11 Easy Ways To Repurpose Things Around The House

Why spend money or fill up the garbage can if you don’t have to? It’s no secret that we love to repurpose, and we actually got a note from a guy named Kenn with this fabulous image attached:


How great are these old cans turned pencil cups? A simple coat of paint is all that it takes to unify a bevvy of cans that you already have in your recycling bin- and they’d also make charming vases and could even corral spoons and forks at a casual gathering.

Inspired by the inbox eye candy, we put on our thinking caps to come up with some other normally-discarded items could be reimagined into something useful. We rarely have plastic bottles around the house (this one was left behind by a visitor) but anyone who does could make a charming little bud vase in a second:


And ten of them plus a tennis or nerf ball could create a fun DIY bowling set for any little ones in the house.

There are so may other objects that can be reused in a flash. Old egg cartons can come in handy for storing jewelry in a drawer or a cabinet (much like my ceramic egg crate “jewelry box”):


It could even work in a junk drawer to sort rubber bands, paperclips, push pins, and other small office supplies. Or in a garage or tool area to store nuts, bolts, screws, anchors, and nails. Gotta love 12 little compartments that work for almost anything (bobby pins and hair elastics… the possibilities are endless).

And we can’t forget one of our favorite repurposing solutions. Old wine and Pelegrino bottles become pretty decorative accents in a flash (especially after the mismatched labels are soaked and removed):


We’re also big fans of refilling things, like this gorgeous bottle of olive oil (a gift from one of our high-rolling friends from William’s Sonoma). We love to top it off each time it runs low. Anything to keep that pretty bottle on our kitchen counter:


We also plan to refill our Cucina soap and lotion set (a recent $32 purchase from Anthropologie). It wasn’t exactly dirt cheap, but not too bad when you consider you get soap, lotion, and a charming little ceramic dish that holds ’em both. And the fact that we can refill them with our favorite organic soap and lotion once they run out means we’ll have them sittin’ pretty near the kitchen sink forever:


And why stop there? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Cereal boxes covered with brown paper bags can become shipping boxes used for sending books and other small objects to friends and family members
  • Old plates and platters can be used under planters with drainage holes to catch any excess water and protect your furnishings and floors
  • Used coffee grounds and tea bags make great natural plant fertilizers- read more about that here
  • An empty plastic milk jug becomes a watering can with a few holes punched into the plastic cap
  • Your old magazines can be dropped off at local bookstores or hair salons (we easily found one willing to take our leftovers) who then give them away for free to other customers

Now it’s your turn! Tell us all about everything that you recycle, reuse and repurpose in your home. We can’t wait to hear how you guys make haste and not waste.

For more repurposing tips, check out this great post from TipNut and the comments left by our lovely (and very clever) readers.


  1. Christy says

    I actually did the bowling thing with my son & some friends last year! We used 16 oz bottles & a small basketball. The kids range from 5-10 & they had a blast. Our small street is a popular hang out for the kids. It’s good to see them playing outside rather than on the video games. :)

    You can also turn those old cereal boxes into cute magazine holders with some old wrapping paper.

  2. Lindsay says

    I try to use my cloth grocery bags at the store. However, sometimes I just forget. We re-use the plastic bags we end up getting as mini garbage bags for our bathroom waste baskets and we also use them when we clean the cat litter boxes.

  3. CWB says

    Fun post. :) Any tips for removing labels from bottles? My partner & I are getting into making our own bar condiments (bitters, cured fruits, etc.)and I’d like to be able to put correct labels on the bottles we re-use.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey CWB,

      We’ve had the most luck soaking bottles in soapy water for about 30 minutes and then just scrubbing the labels with a sponge until they come clean. As long as you let ’em soak for a bit they’re a lot easier to remove than they are when they’re dry. Hope it helps!


    • Betsy says

      Basically anything with oil in it will remove the gunk that is left behind by labels. Rub mineral oil, baby oil, olive oil, 10w40 etc onto the surface of the label and let it sit for a few hours. It should rub off within a few hours. If it’s a really thick label or it has a lot of glue on it, it might take a couple applications of oil to remove completely.

    • Bette says

      Try vegetable oil, it works very well, don’t use too much. Just put some an old piece of paper towel (We use paper towel but it gets many non-food reuses).

  4. misty says

    We live in a small town and are lucky to have a great little post office with some extra empty shelves. It is now the local book swap. You take the novel you just read, drop it off and get a new one. Also good for magazines!

    • Christine says

      A hospital near me has a similar thing going on near one of their waiting rooms, as does the local hospice and the retirement community my grandmother lives in.

      There are lots of places to drop off your used books and magazines. Magazines in particular can be dropped off in a waiting room once you are done with them.

  5. Courtney says

    We use old IBC root beer bottles with pour spouts picked up at Sur la Table for our salad dressing (olive oil and vinegar). We use a clear bottle for the olive oil and a brown bottle for the vinegar. We also use a clear IBC root beer bottle for our dish soap. Each time we buy new soap, we buy a different color that matches our kitchen.

  6. Christa says

    Don’t forget that you can also bring your shopping totes from the grocery store to any other place you’d shop – like the mall! No need to use plastic or paper bags there, either. Thanks for the other great tips!

  7. says

    I wish I had a pic to share, but at our old house I cleaned all the little quart containers of paint we had hanging around, spray painted them, soldered them together into a big square, mounted it on the wall, and used them for sorting papers, pens, and small computer things (small external harddrive, etc.). It was functional art if ever there was!

  8. Karisa says

    great post with great ideas! and i love the apple juice jars as vases. i save mine anytime i go to einstein bagels for that very purpose.

  9. Megan says

    Those darling apple juice jars are filled with Martinelli’s apple juice — you can buy a flat of them at CostCo. The bummer is that they are now plastic bottles — not the super-cute glass!

  10. says

    Also wanted to add that instead of buying all of your spices in those plastic bottles, buy them in bulk from a local grocer, buy little glass bottles (IKEA has them, in addition to a million other places), make your own labels, and voila!–no more useless plastic bottles filling up landfills.

    And you get to be creative with your own labels. Right up my alley anyway!

  11. says

    Great minds think alike! I love all the household tips used from everyday items. We also keep all our bottles as well; great for displays and memories. I think the egg crate is the most useful object!

  12. Jamie says

    I could go on for days about reusing stuff for arts and crafts and various games at the summer camp where I work. Toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, tennis ball tubes, strawberry baskets, packing peanuts, plastic bottles, you name it.

  13. Laura says

    Not that you need this, Sherry!
    But, I was listening to Beauty Talk w/Eva Scrivo and she said that only 1 teaspoon of used coffee grounds, mixed with your favorite moisturizer, works better as a cellulite treatment than any product on the market. Cool, huh?

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