Ten Household Hacks To Repurpose Things You Already Own
When it comes right down to it, we all want to save money. There aren’t many people in this world who are given the choice between the same item selling for $10 and $20 at two different stores and opt for the $20 item.
That said, when it comes to saving money, sometimes it isn’t about finding the best savings. It is about repurposing the items that you already have in order to put them to good use. Save a little in the process and have some fun turning one thing into another.
When you reuse household items that you already have instead of buying new, you extend the life of your possessions, save money, and help the environment by throwing out less. Here are ten ideas for items you won’t have to buy because you can repurpose things you already have.
Instead of buying candle holders…
Pretend your home is an Italian restaurant: Use old wine bottles to hold your taper candles, and enjoy the rustic look! (Bonus: Save that wine cork, too – you can use it to hold small pins or use in kids’ crafts later.)
If wine bottles aren’t your thing, go to the local Dollar store and buy a mirror or two. Depending on the size of your candles, you should be able to light the candle, drip a little wax onto a tiny section of the mirror, and stick your candle to it. You won’t want to do this for very skinny candles, but it works well for anything that has a bit of a larger base.
Instead of buying a cherry or strawberry pitter…
You may have never thought about it, but why not try using a drinking straw to pit small fruit like cherries and strawberries? You may already have straws in your cabinet, but if you don’t, reserve the ones you get from any fast food meals.
To make the swap: Place the tip of your straw at the top of a small piece of fruit and use it to push the pit or core out the other end. It will leave a small hole, the same way a regular pitter would – but you won’t have to spend the money!
Instead of buying drawer & cabinet organizers…
Look around your home for any smaller containers that you can repurpose into organizers for your drawers, cabinets, and kids’ rooms. Would that ice cube tray hold push pins, paper clips, stamps, binder clips, and other small office supplies? Would old mismatched tea cups make pretty jewelry organizers? Could a small oatmeal or coffee can (wrapped in pretty paper!) help you store headbands around the outside?
Consider anything from plastic containers that you get with deli meat (well washed!), to baby food jars, to a loaf pan or muffin tin – it all has organizing potential, you just have to see it!
Instead of buying ice packs for lunches…
Make your own ice packs! Simply freeze a clean wet sponge overnight, put it in a Ziploc bag in the morning, and place it in your child’s or your own lunch box. (This also works great for the zoo or other outdoor trips with kids, where the thawed sponge can do double duty in wiping down an outdoor table before you eat.)
If you plan to make this a household staple, go out and purchase a few brand new sponges at the Dollar store for this purpose. You should be able to get multi-packs of cheap sponges for $1, which is really all you need!
Instead of buying disposable dusters…
Reach for a dryer sheet the next time you need to dust your baseboards, fireplace mantel, blinds, book shelves or window sills. Dryer sheets are designed to attract lint and small dirt particles. They are way more cost effective than buying a single-purpose duster kit and should give you the same result.
Don’t forget that you can also use a basic rag for dusting. I know that many of us have gotten used to the gadgets of the day, but our grandparents and their parents used a soft cloth with a little water. If you have a microfiber cloth that you can use for this purpose, even better, but you don’t have to keep replacing your disposable duster product when you may already have items that are just as good.
Instead of buying (as many) paper towels…
You may not think about it in the moment, but there are ways to significantly decrease your need for paper towels. Use stained or worn out tees as cleaning rags instead of reaching for a fresh paper towel every time you need to wipe down the table. Do the same for spills or drips on the kitchen counter. Soft, well-worn t-shirts also work well to polish furniture, wipe down counters, and dust blinds.
Grab a few of these shirts (ideally after they’ve gone through the laundry) and cut them into manageable squares or pieces. Store some in the kitchen and others with the cleaning supplies. If you can, stash the paper towels away in the same cabinet so that you have to actually make a decision about which to use each time rather than grabbing a paper towel out of habit.
Instead of buying pet toys…
Make your own pet toys with old socks! Take one of those mismatched socks that always seem to come out of the dryer, add a little catnip or a tennis ball, then tie up the top with a knot. It couldn’t be easier – and it’s hours of fun for your furbaby!
Instead of buying a seed starter tray in the spring…
A cardboard egg carton is a great place to germinate seedlings indoors. Just poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup for drainage, fill each section with potting soil and seed, and set the bottom of the egg carton in its own lid to catch any loose soil and water.
Instead of buying small garbage bags…
Instead of buying tiny garbage bags to line your bathroom trash cans or dispose of cat litter, simply reuse the plastic shopping bags you get from your local grocery store and give them a second lease on life.
These bags are not as easily recycled (most cities don’t allow you to place them in the blue recycling bins), so whether you typically use cloth bags for shopping or not, we all end up with these bags here and there. Stash them in the bottom of the garbage can itself so that you can easily replace the old one when it is full.
Instead of buying wrapping paper…
There are lots of options to use instead of having to go out and spend money on wrapping paper. Why not use the colorful comics from the Sunday paper to wrap your next gift? Even better, ask your child to draw a few pictures and use those to wrap the gift for a more personal touch.
Is the present for someone in your household? My family has a tradition of using either pillow cases or hiding gifts under pillows on the couch. If you turn it into a bit of a game, there’s no need for actual wrapping. Just use what you have already!
After reading these ten ideas on how to get started repurposing items you already own, try looking at all of your household items with a new eye. See what you can reuse and upcycle into something even more useful. This will have you saving money and space rather than buying. Plus, you can feel good about both your own DIY skills and the environment while doing it! What are your own favorite ways to reuse and repurpose common household items? Please chime in! We can all use more suggestions!