16 Clever Ways to Upcycle Trash From Around Your Home

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cleaning Bath & Body Works candle jars with Goo Gone

Turn trash into treasure!

Here are some fun and inspiring upcycling ideas on turning things you’d ordinarily toss in the trash into something useful! Saves money and the planet all at the same time! Many of these 16 ideas are easy to accomplish, too.

wrapping storage boxes

1. Upcycle shoe boxes for stylish storage.

Before tossing away a thick shoebox 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!

reusing pill bottles

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.

three toilet paper tube wire organizers

3. Organize household cords with toilet paper rolls.

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

candle jars holding cotton and cotton swabs

4. Upcycle 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 candles.

storing snacks in clean plastic food jars

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!

mason jars reused for pencils and stamps

6. Organize with empty 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.

plastic sacks in a baby wipes container

7. Store plastic bags in empty wipes containers.

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

Mason jar with a pin cushion and sewing supplies

8. Stick with this pin-worthy 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!

reusing a coffee can for diaper wipes

9. Upcycle a coffee container into a wipes holder.

Reuse those over-sized plastic coffee containers to store your homemade baby wipes made from a roll of paper towels. Check out the full instructions and video in this oldie but goodie of a post!

handwashing station with an old laundry liquid bottle

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.

washi tape on a tin can holding pencils

11. Craft a Washi tape pencil holder from an old tin can.

Upcycle 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, check out these 10 clever ideas for how to use Washi tap!

decorated boxes for desktop storage

12. Upcycle cereal boxes for desk organization.

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.

mod podge coasters

13. Make DIY coasters out of beer packaging.

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

using aluminum can tabs for hanging clothes

14. Use aluminum tabs in the closet for more space.

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

storage lids on a cd rack

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!

using pant clips to seal chips bag and hold up cookbook

16. Upcycle pant hangers for chip clips in a pinch.

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

Up Next: 10 Storage Solutions ONLY $1 Each at Dollar Tree

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 10 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 25

  1. A

    Number 15, clever idea. Where can I find cd rack similar to that one?

    • Amber

      You could also search wire plate rack. Seems big lots may have something similar.

      • A

        Thank you. Plate rack have only 8-10 slots so wanted to know where I can find these cd rack

        • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Thrift stores like Goodwill.

    • peachcraze

      I found one similar to this at a thrift store and have been using it for my lids for years. It’s awesome!

  2. Mary

    I LOVE #4 and #7. Thanks so much for all those great ideas!

  3. Katie

    I use those screw top ice cream containers for the millions of nails/screws in our garage. We have so many and the cardboard boxes they come in don’t last long.

  4. acgold

    I also use tissue boxes to store plastic grocery bags.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good one thanks for adding!

  5. Erin

    I keep tp rolls in the laundry room to make firestarters from the dryer lint. I’ve also started saving cardboard egg cartons to make firestarters for the grill and/or firepit.

    • Sara

      I like to use egg cartons for fire starters as well but our normal grocery store has styrofoam ones. I never though to use toilet paper tubes! Another way I make them is to use cotton rounds (you could use cotton balls too) to soak up the wax from my wax warmer when I’m ready to change out the scents. I just leave a little bit of the cotton exposed to use as the part to light.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh nice Erin! Thanks!

  6. Ann

    I’ve tried the Tupperware lid cd storage. It takes up too much space in a cabniet. (Unless you keep it on your counter like a drying rack,). I found it better to put all kids, or all kids of a brand or size in an open cardboard box (similar to the cut green cereal box in tip 12)
    Also for 16, I also use pants holders for outside on the laundry line like clothes pins, or I break the hanger and use the clips on chip/candy/cereal bags, clip to wires/cords and label them with sharpie too.

  7. patricialavenz-goff

    I have some old wooden boxes (not sure what was in them as they are old with no labels) that I keep my pot lids in right next to my pans. I have used coffee creamer bottles to make a bowling game with. The kids spray painted them and filled them with a little sand so they stand up better and then used a ball to knock them down. My granddaughter has made doll houses with old boxes and keeps doll clothes in old shoe boxes. My favorite is years ago produce used to come in these plastic containers to the grocery store and they had lids. I use them under the beds to keep the kids toys. I have also used those under the bed cardboard boxes at times.

  8. Lora

    Our empty medicine bottles are the perfect storage for a stack of quarters. Good for beads, buttons, and little stuff. It’s nice to see up-cycle suggestions like this.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh nice ideas thanks Lora!

  9. beaglemom46

    Thanks for the ideas Lina. We store our lids like #15 and it makes finding and storing the lids much easier. I like to save the glass pasta sauce bottles since they are like a mason jar. I use them to pour homemade broth and other cooking liquids inside. I also use them to store rice, quinoa, and dry goods where there is not much left to warrant keeping the while bag or box. We use the toilet paper cardboard roll as temporary pet toys. Cutting small vertical slices around each opening, makes it like a little firework the cats can play with. Finally, I like to reuse deep plastic lids like the ones from a Dairy Queen blizzard or to reuse yogurt cups as containers for growing plant seedlings before transferring them to the garden. I look forward to trying #16.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh those are are brilliant! Thanks for sharing 💕

  10. Cmascio2002

    Boy, you all are so creative. Thanks for all the great ideas!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for visiting today!

  11. hollyp1234

    I love the coaster idea! Very cool.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks! Those are fun to make!

  12. moira

    Idh trash
    (Idh stands fro I don’t have

  13. savanna

    wow, this is so cool and it really works so well with all the trash my parents thank it is hoarding but it is reusing.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Glad you found this helpful Savanna!

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