New Uses for Old Stuff
aybe you're a pack rat and have a hard time throwing things out. Maybe you're an organization buff who loves finding a place for everything. Or maybe you are just ecologically minded and feel guilty filling landfills with your household possessions. Whatever the case, repurposing old items can be the answer and is becoming increasingly popular for design, storage and organization reasons. Plus, it saves money to boot. "Just about anything in your home can be reused with a little paint or by looking at it a different way," says Kathy Peterson, designer, organization expert and author of Kathy Peterson's Great Outdoor Decorating Makeovers: Easy, Elegant Transformations on a Limited Budget.
Here, Peterson shares some simple repurposing tips. Try these yourself, or use these ideas as a launching point to start thinking creatively about unused objects you have lying around your home. And soon you'll be able to throw out the guilt instead of your stuff.
Frame Your Jewels
Use a wall-mounted hat rack as a pretty display for your necklaces while also keeping them free of tangles. For earrings, take a cherished picture frame, remove the glass and attach some window screen to the back with a staple gun. Then insert "s" hooks (available at craft stores) and stick one inside the screen to hang earrings. It could be displayed on a wall or a table top.
Flip A Door On Its Side
Take an old door, remove the knob and hinges, re-paint it, and make it a conversation piece by using it as a coffee table top, a headboard or a one-of-a-kind wall display.
Allow Your Kids to Decorate
Revitalize any unattractive kitchen cabinet door and turn it into a family chalkboard by applying Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint (available in most hardware and paint stores) over the door. The paint can be used on any smooth, nonporous surface and turns any such surface into a chalkboard. Or take a toy chest and spray paint it entirely in Krylon Chalkboard paint, and the kids will have a blast decorating their own toy chest over and over again.
Put Your Old Chipped Dishes Back Into Use
Any small bowl can be used to store tiny things in drawers. For an office, bowls can hold thumbtacks and paper clips. For a sewing room, buttons, snaps, pins, and bobbins have a place. And for a bathroom, keep cotton balls, ear swabs and makeup brushes separate and organized with individual bowls for each.
Get Some Toys Up, Up and Away
Take an old hammock, give it a good wash and hang from wall to wall of the kids' rooms to hold mounds of stuffed toys.
Invent Your Own Containers
You don't need to head to the container store for specialty storage, instead use a small, old bookcase to hold shoes or clothes inside closets. Add old baskets or hatboxes to the shelves to hold kid's mittens, hats and scarves and more.
Christine McLaughlin is a mother of two young boys, a freelance writer, and the author of the recently released The Dog Lover's Companion to Philadelphia.
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