4 Simple Ways You Can Reuse and Upcycle Stuff in Your Home

Have you noticed how more and more people are starting to look at reusing stuff, rather than throwing it out? I remember when I was little, my Grandfather could make ANYTHING. In fact I thought he could DO anything. And that was not far from the truth. He was a strong, tall, clever man, and could turn his hand to most things.

You hear so many stories about the generation of  the post second-world war era being so very resourceful and creative. But there are lots of simple ways you can reuse and upcycle stuff in your home today. Did you have a grandparent or someone in your past who was like that? I think that is one of the reasons we are becoming more and more in love with upcycling, and using old and pre-loved items in our lives. Back then people had to make do, and make do they did.

My grandparents always scoured through the catalogues for the best deals even years later. You had little, you threw away nothing and you created your own. This was the early days of upcycling before it was trendy. There is now a swing back to these values and it is so exciting to see! More and more people are happy to find things in the op shop, pick them up off the side of the road, and make it themselves. The thing is, if you get creative, there are lots of ways to adapt and reuse, rather than toss stuff out.

Here are 4 simple ways to reuse and upcycle stuff in your home

1) Think outside the box

Upcycling is really all about thinking outside the box, and timber crates and boxes are one of my favourite things, as they can be reused and adapted in so many ways. Need a side table? Stack a crate on it’s end. Need a shelf? Pull the crate apart and use the timber, or just attach it to the wall. Need a bookcase? Stack crates together and voila! Use them to store and display fruit, eggs, toys and books. You can even use them for a puppy or cat bed! The perfect carry all.

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2) Upcycle some bottles, jars, tins and other vessels

When I was young there was a salt lake at the back of our house which had lots of old medical bottles buried deep in the thick smelly mud. My mother would tell my sister and I not to get too muddy when we went for a walk to the salt lake. Yes. Indeed. What we did was get REALLY muddy as we dug and dug for hours, finding all manner of glass bottles. And so my love affair with glass bottles began. Glass bottles, jars and tins are wonderfully versatile. You can reuse them for bottling your own stewed fruits, preserves, pickles and jams. You can use them for vases. You can use them to store water, homemade juice and smoothies. You can make them into a paint pot, plant pot, pencil pot, toothbrush holder or makeup jar. You can take them to the bulk store and bring home your pantry items, rather than buy packaged. Or simply use them as a gorgeous decor piece. Even old teapots, cups and watering cans, make brilliant pots and vases.how to make teacup succulents - a very easy DIY project to do at home with vintage teacups and succulent cuttings

3) Get stitching

I am sadly not a sewing person, but there are so many things you can do yourself if you can sew! Make your own curtains, sheets, clothes, tablecloths, cushion covers and more. Find old linen, pieces of material, clothes that are past it; rags, vintage tea towels – and the world is your sewing oyster. Seek out eco friendly and sustainable cotton, hemp and bamboo textiles. Rip up old rags and make your own rugs. If you sew and have any tips for me, please share! My confidence in sewing was smashed by my Home Economics teacher many years ago and has never recovered. Plus I don’t love fiddly things – but I am prepared to try!
shabby chic home4) Paint Paint Paint!


If you have followed me for a while you will know how I LOVE to paint! I have pretty much painted most things with a range of paint, including acrylic paint, spray paint and chalk paint. Anyone can paint. And it transforms a room or piece of furniture immediately. You can paint benchtops, tiles, floors, walls, furniture, metals, plastic and even fabric!
before and afterSo there you have 4 simple ways to reuse stuff. You may already be doing them. But it is just a reminder to look at everything with possibility instead of throwing it away.
What is your favourite thing to reuse?
 **update of a post from 2015


  1. Peter Barry Woodington on January 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    My grandfather too was very practical and upcycled – I have a deco “Diana” lamp that my grandfather cast himself at the munitions factory during the war. When I took it to get re-wired the man said “do you realise this is a kettle cord?” Crafty grandpa 🙂

  2. Recycled Interiors on January 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    he sounds amazing! Peter Barry Woodington and my dad is also Peter Barry!!

  3. Tahn Scoon Stylist on January 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    He sounds lovely. My dad could also turn his hand to anything and also died too young – he even built a 40 foot yacht, which we travelled overseas on – that seems so amazing to me now! How does one just build a yacht? Incredible people everywhere x

  4. Recycled Interiors on January 9, 2015 at 8:38 am

    oh WOW! Tahn Scoon Stylist amazing! x

  5. Shabby Vintage Junk on January 9, 2015 at 8:48 am

    It sounds like your GrandFather was a LOVELY man….I had to smile at your BobBob ref….Mr SVJ’s Nephew (now 22) still refers to his Step Grandfather as BobDadDad….His name is actually Mervyn….! I’m off for a read….!!!!!

  6. Shabby Vintage Junk on January 9, 2015 at 9:22 am

    WONDERFUL read Helen….I think we may have had the SAME Home Ec Teacher….Mind, I have been know to dabble….! I WISH we were closer….We could have sewing get togethers….!!

  7. Recycled Interiors on January 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    that would be so much fun Shabby Vintage Junk!!! xx

  8. Recycled Interiors on January 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    very cute- Mervyn the BobDadDad!

  9. HeleneWild on March 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    woo hoo! so easy & simple & cheap! & so amazing!

  10. Recycled Interiors on February 22, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    thank you Michelle!

  11. Lisa D'Monte on February 24, 2016 at 12:10 am

    I love using drawers as wall shelves 🙂 I recently completed the wall above my TV

  12. Brenda Hill on February 29, 2016 at 11:20 am

    I was lucky enough to have my great grand parents alive until I was in my late teens. I learnt back then that there’s always another use for old things.

  13. Recycled Interiors on February 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    definitely learn from the older generations

  14. nicolebrooks609 on March 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Lovely ideas! I like to think of new ways to reuse every day items that people usually throw away. I especially like glass jars and bottles. Me and my doughtier often come with cool new design ideas for them and have a collection of colored pencil holders and herb storage. Thank you for the post!

  15. Linda Ooms on October 12, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Just like yours Monique Penpraze!!!

  16. Monique Penpraze on October 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Ours is better!

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