This post some may qualify as “green”, others as “cheap”. What I am actually writing it to be is PRACTICAL, by giving ideas for re-purposing old packaging.
Ever since we moved to the UK we have been living in a rented flat, which was unfurnished. Thus, we had to put quite a bit of money into basic furniture and some small bits and bops that seemed necessary. We have been living here for more than a year now. Even though I have been trying not to buy too many stuff in order to make it a home for us, I always find I need some things – big and small. Since we have been making plans to buy our own house at some point, it doesn’t really make sense for us to buy too many things that we will eventually need to transport to the new place. However, as we do not have a set date in the future for that move, we still need some household items that make our lives easier and better organized. I guess by that point you already know where I’m trying to get.
With the recyclable packaging spending about a week in our home before we take it out, lots of trays and boxes have caught my eye. Often I will need a container of some sort and will look at our “trash” to find something I could use. Thus, we ended up re-purposing some of the packaging into household items. These, so far, have been the perfect solution to our organizational problems.
I believe many people may benefit from our experience and probably find some ideas for their own homes. So, here are some of the alternative applications we’ve found.
Plastic fruit/ vegetable containers
The plastic fruit containers are perfect to serve as drawer dividers or instead of the more fancy baskets, people use to organize their cupboards. Before going all “save-the-Earth” on the bags, we managed to get a whole cupboard full of plastic ones. They used to be all just shoved up inside. Unfortunately, every time I opened the door, they will just pour out of it for me to put back in. I’ve now used the plastic containers to arrange the bags, which makes it much easier for just grabbing one when I need it. They are all Marie-Condo style folded for ease of use and I don’t feel anxious about opening that cupboard anymore. You can, of course, use them for organizing all sorts of stuff, mostly smaller items like jewellery, cosmetics, make-up, etc.
Re-purposing mousse pots
I really like all sorts of mousses and these tiny little pots came in super handy for our bathroom. You know these generic bathroom sets that have various types of rails (for towels, toilet paper, etc.) and a glass and a stand for your toothbrushes. Well, these glasses often break or simply disappear. Then you need to buy a whole new set in order to replace them. That’s because unlike the other items, these are not sold individually. In our flat we’ve got two bathrooms and one had this glass missing. I found out that the mousse containers to be the perfect replacement. They fit nicely in the hole and the edge at the top keeps them well fixed to the toothbrush holder. You may need to replace these off and on, because I found that the bottom bit does wear off. In any case, they are so cheap and yummy that are well worth their price.
My husband got an espresso machine for his birthday and I got a waste basket for the bathroom. That’s a joke I like to tell guests who visit us and look with dismay at our bathroom set up. So, basically, I took the box from the espresso machine and put one of our regular bin liners over it (we use 50 l ones, but I also throw nappies in it so I needed a big one). Now there you have it – a bathroom bin at no extra cost. You can do this with any unused cardboard box, choosing a size that works best for you.
Glass bottles re-purposing
Bottles, bottles, bottles. This one did require a bit of extra investment, but was well worth it. If you have any left-over glass bottles, you can easily turn them into disco lights with this little gadget. It looks like a cork, but basically it is a light that you charge through a USB port. To turn it on you just need to twist the other end and it lights up. When you place it at the bottleneck the light spills to the sides of the bottle, turning it into a party light.
NB! I have only tried it with a clear bottle. Thus, I am not sure if it will work with a wine bottle for example.
This is not such a breakthrough one. I often shop at Primark and I love their paper bags. Whenever I get one, however, I struggle to reuse it, because they are so fragile. Since I am one of those people who likes to eat in their car, and my son is too, I end up with quite a bit of empty packs and leftovers. I started re-purposing these Primark bags as bins with handles. They are easy to secure and when full – easy to just grab and take to the big bin.
So these are my re-purposing suggestions. You can always make them look fancier if you’d like. I, however, haven’t been able to find time for that and I don’t mind them the way they are.
If you have any other such ideas of your own, please share them in the comments below.