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Don’t Throw That Out! 16 Clever Ways to Organize with Trash

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Love turning trash into treasure?

Check out these 16 inspiring trash recycling hacks (using things you typically throw away) to organize around the house! Many of these ideas are simple and fun!

1. Re-use shoe boxes for stylish storage.

Before tossing away a thick shoe box or greeting card box, consider using it for office or craft room storage. I covered these bulk greeting card boxes in stylish shelf liner paper, and I use them in my office area as pretty yet functional storage!

2. Make a mini first aid kit from a pill bottle.

Re-purpose prescription pill bottles into mini first aid kits by including a few bandages, antiseptic wipes, and some allergy or pain relievers.

3. Organize household cords.

Use paper rolls to keep all your electrical cords labeled and organized. I embellished mine with duct tape and scrapbook paper.

4. Re-purpose empty candle jars.

I added pretty knobs to the tops of these Bath & Body Works candle jars for easy and adorable bathroom storage! Check out these directions for cleaning out candles (and more ideas for re-purposing them).

5. Use food containers for on-the-go snacks.

Re-purpose smaller plastic food containers as convenient and portable food storage for snacks. Keep them in your pantry or take snacks to go in your purse, diaper bag, or to the beach!

6. Organize with Mason jars.

Use Mason jars or glass food container jars to organize everything from craft and office supplies to pantry items! They are so versatile and can serve so many purposes.

7. Store plastic bags in wipes containers.

An empty wipes container makes a great way to travel with trash sacks or empty grocery bags for the beach or when camping. When empty, use it to keep wet bathing suits separate as well.

8. Stick with this pinworthy Mason jar.

How cute is this Mason jar pin cushion and mending kit?! I created this cute pin cushion in about 10 minutes with this fun tutorial – all I did was hot glue a ball of cotton filling and a piece of fabric to a Mason jar lid and then placed my sewing items inside!

9. Re-purpose a coffee container into a wipes holder.

Re-use those red over-sized plastic coffee containers to store your homemade baby wipes made from a roll of paper towels (instructions here).

10. Create a DIY hand washing station.

Keep your campsite or outdoor party organized with a smart hand washing station. Fill an empty and clean detergent container with water, and use the spout for hand washing.

11. Craft a Washi tape pencil holder.

Recycle tin cans by covering them with different colored Washi tape. Group them together for stylish and functional pencil and office supply organizing.

Speaking of Washi tape, did you see this post?

12. Re-purpose cereal boxes.

There’s more to cereal boxes than the toy surprise! Use the empty containers to create a pretty and functional desk organizer like the one seen here.

13. Make DIY beer coasters.

Save the cardboard boxes from your favorite brands of beer and use them to make these unique drink coasters.

14. Use aluminum tabs in the closet.

These aluminum tabs double your hanging space by allowing you to stack hangers! So smart and easy!

15. Keep a lid on your old CD storage rack.

Don’t toss that old CD rack! Instead, use it to keep unruly storage container lids in order!

16. Re-purpose in a pinch with pant hangers.

Plastic pant hangers can easily be re-used as chip clips. Consider using one as a clever cookbook holder while making a recipe too!

What are some clever ways you re-purpose things that other people toss out?

Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! Check out all of Lina’s DIY/CRAFTS and RECIPES created just for Hip2Save.

Lina has 8+ years' experience in content creation across lifestyle, decor, recipes & DIY. She has a Bachelors in Business Management. Connect with Lina on LinkedIn

Join The Discussion

Comments 48

  1. Sarah

    Using the paint hangers as chip clips is such a good idea! I am totally going to do that!

    • Mel

      If you rip the ends off the hanger you get two chip clips. They work quite well!

    • Lina D

      Perfect! Thanks Sarah.

  2. Susan Crawford

    I like the idea to re purpose the candle holders. Are the knobs the same as the on dressers? I also like the coasters, I will have to show that idea to my niece. Those would be nice gifts for Father’s Day.

  3. Natalie

    I use the pant hangers for chip clips. Pretty easy to use a hack saw and cut each clip off then I use a lighter to slightly melt the cut edge(makes it smoother). Then I don’t worry if kids or husband looses them. Takes a little bit of time but I just did 7 hangers the other day while the kids were playing outside. I now have 14 chip clips.

  4. visitor3

    Pill bottles are also handy for containing small items like earrings, coins, paper clips, tacks, etc. Handy for a desk, car, or when traveling.

    • Lina D

      Yes! Great idea!

  5. Kitty

    My husband loves the beer coasters I made him. They look neat but don’t exactly absorb water FYI

    • Mel R.

      put salt on the coaster before putting a cold drink on top. it ll keep the water from pooling!!

      • Lina D

        Oh great idea!

  6. Scarlet B

    Love these ideas. Thanks!

    • Lina D

      You’re welcome 😉

  7. Charlotte's Mom

    Love these ideas! Especially the candle jar apothecary and chip bag hanger. Such a good way to repurpose throwaways!

    • Lina D

      Great! Thanks Charlotte!

  8. JA

    Strongly recommend against number 5. Those containers are not meant to be reused. When you wash them in warm/hot water that plastic starts breaking down and leeching into food.

  9. MichellefromDenver

    That hanger needs washi tape. Washi tape on everything!

    Love this kind of stuff. Thanks.

    • Lina D

      Sure! Yes I love washi tape!

  10. HipMomof3

    Love these ideas, I have used the plastic containers for wipes for crayons, markers or the kids play jewelry. Not the most creative, but useful.

    • Lina D

      Great! I agree – useful.

  11. Tiffany

    We used a laundry detergent container for a handwashing station when we went camping & really liked it. It made the whole experience better–to be able to wash your hands or rinse something off quickly anytime. Even fellow campers asked to use it.

    • Lina D

      Great! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Aleks

    Has anyone reused their empty spice bottles? Thanks in advance!

    • Kay

      Got a repurposed plastic spice container with lid at a busy bag exchange for kids. The mom left in the part with holes and added pipe cleaners. The child is to put pipe cleaners through the holes. The outside was decorated with paper. It’s a Montessori type DIY activity for kids.

      • Lina D

        Love this idea!

    • Amber

      I wash out the small plastic ones and let my daughter use them for her play kitchen. Save the small sample cereal boxes for play as well.
      If the spice smell doesn’t linger too much, you could use them for crafting, glitter, sand, etc. Same for the parmesan cheese containers. Those lids are supposed to fit on Mason jars, but I’ve never tried it.

      • Lina D

        Great tips! Thanks Amber!

  13. Kay

    For repurposing the candle jars, where did you get your knobs? Does the e600 craft glue work well? I use a glue gun, but it’s so weak, the knob comes off if u pull too hard. I’ve been doing this since the original post. Use as gifts. So pretty. Thanks.

  14. Harlow

    Hello craft idea decorate cans with puff paint dots let dry then paint can white result pretty planter🤗

    • Lina D

      Fun idea!

  15. KED

    Great ideas, thanks everyone!

  16. Mizz Mo

    I use old candle jars as planters for African violets and succulents – add some gravel to the bottom for drainage then dirt on top. If the jars are clear you can do sand art with colored sands from the craft store, some preserved moss and rocks then an air plant on top. They make great gifts and get rave reviews 🙂

    • Lina D

      Oh how smart! Thanks for the tip!

  17. ResseCup

    Saw on Pinterest a good idea for old pill bottle: use for headphone storage. I’m doing it now which is great as I can find it in my purse. It’s no longer a tangled ball of crumby, wrapped in receipts at the bottom of my purse mess.

    • Lina D

      Perfect! Great tip 👍

  18. Kyliejay!

    Great ideas!

    • Lina D


  19. mel

    I also use the pants hanger in the winter for wet gloves

    • Lina D

      Great idea!! So smart 👍

    • Suzanne H

      I use them when I wash pool shoes, sneakers, etc. as well. Hang by the tongues and let them dry.

      • Joanne S.

        The pant hangers are great for many reasons. I hang my wigs, after washing them, and let them hang upside down in the shower stall
        They dry nicely and do not lose their shape.

  20. Patricia

    I use a pretty old ice bucket to keep my sandwich bags in and my coffee filters in. I have my tea bags in a pretty tin I got in England. I have some cute old wooden boxes I found at a flea market holding my pan lids and my tupperware lids. They have pictures of seed packets on the front so maybe that was what was in them originally. I have those old red baskets that the old fashioned candy came in eons ago under my sick holding different things in like cleaning supplies etc. I have an old armoire in my bathroom that holds my bathroom stockpile. I use my grandmothers old stoneware bowls for dog bowls (no more carring them around from room to room) and an old stoneware crock as a trash can in the bathroom. Great for reusing those walmart bags as trash bags. I use an old butter churner as an extra toilet paper holder. the list goes on and on.

    • Lina D

      Thanks for sharing some great ideas!

  21. Patricia Goff

    I have made toys out of containers too. I made a bowling set out of creamer bottles. I put some sand in it so they didn’t fall down to easy in the wind etc. They had plenty of balls to use with them. Just dragged out an old crochet game for them to play with last weekend too.

  22. Tracie

    I use the empty yogurt glass jars as candle holders , as dessert cups and for gift giving items. I like to use the big plastic oj containers for watering my plants , my cats love playing with toilet paper rolls I also save a lot of containers from various items like pretzel jugs to store my sons toys in my list could go in but that is just a few of my things I do

  23. Carol

    The laundry soap container for washing station is a new one to me. Love it!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks so much Carol!

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