Don’t Toss Them, Reuse Them

Every day we go through any number of simple things and toss them in the trash. But often there are good uses they can be put to. Many household items can be used in ways they weren’t originally made for, helping you save money, spruce up the house and more.

Take the lowly egg carton, for example. You can use it to start your own miniature garden. You can also use the sections to separate and freeze cookie dough, meatballs and other comfort foods that are perfect to make ahead and eat the next day.

Old socks can have a useful life. If the washer ate a mate, or a hole popped up for your big toe, here are a couple of new uses. Turn your old sock into a brand new toy that your pet might actually play with. Put a tennis ball inside the sock to create a toy for your dog or sew it closed with some catnip for your cat.

Old T-shirts can be cut to make great dsting or cleaning rags.

Shoe boxes have creative uses. Use them to keep important papers and documents organized, or as extra storage for your childhood and family photos. They can easily be labeled.

Jars are very versatile. Use jars as glassware or for food canning. You can also use one to organize your desk by placing pens or makeup brushes in it. If you need a holder for your toothbrush or toothpaste in the bathroom, use a jar.

The empty tissue box can be used to hold and organize plastic bags or trash bags. You can easily tuck it away under the sink or beside the trash can to make it easier to quickly switch out a full bag.

Wine bottles can hold some beautiful fragrant flowers to brighten the room at the center of your dinner table, windowsill or kitchen counter.

Cereal boxes can be cut at an angle to make great holders for keeping important documents and papers. Instead of just throwing your mail anywhere, you can stay organized by placing it in Cap’n Crunch’s former home.

Old dresser drawers can be used under the bed for towels and other things even after you replace the dresser. If you’re really crafty, you can turn it into shelving on your wall to hold plants or make it into a brand new bookshelf.

Mugs tend to accumulate over the years and pick up stains from coffee and other drinks. You can use the old mug with your college mascot on it to finally organize your messy office and place your pens and pencils inside. Or organize all of your makeup brushes with the souvenir mug you bought to commemorate surviving that family trip. You can also use it to plant your favorite flower and place it right next to your window to get plenty of sunshine.

Sandwich bags aren’t just for school lunches. You can use the household staple as a piping bag for decorating delicious delights. Decorate cupcakes, cakes and other sweets just like the best dessert shops in the country.

Paper towel rolls can be used to organize your cell phone cords or TV wires. Are you tired of seeing your cords tied together in a bunch? Just put them through the roll to keep them untangled.

Old newspapers and magazines can be crinkled up and used them inside a package box before shipping it. The paper will make a great cushion for fragile items. If you’re in the process of moving, save money on supplies by using the papers to wrap your fragile glassware.

Plastic or paper shopping bags can be used as trash bags for your smaller bins throughout the house. You can also separate your recyclables with them.

If you’re eating apples or other fruits that are in season, they most likely will have seeds that would make a perfect personal project for any rookie gardener. Take your old jar or egg carton, fill it with some dirt and plant your seeds.

Old dryer sheets can make excellent dust rags to pick up dust mites under your table or pet hair all over your couch.

You should change out your toothbrush often, but there are ways to reuse that old one, too. Toothbrushes are great to help clean difficult, hard-to-reach places in your bathroom such as underneath the fixtures on faucets and more of the dirtiest places in your home.

An old pillowcase might help keep your closet full of sheets and other pillowcases organized. If you have matching sets, you can stuff your folded bedsheets, linen or other pillowcases inside. You can also use it as a homemade Halloween bag to collect some of the most popular Halloween candies.

A lazy susan can be a great way to organize your kitchen cabinets after you ditch it for a fancy new spice rack. Don’t struggle with searching for a sponge or a spray bottle that disappeared in the back of the cabinet. Place the lazy susan underneath the sink cabinet and all of the important supplies on top of it. Spin it around and find anything you need.

If you have an old bar cart that you barely use anymore why not find a new purpose for it? You can make it into a new bedside table or even turn it into a bookcase.

Bread tags can help organize the cords behind your TV. They can be written on to add labels, too.

So you redid your kitchen and the old paper-towel holder just doesn’t have a home anymore. Well, it turns out it can hold more than paper towels. Move it into the closet to stack and organize bracelets or necklaces, or keep it in the kitchen and put a trash bag roll on it for easy trash swaps.

Does your cereal quickly go stale a few days after opening it? Use an old clothespin to keep the package closed and fresh every time you open it to eat it. An old clothespin can make a great clip to close a chip bag or any of your favorite snack foods when you’re done with them.

Clear Out Outdated, Unused Items

Brighten your mood by clearing out the clutter in your home. Make it a once-a-month routine.

1. Old magazines – You aren’t going to read the old magazines you have lying around, so clear them out. You can donate your magazines to child care centers and nursing homes. If there’s an article that really speaks to you, scan a digital image of it and keep it in your computer. Or keep a folder of magazine clippings if you like saving magazine articles.

2. Receipts, bills, and documents – Throw away receipts for items that you aren’t planning on returning, and ones that you won’t need to use come tax time.

3. Clothes – Use the two-year-rule for clothes – get rid of apparel that you haven’t worn in two years. Sell them to a thrift store (find a thrift store at or donate them to the needy.

4. Books – Go through your bookshelf and gather together books you haven’t touched in months and ones that you aren’t planning on rereading. Be realistic and make sure you’re ruthless. If you haven’t touched it in a year, you’re most likely not going to read it again. Donate the books or sell them on Amazon, Craigslist or eBay. You can even trade them for something else on

5. Medicine and vitamins – Take a look at your medicine closet and clear out drugs that have expired, medicine that has sat on your shelf for too long and ones that you no longer use. First, check to see what the proper disposal methods are for the medication, and if you can’t find any, check to see if your community has a drug take-back program. If there isn’t a program near you, then the FDA advises mixing medicine with “used coffee grounds or kitty litter” in a container or sealable bag before throwing it away to make the drugs less appealing.

6. Makeup and perfume – Go through your beauty cabinet and get rid of makeup that’s too old or that you don’t use.

7. Jewelry – Go through your jewelry and dispose of the broken costume jewelry and make plans to sell ones that you don’t wear. For fine jewelry, look up appraisers from the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Once you have a quoted price, shop around at auction houses, estate buyers, pawnshops and jewelers to see if you can find a better deal.

8. Food – Go through your pantry and fridge and clear out items that need to be thrown out – the old, unused and rotting. Do this weekly instead of monthly, just to make sure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises!

9. Some memorabilia – Many organizing experts advise that you be ruthless and throw away memorabilia like cards and gifts you don’t use. You can keep some of them by perhaps creating some sort of poster with old cards or designating a small shoe box for memorabilia. Resolve to throw away anything that can’t fit into the box.

10. Notebooks – Take a look at the old notebooks you have and throw out the ones that you no longer need.

11. Old or unused electronics – Have an electric piano you don’t use? Or maybe you just never got around to getting rid of your old laptop or cell phone. Sell your electronics on and These sites are great because they’ll quote you a price for the item you wish to sell. You can also sell it on sites such as Craigslist and eBay.