Life Hacks: Reduce, reuse, upcycle

Frank Lillig

Most people have various items they don’t want to get rid of because they hope to find an alternative use for them. From tin cans to plastic bottles to old ladders, bathtubs and TVs, upcycling allows old items to be revitalized with new and more awesome purposes.
• For little desk storage units, use tin cans and plastic bottles. Wash them out, cut off the bottoms and ornament them accordingly. For little craft pieces, egg cartons also work well.
• Shelves can be made from all kinds of things. Old wooden ladders can be hung sideways on the wall, or can simply be leaned against a wall for a rustic bookshelf. Drawers from an unused dresser can be hung on the wall to create a floating shelf.
• Benches or chairs can be made from old drawers, coffee tables and even rigid suitcases. Cover with foam and upholstery and add legs.
• Tables can be made from unused doors. Lay down the unused door and add legs to make a big coffee table, or cut it in half to make an end table. A stack of drawers can also be used as a bedside table.
• For indoor gardening, plastic bottles and old window panes can be quite useful. Cut off bottoms of bottles and place them over a seedling. The bottle acts like a little greenhouse and helps seedlings grow. Once they are too large for the bottles, another makeshift greenhouse can be made from the old windows that fit perfectly on the counter. Some people have taken it up a notch by building whole full-sized greenhouses out of old windows and glass doors.
Pinterest is an invaluable tool for finding ways to upcycle old items. Check “Upcycled Tables” or “Upcycled Chairs,” and get innovative.