10 Easy Upcycling and Organizing Ideas!

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Following is a guest post by Angie at Easy Living Mom… enjoy!!

Growing up in a huge family, one thing that has been engrained into my brain since birth is not to waste anything.  When I grew up I realized just how much my parents had instilled this in me because I would cringe when I saw people throw away food, and would use an item until it was no longer functional.  One day I realized that I had been throwing away so many items that could be used for storage, only to buy other storage devices.  Crazy!  Since then I have found many uses for everyday items that most people throw away.  These upcycling ideas save money, reduce waste, and make your life easier.  Please leave a comment to let me know how you upcycle.

1.  Oatmeal Containers: I cover oatmeal containers with scrapbook paper and use them to hold just about anything that needs a place to go.  Right now I have scrapbook supplies, extra toilet paper rolls, and gift bows in oatmeal containers, among many other items.

2.  Baby Wipe Boxes: I also cover these in scrapbook paper, and use them for items that are too small for an oatmeal container.  Examples of items I keep in decorated baby wipe containers are manicure and pedicure items, girls’ hair accessories, and toys to keep in the car.

3.  Yogurt Containers: Holding on to large plastic containers (such as the ones for sour cream or cottage cheese) always come in handy.  I use them for guests to take home leftovers because I won’t need them back, unlike Tupperware.

4.  Ketchup Bottles: A ketchup bottle works great for easy dispensing of any liquid mixtures.  If you make your own sauces or jams, you can put them in cleaned-out ketchup bottles so that you don’t have to use a knife to spread it.  You can also fill it with pancake batter to easily make pancakes in a skillet.

5.  Wine Boxes: You can use a wine box to store anything to which you need easy access.  I use them to store shoes and kids’ winter outerwear, such as mittens and scarves.

6.  Baby Food Jars: You can use baby food jars to store anything small such as nails and screws, small office supplies, and small craft supplies.  One easy method is to securely attach the jar lid on the underside of a shelf so that you can screw and unscrew the jar from there.

7.  Old T-Shirts: If you have many t-shirts that have sentimental value, but you don’t want to wear them, you can make a quilt out of them.  Here is an easy way to do this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Quilt-from-Your-Old-T-Shirts/

8.  Altoids Cans: You can use Altoids cans to keep items in your purse.  You can store bobby pins, cards, coupons, toothpicks, and jewelry.

9.  Pill Boxes: A pill box works well to store very small items.  I especially like to use these when traveling.  They’re perfect for earrings or buttons.

10.  Milk Jugs or Laundry Detergent Jugs: you can cut these jugs to create a large scoop.  These work well to wash kids’ hair in the bathtub, use as a sandbox toy, or for gardening.  Or, I like to use mine to store my Homemade Laundry Detergent   or Homemade Fabric Softener, both from The Frugal Girls.

About the Author: My name is Angie, and I am honored to be guest posting on The Frugal Girls.  I’m an avid reader of all types of helpful information, and known to friends and family as an “ideas person.”  I have enjoyed writing my entire life, and consider it my hobby.  My other hobbies are water sports, cooking, and trying to squeeze in some exercise when I can.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband, two spirited children, and a career that I love in academia.  I started my website www.easylivingmom.com in May, 2012.  On this site I like to write about any topics that simplify life for busy moms (is there any other kind?).  Please check it out!  You can also follow me on Facebook.  To send me a private message, please email me at [email protected].  Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

See Also:

What are some ways YOU upcycle?? 

Got a Tip or Trick?  Leave a comment & share!


  1. Michelle says

    I use those little tubes that mini M&Ms come in (at the checkout counter) for quarters for the laundromat. I use yogurt containers for planting seeds in the spring (drill holes in bottom first). They’re also great for freezing single sized portions of fruit. The jars that fruit comes in (about mason jar size) are handy in the kitchen cabinet for chip clips and nuts, seeds, and beans once the plastic bags are ripped open. The bottles that the Starbucks frappuccino come in recently made adorable centerpieces at my niece’s bridal shower–just add a little ribbon, a cute tag, some flowers and voila.

  2. Darlene says

    I use the top tray of a cheese platter in my refrigerator and lay meats and such that I am defrosting, the top is large enough to hold a 30lb turkey and we all know the mess they can cause in the refrigerator…
    Also I have seen when my friends husband had taken the baby food jars and attached the covers to a wooden wheel he had made, with a little handle on the side to turn the wheel, he then filled it with his wifes favorite spices, it is adorable, now that both have left this plane of life I often think of that spice rack..

  3. jo ann wells says

    I use the plastic containers oil of olay face wipes come in for my grandaughters ponytail bands , barrettes, and scrunchies..they are perfect size and easy to store in drawers

  4. Etta says

    For years I have stored my jewelry in Styrofoam egg cartons. They have lids so that I can stack them. Glue on a piece of colored paper and you can identify your red earrings etc. Or just use a Magic Marker for notes about the contents.
    I use single serving Orangina bottles ( the ones with the screw caps ) to make and store homemade vanilla. For Christmas gifts. A little cute fabric over the lid; tie it with some raffia or ribbon ; write on the bottle with a gold paint pen and you’ve done!

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