For almost everything

You can find creative new uses for almost anything online! Even if you plan to donate the old rather than design the new, it's great inspiration.

You can find creative new uses for almost anything online!
Even if you plan to donate the old rather than design the new, it’s great inspiration.

“There is a use for almost everything.”George Washington Carver

“A great master can find a use for everything…he is good at salvage. He wastes nothing; therefore, he always has enough. He values everyone; therefore everyone values him.”
Chris Prentiss

One year ago today I wrote about my problems with clutter, and having way too much stuff, as well as my determination to clean up and clear out. Since then I’ve had some success, though I still have a long way to go.  A large part of the battle has been trying to figure out why I ended up with the stuff in the first place, and how to change the thought patterns that result in continual accumulation.

I think a lot of us have a fear of wasting resources, and an aversion to tossing out what is still useable.  This is not a bad trait, especially with landfills overflowing and budgets stretched to the limit.  While I keep reminding myself it’s actually just as wasteful to keep and store more than I can ever use, I admire those who are able to transform something unwanted into a new and needed object.

Repurposing is one of the most practical forms of creativity we can develop.  And it’s more popular than ever, with online tips and ideas so numerous that it would be impossible to explore all of them.  The next time you find yourself undecided about whether to throw something out, try doing a Google or Pinterest search  with the words “repurpose” and a description of the object you are reluctant to trash.  You might be amazed at some of the ingenious uses for everything from small utensils to large pieces of furniture.

If you can’t find an idea for upcycling whatever you vaguely dread wasting, you can throw it out in good conscience.  Believe me, if anything could be done with it, someone would have discovered it, created it, and posted it online.  Give yourself points for effort, and pitch it.

If you do find lots of ideas for it, here’s where you have to exercise wisdom and willpower.  Will you actually make and use this new creation anytime soon?  If so, go for it! If not, your time online still has not been wasted.  You’re in the best position of all; you can donate the item knowing others can find a use for it, with the immediate reward of a cleaner, more spacious drawer, closet or room.

Have you found any clever ways to re-use something broken or unneeded? If so, we’d love to have you share them with us.  Meanwhile, spend a few minutes online marveling at all the ways people can get clever with their clutter. Transforming trash to treasure is a great hobby to enjoy, whether as observer or creator, and you might pick up some inspiration for a project of your own.

One year ago today:

A physical manifestation

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.



  1. Good morning, Julia!
    Ironically, for many years, I had a .com called Recycloz, where I planned to post re-purposed clothing. I made dresses into skirts, mostly, and some little handbags, quilts and aprons. But I never learned how to design a website, so … Recycloz became something I was just keeping and not using! Aargh!

    • I think that happens to a lot of good ideas. This whole business of online publishing is harder than it seems at first. Ask anyone who’s ever tried to keep a blog going for any length of time!

      • My hair is off too you!!

        • To
          That was supposed to be to, not too.
          A fine example of a small online publishing challenge. 😄

          • I usually edit such typos out, but in this case it fit the context, so I left it in. 😀

  2. Lydia

    This reminded me of something I saw somewhere. When you open the refrigerator of a Mexican family, you’ll find lots of butter containers and none of them have butter. They are repurposed for leftovers, fruit, salads, etc. And then, I remembered a birthday celebration we had for one of our grandchildren. He was turning 10, I believe, and he received all sorts of amazing gifts. One of the gifts was a guitar and of course the box was rather big and deep. When all the gifts were opened and everybody dispersed to eat, to talk, and to visit, all the kids (from 3-17 years of age) started playing with the box, getting into it and closing it, and then jumping out of it. They had so much fun, and we laughed so hard. Another memory: I had a big, empty box of diapers (Costco style) so I put my granddaughter in it, (she was a year old at the time) and started pushing it around the house, singing a silly, made-up song. She loved it and then Sofia, who was 4, wanted a turn also. We enjoyed that box so much. We’ve made trains out of empty and different size boxes, houses, theaters, playgrounds, musical instruments, animals, aquariums (not real ones). So much fun without having to spend much. I like the word ‘repurpose’

    • I so identified with all the examples in this comment. I have a HUGE problem throwing away any sort of container. I can remember when the only plastic refrigerator dishes were sold by Tupperware at what then seemed an enormous price. The endless “free” food containers we bring home now are so handy for leftovers, and since they cannot be recycled (at least not in my area– our local recycling service tells us to throw them in the trash 😦 ) I end up saving far more than I will ever need. Ditto with the boxes that make such good trunk organizers to keep groceries from spilling everywhere on the drive home. And yes, I have seen kids turn larger boxes into vehicles, fortresses and all sorts of fun things. Let’s hear a big round of applause for saving money AND having fun at the same time!

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