How to Repurpose Many Items Instead of Throwing Them Away

Part of living frugally is learning how to repurpose things you have and use everything instead of living a disposable lifestyle. For example, empty boxes that checks are mailed in are a good size to use as drawer dividers. I use several of them in my desk drawers for organizing pens, sticky note pads, etc. These repurpose tips will come in handy if you are keeping a close eye on your personal finances.

 

When I peel carrots or apples, I don't throw the scraps away to be stuffed into a plastic bag in the landfill, or put them down the disposal. I put them on the compost pile so they can enrich the soil.




Bookmark and Share

Another example of reuse is what to do with leftover herbs. They don't keep very long, and I never need the whole amount that I buy for a recipe, so I have started drying the extra and keeping it for later. I also freeze things that used to get thrown out - extra bananas or grapes that don't get eaten (the grapes are good frozen as a sweet treat; the bananas are good in smoothies and milkshakes); also peppers can be chopped and frozen to use in any recipe where they will be cooked. For stale bread you can put it in the blender with some herbs and make great breadcrumbs that can be stored in the freezer and then used to coat chicken or fish before baking or frying. Or you can spread the bread with butter or oil mixed with herbs, cut it into cubes and bake it until it is crunchy and you will have wonderful homemade croutons! (See Using Leftovers for more ideas for food.)


how to repurpose

~FOOD ITEMS~


  • lemon rinds - grate the 'zest' (outer yellow layer) and dry or freeze it to use in baked goods; put the rest on compost or grind in garbage disposal to disinfect and deodorize it
  • orange peels - boil orange peels with a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon on medium heat to give your home a deliciously fresh scent

  • both lemon and orange rinds can be used to make homemade citrus cleaner - give it a try for an excellent cleaner for almost no cost

  • apples that have become soft- put slices inside a chicken when roasting - keeps it moist

  • wine - freeze in ice cube tray to use later in sauces or soups

  • chicken or beef bones - make delicious and nutritious bone broth by covering bones with filtered water and cooking for 12 to 24 hours

  • bread crumbs - feed the birds; freeze for breading meat, fish or veggies

  • stale bread - bread crumbs, French toast, croutons, bread pudding

  • fruit and veggie scraps - add to homemade bone broth or stock; compost

  • banana peels - put around flowers; compost

  • used coffee grounds and tea bags - put in your garden or compost pile or individual plants as fertilizer

  • egg shells - add to compost, make ornaments

  • butter wrappers - freeze them in a zip top bag and take one out to use when you need to grease a pan
    how to repurpose

how to repurpose
~OTHER HOUSEHOLD ITEMS~

  • egg cartons - use as a starter planter for seeds; transplant small plants into larger pots or outside when they are a couple of inches tall

    - use to store jewelry, desk supplies (paper clips,etc), or nuts and bolts

  • soap bits - make your own laundry detergent

  • buttons - make a button bracelet; use in craft projects; donate to a kindergarten, preschool or church group

  • clothing - cut into pieces to use as cleaning rags

    - Eco-friendly cloth napkins: Make dinner napkins from any soft absorbent fabric by cutting it into 12-inch squares. You can hem them to prevent fraying, or just leave them as they are for everyday napkins.

    - Recycled t-shirt scarf : Turn a discarded t-shirt into a cozy scarf. No sewing required!


  • scarf - window or table cover or decoration


  • wine corks - put in the bottom of potted plants; or make a cork trivet

  • tennis balls - cut in half & use to unscrew hot light bulbs; put in the dryer with a small load or a bulky item like a comforter to help it dry more evenly

  • colorful glass bottles - make a bottle tree; break into pieces and make mosaics

  • ice cube trays - use to store small items like earrings, paper clips, etc.

  • cereal or cracker boxes - separate them at the seam and turn inside out; re-glue to make gift boxes or mailing envelopes

  • wool sweaters - cut arms off to use as children's leg warmers; felt them and make oven mitts, Christmas stockings, chair covers, mittens, throw pillows, and lots of other items

  • shoe boxes - storage for smaller items in drawers or on shelves

  • catalogs and magazines that you are finished with - use as wrapping paper or to decorate wrapping paper or boxes; use to make or decorate mailing envelopes; filler for packages

  • newspaper - use as wrapping paper or make paper mache; use it to wrap onions to store them longer; put on your garden as a biodegradable ground cover; line pet cages or litter boxes; use as filler for packages

  • jars - storage for buttons, hardware, candy


  • placemats (cloth or vinyl) - cut to size to make drawer liners or use small pieces to cushion the bottoms of ceramic items against scratching polished or painted surfaces

  • wax paper cereal or cracker box liners - use for crushing cracker crumbs or nuts

  • shoulder pads - knee pads for gardening or scrubbing floors

  • old cotton T-shirt - slip over a broom, spritz with water and use it to dust ceilings and other high spots

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Frugal Way to Reuse Spice Jars 
I save the really small jars and bottles that food comes in such as mustard, pimientos, jelly, etc. These are excellent for spices and herbs if you want …

Cardboard boxes 
I take cardboard boxes from the store/packing boxes from moving and make them into furniture. If your kids are as hard on furniture as mine this makes …

Coffee Can Turned Tree or Plant Cutting Keeper 
Keep your tree or plant cuttings sturdy and safe! Use an empty coffee can to hold dirt/potting mix, moisten to desired dampness. Cut an "x" hole in the …

Candle to kindle? 
Instead of throwing away the last bits of candles left over when the wick is too short, I save them up and when there is enough-- I melt them down and …

Holiday Recycling Ideas 
* Buy baskets from thrift stores to use for DIY gift baskets * Use ribbon from previous gifts for home decor * Reuse gift ties in as hair bows or …

Shoulder Pad Coin Purse For Your Little One 
Just sew 2 shoulder pads together leaving straight edge open. Add cord or ribbon as shoulder strap if for a little girl. You can add a button and a loop …

Inside of Tumble Dryer to an Outdoor Fireplace/Barbeque! 
Growing up in a household always a bit strapped for cash and with four boys, we were always coming up with ways to reuse things. And out in South Africa …

Ways to Repurpose Plastic Bottles 
The most multipurpose thing in the household is a plastic bottle. There was even a program on Russian TV where the host was making all sorts of useful …

Household Paper - Recycling Solutions 
After using a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, you can use it to store electrical wires to keep them from getting tangled and in your way. That …

Small Jars Not rated yet
I use small jars such as the ones pimientos or the tiny jars of mustard to store herbs and spices or other things such as buttons, needles, paper clips, …

Plastic 2 liter bottles Not rated yet
I cut the top of the bottle off less that 1/4 of the way down the bottle to make a funnel. Comes in very handy when trying to pour something into a smaller …

Vegetables. Not rated yet
My husband and I every so often do a batch of vegetables and potatoes. The pots are mashed and made also for roasts and frozen. The veg are blanched in …

Reusing Dog Food Bags as Drawer Liners Not rated yet
I reuse the heavy duty dog food bags for lining my bathroom drawers and cabinets. Just cut to fit and clean real good. These are heavy duty liners and …

Making citrus cleaner out of lemon peels Not rated yet
Since winter is a great time for citrus, save orange and lemon peels in a bag in the fridge. when you have enough to fill a quart or half gallon canning …

Recycle Your Root Beer Bottles Not rated yet
I reuse my root beer bottles to keep my garden seeds. Simply wash, rinse and let dry thoroughly. Fill with seeds, label, replace cap (cork if lost cap), …

Recycled Pub Mix Containers for Food Storage Not rated yet
I repurposed a coat closet into a food pantry and wanted some containers for dry goods (beans, rice, etc.). Pub mix (the pretzel mix snack) containers …

Juiceboxes to Seed Starters Not rated yet
Recently my son and I went to plant our garden seeds and found that we didn't have any containers. We had a ton of empty juice boxes, so we just took out …

Buttons reused, but as buttons Not rated yet
One thing I do with buttons is I cut them off any clothing that is beyond salvation, that will be discarded or cut up for rags. I keep a "button box" …

Plastic Grated Romano Cheese Containers  Not rated yet
The grated cheese containers typically have a flip top lid with holes for sprinkling on one side and a larger hole for spooning on the other side of the …

Reusing Household Items Not rated yet
Plastic coffee canisters I use to keep flour, sugar, Bisquik mix, cornmeal, pasta and any other pantry item you can think of in. Plastic Syrup …

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


From How to Repurpose to Living Frugal

From How to Repurpose Home to Frugal Living Now


Download now

More information



Subscribe to Newsletter

Sign up for my free monthly newsletter - Frugal Gazette


* indicates required
Email Format
[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines


Frugal Weddings


Frugal Gifts


Frugal Moms