Take a moment to think about how many items you throw away each day. It really adds up, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s a shame all that waste goes into a landfill, but it’s also unfortunate that you’re discarding objects that are more useful than you realize!
Though you shouldn’t feel guilty every time you toss something out — hoarding is its own problem — there are a lot of valuable items you could be repurposing. Following these green DIY ideas will undoubtedly make your life better, plus the planet will thank you too.
1. Good fences make good neighbors, but this is a great fence. Rather than buy fresh wood, this carpenter used old doors, creating a neat funhouse effect around the yard.
Reddit / wrankin1101
2. Any veterans out there will appreciate this tip. If you’re unsure about what to do with all your old uniforms, take a page out of this book and make them into a cat bed cover! Your new superior officers (the kitties) will appreciate your service.
Reddit / hellostarbucks
3. Some dads are handier around the house than others, but this former airline pilot came up with a nifty idea. Rather than throwing away his stacks of maps, he put them to good use as wrapping paper. That’s first-class service!
Reddit / skonen_blades
4. Most people wouldn’t view a $4 t-shirt as anything special, except for standard laundry day attire. However, this DIY-designer turned the bland shirt into a highly stylish collared dress! By the looks of this photo, she’s about to step out on the catwalk.
Reddit / GrinningCatBus
5. Even the best photographers have bits of film that don’t develop properly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve lost their artistic potential. For example, they can serve as perfectly framed canvases for miniature paintings.
6. In an effort to convert to a zero-plastic household, these innovators repurposed some empty whiskey bottles. They say that it not only offers a more sustainable option but also that “it helps our house look more rock n’ roll.”
Reddit / upsidedownmoonbeam
7. If you want a pair of shoes that are inexpensive and eco-friendly, look no further. This African entrepreneur makes comfy sandals out of old tires. Most impressively, he can size customers up to the nearest millimeter without needing any measuring tools!
Reddit / OneHundredKilometers
8. Most of us likely haven’t sat in a shopping cart for decades. However, that can all change once you realize that with a bit of DIY magic, any cart can transform into durable patio furniture! One note: it wouldn’t hurt to toss some cushions on those steel chairs.
Reddit / Rezaime
9. Don’t feel ashamed if you’re one of those people who keeps out their Christmas decorations way too long. By carefully stringing up these lights — and skipping the disposable tree altogether — you’ll have a gift that just keeps on giving.
Reddit / noslowsongs
10. We wouldn’t recommend that you stop bathing to help save the Earth. However, there are little things you can do. For instance, you can make your own shampoo bars, which will cut out the plastic bottles and only cost you $20 per year.
Reddit / eloquinee
11. Each year, we get a torrent of holiday cards in our mailboxes, often from people we barely know. Nevertheless, they could be more useful than you’d think. With a little bit of cutting, you can salvage a bunch of gift tags to use the following year.
Reddit / OfficerUnreasonable
12. Libraries often resort to dumping out old or duplicate books, but this branch came up with a novel alternative. They formed stacks of vintage hardcovers into stools. Even if they’re no longer being read, these tomes are giving people a place to read.
13. At just about any store, you can blow a few bucks on a drawer organizer that may or may not fit inside your furniture. Or, you can make a fully customizable version out of old cardboard. Put those boxes in your basement or attic to good use!
Reddit / wahlb3rg
14. In some hidden corner of our homes, many of us have stashed away a giant bundle of plastic grocery bags, which we someday hope to recycle. Finally, here’s a way to make that wish come true — just weave them into a reusable shopping bag like this one.
Reddit / pegamoose
15. There’s no sight more hilarious than a little kid putting on adult-sized clothes. However, there is a sensible idea buried somewhere in all those folds of fabric. Some crafty folks have taken old dress shirts and cut baby clothes right out of the middle!
Reddit / tammyrich
16. Reusable bags tend to be pretty cheap, but do you know what’s even cheaper? Making your own! This Redditor simply took an old pet food bag and added a handle to make a trendier accessory than you’d find in any store.
Reddit / GrinningCatBus
17. More so than any other article of clothing, t-shirts really pile up. But instead of just tossing your oldies in the trash, consider sewing them into a quilt! You can experiment with colors and patterns to make it a future family heirloom.
Reddit / AlchemistDoctor
18. For most people, there’s no trash more commonplace than dead leaves on the ground. But did you know that they can make some all-natural confetti? This project is perfect for any mountain man throwing a surprise party.
19. We may not always realize it, but even the smallest components of everyday objects can be mighty when properly utilized. Just look at this mom, who knitted an entire scarf out of nothing but tea bag string! If she’s lucky, that scarf will smell like chamomile.
Reddit / fluraichean
20. After a huge dinner party, this Redditor’s friends were about to toss a huge turkey carcass in the trash. Luckily, she grabbed it and made over a dozen jars of savory stock from it! We bet you never thought the word ‘carcass’ could be so appetizing!
Reddit / HamishCat
21. You might think that one lip balm tube in the trash doesn’t mean much, but they add up to a lot of waste over time. As a matter of fact, you can eliminate this issue altogether by saving the tubes and re-filling them with a homemade, organic concoction.
Reddit / logibearr
22. Remember that not every item’s second life has to involve a ton of work. Any glass jar can instantly become a cup, though we recommend you clean it out first. And you’ll get bonus points for using a metal straw instead of a plastic one.
Reddit / battraman
23. Some objects, like pom poms hats, actually serve a purpose most people don’t know! The pom poms were put on hats to keep sailors from bumping their heads below deck, and that’s not the only everyday object with a little-known primary use…
24. Everyone knows Chupa Chups as a brand of delicious lollipops that feature a unique, square-shaped hole at the top of each stick. The square hole actually helps the lollipop stay firmly attached to the stick during the candy-making process!
25. Having a crease running down the front of suit pants might be considered fashionable now, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century, suits were sent to the United States in the cargo holds of massive ships. They were pressed flat to save space, and the resulting crease was so hard to iron out that the crease just became the style.
26. Have you ever wondered about that funny “pocket” in the crotch of some ladies’ underwear? It’s there so that the seams of the underwear will appear on the outside of the garment, making the underwear much more comfortable to wear!
27. Do you know those little patches on the top of your backpack were originally placed on backpacks so that the people carrying them would have a place to loop their ropes while campin? In most cases now, those patches are just another stylish detail meant more for looking good than for function.
28. If you can’t figure out why there’s a tiny hole between your iPhone’s flash and camera lens, it’s actually a secondary microphone, which helps your phone filter out background noise. It also helps your phone’s personal assistant, Siri, understand different accents.
29. When the Heinz company was at the top of their game, they had 57 different varieties of food. Now, the number 57 is strategically placed on their glass ketchup bottles to denote the best spot to hit the bottle whenever you’re struggling to pour out your ketchup.
30. Most lotions, shampoos, and makeup products you buy have a series of mysterious symbols on them. The top-most symbol actually lets you know the shelf-life of the product! So if you see “12M” (as pictured below), that means that you have 12 months from the time you opened the bottle to use it before it expires.
31. The notched blades on retractable box cutters can seem a little confusing. What’s their point if the blade is going to eventually get dull? This long strip is actually made up of several blades, with each notch marking where the next blade one begins. When your old blade gets dull, safely break off the end at the next notch, and you will have a brand new blade ready to go!
32. You know that funny little “button” on the bottom of your rearview mirror? It actually has a purpose. When you are driving at night, pushing the button back can help you from being blinded by bright oncoming headlights without losing any visibility.