Heaven knows we’re a nation of consumers and that means we also throw out a lot of stuff. However, with a bit of re-thinking, we can repurpose some of what we consider trash and in the process save money and pat ourselves on the back for being environmentally-friendly.

Bread bag closers

Those little pieces of plastic that help to keep your bread fresh can also be used to reclose frozen vegetable bags.

Another neat idea is to use them to label the cords under your desk. Using a magic marker, write on the tag which piece of equipment a cord belongs to and then clip it onto the cord.

Old bed pillows

You can repurpose a pillow that’s past its prime by turning it into a comfortable bed for Fido or Fluffy. Simply pop it into a flannelette pillowcase or, if you’re feeling more ambitious, fashion a pillowcase out of a piece of microfiber fabric in a pet print.

Old bath towels

Rather than spending money on a special car seat cover to protect from dog hair and dirty paws, use an old bath towel. A bath towel is wide enough to fully cover the seat, hang down over the edge and allow you to tuck some into the back of the seat, which prevents shifting. When not in use, the towel can be folded up and stored in the trunk.

I also reserve slightly frayed bath towels for use in the laundry room. Some clothing needs to be laid flat to dry and laying them on a towel helps to absorb moisture.

Old tea towels

The next time you update worn and faded kitchen towels, consider keeping a few for housecleaning purposes. Cut in half, they make great rags for washing or dusting surfaces and, left full size, they’re great for drying windows. If a tea towel will dry glassware to a lint-free shine, it will certainly do the same for your windows.

You can also repurpose old dish cloths for other washing jobs like cleaning the bathroom sink.

Used foil wrap

Rather than using steel wool to scrub a glass casserole dish, a balled up piece of used foil wrap also makes is a good scrubber. And, after it has served that purpose, it can still be recycled.

Elastic bands

Most households have an over-abundance of elastic bands cluttering up a drawer somewhere in the house. Before you toss them all in the wastebasket, consider a couple of different ways they might be put to use.

Some pants are made with waist band extenders but many are not. If you could benefit from another inch or two at the waist, use an elastic band looped through the button hole and then around the button.

A wide elastic band (or two thin ones), stretched over the ends of hangers, will prevent the thin straps on some items of clothing from slipping off.

Odd mitten

There’s always at least one odd mitten sitting in the front closet waiting futilely for its mate to be found. Instead, make use of it as a sunglasses case to prevent your shades from becoming scratched in your purse or glove box.


Some newspaper stuffed in your shoes after wearing will absorb odors and help them to keep their shape.When moving, save on bubble wrap by using newspaper to pack your breakables in. After you get to the new apartment or house, use some to polish up glass vases as you unpack them. By the time it’s finally recycled, your morning paper will have served three purposes.The next time you start to throw something out, think about what other purpose it might serve before it finally ends up in the recycling bin or the garbage can.

Marlene Alexander

Marlene Alexander

Marlene is a freelance writer and blogger. She maintains a free budget decorating site called Dollar Store Style and writes content for client websites.