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22 Clever New Uses For Things You Were Going To Throw Away

22 Clever New Uses For Things You Were Going To Throw Away

Turn your trash into treasure with these nifty tips for repurposing things you would otherwise throw in the garbage heap.

Whether you’re looking to upcycle car tires, shredder paper, broken plates or even pet hair we have tips and tutorials for you!

So go on – check them out and get on the road to a zero-waste household.

Milk Cartons as Useful Scoops


Turn your old milk cartons into a multi-purpose scoop using just a scissors. Use your new scoop in the garden, the compost heap, for cleaning out the kitty litter, or even as a dustpan.

Here is the quick and easy tutorial.

Toilet Roll Tube as an Electrical Cord Holder

Do you have a special drawer packed full of entangled electrical cords? You probably don’t even know what half of them are for.

That’s where this ridiculously easy toilet tube craft comes in. Simply coil your cord and place it inside the empty tube. A little colored tape and a label transforms dull cardboard into something both pretty and functional.

Here’s how yours should look.

Egg Box as Seed Starters

If you’re looking for some free, biodegradable seed starting containers, hang onto your empty egg cartons. Your plants will have plenty of room to spread their roots before they go into the ground. And you know what they say: ‘a good start is half the battle’ – something that is especially true when it comes to gardening!

It’s pretty easy to start seeds in egg boxes, but those who need clear cut instructions can follow these.

Wine Bottles as Automatic Waterers

Wine bottle plant feeder

As featured in the post ‘20 Cheats For The World’s Best Garden This Spring’, a wine bottle waterer is ideal for busy gardeners who don’t have time to water their plants more than once or twice a week.

Simply fill an old wine bottle with water, quickly flip it upside down and push the open end of the bottle into the soil. You’ll never have to worry about thirsty, withered flowers again.

Follow this tutorial to turn your wine bottles into waterers.

Plastic Bottles as Storage Solutions

If you buy bottled water, or drink a lot of sodas, you’re sure to have a ton of plastic bottles going into the recycling bin every month. Hang on to a few next time and turn your home into a super organized and neat space with these crafty holders. They can be used to keep everything from pens and pencils to cosmetics and toothbrushes.

The two-step process is outlined here.

Car Tire as a Footstool

Who would have thought an ugly old car tire could be turned into something this stylish? Although time consuming, the process isn’t all that difficult. Add an MDF top to the tire and coil natural rope around it before sealing.

Handimania provides detailed information and step-by-step photographs.

Old Lightbulbs as Unique Vases


Upcycle your old, burnt out lightbulbs into quirky vases using a little wire. You can make endless variations of these vases, meaning you can use them throughout the house or gift them to friends and family.

See how good they look here.

Shredder Paper as Gift Wrap

There are plenty of uses for shredder paper (including as mulch, compost or cat litter) but it also looks surprisingly attractive when used to fill gift bags!

Why not try it for yourself?

Dryer Lint as Firelighters

Camping enthusiasts can enjoy a roaring fire with these clever little firelighters. Even better, they prove that dryer lint actually has a use! Press clumps of the lint into an empty egg carton and pour leftover melted candle wax on top.

Once dry, pop the firelighters out of the carton and store them in sealed containers until your next camping trip.

Toothbrushes as Cleaning Tools

If you don’t already save your old toothbrushes, you should! Use them to scrub computer keyboards, around taps, clogged graters, blinds, jewelry and a whole lot more. Before using, soak them in a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water for a couple of hours and allow to air dry.

Here are 15 things you can clean using your old toothbrush.

Tin Cans as Romantic Luminaries

tin lanterns

With just a hammer and nail, you can transform boring old cans of tomatoes and soup into beautiful tea-light holders. These easy-to-make lanterns bring a little mood lighting to your backyard or patio – perfect for long summer evenings.

This link explains the process.

Aluminum Foil as a Pot Scrubber

Did you know that aluminum foil can easily be reused once you wash it first with some soap and water? Once you’ve gotten all you can out of your foil in terms of food storage, just crumple it into a ball and use it to scrub your pots clean!

It can also be used to sharpen scissors, shine metal and clean your BBQ grill.

Soda Can Tabs as Jewelry

To make this funky pop tab bracelet, you’ll need around 20 soda tabs (depending on the size of your wrist). File down any rough edges and link them together using colorful cord, ribbon or string. This is the look you are aiming for.

For another great soda can tab craft, check out the sparkly Christmas baubles in this post.

Tissue Box as Flower Vase

tissue box flower vase

No one will ever know this gorgeous flower vase was fashioned out of an empty cardboard tissue box. Using spray paint, decoupage or wrapping paper completely disguises this vase’s former use and really makes the flower display ‘pop’.

Follow the instructions here.

Greeting Cards as Mason Jar Toppers

If you’re the kind of person who likes to gift food, then this upcycling tip is for you. Cut up old greeting cards and use them on the top of your Mason jars for a personalized touch. Tie on a coordinating gift tag made from the same card and your homemade offering will look like a million dollars.

See how S.C.R.A.P does it.

Puzzles Pieces as Quirky Home Décor

Don’t throw out old jigsaws just because they are missing a few pieces – they make great crafting supplies. Glue the pieces into the shape of your choice – a heart or a star always look good – and decorate with a ribbon. Use them to frame your favorite photos or simply display as they are.

Good to Know offers step-by-step instructions.

Board Game Pieces as Eclectic Wind Chimes

board game wind chime

Now that you have found a use for incomplete puzzle pieces, why not try the same using random pieces from board games? The iron and top hat from Monopoly, scrabble tiles, dominos, extra dice and even chess pieces can look fantastic when fashioned into a bright wind chime.

Here is the look you’re going for.

Odd Socks as Mug Cozies

It’s amazing how many socks seem to lose their partners in the short journey from the laundry basket to the washing line! Finally, here is a way to utilize the stragglers that have been left behind.

Requiring no knitting, no sewing and no crafty skills of any sort, this project is a doddle.

Broken Plates as a Mosaic Tabletop

Chipped plates can be slightly dangerous, especially if you have little ones around, but there’s no need to dump them. With some patience and time, they can be used to bring Mediterranean flair to your home or garden.

Smash the plates into smaller pieces (using safety goggles and heavy fabric), and use tile adhesive to secure your design onto an old tabletop before grouting and sealing.

This how-to for Dummies explains the process in more depth.

Wine Corks as a Bath Mat

cork bath mat

This DIY bath mat can rival a bamboo version any time in terms of sustainability and durability – but comes without the hefty price tag. So what do you need to create your own version? Just a shelf liner, hot glue and 175 wine corks…time to start collecting!

It lasts around 18 months too which is pretty impressive for an upcycled project. Discover how to make your own here.

Bottle Caps as a Backsplash

If you’re a beer lover, why not make your special edition beer caps into a funky backsplash behind your sink or hob? It’s not only a great way to reduce waste but it also allows you to remember your favorite beers forever.

Simply adhere the caps like you would tiles and then grout and seal. See more about this project here.

Dehumidifier Water Reused

Those with particularly damp or humid homes will know just how much water you can amass in one day in the tank of a dehumidifier. For some, several liters is the norm.

Water is a precious commodity so being clever with it can both help the planet and save money. Unfortunately, the water that comes from a dehumidifier contains several contaminants so isn’t safe to drink. That said, it doesn’t have to go down the drain without bringing you another benefit.

You can use it to water plants (although not those that you are growing to eat), to clean your car (once you add soap), to flush toilets or to iron your clothes.

Pet Hair as a Bird’s Nest

Okay, while you can’t technically make a bird’s nest out of your pet’s hair, you can help our winged friends to fashion their own cozy homes.

Next time you brush your dog or cat, collect all that flyaway fluff and fur that accumulates in the brush. It’s perfect for lining bird nests, ensuring they stay comfy no matter the weather.

Leave the fur outside in a suet feeder or pegged to the clothesline and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it disappears. More tips on helping the birds make their nests can be found here.

Ideas for Re-using Food Waste

No post on repurposing things you would otherwise dispose of would be complete without mentioning kitchen waste.

After all, every year more than 30% of groceries in the US get thrown away, according to USDA estimates – that’s around $162 billion worth of food!

While the obvious choice for food waste is the compost pile, there are several other uses too! Here are 35 genius ways to use up your food scraps for home, garden and beauty.