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Rescue and reuse your stuff

By on May 20, 2011

Don’t buy new if you have something that works just as well. Often, you can repurpose an item and produce a unique and stylish piece to add to your wardrobe or decor. What have you turned from trash to treasure in your home? What do you have that you’re using differently than was originally intended? The following tips share some ideas to go from drab to fab.



I buy all of my clothing from thrift shops, garage sales and clothing giveaways. Whenever I see a hole or the stain will not come out, I just use an fabric paint/iron-on to cover up. With some of the iron-on, I used the left over patch to decorate my handmade cards. Two for one. — Jet, e-mail


I keep a fancy glass flower vase on the end table by the couch for little bits of trash. I don’t have any place else for trash there, and I use it to throw stuff like thread I’ve ripped out, candy wrappers, and little stuff like that. When it gets full I just empty it in the bigger trash can in the kitchen. It looks nice and works great, and now I don’t have this little collection of crud on the end table anymore.

I love fridge drawers because they come in sizes that often fit where storage containers won’t, they’re sturdy, they’re easy to clean, they always have a handle on one end and a rim on the other that works as a handle. And they’re free. Sometimes I pick up enamel ones, which are sturdy and work great for storage of heavy items in the garage. I use plastic veggie drawers from fridges under the front seats of our van and truck to hold hand wipes, Kleenex and other little items. They make handy little drawers there for all kinds of things.

I bought a cat-shaped cookie jar missing its lid and use it as a planter to grow cat grass. — Rae, Minnesota


I re-used an old bath towel to make a bath mat for when we get out of the shower/bath. We didn’t have one and I didn’t want to spend money on one. I topped it with blue crushed panne velour, then put the towel inside to absorb the water and a dark brown fleece on the bottom to hold the moisture in so it doesn’t leave a sopping mess on the floor. It’s so much cozier on my feet than a store-bought one. — Tiffany, Canada


We have a half bath in our new home that doesn’t have a linen closet in it. We had an old, but very good condition, VHS tape cabinet. It was the perfect size for the half bath. I keep rolls of toilet paper, Lysol, paper towels, etc., in it. It has solid doors on it so everything is neatly hidden away. — Lisa, Georgia


One of the coolest things I’ve ever repurposed was an old childhood sled. We refinished it and hung it upside down, widened out the slats and made a wine glass holder out of it. Always, people walk right to it and comment on it. It’s one of my favorite things at my cabin, not just because it was mine when I was small, but the fact that my husband went to all that trouble to make it into something that I enjoy even today. — Kathie F., Washington

photo by sundaykofax

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