18 Things You Shouldn't Throw Away + What to Do With Them

One man's trash is another's craft stash.

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June 12, 2018

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Shain Rievley

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Rae Sturm

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Michele Pacey

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia

Photo By: Rennai Hoefer

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia

Photo By: Earnest Home co.

Photo By: Laura James

Baby Food Jars

Transform those sweet little glass jars into handy storage for small items like push pins, ponytail holders and more. Unscrew the lid from the jar, then glue a small wooden drawer knob in the center of the lid. Spray paint the lid and knob your favorite color and let dry before placing back on the jar. Use these cute containers as storage or to gift small items like candy or nail polish.

Plastic Straws

Don't let those plastic straws end up in a landfill! When you're done slurping up your iced coffee, save the straws to make a few of these gorgeous faux copper air planters. P.S. - they make great gifts.

MAKE IT: Make a Chic Copper Air Planter Out of Upcycled Plastic Straws

Glass Bottles

Light up those long nights of porch sitting (and rid your deck of pesky bugs) with DIY citronella torches made from last weekend's emptied wine bottles.

MAKE IT: Turn Old Glass Bottles Into Citronella Torches

Coffee Canisters

Stylishly store plastic bags by turning an empty coffee canister into a handy bag dispenser. Using a utility knife, cut an X-shaped slit in the center of the lid. Cover the canister with brightly-colored cardstock and decorate with stick-on letters. Roll plastic bags together in a tight circle (like a sleeping bag) and place them in the canister, threading the first bag through the slit. Each time you pull out a bag, a new one should take its place.

Tin Cans

Light up summer nights by turning old soup and vegetable cans into these glittering luminaries.

MAKE IT: How to Make Tin Can Lanterns

Egg Crates

Is your embroidery thread stash in desperate need of organization? What about your bobby pins, nuts and bolts, or batteries? Keep small items easily corralled with the help of a leftover egg carton. You can even use the open lid to store larger items like scissors, straws, small tools and more.


Grab the kiddos for this clever upcycle. With just a little glue, paint and a few basic craft supplies, unrecyclable coffee pods are easily transformed into adorable finger puppet critters. Bonus: this craft will keep little hands occupied indoors on hot summer days.

MAKE IT: Upcycled Coffee Pod Animals

Pill Bottles

Looking for a clever way to hide a key that will fool even the cleverest of thieves? Simply remove the label and lid of an empty pill bottle and glue a rock to the top of the lid using heavy-duty super glue. Once dry, drop a key into the bottle, replace the lid and bury until only the rock is visible. You'll never lock yourself out again!

Scrap Rope

If you constantly find yourself with seemingly unusable scraps of rope, yarn or fabric from craft projects, don't toss them. Instead, turn those odd pieces into beautiful curtain tie backs. Get the step-by-step instructions below.

MAKE IT: 3 DIY Curtain Tie-Backs From the Hardware Store

Kid's Art

We feel you: you don't want to put your child's artwork in the trash, but you also can't hang onto it all. Instead of cluttering the refrigerator door, create a beautiful, rotating art display wall that won't clash with your design style. Snag our most stylish ideas below.

MORE IDEAS: 6 Design-Friendly Ways to Display Kids' Artwork


How cute is this shoebox-turned-play kitchen? Simply cover a shoebox in construction paper, glue on an aluminum foil oven door, felt stove eyes and bottle cap knobs and your kiddo is ready for his culinary debut.


Made from recycled t-shirts, these eco-friendly produce bags are perfect for gathering a harvest from the garden or toting home your farmer's market finds.

MAKE IT: Recycled T-Shirt Produce Bags

Old Long-Sleeve Shirts

Aside from their handiness as cleaning rags, old flannel shirts also make great wine bottle gift bags. Simply cut the sleeve off an old shirt, about an inch from the shoulder seam. Flip the sleeve inside out and tie the cut end with a rubber band. Flip the sleeve right side out and slip the bottle in the sleeve. The tied end should fit perfectly inside the indentation at the bottom of the bottle and sit level. Pull the sleep up and around the neck of the bottle and finish with a decorative bow.

MORE IDEAS: 9 Ways to Turn Garbage Into Gorgeous Gift Wrap

Tea Tins

If you've always wanted to keep herbs indoors but simply don't have the counter space, this smart upcycling project will have you cooking with fresh ingredients in no time.

MAKE IT: New Year, New Project: Make This Fridge Herb Garden With Recycled Tea Tins

Wine Corks

Celebrate fond memories long after the bottles are empty by turning saved corks into a chic boot tray. Earnest Home Co.’s Erin Souder is the wino behind this cute and useful craft. "I’m a big wine fan and have a lot of bottles that were special or that I wanted to remember," she says. "Typically, I write the date on the end of the cork as well, so this was a way to display them in a functional way." While this may be a project that’s in the works for a while, we think getting there is (more than) half the fun. Cheers!

MAKE IT: DIY Wine Cork Boot Tray

Chocolate Boxes

Hold onto those sweet memories for years to come with this chic, heart-shaped coffee table tray made from an upcycled box of chocolates.

MAKE IT: How to Upcycle Holiday Items for Everyday Use

6-Pack Carriers

Whether you're throwing an outdoor party or trying to stay organized on a camping trip, empty drink carriers are perfect for corralling cups, napkins and cutlery when dining al fresco.

CD Case

Keep your TP free of bugs and debris on a camping trip by turning an empty cd spindle into a handy tissue container.