10 Incredibly Simple Ways to Upcycle Everyday Items

A fun way to reduce your waste around the house is to find creative ways to reuse items rather than throwing them out. Here are a few ideas for insanely simple ways you can upcycle everyday items around your house rather than turning them into trash. 


1. Turn pillowcases into garment bags

If you have a pillow case that you are not using anymore because it is slightly damaged, goes with a set that is incomplete, or goes with a set that your child has outgrown, turning it into a garment bag is super easy and useful.

Simply cut a triangle shaped slit in the bottom of the pillow case that is large enough for a hanger to fit through. Viola! You have yourself a garment bag, prefect for protecting dresses, suits, clothing with delicate designs, and for traveling.

You can choose to hem the slit of the garment bag to prevent it from fraying and make it last longer.



2. Turn lint and toilet paper rolls into fire starters

Save your dryer lint and toilet paper rolls to turn them into simple yet effective fire starters.

All you need to do is stuff some dryer lint into the toilet paper roll, place it at the base of the fire and light your fire starter. Make sure there is plenty of kindling around your fire starter or it will not sustain the fire.

Some people recommend wrapping the fire starter in newspaper or squeezing the toilet paper roll shut on both ends to make them burn more effectively. Try different methods to see what works best for you.



3. Turn wine corks into bag clips

There are many creative ways to reuse wine corks, but this one could not be simpler.

Just take a very sharp knife and cut a slit about halfway through the middle of the cork. If you need a wider opening for larger bags, just make a second, angled cut to make the slit wider on the outside and narrower towards the middle.

The wine corks are very strong, which make them great at holding bags closed.



4. Use old toothbrushes to clean small items and hard to reach areas

The number of things around the house that can be cleaned with old toothbrushes are endless.

Clothes, jewelry, shower corners, tools, cheese graters, keyboards, door hinges, walls, tile grout.

Just grab a mason jar to hold your used toothbrushes. Label the brushes based on what you use them for if you want to avoid mixing too many chemicals.



5. Use egg cartons to organize small household items

Empty egg cartons are great for organizing all sorts of small items around the house.

Christmas ornaments, holiday decorations, change, sewing supplies, change, screws, jewelry, hair pins, and more can be easily organized with egg cartons. So rather than tossing your empty egg cartons, save them until your next spring cleaning when you want to organize all your messy drawers.



6. Put egg shells in your garden

Putting egg shells in your garden does double duty:

  1. It adds a boost of beneficial calcium to your soil.
  2. The rough edges of broken egg shells provide a natural deterrent against pests like slugs and snails.

So instead of tossing your eggs shells in the garbage, break them up into small  scatter them around your garden.



7. Use empty bread bags as pastry bags

Rather than buying disposable piping bags for cake decorating, save empty bread bags to use instead.

Just wash the bread bag to clean out any crumbs and leave it out the dry. When it is time to decorate your cake, cut the corner off of the bag and fill it with icing, just like a regular piping bag.

All you need is a set of piping nozzles.

The bread bag can also be used without a nozzle attachment for piping icing onto cupcakes or filling cannoli..



8. Turn empty candle holders into storage jars

I save all my empty candle jars to use them for storage around the house. Candle jars are good quality and often very pretty glass jars. I use them to hold makeup brushes, Qtips, cotton balls, cotton pads, coupons, and lip products.

Pro tip: put your empty candle jar in the freezer for a few hours and the left over wax will pop right out. Then just soak the jar in soapy water and scrub out any leftover residue. Now you have a beautiful glass jar to use for anything you want.



9. Turn used tights into headbands

Elastic headbands are great for children in sports or jobs that require your hair to be tied back.

They can be easily made from old tights that no longer fit or that have a run or hole in them.

Just cut off the toe of the tights. Then cut the leg into as many 1/2 inch strips as you can. Roll into a rounded shape to conceal the rough edges and you’re finished!

Tights can also be made into thicker headbands by cutting the legs into 5-6 inch strips and folding under the rough edges rather than rolling them up.



10. Use empty pill bottles to store bobby pins

Empty prescription pill bottles are the perfect size for storing bobby pins and other small items like sewing needles, Qtips, headphones, and buttons.

You can easily decorate your empty bottle by painting it or wrapping it in decorative paper.


Comment below if you have any clever ideas of ways to upcycle common household items.

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