I hate clutter as much as the next person—but what I hate more is throwing something out (or even donating it) only to discover the very next week that I could have used it for something. There are many reasons for repurposing things we already own—from saving the planet to saving our pennies—our reasons may differ, but the results are always the same. We get our needs met without having to spend more to do it. If you have any of these items stuffed away in an attic or lying unused in a closet somewhere, consider these repurposing ideas to give them a second useful life!

1. Used yoga mat: cushy kitchen mat

As it turns out, yoga mats and kitchen mats have something in common—they’re both designed to support standing for long periods with minimum impact to joints. So if you have a used yoga mat, just move it to the kitchen.

  • Great placement ideas: by the sink, by the stove…or by the tub when bathing baby—a great “save” for tired knees!

2. Baby gate: flower gate

Kiddos all grown and left that expensive baby gate behind? Turn it into a handy flower gate—the durable material and flexible positioning make it an ideal substitute.

  • Great placement ideas: to section off new plantings as they grow, as a garden trellis, to keep pets and wildlife out of a vegetable garden.

3. Doorknob: Pestle

Interior redesign is all the rage today—but what to do with the old doorknobs? For one lucky doorknob at least, it can reinvent itself as a pestle to grind garlic, herbs, spice leaves and more.

  • No mortar? No problem—just repurpose an old salad bowl to fill the job opening!

4. Little red riding wagon: handy cart

What kid doesn't have a fond memory of being pulled by Dad and Mom around the neighborhood in a little red (or yellow, or blue) riding wagon? Just because no family member fits in the wagon anymore doesn't mean its useful days are over—use it to store and transport your gardening supplies, take an elderly pet for a "walk" around the block, or even use it inside (after cleaning the wheels) to take your cleaning supplies from room to room.

5. Percolator coffee pot: paint or jelly-making can or drippings storage

If you can still remember the old-style percolator coffee makers (because you still have one in your kitchen cabinet) try repurposing it as a paint can the next time you touch up your walls. If you like to make jelly, you can also use it to make the sealing paraffin…if you don't make jelly but love to cook, try using it to store your drippings.

6. Salt shakers: seed shakers

Are you addicted to having the latest new tableware…which means you now have salt and pepper shakers with no job to do? If you enjoy gardening, use the salt and pepper shakers as seed shakers. Fill with seeds, then simply shake over the fresh soil when it’s planting time.

7. Toothbrush: cleaner extraordinaire

If you’ve never tried it, you’ll soon learn there’s nothing like a toothbrush for cleaning in cracks and crevices unreachable by any other means. If you have several, have some in the garage for car detailing and shoe cleaning, and keep others in the house to clean around fixtures and inside hard-to-reach storage containers.

8. Shower curtains: drop clothes, tablecloths and more

Shower curtains—both decorative and liners—have a multitude of lives. Pretty ones can be used to cover outdoor tables for parties. Less gently used curtains can be used as drop clothes for painting or kids' crafts. Cut up, old shower curtains or liners can keep frost (or pollen) off car windshields and outdoor furniture.

9. Old pillows and cases: new pillows, crafts and laundry bags

Depending on the pillow size and the case wear and tear, you can repurpose these gems in a number of ways. Cases can become handy storage or laundry bags—add a hook and a bag in each family member's room to encourage them to keep dirty clothes off floors. Old pillows can donate their stuffing to become new pillows, holiday craft "snow" (add some silver glitter for "ice"), or to re-stuff a sagging children's toy or couch cushion.

10. Flat iron: touch-up iron

Perhaps you have finally traded in your trusty old flat iron for the latest model. But the old flat iron still works—so what to do? Use it to "spot iron" clothing in troublesome places, like between buttons, around collars, and around cuffs where regular irons can sometimes struggle to release wrinkles.


Reuse and Save by Repurposing These 10 Common Household Items