don’t really use anymore? Stack them up in a corner on the floor or a table and keep them on display. You get to use the extra storage, too (instead of losing closet space to them). Even if you only have one suitcase like this, you can set it on top of a small table in an entryway, then place a vase (or jar!) with flowers, a couple of books, or whatever you’d like on top.
Make an Old Dresser into a Kitchen Island
If you’re thinking about tossing an old dresser because it’s seen better days, consider adding a coat of paint, new knobs, wheels to the legs, and a slab of wood on top. Use it as an island in your kitchen.
For more inspiration for repurposing an old dresser, visit Dishfunctional Designs.
Turn an Old Frame or Mirror into a Tray
Do you have an old frame or mirror you’re not using anymore? You can use it as the base for a pretty tray to put out on your coffee table, or really anywhere at all in your home. First, paint it to match your décor. Then add some drawer pulls to the front of the frame, close to the edges of the shorter sides (you may even have those lying around if you recently gave your kitchen or bathroom a makeover). Then cover the cardboard insert with a matching fabric—scraps, an old dress that can be cut up, etc—and put the frame back together the way it was before. Voila—a tray!
What to Do with Old Books and Magazines
If you have a lot of magazine subscriptions, you know it doesn’t take long to accumulate quite a stack. Try weaving a basket out of them (you can find a tutorial at How About Orange).
If magazines aren’t a problem, but you have piles of old books that are no longer really readable, make a table runner or roll each page up separately, scrunch one end of each roll, and glue the pages to a wreath form until it’s covered. Add flowers, ribbon—whatever you can find around the house—to complete the project
Use What You Have
Once you’ve learned how repurposing household items can beautify your home, it may be hard to turn it off! You’ll always be looking for new ways to use old things, or different ways to use new things once they’ve served their purpose. Take a look around your house and you may be surprised by what you can use. Sure, you may have to go out and buy a new roll of ribbon to get the perfect effect, but you’ll still save money when you don’t purchase a whole premade item. You’ll also get some other benefits you can’t put a price on, like an exercise in creativity and waste reduction–all while making your house more beautiful, more “you.”