Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trash to Treasure (or at least useful!)

I love, love, love to take something old and give it new life.  (Soapbox warning!) We've become a disposable society, and with it not only do we waste money, but we've also lost some of our creativity and critical thinking skills.  I love it when my daughters ask "how can we re-use this mom, instead of throwing it away.  Here's a collection of pins/links that I have for those times, and usually they see them and run with it.

Altoid tins:
*use for holding earbuds in purse!
*hold small office items - rubber bands, staples, paper clips, etc.
*Designsponge  features a post on how to turn into a travel candle!
*Cut out eyes, noses, mouths, magnetize, and then turn into a travel game Funny Face game with built in storage!
*Same idea as above, but glue your child's picture in first

Feeling really, really ambitious?  try this (make a USB charger)
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Old cookie sheets  -
* Crate Paper Blog shows you how to paint and turn into magnetic boards!
*cover with contact paper as an alternative
*Spray paint with chalkboard paint for a magnetic chalkboard!

Cereal Boxes -
*There's a hole in my bucket's super quick fix to turn into mail holder for fridge
Organizing Made Fun  has a collection of ideas (cut off the bottoms for drawer organization!)
*Cut off fronts, hole punch, and make into a book for your child to read.  
* stack, glue, cover with contact paper to reinforce.  Paper/mail sorter
*Don't waste that cardboard!  The fronts can be painted on for sturdier masterpieces, cut out letters or numbers for practice, tweens love to decoupage stuff from magazines, let them go for it on these!

Produce/Bakery baskets (clear plastic from store)  -
*Store clothes/accesories for a specific doll, now she has her own trunk!
*Great for small toy storage - squinkies, polly pockets
*Craft storage - markers, crayons, foam stickers, stamps,etc.
*Store puzzle pieces, affix picture to lid of what finished product should look like
* Refill with frozen cookie dough and give to a neighbor!

And those plastic cookie trays make awesome paint pallets.  You know what I mean, the ones that corral those sugary indulgences inside their packages? 

Medicine Bottles
*Organizing Home Life  turned one into a purse trash can!
*Mural Maker turned them (and every box and bottle in sight) into cute crafty storage!

Glue a rock on top, put a spare key in, and bury it! Original source here.

Popcorn tin 
*If you have some hanging around from Christmas, spray paint, label,  and use for dog food!

Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Turn empty tape dispenser rolls into napkin rings:

Crafting a Green World has  collection of 5 uses for coffee cans

Glass jars
50 (!) uses here by Stephanie Lynn

turn into salt and pepper shakers

Paint and turn into vases

Wrap them with beaded bracelets for a new look!

Decoupage them (just image inspiration, no tutorial)
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Save book pages instead of throwing away torn up books, and make them pretty!

Make a lantern

Try your hand at a little etching

Make your own oil lamp with some olive oil and a mop

Tin cans:
50 projects for tin cans compiled by Stephanie Lynn 

Paint those babies!

Make a magnetic play set

*Make some stilts

Cover them with vintage labels

Or let the kiddos make wind chimes

Wine bottles
10 Great uses from Apartment Therapy 
Save the corks  - make a trivet or corkboard

Drink caddy
Condiment/napkin/utensil holder (this one is a six pack box)
Homework station from Roots and Wings Co.
Eighteen 25 has a great gift wrap caddy!

Jar candles
Melt down the bits left and turn into a fabulous layered candle!

Or if you have a Scentsy warmer, you can make the bits into chunks for it!

Pop out the seal from the lid and you have pretty glass bowls!

Pretty storage/organization (I'm thinking cotton balls, q-tips in smaller ones)

If you have a Swiffer Wet Jet, no need to toss the cleaning dispenser.  You can get the lid off, and add your own cleaning solution

Tissue boxes
Store your plastic bags

Rubber band to a new box as a trash can for those runny nose nights or car trips
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Make some dinosaur feet

*Cover with contact paper to make a large dice.  Great for educational activities.  (Chalkboard contact paper would rock!!!)

Turn into a shoe to practice tying.  If your house is like mine, it might be the only shoe around your little kids that actually has laces!

Egg carton
Make a drawer organizer

* these are great for all sorts of sorting activities for little ones, too!
* practice numbers - write the number in the bottom, children have to place that many items (goldfish, pennies, pompoms, anything goes!)
*fine motor skills - give children small, age appropriate items like beads, pom-poms and have them pick up with tweezers/tongs and drop into carton

Zipper bags from sheets/pillowcases
Supplies for a project in progress

*Make a car first aid kit (no pic, haven't done it yet!)
* MOM supplies for car - pen, quarters, wipes, tissues, ponytail holders, gum/mints, ibuprofen, saline, notepad, safety pins, feminine products, hand sanitizer
* REAL Emergency kit for car - waterproof matches, protein bars,  flashlight, whistle, space blanket, emergency candles, glow sticks, hand warmers, duct tape, multi-tool
*Busy bag for car - fill with little things to keep kids busy - , crayons, stickers, small toys and games, etc.

Yogurt/Applesauce cups
*water for watercolors
*paint for painting
*mixing bowls for little ones' potions
*water fun - bath, outside, practice pouring into these, punch holes in bottom for extra fun
*holding bobby pins
*sand toys
* serving snacks for portion control - grapes, goldfish, fruit pieces, etc.
*dying Easter eggs
*start seedlings 
*sorting activities

Keep ketchup bottles and pour your pancake batter in them.  Great for making pancake shapes!

And finally, when an electronic item bites the dust, let the kids take it apart and see what's inside.  (If they didn't have a hand in it's demise, that is.  Wouldn't want to encourage breaking just so they can get their hands in it.  Not that my princesses would do that or anything.....)


  1. Lots of great ideas here (definitely had to pin). Thanks for including me in the list!

  2. Hi Taryn, thanks for featuring the shoelaces project :-) A lot of ideas for recycling stuff here. I'm pinning it!
    Agy, Green Issues

  3. Thanks for featuring my dinosaur feet! :) Great idea for a post. :)