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18 Unexpected Ways To Repurpose Your Junk

Make drawer organizers out of cereal boxes!

TBH, recycling is fake. Well, not fake, but throwing a bottle in the recycling bin probably isn't helping the environment as much as you think.

Bangkok / Getty Images

Even if you recycle the right way (FYI, it's actually pretty complicated), it doesn't mean everything you put in the bin will be processed. Since China put restrictions on the amount of foreign recycling they import and process last January, municipalities have had to dump much of the recycling they pick up in landfills. While you definitely should continue to recycle, thinking more about the "reduce" and "reuse" categories of sustainability is a great idea.

Here are a few ways you can repurpose the items in your recycling bin:

1. Spray-paint empty plastic containers to make fancy new planters.

Once you clean the containers out, flip them over and cover them with three coats of spray paint. Follow that up with a clear coat, then hot glue cord around the top. Plant your tiny succulents and stick them on a sunny window!

Get the full tutorial here.

2. Turn emptied nut cans into eye-catching bathroom storage.

Just peel off the label, and use painter's tape to block off the section you want to paint. Super simple!

Get the full tutorial here.

3. Cut empty lotion bottles into wall pocket organizers.

Peel the labels off the bottles and clean them with rubbing alcohol. Cut out a paper template and tape it on the bottle. Trace the template with a marker, use a craft knife to cut along the lines, and smooth out rough edges with sandpaper. Use them to store writing utensils or makeup brushes, or as pots for your hanging plants!

Get the full tutorial here.

4. Or make a charging cradle to neatly store your phone and cord.

Cut the bottle short enough that the screen can poke out and make a hole the shape of the charger's plug. Spray-paint the whole thing, and scratch or paint a design on the front before covering it with a clear coat. How neat!

Get the full tutorial here.

5. Use sheet packaging as packing cubes the next time you travel.

Packing cubes are a must if you're going on a long trip. You can find exactly what you're looking for without dismantling your carefully organized luggage.

Learn more here.

6. Decant your oils and vinegars into empty wine bottles and write their names on the sides, so all your dispensers match.

7. Cut down cereal boxes to organize your junk drawer.

Use a craft knife to cut the cereal box so it is shorter than the drawer. Then, wrap them with scrapbook paper. I will never throw out a cereal box again.

Get the full tutorial here.

8. Store plastic bags in a tissue paper box, so your collection isn't taking up a whole drawer.

Realizing you forgot your reusable totes at home is so frustrating! Store the plastic bags in a tissue box so you can reuse them as garbage bags in the bathroom.

Get the full tutorial here.

9. Fill baby food jars with spices and stick magnets on the lids to keep them on the fridge.

Paint the baby food jars or use decoupage glue to cover them with decorative paper.

Get the full tutorial here.

10. Fuse plastic grocery bags together to create a reusable tote.

Daniel Castro / Via

Cut the handles and bottoms off four plastic bags, turn them inside out, and layer them on top of each other. Sandwich them between pieces of parchment paper and run an iron over them until they form flat pieces. Repeat these steps to make five sheets. Cut those sheets into uniform squares, then cut two thin strips for the handles. Then, pin and sew them all together!

Get the full tutorial here.

11. Nail empty cans to the fence so your plants have access to more sunlight.

Spray-paint the cans, drill holes in the bottoms for drainage, and nail them to the fence. Then, plant your beautiful babies!

Get the full tutorial here.

12. Turn empty mint cans into useful travel kits.

Gregory Perez / Via

Never leave the house without your trusty first-aid kit, nail kit, or sewing kit.!

Get the full tutorial here.

13. Hold the end of the roll of tape with a bread tag so you don't have to pick at it every time you need a new piece.

It really shouldn't be so difficult to use tape.

Learn more here.

14. Slide cords through toilet paper rolls so you don't have to sort through a tangled mess to find the one you're looking for.

Fold the cord up and stick it through the roll. Write the purpose of the cord on the roll so you're not just holding onto unidentified cords for years just because they "might" have a purpose.

Learn more here.

15. Or make a charging station out of a shoe box to contain all those messy cords.

Decorate the box with wrapping paper, paint, or contact paper. Then, cut one-inch holes in the sides of the box for the cords. Place the surge protector inside the box and thread the cords through the holes. An easy way to hide a big eyesore!

Get the full tutorial here.

16. Make floor protectors out of wine corks.

Clamp the cork with a binder clip and cut even, narrow slices. Glue the slices to the legs of the furniture.

Get the full tutorial here.

17. Store makeup and beauty products in candle jars.

When your favorite candles have burned down, stick them in the freezer overnight. Wiggle a butter knife around the sides of the wax and it'll pop right out! Then, give the jar a good cleaning with soap and water. Hot tip: Stick the leftovers of the candle in a cup and set it near the heater. The wax softens and slowly releases the scent throughout the day.

Get the full tutorial here.

18. Use a wipe container as an airtight trash can for the car.

One step closer to getting the clean car you've always dreamed of.

Learn more here.

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