Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Joys of Repurposing

It's always inconvenient when you find yourself with a lot of something you don't really need, but a lack of something you do need. When you're broke, you find all kinds of creative ways to hack stuff together. :) Some of my favorites:

coffee mugs
As popular marketing fodder and being small enough to put into your purse at a diner, coffee mugs tend to be very prolific in any given household. If you're like me, you only actually use 1 or 2 favored mugs, so the good news is they can be used to hold just about anything. I have several on my dresser to organize my makeup (my lipsticks are upside down—so the color name is visible—in some short mugs, and my eye and lip liners are in a taller mug), a large one on my desk for my pens and pencils, and a few in my bathroom holding cotton balls and q-tips. I also have a few more in my room holding various small things, like foil-packed medicines and such.

Another thing that springs up all the time. Who doesn't have some lame free radio station t-shirt rotting away in the back of their dresser? There are lots of things you can do with them—if it's ratty, cut it up and make washcloths (you should stop buying sponges anyway, they're a waste and just get throw away). If it's still in good condition, you can use it as a pillowcase (or even sew it up and stuff it to make a real pillow). You can pretty much sew them into anything—tote bags, other clothing items, or use them as stuffing/filler for other projects. A t-shirt-stuffed t-shirt pillow would be awesome. :p

still-good parts of broken stuff
I had this great tea cup and saucer that I picked up for $1.99 at Goodwill. Unfortunately, I broke the tea cup during a move. I still had the perfectly good saucer, so now I'm using it as an incense tray. Small plates or cups with chips or cracks that are otherwise okay can be better used as jewelry/trinket trays.

bottles, cans, jars
Cleaned pasta sauce jars are great for holding stuff like dry beans/lentils, rice, etc. An empty beer can makes an awesome toothbrush holder. A wine bottle can make a great vase or ashtray. (The long neck is perfect for inserting cigarette butts, and the low oxygen environment snuffs them out pretty quickly. Just make sure you've cleaned all the alcohol out first.)

Check out Lifehacker and Instructables for tons of tips and tutorials for repurposing and making your own stuff!

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