Advertise with us!

New uses for everyday items

By on March 6, 2009

photo by Ken Lawver
It seems a shame to throw some things away. There’s that hesitation before it hits the trash can. Maybe you think of a second use and keep it, but if you can’t think of a way to reuse it, out it goes. One reader, Patty A. in Utah, says: “I took an old denim jumper that my youngest daughter had when she was little and sewed the bottom shut. I hung it in the closet to use as a catchall for the little things like gloves, scarves and belts. Then I used another from my other daughter and used it to hold socks. I use an old hanging diaper holder in the kitchen to hold grocery bags. And themed hand towels (my kitchen is chickens) folded over my curtain rod and pinned in place on top with old-time clothespins make great curtains.”

Do you have anything you save to reuse? Or something you’ve transformed from trash to treasure?

Here are a few ideas.

PLASTIC TO-GO CUPS: The dome-topped plastic cups from 7-Eleven or Starbucks can be used as no-spill paint holders for kids. Pour paints into the cups, and brushes can rest on a slant inside. You can wash the cups and fill them with 4 rolled/folded fat quarters, add a straw and give a gift of fabric mocha or smoothie. Can make similar with a skein of yarn and use hooks/needles as straws, too.

LIDS: Plastic containers and jar lids can be used in the pantry underneath honey, corn syrup, oil, etc., to prevent sticky messes.

TISSUE BOX: Put one in your car to use as a mini trash container or a place to stash extra takeout napkins. Or use it as a cotton-ball holder in the bathroom or in the laundry room for dryer lint.

SNEAKERS: Many people use old shoes in the garden as planters. You can recycle them, too. Nike recycles athletic shoes (any brand) into Nike Grind, which is used for playground surfaces and Nike products. Visit for details on shoe drop-off center locations; you can also mail sneakers to Nike Recycling Center, c/o Reuse-a-Shoe, 26755 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville, OR 97070.

PLATE RACKS: You don’t have to use them to display decorative plates. Use them to hold mail, books, Tupperware lids, paper plates and potholders.

STUFFED ANIMALS: Cut an opening and remove some stuffing. Insert a container such as a small peanut-butter jar or water bottle to hide treasures such as money or jewelry, or nix the container and simply place items such as a diary directly inside. You can sew in a zipper, use Velcro, or dress the plush animal to hide the opening. Or cut one in half across the tummy, and sew the head and upper body on one half of a scarf (an existing one or make your own from fleece) and the lower body and tail on the other half.

WINEGLASS: Turn a wineglass upside down and use the base to hold a small pillar candle. Or balance a votive holder on top. You can decorate the stem with ribbon or fabric, too.

CHOCOLATE BOX: Save one and use it to hold cards from loved ones or children’s school Valentines. Or use it as a gift box for someone else. You can add mini molded soaps to each compartment. Remove the compartment, and simply wrap small individual gifts, such as teas or cookies, in tissue paper. Visit for an adorable photo frame made from a heart-shaped chocolate box.


  1. mrmushroom

    3/7/2009 at 8:34 pm

    Very good ideas especially the iuse of the dungarees. But I won’t cut open my friends the mushrooms and theirfriends !! good

  2. Pingback: The Frugal 5 part Deux! | Semi Frugal Guy

  3. Barbara

    7/17/2009 at 2:06 am

    Use an old mailbox in backyard to store hand garden tools in so you don’t have to go back to the garage all the time.

  4. Pingback: New Uses for Common Everyday Items

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *