One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

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Flock of Dry Cleaning Clothes Hangers by Dan Steinhilber

Curbside recycling services make it easy for individuals, families and businesses to support local recycling efforts.  But what about recycling obscure household items … do they get tossed in the garbage, or are you able to find ways to reuse and/or recycle items beyond paper, plastic and glass?  Here are some everyday items to reinvent, often with a “prettier” purpose:

Transforming Old Clothes and Linens into Art:

Old clothes and linens beyond repair or too worn out to donate or even use as house-cleaning rags can be transformed into paper.  Tess Wilson asserts that old fabric – the legs of your jeans when you chop your annual cut-offs, perhaps – is ideal for handmade art as exhibited in Rag Sorters + Textile Recycling.  Donation couldn’t be easier with Donate Stuff, which provides you with a pre-paid UPS bag to donate your fabric by mail.  Wilson emphasizes that “even the most wrecked fabric can be broken down into fibers and reused – so please donate everything, no matter how pitiful!”

Beautifying Food Storage Containers:

In the Art of Crafts blog, Anna Hezel reveals 8 Ways to Reuse Cartons, Crates, and Baskets from the Market, including party decorations – centerpieces, utensil holders and apPEELing trash containers.  Or perhaps you’re looking for a more permanent solution to store existing items around the house, as displayed in this Better Homes and Gardens article, 30-Flea Market Storage Ideas.

Creating Sock-Centerpieces and Preventing Sock-Loss:

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Created by Orla Kiely and photographed by Ngoc Minh Ngo

Fashion and home designer Orla Kiely found a way for our favorite toe-toppers to take center stage with these festive centerpieces.  In addition, Stefanie Gabrych Fraser shares a number of ways to transform old socks … into cleaners, protectors and gardeners … as well as how to prevent Orphan Sock Syndrome.

Re-Wiring Hangers:

The best way to “recycle” wire hangers is to take them to a dry cleaner – most, if not all, will gladly accept your donation and reuse (after cleaning) them.  Also, there are a number of tasks you can complete and crafts you can create with wire hangers, including those in this eHow article, How to Recycle Wire Hangers.  My favorite though is Flock of Dry Cleaning Clothes Hangers by Dan Steinhilber at the Hirschhorn in Washington, DC (2002).

Extending the Life of an Old Dryer Sheet:

Previously used dryer sheets have a number of uses, as exhibited by Kassidy Emmerson in 20 Innovative Ways to Recycle Used Dryer Sheets, including polishing glass, chrome and wood.  Wipe scissors clean with a used dryer sheet to get a smoother cut.  Or you can place a few used dryer sheets under your car seats to freshen up the interior of your vehicle – my Dad does this!

How do you repurpose an ordinary household item to bring beauty into your home?

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In my role as Project Specialist, I manage numerous virtual trainings and in-person meetings with an excellent track record of organizing and executing seamless events. I am a Wide Angle Youth Media Board Member, a non-profit organization that provides Baltimore youth with media education to their own stories, and serve as the Business Advisory Committee Chair. Read more.

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