5 Tips on How to Re-use Old Household Items

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If it’s time to reinvigorate your home, creatively working with what you have is the most eco-friendly way to spruce up old items into newfound treasures. Items you initially thought about getting rid of may be the best resources for your quick fix, “eco-nomical” make over. Here are some handy ways you can re-use, up-cycle, and transform old, broken items into newly found ideas:

1. Door Knob hooks:

Attaching old, broken door knobs to a scrap piece of wood is a fun way to make a new wall hook arrangement for any room. Simply attach the knobs to a piece of wood painted the color of your choice, and set the back with a wall mount hook. Voila! You have a new coat rack that looks “kitschy” and cool, without all the fuss of shopping for new accessories. For a step-by-step guide on how to make a doorknob coat rack, visit thisoldhouse.com and get started!

2. Old Furniture:

Some sanding and a coat of eco-friendly paint are all it takes to bring a tired piece of furniture back to life. For a quick fix, use AFM Safecoat Transitional Primer to avoid sanding. We suggest trying bright colors that pop and having one piece per room as a general rule of thumb. Check out the before and after looks on our blog greenpadliving.com where you can pick up some fun ideas to get your inspiration for this adventurous change.

3. Mismatch Tile:

Pulling out those old, mismatched tiles stored in the basement and recycling them into coasters and hot plates is always fun. Just add a piece of felt or old fabric to the bottom of the tile using an eco-friendly adhesive (we get ours at greenable.net), and you’ve got a new table top ornament that is both decorative and functional. For the truly adventurous, redoing the top of an old coffee table in mosaic style is also a fun project that adds a Mediterranean flare to any room!

4.  Gift Wrapping Essentials:

Every home comes equipped with old pillowcases, miscellaneous ribbon, a box full of mix-matched buttons, magazines, newspaper comics and Atlas maps. Creating your own wrapping using these materials is a great way to send an eco-friendly message and add your own personal touch to every gift. For the card, take an old greeting card you’ve been given, cut off the side with the writing, and use the picture half as your new recycled postcard that looks great on top of any gift or sent in the mail.

5. Old Clothes:

If something it too worn out to be donated or sold on the web, then try cutting it up for cleaning rags, dishtowels, pillow covers, chair throws or even insulation! There is always a use for old fabric, so even if you don’t need it right away, cut it up in 8×10 squares and then store it in your craft box or simply under the kitchen sink!

As a general resource guide for things you just have to let go of, start with a list of your favorite charities, most of which survive on donations, or try one of the following websites that offer ways to recycle goods and keep our environment clear of the clutter! Craigslist.org, freecycle.org or therecyclingcenter.info.

Contributor Info:

Based in Philadelphia Pa, Darren and Jacquellyne are long-time grass roots settlers when it comes to the term “green living.” The foundation of their philosophy is that green living begins at home, which is what inspired them to create their business: Green Pad Living. Utilizing Darren’s carpentry skills as well as his passion for eco-friendly furnishings, Darren has created a line of “reclaimed furniture” that is not only free of toxins and VOC’s, but is also derived from 100% salvaged and sustainable materials. As a seasoned Naturopath and Feng Shui Consultant, Jacquellyne has become an expert on maintaining optimal health in their living environment through greening their home in the most basic and fundamental of ways. Both Jacquellyne and Darren believe that their true inspiration comes from their three children who continually remind them on a daily basis how significant each choice is that we make. They bring value and awareness into a world that is worth preserving every step of the way!

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4 Comments for “5 Tips on How to Re-use Old Household Items”

  • If you are interested in reuse – takea look at “Choose to Reuse ” (Ceres Press) – the bible of reuse.


  • We all need to thnk about what we’re doing to our world. There are many creative ways to Reduce Reuse and Recycle. Thanks for the ideas.


  • Cindy WallNo Gravatar

    I found a great use for using old pieces of self stick tile that I found in the attic when I bought the house! I lined the shelves under the kitchen and bathroom sink with them. Not only is it easy to clean, it also helps to prevent damage if you spring a leak. I also used them to cover the top of my potting bench. It makes a great,easy to clean waterproof surface.

  • Fun! I just started a blog about gift wrapping (http://thegiftedblog.wordpress.com/) and appreciate the plug for using materials you have on hand to wrap gifts. I started to document every gift I wrap and have been surprised at how often I wrap presents using things around the house – very convenient and a chance to get creative!

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