Spring cleaning provides an opportune time to sort through boxes of old stuff and purge clutter. But think twice before you earmark something for the trash. Cheapism turned to green blogs for their wackiest repurposing ideas and zeroed in on seven worth considering. Anyone with a little time and patience can try these out and potentially end up with something cute, creative, and handmade. Another positive byproduct: one less item added to the landfill or carted to the recycling facility.
1. Give old rain boots new life. After five years of wearing the same rain boots, the blogger behind Creative Green Living decided they were "done in" by holes and cracks in the rubber. Rather than disposing of them and buying a new pair, she revived them with several rolls of zebra-patterned duct tape. First she prepped the boots by patching holes and reinforcing weak areas and seams with high quality duct tape, then added a design with the zebra tape.
2. DIY shelving and storage units. Instead of buying mass-produced home essentials, try a creative shelving or storage idea from 1800Recycling.com. If you have a broken guitar hiding in the closet, for example, turn it into a shelf by opening it up, painting or papering the inside, and running a couple of shelves across the body. Now you have space to showcase picture frames and books. Another idea: Make dresser drawers out of vintage suitcases.
3. Hang an egg carton bird feeder. At Happy Green Mama we found directions for making a simple bird feeder from an egg carton. Remove the lid and flap, attach string to the four corners, tie them together, fill the cups partway, and hang the bird feeder from a tree or hook.
4. Fashion a water bottle from a jar. To avoid the toxins associated with plastic water bottles, the blogger at Creative Green Living searched fruitlessly for one made of stainless steel or glass. Then she hit upon the idea of repurposing an old spaghetti sauce jar (any glass jar will do) with a screw-on lid. You'll also need a piece of plastic wrap; nontoxic, water-base paint suitable for metal; a small rubber grommet and a drill; and a stainless steel straw.
5. Store magazines in a cereal box. With a bit of cutting, the blogger at Happy Green Mama turned a cereal box into a magazine holder. Remove the top and cut across the front and back at a diagonal (aiming for the same corner) but stop two inches from the bottom; then cut cross the narrow side. Cover (and reinforce) the box with contact paper. This gives magazines loosely strewn across the coffee table or sitting in piles on the floor a place to call home.
6. Make envelopes out of magazines. Help your mail stand out in a sea of white envelopes with a festive homemade alternative. All you need is the card or letter to be sent, a magazine page, a glue stick, self-adhesive address labels, and a pen. With some strategic folding and gluing, the mail is ready to go. Don't forget the stamp.
7. Turn old rags into a rug. Old towels become a bathmat and an old coat becomes a rug with instructions from Happy Green Mama. These ideas involve more time and effort but can add color and comfort to your floors.