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5 Everyday Items Your Great-Grandparents Repurposed (That You Should, Too)

5 Everyday Items Your Great-Grandparents Repurposed (That You Should, Too)

Image source: wikimedia

It’s a shame how wasteful the average American is today. Fortunately, for those who want to save some money or limit their contribution to the landfill, there are ways to reuse almost any common household object – just like our grandparents and great-grandparents did. Here are five things that you should really think twice about before throwing out:

1. Empty jars and bottles

Empty jars, bottles, food containers, etc. are all very useful. If you’re already inclined to repurpose things, your cabinets may be home to glass jars that were once used for jams, pickles and sauces, but now are sturdy drinking glasses. Mason jars also can be cleaned out and reused for canning.

Keeping nice glass jars is a no-brainer. But don’t forget about plastic containers as well. Food tubs can be thoroughly cleaned out and used for numerous things while saving you from having to buy Tupperware.

Very large plastic bottles or jugs can be used to store water for emergencies or cut to make handy scoops for pet food. Glass bottles with necks, like wine bottles, can be decorated and reused as vases or for other craft projects. These types of bottles and beer bottles also can be turned into drinking cups if the neck is cut off and you sand down the edge.

2. Old clothing and linen

Even heavily stained clothes or those with holes can be given new life. The most common way is to turn them into rags. Old shirts can be turned into DIY rugs or a throw blanket. Old denim can be reused that way as well.

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Don’t forget that clothing that is still in pretty good shape can just be patched up –  something our grandparents did far more often than we do today.

Aside from clothing you also can repurpose old linens. Sheets that are still in good shape can be turned into curtains. Worn-out sheets can be used as drop clothes for projects, turned into pet beds, or kept in your car as picnic blankets. Towels can be cut into rags or turned into braided rugs like the T-shirt project above.

3. Soap slivers

Image source: soapcinch.com

Image source: soapcinch.com

When you use up a bar of soap until it’s no longer easy to use or just breaks up into slivers in your hand, don’t throw it away. You can collect soap slivers and eventually make a whole new bar of soap.

Aside from using soap slivers to make a new bar you also can use them in a few other ways. Some sewing pros find that a small, hard sliver of white soap makes a perfect marker for drawing lines on fabric that will wash right out. You can put dried pieces of soap slivers in a small mesh or breathable bag and put them in dresser drawers, bags or the car to keep things smelling fresh.

4. Candle stubs

Similar to soap slivers, saving old candlewax is a good idea. Keep old candle stubs and scrape out old wax from jars. You can melt the wax from old candles if you are worried about breaking the jar. Once you have enough wax you can melt it all together to create a new candle (although you will need to buy or make a wick). Learn how to do it here.

Old wax also can be used to coat pine cones for homemade potpourri or used as a fire-starter if you layer some melted wax over an old egg carton or toilet paper tube. Some people keep leftover birthday candles to use for lubricating “sticky” zippers and for emergency fire-starters.

5. Old wood and furniture

Probably one thing that many people keep is old lumber, and for good reason. Scrap wood can easily be turned into awesome DIY projects.

Old furniture doesn’t need to be sent to the dump. You can salvage parts to create new furniture or to use in other projects around the homestead. Headboards can easily be turned into benches, coat racks or shelves. Dressers can be turned into kitchen islands or storage benches, and the drawers alone can be used for flower boxes, among other things.

Repurposing furniture can be really fun and is going to be a lot easier than starting from scratch with lumber. Turning old furniture into something new also is a great way of keeping a part of a loved piece of furniture in your home without sacrificing space.

What are some of your favorite ways of reusing or repurposing things around your home? Share your ideas in the section below:

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