In last week’s blog post, we shared with you a guide to the “real” rules of recycling. But not every item we use can be recycled in the traditional sense.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be repurposed though by giving these items a new job to do!

After all, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Keep the waste out of landfills by repurposing common household items that you might otherwise throw away with 9 ideas!

Styrofoam containers

As we covered in our guide to recycling, most styrofoam products, like egg cartons, cannot be recycled when it comes to city or country curbside recycling. We recommend opting for containers made of other materials that can be recycled, like cardboard.

However, sometimes no other option is available to us, and we do end up with used styrofoam containers.

You can repurpose these with your potted plants by using it as a filler!

This guide walks you through the steps of how to use styrofoam as a filler for your potted plants or raised garden bed.

Plastic Milk Jugs

Frost protectants: Your empty plastic milk jugs can double as a shelter for your seedlings sensitive to frost! These can be cut in half and placed over the seeds (you’ll want to secure these to make sure a gust of wind doesn’t blow them away) to create a “greenhouse”-type environment to protect from those freak frosts that occur in the springtime.

Watering can for trees: Use your plastic milk jugs as a rainmaker! Fill these with water, then punch one hole on the upper side of the jug. Lay it next to the tree with the hole upside down for slow, gentle moisture—this saturates the soil slowly, just like rain.

Wine Bottles

Get your craft on by creating homemade citronella candles using your empty wine bottles! This is both fun to make and super practical for your home.

This post from Hello Glow offers directions (with helpful photos) for creating your own wine bottle citronella candles.

Old T-Shirts & Other Clothing

Swap out your clothing: Source your clothes from consignment stores or Goodwill, and then return them when your wardrobe is in need of a refresh! There are also some organizations that accept gently-used clothing, like clothing closets at churches or nonprofits that provide professional attire for clients that are prepping for job interviews.

Make DIY dog toys: Use these to make your own DIY braided dog toys. But beware: don’t use old towels… I tried it, and the dogs had a party and made the biggest mess of confetti on the floor!

Colored Glass Bottles

Add color to your yard decor with a beautiful bottle tree! The great thing about a bottle tree is that there are few items that you’ll need to purchase to create it—just a post and screws to secure the bottles onto the post.

This post from dengarden shows you how to make your own bottle tree. It also offers several ideas for different bottle tree designs to inspire you to make it your own!

Broken Ceramics or Plates

Create a mosaic art piece with your broken ceramics or plates! This easy online workshop from Start in Art walks you through how to make your own beautiful mosaics!

Home Materials

Some houses that are being demolished will sell the windows, doors, and more as long as you are willing to come get them out.

We saw an ad on Craigslist about materials for sale for a house slated to be demolished. From this, we bought 2 year old double hung, double pane replacement windows for our barn when we were building it.

Looking to remodel your home? Facebook Marketplace is a great place to look for like-new items at a significantly-reduced price.

And finally, Habitat ReStore is another great place to find donated items for cheap when you are building a house.


It is our responsibility to take care of this beautiful world God has entrusted us with through simple, sustainable choices!