Buying new is out, recycling is in!

The environment is on everyone’s mind and that means many people are changing the way they think about shopping, decorating and throwing away.

While it was “cool” to always have the newest clothes, now people admire those who keep their clothes, find different ways of wearing them, or reuse them. And it is not just clothes, but almost any item in our every day life.

Here are some ways you can improve your home without going out to buy new things.

DIY message frame

You probably have everything you need to create a frame with a personalised message.

Use an old computer keyboard and take the keys off.

Then, take an empty frame, think of a message, stick the keys together and pop it into your frame.

You can find a few keyboards if you need a letter more than once, or you can get creative and use a 4 as “for” or a 3 for an E.

You could also write a date and stick a picture next to it, for example as a memory of a wedding or birthday. The 3D text will make your special photo stand out even more on the wall.

Or you can turn it into a mood frame and change the message regularly, depending on your mood.

Découpage storage boxes

Got some moving boxes left or even cardboard boxes from your shopping? Nappy boxes or anything else which comes in larger cardboard can be turned into a beautiful storage box.

All you need is pretty paper.

You can use wrapping paper, fabric, or get wallpaper samples from the shop. Depending on the style of your home, you can make them all the same with matching colours or patterns or you make each box different, to help you remember what is inside. For example you can use old ordinance survey maps to decorate the box where you store your travel memories or your camping equipment, a paradise beach wallpaper for your beach towels and so on.

You will need strong glue and if your box isn’t particularly sturdy, liquid glue may make it less stable because of the moisture, so try double sided tape instead.

On a smaller scale, you can also use cereal boxes and similar to decorate storage boxes for your desk or side tables, for a paper holder and similar smaller storage.

Save the wine (or at least the corks)

If you are a wine drinker (who isn’t?) you probably have lots of corks which regularly end up in your bin.

But cork is actually very useful. It is used for floors, but it also has other properties, from example that it doesn’t melt. So if you want some natural looking trivet, glue your corks together (you can make a round shape or line them up next to each other or in squares) and create the trivet of your choice. The size and shape is all up to you!

Stylish tote bags

These tote bags have two advantages: One is you get a new bag (and don’t throw away a t-shirt or tank top), but it also means you can keep for favourite shirts for longer.

We all have some tops we keep for memories and not because they suit us. Some are memories from events or places we have been, others you keep even though they are too small or two short.

To give them a second life, all you need to do is sew the bottom shut, cut sleeves off if it has any, and cut out the neckline a little wide to have a larger opening for your bag.

If you cannot sew at all, cut the bottom 3 inches of your shirt into strands and always tie two stands together into a knot until your bag has a bottom.

All in all, it will take you no longer than 10 minutes to make a new bag.
Of course, if you like sewing, you could add a lining of stronger material inside, create an inside pocket etc, but that’s just a plus.

Give your old CDs a new purpose

It is sad to say, but the CDs we once loved dearly and which we spent a lot of money on are a thing of the past. Few of us still have CD players and most things can be heard online now. The result is a pile of CDs in almost every house, just waiting to be thrown out… or turned into something new!

The back of the CD is shiny and water proof, so it’s perfect for decorations!

First of all though… you need to break those beautiful musical memories (if you want to keep them whole, hang them in the trees in which you don’t want any birds). Once you have fragments of CD, you can make them into a mosaic kitchen backsplash or glue them into mosaics on coasters or even a garden table. We suggest using the shiny side to make in uniform, but you could use the front and make a CD puzzle to keep a memory of the songs and CDs you like.

DIY phone holders for every room

It’s not particularly pretty to have phone chargers and cables hanging off every plug in every room, but we do seem to need to charge them more often than we would like to.

The solution? A pretty phone holder which blends into the style of your home and can be made from old shampoo, conditioner or moisturiser bottles (or any other larger plastic bottle).

Cut open your empty plastic bottle and wash it out. Then cut out a hook big enough to hang over your plug or charger, and leave enough room in the bottom or the bottle to pop your phone in.

Finally, spray your new phone holder or decorate it with paper to make it blend into the room.

Now the cable is hidden and you don’t need to find a table or flat surface near your socket.

Recycle shampoo bottles for phone holders

 Tin can cutlery storage

Almost daily with throw tins away. Of course, they get recycled at some point, but you could just recycle them yourself!

They are very useful as pots for your outdoor (or indoor) plants, but also as storage.

Find four or six tins of about the same size, and paint them in a colour which suits your kitchen. You can use a brush or spray paint them. Then, stick them together (2×3 or 2×2) and decorate them by giving them little accents. You can tie them together with ribbon, write on it which cutlery belongs where, or create an ornament on each tin.

If you want it to be more robust, paint an old chopping board and stick your tins so the chopping board is standing up, with two or three cans on each side.

If you want to make planters, you can also use tin cans and pierce small holes in the bottom to allow the water to get out, or you can use the top half of plastic bottles by piercing a hole in the lid and two in the sides of the cut bottle to hang it up and filling the bottle with soil. This works great for herbs, which can hang near your kitchen window.

Need more ideas? Check out my upcycle pinterest board. When it comes to odds and ends, our crafty corners piece can help you get rid of loose ends.

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