Organizing with Reused, Repurposed Items


Photo by NourishingCook

We’re going to be talking all about reducing, reusing and recycling this month here at Live Renewed, so today I want to share a little bit about organizing with reused items.

As I’ve said before, I’m definitely not a pro when it come to organizing, but I do know that one thing that sometimes inhibits people me from getting organized is that they think they have to go out and spend a lot of money on containers and other organizing stuff.  Really though, with a little creativity and imagination, you can find ways to organizing by reusing lots of different items you may already have around your house.

So I just wanted to share a few ideas to get your creative organizing juices flowing.

Reusing Items to Organize Around Your Home

Glass Jars

Glass jars can be an interesting and practical way to organize all around your home. They also free if you keep the jars from spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickles, etc (except for the price of the food, of course).  And if you don’t have quite enough of them, I’ve also found great deals on all different kinds of glass jars at rummage and garage sales (but that wouldn’t really be reusing what you already have – but it would be reusing someone else’s stuff, right?)

Start with the basics like keeping leftovers in the fridge, freezing everything from soups and broths, to jam and applesauce, to cooked dried beans.  Glass jars are, of course, also great for pantry and bulk food storage. (I love Stacy’s pantry with all of her bulk foods in glass jars!)

From there, you can think about storage in the office, for things like pens and pencils, markers, and crayons, as well as paper clips, rubber bands, or anything smaller that you can fit into a jar.  Glass jars are also great for crafting supplies, not that I know anything about that, but I’ve seen really pretty pictures of people’s lovely craft stuff lined up in jars.

Your hubby could also use glass jars for storage in his workshop or garage to keep all of the little things that end up there neat and organized.

Packaging

We all know that the amount of packaging that stuff comes in now days can be a bit ridiculous.  But with all that packaging also comes the opportunity to repurpose it into something useful.

Plastic Bags - I keep all the plastic bags with the snaps at the top that my kids undies, socks or cloth wipes come in and use them to store things like puzzles or card games.  They would probably also be great for storing a lot of the small pieces that come with so many older kids toys.


Photo from Positively Splendid

Diaper Boxes – These large boxes can be repurposed as storage for so many different types of things, I use some to store my kiddos out grown shoes, and shoes that my son hasn’t grown into yet.  They store stuff in my hubby’s workshop in the basement like lightbulbs and…  You can also make your diaper boxes look really nice and pretty and use them for storage in your living area.

Wipes containers – We’ve somehow ended up with several disposable wipes containers, even though we mostly use cloth wipes, and when we use disposables wipes we buy the refill packages.  Anyway, I’m not complaining too much, because wipes containers have become repurposed organizing conatiners all around our home.

I use a disposable wipes container to hold my son’s cloth wipes, as well as wipes that my daughter and I use in the bathroom as family cloth (Oops, did I just say that?  Hubs just wants everyone to know that he does NOT participate in that!) :) They’re also used for homemade clorox wipes, and homemade dryer sheets (stay tuned for more about natural laundry next month!.

My hubby also has some wipes containers down in his workshop, but to be honest, I don’t even know what’s in them.  But it seems like everything we’ve talked about so far is great for the men in our lives to organize and store stuff in the basement or garage too!

Egg Cartons – The little cups in egg cartons lend themselves nicely to organizing small items such as craft supplies, office supplies, spare change, even jewelry, golf balls, or again small items in a workshop or garage.

I know this isn’t really organizing, but you could also use a cardboard egg carton for starting seeds for your garden and then just cut apart the cups and place them, cardboard and all, into the garden.  Or you could save your egg shells and use and egg carton to decorate your window sill for spring like my friend Jenica.

Plastic Containers

As our family moved toward storing our food in glass jars as often as we can, I’ve found other ways to reuse our plastic food containers for organizing and storage. I use Tupperware containers in my pantry to store baking items like bags of chocolate chips and shredded coconut, and snacks like bags of dried fruit, nuts and crackers.

In my bathroom I use small plastic containers to keep my hair bands together, my daughter’s barrettes, clips and bows in one place, and things like tweezers and nail clippers together.  I also use the containers to hold my extra homemade deodorant that didn’t fit into the reused deodorant container, as well as loose baking soda for the days that I use baking soda instead of deodorant.

Plastic containers would also be great for office supplies like rubber bands and paper clips, and craft supplies like crayons or stickers and especially toys or games with small parts. And of course, we couldn’t forget this one, give some to your hubby to use to organize his tools and guy stuff as well.

The great thing about organizing with reused items is that you will save so much money on organizing supplies.  Reusing items is definitely the frugally green way to organize around your home!

Do you like to figure out creative ways to reuse items instead of throwing them away? What are some of your favorite ways to reuse items to organize around your house?

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Comments

  1. says

    Emily, I recently picked up your feed :-) Packaging, ugh. It makes my head hurt. I love your fun ideas for storage! Creativity + practicality. We move often and I’m always happy to see what works organizationally for other mamas. We like to reuse packaging for gift wrapping and art-making. My three-year-old loves his wipee “treasure box.” And my ongoing pursuit of contentment also helps cut down on purchases + packaging. (yeah, that’s fun!) I so want to maintain joy and humor through this process of making do/being thankful/having fun. Thanks for letting humor come through in your words. You are encouraging. :-)

    • Emily says

      Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words Val! It is so awesome to open up my computer and read a comment like that! Welcome to Live Renewed, I’m thankful to have you as a reader!

  2. says

    Plastic peanut butter jars are awesome for storage – the screw cap is more secure than the snap on lids, and the wide mouth on the larger jars fit things like switchplates and screws when you’re painting a room. My dad has dozens of PB jars he uses in his garage, and I have to watch my collection or he’ll “borrow” them when he comes over. lol

  3. says

    I love storing stuff in glass jars! I just got some with glass lids with the wire to keep it shut (like in your picture above) at a yard sale a few weeks ago. I put my button collection in them and set them out as part of our decor.

    Another nice thing about the Ball glass jars for me is that Ball jars started in my hometown. I went to Ball State University, which was started by the same people who made all the jars. Its just a nice little reminder of where I grew up. :)
    Great ideas for re-purposing! Thanks!

  4. Carla says

    Hi! I have been using two styrofoam egg cartons that I taped together to store all of my earrings and necklaces. It works so great! It does not look that good at all, but it is in my nightstand and nobody else sees it! I have been using them for at least a couple of years. :) No more tangles in the chains, and lost backs of the earrings, or only being able to find one earring! So for me, it is the answer to several problems I had!
    ~Carla

  5. says

    I definitely save my glass jars for reusing, especially since our town doesn’t allow glass to be picked up for recycling. (Crazy, I know!) I’ve been getting the Smuckers Natural peanut butter which comes in glass jars, and they are the perfect size to use for freezer jam! I also freeze homemade applesauce in old spaghetti sauce jars, and it makes a great quick hostess gift when I need one. Love all your tips!!

  6. says

    After our recent bathroom renovation, we have open shelves instead of a (dark, damp) cabinet, so it matters how our stored stuff looks. We decided to keep all the small stuff in glass jars: cotton swabs, cough drops, bandages, etc. We used the most interesting jars we could find. It looks so much nicer than a bunch of packages! For the cough drops, I cut out the ingredients from the packet and slid that piece into the jar against the side that faces the wall, so we can read it if we need to but don’t have to see it otherwise. (Other things on our shelves are in baskets that are not reused, but they were made from an invasive plant that would have been trash/compost if not made into baskets! We got them at Ten Thousand Villages.)

    Most of my files are in pocket folders that had been discarded at my old job. They have logos of hotels and stuff, but that doesn’t matter!

    For food storage, we use a lot of glass jars for the smaller stuff. We buy pasta and rice in 5-pound bags and, to protect from weevils, pour them into big plastic containers that I grab from recycling bins (at work and church) whenever I see one with lid. Those big jars of pretzels and the big canisters of Folger’s and Maxwell House are great containers!

    Some blankets and mattress pads come in a clear vinyl bag with zipper. Although I hate the smell of vinyl, I find the bags very useful for storing out-of-season clothes, rags we’re saving to clean with, etc. I have two in a cabinet in my bedroom holding tights/pantyhose and heavy winter socks; when I had these things in a drawer, they kept getting stuck behind the drawer, and it was hard to find a particular color because of the depth of the drawer.

    Some sheet sets come in a cloth drawstring bag. My son uses these for toys like blocks and trains. I have my cloth pads in one on my closet shelf.

    • Emily says

      That is a great idea for the cloth bag that comes with sheet sets! I had one sitting in my hall closet that I couldn’t bear to part with, because I knew it would be useful for something, I just didn’t know what. We just got my son his first set of train tracks, and I was wondering how to store them – what a great solution! Thanks for sharing ‘Becca!

      • Felicia says

        Another great thing to use sheet bags for is lunch bags. They are easy to wash if food gets on them and they are also small enough that you can fold them into your pocket. If you really want to personalize them then you can iorn on letters with names, or art work.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This step should be easier after you have gone through your stuff and really gotten rid of the things that you don’t truly use or need. Organize the stuff that you are keeping in a way that works for you and your family. Invest in a few simple organizing materials in if you need to, but the best way I’ve found is to use things that you already have for organizing. [...]

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