This is a list of 10 household items that I reuse for many dozens of other equally practical and needful purposes. It’s a great way to recycle what you already have which feels great. It saves you from buying new stuff and using what you already have.
1. Mason Jars
Mason jars are an absolute favourite for re-using and recycling for other purposes. Reason? There is just so much you can do with because it is so very functional. So far I have done the following craft projects with a mason jar.
- Used mason jar as small pots for indoor plants on the window.
- Used them to make air tight containers for condiments in the kitchen.
- Served cool summer drinks in them by using them as regular drinking glasses.
- Hand painted the jars to be used as holders for pens and art supplies.
- Toothbrush holders.
- Mixing drinks.
- Storing food.
- Giving food.
The list of used for mason jars is endless. Next on the use for re-used household items is…
2. Coffee Filters.
I like to use paper coffee filters to strain out the cold brew coffee that I make. Strangely, enough I do not drink coffee. But most of my friends do and I enjoy making it for them.
I like to strain the coffee with the paper coffee filters because they absorb the oils along with filtering out the finest coffee residue, giving a clear sparking brew of coffee. If you have never used paper coffee filters before, give it a try. Although pouring coffee is completely different technique than French pressing it, you will not get the murky concoction that you get.
Many people prefer to use coffee machines. Some of them use the re-usable plastic or metal filter. Add a paper filter to it or buy a coffee machine that used paper filter and you will see the dramatic difference in your brew.
Using paper filter machines also gives you the opportunity to keep changing the filter which goes along way in keeping your coffee brew tasting fresh. Long story short, I end up with a fair share of used paper coffee filters. Here is my favourite ways of re-using them, after rinsing them and drying them out.
- As small soaking mats and coasters all over the kitchen. Every time you take something out of the fridge or put down a cup with a wet rim. These coffee filters keep the kitchen slab as well as objects clean.
- In in-house planters at the bottom over the drain hole. They keep the soil inside and only allows the water to drain out. Very practical use.
- Sometimes I tie up the used coffee granules in a used coffee filter and put in inside the refrigerator. I am yet to come across a more effective deodoriser. It can be replenished and it is natural.
- Paper coffee filters make great wipes. Wipe down surfaces from screens to mirrors. The only catch is that if you are going to re-use filters that have been used, they will need a good rinse with soap and water to get rid of all the coffee oils they have absorbed during the filtering process.
- The trapped oils makes them, as you can guess, less absorbent of water. But the good news is that they wash real easy. Even after being used to clean up. Some will tell you that they work better than paper wipes. This certainly is an eco-friendly option.
- Coffee oils are good for skin. You can tell by the recent trend of cosmetics wherein several products now purport to be made from coffee. You can use the used paper coffee filters as exfoliating strips in the shower. Do not rinse them out with water.
- After filtering the coffee, just let them dry out for a day. Then use them for exfoliation on your body. Do not use them on your face or wherever you have sensitive skin. Coffee granules can be coarse and the oils might not suit your skin. So be careful with this. Do a small test before using it more extensively.
Next up is…
3. Empty Paper Towel Rolls
Tend to collect these as well. Everyone does to an extent. Two of the most useful used that I have found for empty kitchen towels rolls are as follows. These also apply to toilet paper rolls.
- I have used them as wire organisers. I have a couple of devices that have long wires that lie on the floor. One is a floor lamp and another is an air purifier. These empty rolls make wonderful wire organisers.
- Just fold the wire upon itself a few times and push the loops inside the roll. Not only do they contain, but they also look neater than wire ties, keep the wires off the floor and, therefore, clean. If you paint them, they look like wire-organisers you bought from somewhere.
- The 2nd use I love for the empty paper rolls is using them as plant and seed starters. Make a few cuts on one end and fold it inside to close one opening. Fill it with soil and plant the seed or plant you are trying to grow.
- The manifold advantage of using these as seeds starters is that while they are natural, they also provide extra nutrition to the plant, being bio-degradable. For the same reason they can be planted directly into the bigger pot or ground when the time comes.
- There is no need to take out the plant from the planter which reduces the chance of ’transplanting shock’ the most plants go through when re-potted.
- As fire starters. If you use a fireplace, or if you barbecue, you are probably familiar with the concept of fire starters. It’s what is used to fire up the wood or coal. The cardboard in the paper rolls serves the purpose as long as you have some barbecue fuel on hand.
- If nothing else, they can be re-cycled. So collect them till you have a sizeable number, and then recycle them. Another things you can do is make a mash of them and just put in the soil. The will bio-degrade and release valuable nutrients in the soil.
Businesses are getting more aware of being more ecological friendly. This includes using sustainable packaging materials. A large part of this move is customer awareness. People buying stuff appreciate the fact that they are not contributing to environment issues like de-forestation and pollution.
Even high-end brands have made the move to use minimal or no extra packaging. I remember the time when fancy boxes was a large part of the brand image. They still are. But now many people think differently. They see elaborate packaging material and money spent for the sake of aesthetics, they see burden on the environment.
But you will still get these boxes. For example, Apple will give you a new MacBook in a beautiful and strong cardboard box. But they re-cycle it as well.
I recently turned in my old MacBook for a discount. They prefer to take it back in the original box because they re-cycle them. And you get a back a little extra money as well, I believe, for returning the box as well.
Gift packs from cosmetics brands often come in beautiful boxes. These boxes serve many purpose if you want to re-use them. I have used for the following things.
- Organiser on the dresser. Keeps the bottles together.
- Drawer organiser in my work desk and kitchen.
- Storing small things.
5. Old Spoilt Non-Stick Pans.
Non-stick pans eventually give out. There are a few things I use them for.
- Remove the handles and use them as planters.
- Use them for grading to move the soil etc.
- Make a bird bath outside.
- Use them for DIY maintenance and repair as pans.
6. Old Dinner Plates.
Some dinner plates get discoloured or badly scratched with use over time. The ways to use them is outdoors. Here are some uses for old dinner plates that you do want to serve food in anymore.
- Use old dinner plates as trays under your planters.
- You can use them to put out food for the birds and other small creatures that happen to visit you.
- You can use them to move and carry soil around while gardening.
- Donate them.
Many households have classic ceramics that they don’t use anymore because they are not very practical anymore. They are either not microwave safe or they cannot be used in the dishwasher. But nevertheless this antique dinnerware is beautiful and rare. You can easily look for ways to convert them into other things such as cake serving dishes.
It might also be something that has appreciated in value a great deal if it is a classic.
7. Beverage Bottles.
We often end up buying several beverages that come in small plastic bottles. These bottles are actually pretty amazing storage containers because they are usually watertight and air tight. I have a quite a stock of these bottles and I use them to store condiments in the kitchen as well as to carry water when I go out. They are small and convenient to fit in a bag.
I also use them to give handmade beverages to family and friends. They also serve as Takeaway water bottles for electricians, plumbers etc. if they ask for a drink of water.
8. Milk Cartons.
There are multiple uses you can put milk cartons to. These are some of the things I do with used milk cartons along with some that I don’t. However they are completely doable.
- As planters and seed starters. They are perfect for this purpose. When the plants need re-planting it is easy to cut the carton along the side and get the whole plant out. Then they can go into your re-cycling lot. Remember to spray paint them or use chalk paint to make them not look like a row of milk cartons. Great for gifting plants to your gardening friends who can easily replant in their own space.
- As organisers. Just cut them us as you need and put them on tables and drawers. Again, decorate or paint the sides as needed.
- For storing stuff in the freezer, including liquid food like broth. Just pour and cover with a cling wrap. You can easily cut away the portions you need and re-seal it every time.
- For freezing larger ice-cubes. You might need them in the summers for your air cooler or just for some fun with.
- Craft Projects with kids.
- As bird feed containers.
9. Clay Pots.
If you have some empty clay pots lying around which are big enough, you can easily use them for lighting a small bonfire outdoors. This is what are used in four. Clay is an excellent insulating material and it keeps the fire well contained.
10. Old Socks.
Sox can get old and out of shape wear and you don’t want to wear them anymore. It is a clothing item that can also make you wonder as to what to do with it once you are done using it. I have discovered some very cool uses for old socks.
I use them as heat pad. By putting some rice in the sock and microwaving it you can use it instead of a typical heating pad or even a hot water bottle. It’s great for spot hot fermentation such as elbows and knees and even the head.
The second thing that you can use socks is for putting away sensitive and delicate objects such as watches and jewellery which you do not want getting scratched.
I hope that you discovered something that you can use in this article. There are so many things that people do with the household items, in so many ingenious ways in order to get more utility out of them. If you have some tips and tricks for the recycling and reusing household items definitely do share it in the comment section below. Everyone would love to hear from you, and be better informed for it.