New is nice but recycled can feel better and save you time and money. Many materials are incredibly resilient to the test of time and can be reused. As you go on that mission to declutter your home, consider this: not everything has to be tossed or donated. Like the kettle-turned-flowerpot in the picture to the side, many pieces can be saved to have new uses.
Just keep one thing in mind: if you don’t have a use for an item right away, don’t keep it. Saving things for unknown future uses is how clutter stacks up in the first place! As you evaluate each item, ask yourself, “Can I use this right now? Do I have an immediate, specific purpose for it?” If yes, go ahead and use it! If not, add it to your donation bin.
With that said, here are some ideas for upcycling old items:
1. Turn an old blanket into an eye-catching accessory. Old blankets can begin to clutter by stacking up in corner of the room or taking up valuable ‘real estate’ on the closet shelf. Use these hearty pieces of material to reupholster a tired-looking ottoman or to make an assortment of throw pillows. But if you aren’t handy at the sewing machine and don’t know someone who is, these may be better off going to families who are in need and also many animal shelters and veterinarian clinics will take your old blankets and towels.
2. Glass jars are great for organizing. Whether you need a container for buttons, money or screws, a glass jar can do the job. No need to head to the store to buy containers! An old spaghetti sauce jar is just the right size for keeping tea bags fresh or for storing leftovers.
3. Ceramic soap dishes can be tiny, decorative organizers. That ceramic soap dish once served a purpose in your bath. However, times have changed and this piece of decor has been replaced with liquid soap containers. Repurpose an interesting dish for holding keys near the door, earrings and rings beside your bed, or books of matches beside the fireplace.
4. Plastic gardening pots can help you organize your shed. Organizing a garden shed or porch often means collecting old plastic gardening pots. Use these to sort and store tools, fertilizer, and other outdoor implements. Save a few for collecting and rinsing vegetables from the garden. If you still have some left over, take them to your local garden center. They will appreciate your donation and possibly saving them some money as well.
5. Scrap wood is natural and artistic. When you discover a piece of wood on a declutter mission, hold it up and consider the possibilities. There are countless areas in a home that can stand a note board or a towel rack. A simple piece of wood can aid in organizing almost any area and can look great. If the wood piece is rotting or moldy, or you can’t think of any creative use for it, toss it out.
6. Brighten up a home office with scraps of old wallpaper. Are you an arts-and-crafts kind of person? Leftover wallpaper does not have to be trashed. The prints can liven up pencil holders, hanging file folders or doors on bland cabinets. The prints will add a little comfort and beauty in your work day.
7. Ice buckets make a brilliant come back. If you find an ice bucket among the cabinet clutter, put it to good use. Depending on the size, a small ice bucket can come in handy as a counter top compost bin or a catch-all for a child’s room. Use as a decorative planter for household herbs or flowers, as ice buckets are designed to hold water.
Too much clutter can make a home look small, dull and jumbled. However, not everything needs to head to the landfill or the donation center. With a little imagination, recycled and repurposed items can take on a whole new life of their own.