Old Things That You Can Upcycle, Repurpose, and Transform into New Treasures Right NowBy Michelle Stone
Do you believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? While many of us are quick to throw out items we don’t use, others see the beauty in them. We are talking about people who can give a breath of life to seemingly useless everyday items. These days, the Internet is littered with advocacy posts about upcycling, which essentially means re-using old stuff by transforming it into functional or creative items. The Internet also serves as a source of inspiration to convert virtually anything into something better. That’s why before hauling the trash to the nearest Goodwill, junkyard, or recycling plant, it helps to dig around and decide how to upcycle these items. We’re compiling a list of some thought-provoking and creative ways people have turned useless things into valuable treasures.
We think suitcases have a classic charm and they should still hold a place of esteem amongst our luggage storage solutions. The reality is that they have become outdated, and these days, people go for the newer designs that come with wheels and handles.
Instead of tossing them out, this person found a creative way to incorporate them into their home decor. Their old suitcase may no longer ferry their luggage, but it now offers them somewhere to rest their feet in the living room. They added a cushion top for an added layer of comfort and stylish flair.
Light Up The World
Many of us have a globe at home just for decorative purposes. A couple of people might use them to study the world map and geographical history or use them as decor in their office. If there are kids at home, they are bound to make them toys, and they may even break the globes.
Instead of rendering the broken globe useless, this DIY idea shows us a different way of looking at things. It can serve as a base for a lampshade craft, and that in a sense means that there’s the chance to light up the world right at home!
Stiffy Disk Plant Pots
Floppy disks or stiffy disks are a blast from the past that kids these days might never understand. They even pre-date the now largely defunct CDs and DVDs, which tells a lot about old this technology is. But the ’90s kids probably have a stash of these disks lying around with no purpose.
Here is a solution; turn them into decorative pots for the living space. This person uses them to display their floral arrangements, but they look like they could serve several other functions. They could also be great pen holders; they can be used to store makeup brushes or could even be used in the kitchen.
Shopping Cart Lounge Chair
We never expect to see shopping carts anywhere other than the supermarket; otherwise, there’s a risk of getting the side-eye. This person must have really needed a lounge chair, and instead of spending money on one, they decided to transform a shopping cart that was lying around.
The cart makes a good recliner, and with adequate cushioning, it might even be a very comfortable DIY chair. It looks like this creator also had a couple of Coca-Cola cushions lying around the house, which they decided to incorporate into this project.
Anyone with a ladder probably knows the frustration that comes with finding the ideal spot to store it. One never needs this handy item until it’s needed, and when it breaks, and it can no longer be used, the issue turns into disposing of the ladder.
This man shows us a brilliant way to put a broken ladder into good use. In this case, he converted it into an organized bookshelf. It looks like all it took was nails to secure it on the wall and perhaps a coat of paint or varnish.
If one played tennis in school and left those days behind as an adult, there may be a couple of rackets stashed somewhere. Sometimes they hold sentimental value, and one might not want to get rid of them, but they can still be put to good use.
This person shows us how to convert our old tennis rackets into wall mirrors. These look like they would work well as bedroom decor pieces, and they also allow one to display old rackets instead of having them stored away out of sight.
iPhone Butter Dish
Besides delivering the precious iPhones, few people have any use for the rather stylish yet minimalist packaging after the unboxing process. Many of us still hold onto these boxes and stash them in a drawer somewhere. It turns out that we’ve been gravely underusing these boxes, which can turn into functional items.
We think Apple could find a way of including this image in its next ad campaign because it’s so smart: an iPhone butter dish. This hack is so simple yet underrated that we can’t believe we never thought of this before, but someone’s grandma just schooled us in ways we hadn’t imagined.
Pasta Pringles Container
Pringles are deliciously frustrating because they come in a large tin, but the contents barely fills the can. That’s often why we hold onto the tins after devouring the contents, even if we don’t exactly have anything special to do with them.
Well, the cans work perfectly as storage containers for spaghetti and any other vertically long items that prove a challenge to store. They can also work as good office organizers if some paint is thrown on them. Once again, we see a lot of potential when it comes to using them to store kitchen implements.
Toilet Roll Cable Holder
Cables are a nightmare to store, especially with so many of them. We’ve all gone through the struggle of having to untangle wires after stashing them in a drawer together. What’s worse is that it can take several minutes or even hours to look for the right cord when it’s needed.
If short on space and needing to store all the cables neatly in one drawer, use this toilet paper roll hack to create separate compartments without spending a dime on fancy separators. The clever solution keeps the cables in place. It’s also hard to lose a cable that’s safely stored.
Rake Converted Into A Rack
As long as one doesn’t think of all the things this rake has been through before it found its way in this kitchen, it’s an awesome kitchen hack. Garden tools are not often seen converted into kitchen aids, but this is a clever way to hang wine glasses without splurging on an expensive rack.
If one has a broken rake or feels inspired enough to buy a new one for this project, then a cute-looking rack could be a conversation starter in the kitchen. We wouldn’t trust ourselves to store glasses on it, but we are certain many other kitchen utensils can hang on it.
Few have escaped the frustration of fumbling for their keys for hours when they get back home or just when they are about to leave the house. At least that’s what we imagine because keys just have a knack for getting lost in plain sight.
That’s why we set trays on the console table or hang a hook somewhere near the door so that we can always keep track of them. Well, this person found a clever way to solve this nagging problem. Instead of throwing out old keyholes after a home renovation project, they transformed them into key holders.
Gaming consoles have come a long way since “The Brown Box” developed by Sanders Associates, Inc. These days, Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Sony’s Playstation have taken the place of classics like the Atari and Sega consoles. Got one of the older consoles and want to revive it?
Consider creating something entirely new from it. This person strung up their discarded console and made a guitar out of it. We imagine it’s purely for decorative purposes, but if it works as an actual guitar, that would make it even more awesome.
Tin Can Grill
There is never a bad day to whip up some juicy hamburgers and hotdogs, but the problem starts when one doesn’t have the right equipment to get the job done. Thanks to this grilling hack, an elaborate barbeque setup isn’t needed to satisfy meat cravings. All that’s needed is a couple of old tin cans.
This solution allows one to enjoy a grilled sausage on the go. We all have old tin cans lying around the house that can be converted into inexpensive mini grilling stations. All it takes are a couple of nails and a can opener to transform a can into a grilling station.
Decorative Light Bulbs
Light bulb-themed decor pieces are available these days, but why spend money on them when one can simply be made at home? The light bulbs we have around the house eventually blow, and they present an opportunity to spruce up our home.
This person turned their light bulbs into hanging pots for their floral arrangements. It looks like they strung up the light bulbs, and that makes them look even more charming. We would have to be careful with this one because light bulbs are fragile, and the last thing anyone wants is to break these gorgeous pieces.
We thought that we’d seen it all until we came across this peculiar yet oddly remarkable craft project. It must have started with this guy trying to figure out what to do with all the old sneakers he wasn’t ready to bin.
He must be one of those people who dreams about strange creations and sets out to make them a reality. The result is this pair of shoe tires that we are not entirely sure they work like regular bicycle tires. It also looks like the guy ditched the standard bike seat for yet another pair of trainers.
We’ve seen old tires put into use in several different ways, and these days they are a great option for anyone looking for a DIY home improvement project. It doesn’t just help put old tires to good use but also helps reduce the negative environmental impact of burning tires.
If there’s a backyard space that could use some seats, all that’s needed is some rope to make cool seats out of old tires. Besides the rope, a glue gun can help hold the rope in place, and that’s it. It also looks like a fun task that could be done with kids.
Washing Machine Grill
For those people who host regularly and believe that such gatherings are not complete without grilled food, then this one might be interesting. Outdoor grills can be quite costly, and a decent one can cost a couple of hundred dollars.
The same could be said about washing machines, and when the old one gives in, consider turning it into an outdoor grill. It looks like a conversation starter, and much of the talk might center around how it’s economical and creative.
Soda Can Sofa
Soda is one of those guilty pleasures many of us indulge in more than we should. Even the diet variety isn’t good for us, but it’s one of those habits many just can’t seem to shake. We doubt that anyone is as huge of a soda fan as this person.
Perhaps they are the type that just liked collecting soda cans whenever they came across them, and they found a way to make the empty cans more functional. This person transformed soda cans into a sofa. It looks a bit wonky, and we are not too sure about its durability, but maybe it’s just a decorative piece.
Computer Mini Fridge
This is yet another blast from the past that reminds us how painfully slow computers were in the ’90s. In reality, we never noticed it that much because they were marvels that allowed one to boast of owning the latest technology on the market.
Many of us still have the bulky units at home, and now we realize that we can make a fridge out of them. This person found the perfect mini-fridge for work, and it instantly puts an end to the days when they’ll have their lunch stolen. It looks like something that requires a level of technical knowledge, though.
Drum Set Chandelier
Many of us went through a musical phase or know someone who tortured us through their ambitions of venturing into a music career. For many people, it meant investing in a guitar or drum set. When our passion waned and reality set in, many pieces of equipment got shelved or pushed into the attic.
That seems to sum up what this person went through, but in their case, they chose to keep using their possibly expensive drum set in a rather unique way. They now have an interesting chandelier hanging in the house, and it also serves as a fun reflection of their personality.
Super Nintendo Brick
Going back to retro gaming consoles, Super Nintendo has proven to have the true staying power. Over the years, gamers have been spoilt for choice when it comes to keeping up with the new consoles the company keeps on releasing.
Once again, we see someone who may have been attached to their older units and chose not to discard them. When their house needed some repair work, his old SNES fit the bill. They used it as a brick, and we think that it adds some personality to their home. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t fall victim to vandalism.
Mats That Rock
For reasons we can’t understand, some folks are just fascinated with rocks. We are talking about people who actively keep an eye out for unique-looking rocks and stones when they are out and about. They are also the people with collections at home.
One of the people we’ve just described needed some mats, and they had a light bulb moment. Instead of buying the commercially mass-produced variety, they made some using pebbles. In their defense, they look pretty good, and they look like they are built to last.
Plastic Bottle Jewelry Holder
There’s an endless list of ways to upcycle plastic bottles. We all end up with several used plastic bottles, and at some point, we decide to trash them. This is a different way to transform them into something functionally beautiful.
These look like the bottom part of bottles that have been held together with bolts and screws. It looks like a simple project anyone could do, but perhaps we would have used spray paint to give it a fancier look. Regardless, all it takes are the bottles lying around at home to get the jewelry organized.
Lampshade Made Using Old Clock Gears
The ’70s are back, well, at least in this person’s house. This is also one of the coolest DIYs we’ve seen because it fuses someone’s obsession with clock gears with what we can only describe as a work of art.
The execution is great, and it looks like a disco ball at a trendy club. Again, this looks like something a clockmaker would create because most of us don’t have the supply of old clock gears and the high skill level to develop anything half as awesome.
Stainless Steel Spoon Lampshades
If there’s one thing we can agree on this far, it’s that we could always use some more lampshades in our house. There are also lots of ordinary items that can help us create one-of-a-kind pieces to personalize our homes.
Take metal spoons, for instance; many of us have more than we could use in our lifetime. Instead of having them stored in the kitchen unused, how about making some lampshades out of them? These also look like they won’t take too much effort to make, and the result looks like a bunch of flowers.
Lamp Made Out Of Plastic Spoons
The “lampshade out of spoons” idea still works with plastic cutlery. Many of us have tried crafts projects that make use of plastic spoons. They are even more affordable than the stainless steel variety, and the possibility is endless in what can be done with them decor-wise.
As we have established, they make great lampshades, and they can be spray painted for added measure. Make decorative flower arrangements out of them or come up with some type of collage artwork to frame and hang up on the walls.
Multi-Shopping Bag Carrier
Shopping is one of those recurrent chores we are doomed to keep doing. Whether it’s buying groceries or spoiling ourselves with some retail therapy, it usually always ends up the same way. Several shopping bags get hauled to the car and then to the house.
Cut the process of loading shopping in the car and the house short by using this ingenious hack. This D-link clip helps get the grocery bags to the destination in a single trip. The clip helps distribute the weight of the shopping bags easily, reducing the strain on hands.
Coffee Can Planters
According to the National Coffee Association, the average American drinks a little over three cuppa Joes a day. So, it’s safe to assume that these same caffeine enthusiasts have a growing pile of empty coffee cans lying around the house. This DIY planter project might just be the way to breathe new into those.
Give coffee cans a nice makeover and turn them into pots for houseplants. This set made by Emily from The Wicker House blog actually used to be Kirkland coffee containers. She coated the cans in white paint and drilled some holes into them for easy hanging or carrying.
Flower Bed Dino
When kids outgrow or break their old toys, the task of trashing them remains for the adults. The unbroken ones could either be given to someone else with a kid who would love them or donate them to a kid’s charity.
In the case of the broken ones, there are ways to fashion them into decorative items. Like this person who turned an old dino toy into a pot for their floral arrangements. We have to give it to them for not tossing it out like many of us would have.
Bottle In The Back Seat
Seeing this bicycle coming down the road, nobody would give it much thought. Just a standard mountain bike, right? Well, that’s until people see what it has going on in the back. It seems like the owner of this ride ran out of funds for a back seat, and DIY’d something from a plastic bottle.
We don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but the passenger better have a good health insurance policy! Getting on this improvised seat is bound to be a bumpy ride at the very least. Here’s to hoping nobody got seriously hurt in the process of trying out this bottle seat invention.
Okay, now this one doesn’t seem to be useless at all. The lights suddenly went out? No harm in making a temporary lamp with a phone’s flashlight and a Styrofoam cup. What’s more, it seems like it’s working just fine. We have just one issue, though.
This setup basically makes it impossible for the owner to go online or even answer calls without messing up the Styrofoam lamp. So, it seems like they have to choose between sitting bored all night in the light or giving in to browsing Twitter in the dark.
Funnels Turned Candle Holders
Although much of the world has electricity now, many people still keep candle holders handy, be it as home decor or for actual candle lighting. This household seems to be the exception, though, and this tray of metallic funnels proves that.
We’ve got to say; these funnel holders look like they’d be handy to have around, and they have that rustic vibe to them, too. The candles perfectly fit in the holes, and the handles are pretty convenient, too. Now, this could be a total hit if you have some vintage-looking funnels.
Hanging Tire Planters
Looking for a way to recycle old vehicle parts? Take inspiration from this creative re-use of these old tires. Instead of being left stagnant for years at a landfill somewhere, it’s now hanging pretty at someone’s flower garden and promoting plant life.
A final reminder, though, for those wanting to try this out for themselves. Don’t forget to drill some drainage holes before adding in the potting soil! After all, these tires need to function like regular pots, even if they don’t look like it. But that last issue can be remedied with a coat of paint.
Zippered Pencil Holders
Here’s a DIY project that might just help save the planet one water bottle at a time. Want to save on school supplies? Recycle plastic into pencil and art supply holders. Not only do they look cool, but they’re also pretty easy to assemble.
Adding on a zipper to a non-fabric material may seem like a daunting task. All that’s needed in this case was some hot glue, though. The only danger we see here is accidentally leaving jagged areas exposed that might lead to kids injuring themselves during art class.
Minimalist Cardboard Shelves
The thing about online shopping is that items tend to come delivered with too much cardboard packaging. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the creative person who thought of this minimalist shelving. Opting to find new ways to use what some might see as useless scraps, they designed something functional.
There are many tutorials on the Internet on how to create something like this. However, many of them seem like solving a puzzle, which can be a fun project for the entire family to do together. What’s more, a roll of duct tape or any adhesive would be enough to finish the job.
Muffin Tin Organizer
Baking is not a hobby for everyone. But that doesn’t mean frustrated bakers should throw away all their cookware after the final burnt batch of pastries they make. Repurposing things like muffin tins can make way for new hobbies. Does anyone want to try crafting?
Muffin tins make for fantastic organizers. Its circular compartments hold and separate little trinkets neatly, making it ideal for things like jewelry making and other crafting supplies. Some people even sell muffin tin organizers like this decorative one with a handle on sites like Etsy.
Spoon Garden Labels
Got a lot of unused plastic spoons from that recent barbecue party? Here’s a genius way to recycle and re-use them in the garden. Turn those utensils into mini labels for the vegetable plot. Not only will they make the plants look more organized, but they’d also prevent mix-ups when it comes to each crop’s watering needs.
What’s more, this can be as low-effort as needed. Just take some colorful markers and put that elegant penmanship to good use! Of course, a bit of extra effort will result in better-looking labels like this set, which even features drawings of the vegetables.
Plastic Bottle Sweeper
About to throw out a garbage bag of empty soda bottles? Try this simple DIY first! Take a couple of bottles and craft them into an improvised broom. Begin by removing the bottom part of each and then cutting the remaining part into thin strips.
Then, layer multiple bottles on top of each other to create a thick sweeper. Secure the entire thing together and onto a broom handle by drilling holes in the top portion of the broom and tying it using wires. And there we have it, a useful household item made from trash.
Butter Knife Turned Wall Hooks
Many households already have more butter knives that they’d know what to do with. That said, it’s not surprising that the utensils often get ignored at thrift stores or yard sales. Well, that’s bound to change when everyone finds out that a butter knife can be repurposed in creative ways.
Take these wall hooks, for example. Think they look weirdly familiar? That’s because they’re just reshaped knives that are now used for hanging everything from clothes to cookware. Even better, the utensils’ original design gives the final output a nice vintage look.
Pasta Box Holder
The Internet is considered the superhighway of information, but several people still prefer getting their news and dose of entertainment the old-fashioned way. Magazines, in particular, are still popular and many of us have subscriptions for our favorite publications.
Eventually, we clear the magazine holder or even stop subscribing altogether. This gives us inspiration on how to put the magazine holders to good use. Their shape makes them versatile for several other organizing functions like storing documents, and from what we see here, they can work as pasta box holders.
No-Cost Sand Scoop And Bucket
The thing about kids is that they tend to tire of toys fast. Buying them expensive stuff wouldn’t really be practical for mom and dad. So, instead of spending money on a set of sand toys, turning to something like empty detergent bottles could be the better move.
One single bottle can be turned into a sand scoop and a small bucket with just a few strategic snips of the scissors. The part with the bottle cap would serve as the scoop, while the bottom part works well as a container.
Sustainable Cardboard Furniture
Cardboard isn’t really the first material people think of when they look for furniture. Not Italian duo Paola Argine and Cristina Alzati, who came up with this set of chairs and tables made from cardboard tubes and plexiglass. And for those wondering whether these are strong enough to sit on, the answer is a resounding yes!
Argine and Alzati have even been photographed using their creation with no trouble at all. In the end, they created a sustainable alternative to regular plastic chairs and tables. Although they take a while to decompose, cardboard materials are biodegradable and break down back to the soil.
Milk Crate Nesting Boxes
These days, chickens are no longer just raised exclusively on farms. Many people have resorted to caring for a couple of fowls right in their own backyard. And the good news is that following in their footsteps doesn’t need to cost a lot of cash.
Got access to old milk crates? They can be turned into nesting boxes for hens at little additional cost. Building something as elaborate as this multilayered one might need some carpentry skills, though. Still, it can be a good family DIY project in place of sending the kids to summer camp.
Tabletop Bottle Cap Mosaic
Here’s a craft project people who enjoy drinks would love. Make a habit of collecting bottle caps from friends or local restaurants and build something like this tabletop mosaic of caps. According to the Instructables user behind this nifty idea, they collected enough material for the table over the course of living in three states.
Once they had enough, they found a table to DIY and laid out their design on it. The caps were then secured with glue. Finally, a thick layer of resin secured the entire thing and gave the tabletop a nice, clean finish.
Graters are among the list of inexpensive kitchen utensils that can help to spruce up the space. This photo shows us how they make great DIY lampshades that can be used to decorate the kitchen to give it a personalized touch.
It is not seen every day, and proper execution can give the kitchen an elevated chic look. This project also allows one to tap into the creative side, and some spray paint could be used to color the graters in line with the kitchen color scheme.