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re-purposing items.

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
I'm curious how many forum member re-purpose items in their home rather then just throw them away. What ideas can you share!?The more unusual the better!!!
1-I do take old silk screen or concert tee-shirts that are ready for the trash and cut out the front panel with the design and make them into hand towels, frame them or even have made them into pillows for the family room.The back panel is put into the rag drawer to be used for cleaning. Friends always want to take them home and are conversation starters with guests.I do the same with old Hawaiian print shirts. Old colorful squares of fabric look great framed.
2-Grandpa's watch chain is worn as a neck chain or wrapped around my wrist.
3-The plastic sleeve from new papers are saved to be worn over hands when putting gas in car,mixing paint,working with oil, or scrapping ice off car in the winter etc. Also great to use when walking the dog .Better then buying expensive rubber gloves or bags.And they can be recycled.
4- cut and use cereal boxes as backing when framing pictures or cards. keeps them from bending when framing.Can also be used when sending photos or cards in the mail so they don't bend.
What are your ideas for the forum?!
 

dragonfly411

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
7,378
1) old shirts, or towels make good work rags
2)Milk jugs are great for starting young plants/seeds in
3)lemon juice as a stain remover
4)half water bottles are fun to put fresh picked wild flowers in to set in the windows
5)horse manure as a fertilizer
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Oooh, fun thread!

We reuse plastic bottles as kitty kibble dispensers. We cut a couple tiny holes in the bottle and put a handful of kibble in it and then the boys roll it around the house to get the kibble to come out. We do this because they get so hungry that they wake DH at 5 AM to eat, so their nighttime kibble toys give DH an extra hour or two in the morning.

I repurpose a lot of the clothes we no longer wear. I wash wool sweaters until they're felted and then I sew them into stuffed animals for the kiddos in the family. I take cute buttons and reuse them. Sometimes I add embellishments to old cardigans and then I want to wear them again.

I repurpose glass jars a lot, usually to hold little things like nails for DH or ponytail holders for me.

I always save tissue paper and flatten it out to reuse in a gift bag.
 

wannaBMrsH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
1,049
- old Crown Royal velvet bags become jewelry bags for me
- when we order items online, sometimes they have those airbags in the packing to keep things from moving around, I use those to stuff my handbags while in storage so that they don't lose their shape
- I also use cereal and other cardboard boxes when mailing photos to keep them from bending
- someone gave us a bunch of scrapbooking tools and LOTS of scrapbooking paper...we don't scrapbook...I framed some of the paper because it was interesting, I've used other pieces as gift wrap, and yet others as mats for framing photos.
- I've used old table runners on top of damaged dresser drawers. I cut the center (faded and worn area) and restitched together to fit our dresser that unfortunately had water stains...sometimes I wish my husband loved coasters as much as Haven's does!
- We also use newspaper as wrapping paper (it's a family tradition of DH's)
- I use old office drawer separators to store jewelry at home.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
I love remaking furniture. I get things from friends or junk days around town and make them into what I want.

I've remade a buffet into an entertainment center.
I've remade a sewing cabinet into an end table with storage.
I've remade plant stands into candle stands.
I've remade old crown molding into shelves.
I've remade a large entertainment center into an entertainment center for a flat panel tv.
I've remade a cabinet and extra pieces into a buffet with hutch.
I've remade doors into tables.


I'm currently working on making a swinging baby gate on spring loaded two-way hinges out of an old door.

I take large stones from the creek and river and use them as landscaping rocks in my yard.

I reuse any fabric I get my hands on for various things-- curtains, decorations, napkins, etc. We don't often use paper napkins so I have tons of cloth ones.

I reuse tissue paper from gifts. The good stuff is reused for more gifts, the wrinkled becomes paper mache.

I reuse old calendars as pictures and frame them. I change them out with Holidays and seasons.


All the greeting cards we receive have their fronts torn off and they're put in the craft box. They become pictures, decorations, cards, gift tags, etc.

Basically anything that can be used for any crafting is saved. Broken or orphaned shoe strings, spare buttons, scraps of fabric or ribbon.



I really live by the motto Waste Not Want Not.
 

kristi2011

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
Messages
64
Ahhhh I'm glad to find that a few of you reused tissue paper too. I do the same thing and my fiance always make fun of me. I also saved gift boxes, ribbons and reuse it later.

Kleenex boxes- I used them as storage. I put all my groceries plastic bags in it and then reuse the the plastic later too as well.
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
I like to use old socks for dusting. Just put the sock on your hand, and it's much easier than a rag. (I use a swiffer for dusting, and the sock for polishing with pledge).

I painted a chalkboard on one of my cupboard doors, so I can write my grocery list, dinner menu, or recipes on it while I work for easy access, and then i can take a picture before I go grocery shopping.

I love antique printer's trays, and I'm using one for jewelry storage.

I've been known to write my to-do list on the glass table top in the dining room, permanent marker stays on well when you want it to, and washes off pretty easily as needed.

I have small ceramic flower pots to store both change and my acrylic paints. They look nice, and are more durable than baskets/etc.
 

Loves Vintage

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
4,563
This is a great thread!!

Haven - When you've made stuffed animals, did you follow a particular pattern or instructions (perhaps something on-line?) I've been keeping old sweaters for this purpose, but haven't actually sewn anything yet! I haven't had much luck finding good instructions on-line.

SS - Do you have any photos? Will your baby gate be made from a screen door? I'm intrigued! I'd love to see pictures of the tables made from old doors . . . .

****
AFM:

I always use the old sock trick for dusting. We've re-purposed a bunch of furniture from around the house for our nursery, including an Ikea dresser, which is now a cute pink dresser for the baby, and an old pine table (a dumpster-dove treasure from years ago) that we also painted pink, which is now baby's changing table!
 

Loves Vintage

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
4,563
Oh, and I plan to do this, with some fabric (that I don't have yet.) I don't have the embroidery circles yet either, so it's not quite re-purposing, but it's such a great idea. I thought others might like it too. :wavey:

fabric embroidery circle wall art.JPG
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
17,930
Awesome thread! I am a huge proponent of reduce/reuse/recycle. The ideas here are GREAT! I love the sock/dustrag one...I am always wondering wth to do with "fashion" socks that have lost their mates (not plain socks but the cute ones that somehow get sucked into oblivion that I always think will turn up at some point but never do).

I think we PSr's are ALL great at recycling jewelry!

I may or may not know someone who has recycled old (before 1982) pennies by having them melted down for the copper value...a penny saved has the potential to be about 3x (give or take) the--well, you know.

A lot of people in my town recycle egg cartons and give them to locals who keep chickens and sell their eggs...

We save six-pack beer bottle carriers and use them for BYOB nights.
Denim jeans--all sorts of projects! I've made dog beds, dog toys, throw pillows, patched old jeans with them.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
My husband keeps hanging on to dozens of old band shirts that don't fit him. They totally need re-purposing. Actually I was happy I found a real gem to wear to last Friday's "80's night" party.

I wrap gifts in newspaper...preferably the comics. We also always saved it to start fires. Dryer lint is also great for starting fires. I'm living in Tanzania where EVERYTHING gets repurposed so I don't stress so much about throwing things out because I know there are actually people who make their meager living re-purposing trash collected here.
 

Trekkie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
1,307
kelpie|1305547362|2922904 said:
My husband keeps hanging on to dozens of old band shirts that don't fit him. They totally need re-purposing. Actually I was happy I found a real gem to wear to last Friday's "80's night" party.

I wrap gifts in newspaper...preferably the comics. We also always saved it to start fires. Dryer lint is also great for starting fires. I'm living in Tanzania where EVERYTHING gets repurposed so I don't stress so much about throwing things out because I know there are actually people who make their meager living re-purposing trash collected here.
Yup, one of the joys of living in Africa. The moment you put out the rubbish, someone is there to collect it.

You haven't really lived until you've seen 2 grown men fighting for the contents of a binbag. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

We don't really re-purpose anything except glass containers. My FI takes those to work and stores fish in them. Freaks me out to see eels in my coffee containers, but oh well.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Whoa, what kind of work involves storing eels? Petshop? Sushi Chef? I am intrigued
 

Trekkie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
1,307
kelpie|1305554289|2922970 said:
Whoa, what kind of work involves storing eels? Petshop? Sushi Chef? I am intrigued
No, nothing that exciting. He's a research scientist. He studies creepy things that live in water. Freaks me out but makes him happy. Oh, well.

I don't mean to threadjack (any further) but I'd really love it he at some point you could start a thread sharing your experiences of living in Africa. No pressure, but I'd find it fascinating and I'm sure many other PSers would, too.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
im sure everyone knows this one,but Ive been saving the little bottles medications come in(i ask friends and family to save them for me)and i take off the labels and re-purpose them as containers for beads and jewelry bench work materials,also when i travel i use them for toiletries. I collect same size and color so they match like sets and have seen these exact containers for sale at craft and supple stores for a few dollars each!I also go to the dollar store and buy cheap spices that have the flip top on them.When the spice is used up i keep the container and fill it with better quality bulk spice.The containers i collect are the same so it looks like a set and are east to store. i also save egg cartons for some friends who have chickens and when i bring over the cartons they supply me with free eggs.
 

lbbaber

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
Messages
691
Trekkie|1305565288|2923120 said:
kelpie|1305554289|2922970 said:
Whoa, what kind of work involves storing eels? Petshop? Sushi Chef? I am intrigued
No, nothing that exciting. He's a research scientist. He studies creepy things that live in water. Freaks me out but makes him happy. Oh, well.

I don't mean to threadjack (any further) but I'd really love it he at some point you could start a thread sharing your experiences of living in Africa. No pressure, but I'd find it fascinating and I'm sure many other PSers would, too.
Trekkie, Nothing that exciting?? How fascinating it is to be a Research Scientist!! What a cool job. I wish my SO was that interesting :lol: Not to thread jack, but I just had to say that.

Great topic! I hope it continues (even though I have nothing to add :(sad ) I love to hear the different ideas.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Trekkie|1305565288|2923120 said:
kelpie|1305554289|2922970 said:
Whoa, what kind of work involves storing eels? Petshop? Sushi Chef? I am intrigued
No, nothing that exciting. He's a research scientist. He studies creepy things that live in water. Freaks me out but makes him happy. Oh, well.

I don't mean to threadjack (any further) but I'd really love it he at some point you could start a thread sharing your experiences of living in Africa. No pressure, but I'd find it fascinating and I'm sure many other PSers would, too.
That sounds like a fascinating job! i'll work on collecting my thoughts for a post of Africa though I worry I'll bore you. I didn't even have a passport before I came here so it is a total hillbilly American perspective. All the South Africans here say they don't consider SA "Africa" and that Capetown is the best place on earth! I can't wait to go as I am seriously craving a "first world" experience. I did eat at Spur tonight which was hilarious...a total outsider perspective on someone's idea of the American west.
 

artdecogirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
1,142
One of my favorite subjects! I love the idea of reusing and recycle, We do alot of things many have already mentioned but one of my most exciting projects I have been working on for awhile and it has taken some effort :naughty:
I am saving wine corks to make a table with, I almost have enough for a pretty sizable table, it will be round with the corks upright glued to a wood base with some sort of trim around the edges. I have not decided what to make the legs out of yet, I thought about a wine barrel but not quite the look I am going for so I have been perusing the thrift stores for a old table base of some sort to use. Some friends and family who have heard what I am doing offered to save corks for me but I declined, I would like it to be through only dh and my own efforts, we all must give a little for the enviroment, right? :praise:
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Artdecogirl- That sounds so cool! In my family we make desks by putting table tops on antique treadle sewing machines. You sometimes find them at flea markets and the like but we found a few in an old barn.

IMG_5773_thumb[3].jpg
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
21,161
HI:

Fabu suggestions! I am afraid I am not very creative: I keep old shirts--and wear them as PJ's tops. When they get TOO worn out for sleep then they are used for polishing tires, shoes, outdoor rags. And I never throw out rubber gloves singles--the right hand always gets wrecked long before the left--so I just wear a two lefts around the house to clean.... Odd wine glasses are used for vases.

cheers--Sharon
 

April20

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
3,312
kelpie|1305575202|2923288 said:
Trekkie|1305565288|2923120 said:
kelpie|1305554289|2922970 said:
Whoa, what kind of work involves storing eels? Petshop? Sushi Chef? I am intrigued
No, nothing that exciting. He's a research scientist. He studies creepy things that live in water. Freaks me out but makes him happy. Oh, well.

I don't mean to threadjack (any further) but I'd really love it he at some point you could start a thread sharing your experiences of living in Africa. No pressure, but I'd find it fascinating and I'm sure many other PSers would, too.
That sounds like a fascinating job! i'll work on collecting my thoughts for a post of Africa though I worry I'll bore you. I didn't even have a passport before I came here so it is a total hillbilly American perspective. All the South Africans here say they don't consider SA "Africa" and that Capetown is the best place on earth! I can't wait to go as I am seriously craving a "first world" experience. I did eat at Spur tonight which was hilarious...a total outsider perspective on someone's idea of the American west.
Latching on to the threadjack, I would love to see a seperate thread on living in Africa/South Africa. I'm leaving in two weeks for three months (and possibly longer) in South Africa and I have NO real idea of what to expect! I'd love some insight from people there currently!
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
kelpie|1305581359|2923404 said:
Artdecogirl- That sounds so cool! In my family we make desks by putting table tops on antique treadle sewing machines. You sometimes find them at flea markets and the like but we found a few in an old barn.
That's what my FMIL's kitchen table is! I think it's really cool. Plus, I obsessively pedal it when we sit at the table, haha. I don't know why, but it makes me happy to make the thing spin.
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
kelpie|1305581359|2923404 said:
Artdecogirl- That sounds so cool! In my family we make desks by putting table tops on antique treadle sewing machines. You sometimes find them at flea markets and the like but we found a few in an old barn.

This is a beautiful table!! Thank you for the idea, I'm on the hunt for one of these now :)
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
LV~ I don't take before and after photos. And I usually give the stuff away. The baby gate will be made from a regular interior 6-panel door. Flipped upside down and cut at a height that JT will be able to unlatch the lock but Lily won't be able to reach it for a while. I'll take a pic when it's done. Currently it's on hold due to the loss of my work area in the garage. Hopefully DH will get his crap outta my way! I hope to get it done this weekend. The door tables have been done for a long time. If you google "table made from door" you'll find tons of images. I wish I could take credit for that great idea, but I just copied it. There's an image of a door on a treadle base too!
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
i was telling a friend about this thread and she thought it was unusual that i take the brown wrapping paper used for mailing packages and use it to stuff in my shoes and brief cases to keep their shape after using them.I have shoes tree for my dress shoes but stuffing running shoes as well as casual leather shoes with paper after wearing them keeps the toes from curling upward.Its great if you get the shoes or bags wet. I used to work in a store that received dozens of mailed boxes a week and i asked if i could bring home the huge amount of perfect brown wrapping paper manufactures use to stuff boxes with which is fairly expensive to buy by the roll. Am i the only one who does this?
 

artdecogirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
1,142
Kelpie, This is perfect, I should have thought of that!!!! I have a old sewing machine that we got at a garage sale I think years ago that had a potted plant sitting on top and it got wet and rotted the wood and I always thought I would refinish it but now I will just use the base instead, excellent idea, Thanks!
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Messages
6,490
My husband has an unspoken motto that he will never actually get rid of anything.
We use bandanas for napkins
paper bags for bacon/sausage.
the towel bar we removed for our bathroom remodel is now screwed on our back porch and used for drying clothes/towels
Wooden boxes for tables (now relegated to porches).
Any furniture I want him to get rid of my husband squirrels away for some other use; a metal clothes dresser now put in our back porch and used for storing tools and other items. A 2 drawer wooden chest now stores comics. Old clothes rack up in attic hangs costumes and sentimental clothing. A hutch parents in law gave us now in kitchen, storing appliances in lower section, and snacks in upper section. Canning jars used for all sorts of stuff (nuts, popcorn, flours, pretzels, etc). Large canning jars for vases. Mason jars for big glasses, jelly jars for small (kid's) glasses.
A wine rack somehow ended up in our backyard, with various items such as old coffee kettles, white enamel teapots hanging from it and used as flower planters, and small garden tools stored in lower section. the whole thing is getting pretty rusty though so I'm going to make him get rid of it.
We collect river rocks and use them in landscaping, shells collected on the beach as accents.
Longest time a wooden door on two horses in the backyard was his work area.
He made his own light box with wood, plexi glass, and a florescent tube light.

Even some random piece of round metal (maybe part of a wheel) I was surely you are going to throw that out! Nope. He pored some concrete into it and embedded a bunch of colored glass pieces he previously scavenged into it, and now it's a table top.

He finds old illustrated books and magazines and also food labels and makes art out of them (collages that tell stories).

I'm glad he is creative but I do wish we can do some decluttering.
 
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