Wait! Stop Throwing Away These Reusable Household Items

Ashley - April 19, 2023

There are tons of household items that everyone knows to hold on to. Most people know to keep plastic grocery bags, extra bottles and jars, reusable straws, and chopsticks around to use again later. But there is a wide range of things lying around your home that are easily reusable and repurposable. Instead of throwing these items away, read this list to learn how you can reuse them! Not only will this save you tons of time and money that you’d normally spend on shopping, but it will also help save the environment. Pretty cool, right?

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Tea Bags For Your Eyes

Who doesn’t love starting their day with a warm cup of Earl Grey or ending their day with some nice Sleepytime tea? Tea bags can usually be reused to make at least two and sometimes three cups of tea, but they also have another purpose. If you’re dealing with itchy, irritated, or puffy eyes, you should save those tea bags you’ve been throwing away. Placing used tea bags on your eyes will help reduce any redness or puffiness and help your eyes feel better. They also work wonders for removing bags from under your eyes! This is a great self-care trick for people who have tried over-the-counter products in the past and found them lacking.

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Turn Milk Jugs Into Watering Cans

Why spend your hard-earned money on watering cans for the garden when you can use old milk jugs? This is a super easy trick that will only take you a couple of minutes and will last for years. When you’re done with a milk jug, rinse it out really well with soap and hot water. You want to make sure there isn’t any milk residue left. Then, poke several small holes in the cap with a knife or nail. Fill the jug with water and use it to water your plants! You can even use multiple jugs for this and label them for which plants they water, which have plant food, etc. Plus, you can decorate the jugs to make them look adorable! Kids will love being involved in gardening with this trick.

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Turn Egg Cartons Into A Painting Station

Painting is a fun activity for adults and kids, but it can certainly get messy! When you want to keep the mess to a minimum, try this trick! Hold on to an old egg carton and make sure it’s clean before you use it. Place the egg carton on the surface you’ll be painting on and squeeze different colored paints into the little egg pockets. Then, stick some paintbrushes into the carton. Now, you have a simple low-mess painting station! You won’t have to worry about leaving paint bottles on the table when you use this trick and, when you’re done, you can close the egg carton and save the last of the paint!

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Upcycle And Recycle Old Shirts

There is no shortage of tips, tricks, and hacks about what you can do with an old t-shirt. You can transform them into a new type of shirt, turn them into a tie-dye masterpiece, cut them up into cleaning rags, and so much more. Rather than throwing old, stained t-shirts away, try to think outside of the box! Even if you don’t want to turn it into a cleaning rag or a new shirt, there are other things you can do with them. Check out some DIY videos on turning old shirts into bracelets and necklaces to turn them into cute new accessories!

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Don’t Throw Away Your Parchment Paper

Do you have a birthday or holiday coming up? If you’re planning on baking multiple batches of cookies or other sweets on parchment paper, then this tip is for you! You don’t actually need to throw away parchment paper after every use. Most parchment paper is safe to reuse multiple times as long as nothing gets stuck to the paper and burns. You can use the same sheet to make several batches of cookies for any party or event. You’d be surprised how much longer a roll of parchment paper lasts once you know this trick!

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Combine Your Old Candles To Create New Ones

What happens when your candle burns down, and all that remains is a thin layer of liquid wax? Most people throw the whole candle away at this stage, but there’s another option! Keep a large candle jar off to the side and add the last drops of wax from your other candles as they burn down. Add a new wick in the center, and once the jar is full, you’ll have a brand-new Frankenstein-style candle! The wax might turn out to be an interesting color if you use different colored candles, and if you use scented candles, then you’re guaranteed to have an interesting sensory experience!

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Reuse Your Swiffer Dry Pads

Swiffer dry pads are an excellent tool to use around the home. They’re great for getting that remaining fine layer of dirt, dust, and hair that tends to settle on the floor between sweeps. However, buying new dry pads and tossing them after a single use can become expensive and feel wasteful. The next time you go to throw one of these away, stop and remember this trick! All you need to do is fill your sink with warm, soapy water and give your Swiffer pad a good swoosh around in the water. Then, wring it out and hang it to air dry. You’ll be able to get at least two, maybe three uses out of each pad.

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Turn Paper Bags Into Wrapping Paper

Once society realized the impact plastic bags have on the environment, many stores and other retail outlets changed to offering paper bags. Paper bags are less harmful to the environment, and they have a million other uses. You can reuse them to organize things around the home, turn them into colored paper for your kids, or use them as wrapping paper! Paper bags are usually thick enough to work well for wrapping paper, and you can decorate them for any occasion. If you decorate a ton of paper bags to use as wrapping paper and have some left over, you can use the extras as shelf paper!

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Use Spare Tennis Balls Instead Of Dryer Sheets

Lots of people like to use dryer sheets to reduce static and wrinkles on their clothes, but you probably have a spare object around the home you can use instead. Do you have tennis balls lying around that your dog didn’t want or are leftover from some long-ago tennis lessons? Well, don’t throw those tennis balls away because you can put them to good use! A clean tennis ball will work just as well as a dryer sheet and they last way longer. You can use a single tennis ball in the dryer for about six months! This trick is a huge money saver. When you’re ready to retire your dryer tennis ball, use it instead for our next trick.

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Turn Your Old Tennis Balls Into Holders

So, what do you do with old, used-up tennis balls? Glue on some googly eyes, cut a slit for their mouth, and mount them to the wall! All you need is a small hook on the wall you can stick your tennis ball buddy on to, and then you can use the tennis ball to hold tons of handy things. Use it to hold your keys, mail, pens, and more! It’ll give your home a cute touch while still serving a purpose. Alternatively, you can glue the tennis ball onto a table or other surface and put a picture holder into the slit. It’ll take up less space than a picture frame and still help your favorite photo stand out.

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Keep Extra Paint For Touch-Ups

Have you done a major home project recently and found yourself with leftover paint cans? Throwing away leftover paint is actually a complicated process because you usually have to take it to your local dump, and many places make you pay for the disposal. Rather than deal with all that hassle, you should hold on to any leftover paint to use around the home. Use the paint to touch up accent furniture, doorways, the inside of cabinets and shelves, etc. Then, once your paint cans are completely empty, check out our next trip to turn them into something great!

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Turn Old Paint Cans Into Planters

Once you’ve used up every last drip of paint in your paint cans, it’s time to turn them into planters! This project can be a little time-consuming because you need to make sure the paint cans are really clean before you can use them. You’ll want to give them several washes to make sure all the paint and fumes are gone, but then you can add soil and seeds! Also, if you have a little paint leftover in some of the cans that you absolutely don’t know what to do with, use it to paint the outside of the cans so your planters are colorful and vibrant.

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Reuse Your Coffee Filters

Coffee filters, much like the Swiffer dry pads we mentioned earlier, don’t have to be thrown away after a single use. You can easily get three or four uses out of a single filter before they stop working properly. Once you’ve gotten as much use out of your coffee filters as possible, you have a couple of options. Some coffee filters will need to be thrown away at that point, but others are compostable! Check your coffee filters to see if they’re made of compostable materials and to ensure they aren’t treated with harsh chemicals (like bleach) before you try composting them.

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Use Old Weights To Secure Patio Furniture

Whether you’ve decided to join a gym, take a break from working out, or buy an entirely new set of weights, you have to decide what to do with the leftover dumbbells and plate weights. You could throw them away, but we have an awesome trick to get some more use out of them. Tie your weights to the bottom of your patio furniture on super windy days to keep everything in place and prevent a furniture disaster.

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Transform Old Bath Towels Into Bath Mats

When old bath towels begin to accumulate holes and lose their soft fluffiness, you have a couple of options. Instead of throwing them away when they get to this point, follow a simple DIY article or video to transform them into a bath mat! There are also instructions out there on how to turn them into soft dog toys. Of course, if you don’t feel like getting creative with them, you can always cut them up into simple, washable cleaning rags.

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Save Your Packing Peanuts To Reuse

Ordering online has become a way more convenient and cost-effective option than shopping in-store. The downside to ordering online is all the extra packaging that comes along with it! It’s very tempting to toss these packing peanuts every time you get a delivery, but you can save these little styrofoam packaging to reuse in the future. Keep them somewhere safe in the back of your closet or under your bed and pull them out the next time you need to ship something or when you need to move. You won’t have to buy packing material ever again once you start saving the packing peanuts!

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Keep Your Craft Supplies Organized

Do you love working on craft projects in your spare time? Keeping all the little buttons and decorations organized and safe can be challenging, but you don’t need to spend money on fancy organizers. A simple egg carton will keep your supplies safe and organized without costing you a penny! Just save your egg cartons, make sure they’re clean, and then use the little pockets to store your buttons, bobby pins, decorations, and more. You can even label each egg carton with what types of buttons or decorations are inside to take your organizational game up to eleven!

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Save Your Cardboard Tubes

Paper towels and toilet paper are items most of us make sure are always in stock around the home. They’re handy items to have around, but constantly throwing away the cardboard tubes feels wasteful. There are a ton of crafty things you can do with these tubes, and there are a few simple options as well. Use cardboard tubes to keep your wires organized and prevent them from becoming tripping hazards. You can also use them to hold all the plastic bags you have lying around or cut them up and tape them over your clothes hangers to prevent creases from forming. The possibilities are endless!

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So Many Uses For Pool Noodles

Never throw away your pool noodles! There are literally so many uses for old pool noodles, and reusing this everyday item can save you a ton of money in the long run. Cut up your pool noodle and use it to support your wrists while you’re working, just like shown in the picture above. You can also use cut-up pool noodles to baby-proof the edges of furniture around your home, cover an awkward lip in the floor between rooms, or protect your car doors when you park in the garage. Seriously, all you need to do is look around your home for a few minutes and you’ll find a dozen different things you can use a pool noodle for!

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Reuse Old Pickle Jars

Once you’ve given your old pickle jars a good cleaning, you’ll have reusable glass jars that can be used to store virtually anything. Take them into the garage and use them to store nuts, bolts, screws, and nails, or bring them into your crafts room and use them to keep your beads, buttons, and pins separated. Or, if you want to keep these jars in the kitchen, refill them with sugar, flour, and baking soda. Make sure to label the jars so you don’t accidentally pour a cup of flour into your chocolate chip cookie batter!

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Turn Old Milk Jugs Into A Dog Food Scooper

We already mentioned one use for old milk jugs, but here’s another great idea for when you’ve reached your fill on milk jugs transformed into watering cans. All you need is a pair of scissors to make this hack work. Just cut the milk jug and trim any sharp edges until you have a scoop shape. Then you can use the scoop to feed your furry best friend! This trick would work for any type of pet food and also works well for scooping other things like rock salt or cereal.

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Save Old Coffee Mugs

Some coffee mugs will last a life time, but others become chipped or cracked and aren’t usable anymore. Don’t immediately throw your old coffee mugs away because there are still things you can use them for! Turn your old coffee mugs into tiny, adorable planters! The mugs are the perfect size to fit on most windowsills and would make a great addition to your garden. Just make sure to be careful when you make drainage holes in the bottom of the mug!

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Save Your Eggshells For Coffee

Most people simply toss their eggshells or throw them in with the composting. However, there’s a really awesome use for these that you need to know about! Once you’re done cracking an egg, clean off the shell really well and let it dry. Then, the next time you make a cup of coffee, crush up some of the shell and sprinkle it into your cup! It sounds strange, but the eggshell will help reduce the acidity of the coffee. It will improve the taste and reduce the strain on your stomach. This trick is a must for people who struggle with acid reflux but need their morning coffee!

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Don’t Toss Your Citrus Rinds

Even though they’re technically edible, no one eats their citrus rinds. Even if you don’t want to eat the delicious rinds, you can still get plenty of uses out of them. One idea is to boil the rinds on your stove to give your home a citrus fresh scent. You can then take the boiled water, put it in a spray bottle, and spray it around your home to deter pests! Citrus rinds, especially oranges, are also great for deterring pests in the garden. Just cut up some rinds and toss them among your plants.

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Use Old Toothbrushes For Cleaning

You go through a ton of toothbrushes throughout your life. Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrushes every six months, which means you could be throwing away hundreds of toothbrushes throughout your family’s lifetime. Get a little extra use out of these retired toothbrushes by using them to clean hard-to-reach spots. You’ll want to disinfect them first, but then you can use them to clean spots in the bathroom, the grout between tiles, and other awkward spots.

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Repurpose Your Lamp Shade Frames

Lamp shades don’t last forever, and it’s a shame to throw the whole thing away when you replace them. If you can save the lamp shade frame, you can use it for a variety of home decor projects. Use it to create a chandelier as shown in the picture above, or hang it from the ceiling in your living room and add a ton of charms and other decorations. You could also hang it in a room and string fairy lights around it to give it new life!

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Put Old And Mismatched Socks To Work

Don’t toss your old socks when they become filled with holes and worn down. This trick is also great for socks that no longer have their match since we all know dryers love to eat single socks on occasion. Take your old or unmatched socks and use them as easy dusters. These are especially great for dusting awkward spots like your blinds or the tops of picture frames, but they’ll work just as well for dusting countertops, cabinets, and other spots around your home.

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Keep Old Newspapers & Magazines

Not many people still have subscriptions to physical newspapers and magazines these days. Everything has switched to online formats, but you probably still have stacks of old newspapers and magazines lying around your home or boxed up in your garage. Rather than throwing these away, use these to line your shelves, wrap dishes when moving, or wrap gifts during the holidays. The possibilities are endless! Get creative and find extra uses for these papers before you send them to a landfill.

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Transform Old Cereal Boxes

Everyone loves a good bowl of cereal in the morning or as a late-night snack. If your family is like most, then you’re probably going through at least a box of cereal every week. What do you do with the boxes when you’re out of cereal? Most people probably just throw them away, but with a little ingenuity, you can transform your old cereal boxes into helpful storage containers around the home. Cut a diagonal slot to make a magazine/mail holder or fill the empty boxes with extra plastic bags or craft items like beads, pipe cleaners, and buttons.

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Use Broken Dishes As Decoration

It’s always disappointing to break a dish, especially if you were particularly attached to the pattern and design. Don’t throw away the pieces of your broken dishes because these can be used to decorate so many things! You can glue pieces onto the bird bath (after making sure there are no sharp edges to hurt the birds) or use them when refurbishing furniture. You could also glue the pieces onto a picture frame and stick them on your wall as an example of modern art. The possibilities here are truly endless!

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Use Tissue Boxes For Plastic Bags

Tissue boxes are another super common item that get thrown away all too frequently. With a little creativity, you can find tons of uses for these boxes. You can easily stuff plastic bags into your old tissue boxes to save on storage space and make it easier to pull out the bags when you need them. Use different tissue boxes for different types of plastic bags, as shown in the picture above, for extra organization. Tissue boxes can also be turned into makeshift piggie banks as long as you don’t overload them with change. They’re a great place to save up your extra dollar bills for that new game or the next date night!

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Cut Up Your Old Carpets

It’s important to replace your carpets every once in a while, especially if you have pets in the home that put a lot of extra wear and tear on your space. When you replace your carpets or large area rugs, you may be tempted to toss them, but you can still get a little use out of them! Cut up your carpet or area rug and transform it into a welcome mat or a bath mat. The more you reuse the things in your home, the less you’ll throw away and the less you’ll have to buy!

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Save Old Condiment Bottles For Pancake Batter

Old condiment bottles can easily be washed out and filled with pancake batter. It may seem like a silly idea, but this is actually the perfect way to save extra pancake batter and create a low-mess cooking situation. It’s also way easier to make fun shapes with your pancakes when you’re squeezing the batter out of a bottle than pouring it from a bowl. You can also fill old condiment bottles with icing for baked treats!

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Keep Old Disposable Razors

Disposable razors eventually get too dull to shave with, and most people will simply toss them at that point. However, you can still get some use out of these razors, even once they’ve dulled. Use the razors to remove lint from your clothes once they’ve retired from shaving. This works super well on sweaters, jeans, and t-shirts! It’s also easy enough to carry these little razors around in your car or purse, so you can always get rid of any excess lint whenever you need.

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Turn Bottle Caps Into Wind Chimes

No matter how eco-conscious you are, you probably still end up buying plastic or glass bottles of water or pop on occasion. Throwing away all that extra material can be heartbreaking, but there’s an awesome use for those bottle caps you need to try! Gather up all your used bottle caps, string them together, and attach them to an old can or anything else that will work as a base. Hang it outside and enjoy your DIY wind chimes made of recycled materials!

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Reuse Old Coffee Cans

The majority of Americans enjoy a good cup of coffee in the mornings, which usually means you’re going through a lot of coffee cans throughout the year. Rather than throwing these cans away, try to find alternative uses. It’s easy enough to clean the cans out, wrap them, and use them to store baking items or other things for the kitchen. Take them into the garage to store small tools, or bring them into your kids’ room to store their art and craft supplies. You can also easily turn these cans into small planters!

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Use Bread Ties To Label Wires

The plastic tabs that keep your loaves of bread or bags of bagels shut can be used to help keep track of which wires to go to what around the home. Take a sharpie and write what the wire goes to on the bread tabs. Then, go to your power strip and place the bread tie on the correct wire. This is super helpful in homes with a lot of electronics and will make moving and packing the wires a breeze!

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Save Baby Food Jars

Baby food jars are the perfect size for organizing little items around the home. Once these jars are totally clean, you can use them to store crafts items, nuts, bolts, screws, or other small objects around the home. Label the lids to easily get what you need every time. You can also poke a few holes in the lids and fill up the jars with salt, pepper, or other seasonings.

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Turn Tea Tins Into Candles

Loose-leaf tea is delicious, and the tins have so many uses once they’re empty! The obvious choice would be to use these tins for storage around the home, but if you want to think outside the box a little, then you can turn these tins into DIY candles! Just pour wax from your other candles as they burn down into the tin, add a wick, and wait until the tin is mostly full. You’ll have a gorgeous DIY candle in a beautiful container. This makes for a great gift for any occasion!

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Reuse Your Aluminum Foil For Cleaning

You should never throw away your aluminum foil after a single use! The exception to this rule is if the foil becomes ripped or is so covered in grease or burnt food that it’s completely unusable. Assuming that isn’t the case, you can crumple used aluminum foil into a ball and use it as a pot scrubber! This works super well to remove any burnt bits of food and saves you from having to buy steel wool too often.