Don’t throw that away yet! 8 surprising items that can be reused
We’re all about embracing the power of minimalism. Less clutter and less stuff can lead to more freedom, more productivity, and more happiness. Adopting minimalism frees you from the confines of things and helps you focus on what you really need.
Letting go is a big part of the process of transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle, which usually translates to getting rid of things and throwing stuff away.
But before you grab a garbage bag and start purging, pause for a moment before you pitch. That garbage bag will head straight to a landfill to be burned or buried, harming the environment in the process.
So many daily objects you might consider trashing can actually have a productive second life. Here, we’ve put together a helpful guide to items you can reuse instead of throwing away!
8 everyday items that can be reused and repurposed
Get crafty with these brilliant upcycling projects and creative ways to reuse old items!
1. Food scraps
Instead of throwing away excess food or scraps, you can compost or reuse many food items! Onion skins and vegetable ends can be used to make a tasty vegetable stock that’s way more flavorful than what you can buy in stores. Citrus peels can be candied for a yummy snack. Green onion and lettuce ends can easily be regrown in a cup of water. And what you can’t regrow or cook with can be composted if it doesn’t contain oil, meat, or dairy products. Click here for a guide to everything you need to know about composting.
2. Coffee grounds
Used coffee grounds are workhorses. They can absorb and neutralize bad odors, naturally repel insects and pests, and even fertilize your garden. Coffee grounds are great for DIY projects, too! You can make your own face or body scrub to exfoliate your skin, or place the grounds under your eyes to get rid of dark circles.
Keep old toothbrushes everywhere you clean — in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc. Toothbrushes make great scrubbers and can be used to clean endless items, from jewelry to fabric stains, and even your computer keyboard. Just make sure to clearly mark which toothbrushes are for household cleaning vs. teeth brushing!
Old clothing is one of the most versatile items that can be reused! From repairing damaged clothing to upcycling old clothes into new fashion (cut-off jean shorts, anyone?), throwing away clothes should never be the initial reaction. If your old clothes are stained or unsalvageable, cut them into reusable rags as a zero-waste alternative to paper towels.
5. Soap slivers
Is your bar soap at the point that it breaks when you try to use it? Instead of throwing away the remaining soap, you can actually reuse it! Save several scraps to melt down and mold into a new soap bar.
Another hack for reusing old soap is to make your own laundry detergent. Use a food processor to grind dried scraps into a powder, and combine it with washing soda and borax, and voila! You’ve got your own DIY laundry detergent!
6. Cardboard boxes
Don’t just break down and throw your cardboard boxes into the recycling bin. Save them for your next move or repurpose them into a fun playhouse for toddlers or pets. For a cat house, lay an old towel inside and sprinkle some catnip — your feline won’t be able to resist it!
Have you reached the bottom of your favorite candle, but there’s still wax left behind? Don’t pitch it yet! You can actually reuse candle wax from old candles to create new ones — here’s a tutorial on how to do it.
Once you’ve emptied out the container your candle came in, you can reuse it as a planter, vase, or storage solution.
8. Wine bottles and corks
Wine bottles can be reused as decorative, string light-filled fixtures, single stem vases, storage containers, and more. One of our favorite wine bottle hacks is to use them as plant watering bottles. Simply fill a clean wine bottle with water and stick into the soil upside down. Water will slowly be released from the bottle to keep your plants well-watered.
Save the corks for upcycling and reuse, as well. Wine corks are great for making crafts like coasters and homemade stamps. You can also use them as labels in your garden or to repel fruit flies that swarm your fruit basket.
Feeling inspired to reuse more and waste less? Check out these posts on zero waste living:
- How to reduce your everyday waste in 10 simple steps
- 10 easy ways to introduce zero waste into your life
- 18 DIY upcycling projects that’ll make the most of your waste