Recycling Redefined

Do you recycle? Many communities have programs for recycling a variety of household items. Some people discover additional resources to recycle objects not covered by community programs.

Photo by spierzchala.

In the world of organizing, there is recycling and then there is repurposing. Repurposing is taking an item and utilizing it in a different capacity. In essence, it is recycling. The biggest difference is that it doesn’t include taking one item and entirely remaking into a different one. Let me highlight a few ways to repurpose objects that you might find around your home or office.

Do you have a collection of mugs that you aren’t ready to part with? Mugs can be a great container for pens on a desk, toothbrushes and toothpaste or makeup brushes in the bathroom, or small utensils on a kitchen counter. Have you been saving empty jewelry boxes? Use them as drawer dividers in a desk. Do you have a shoe organizer on a door, but your shoes are on the closet floor? If it is has pockets, it can be used in an office for supplies such as pens, pencils, ink cartridges, staples, paperclips, etc. In other rooms, it could house medicines, toiletries, small travel items, or any other small items that need corralling.

Here are some additional ideas:

  • A large plastic trashcan can hold rolls of gift-wrap or house plans. Children’s outdoor toys such as soccer balls, basketballs, bats, etc. also fit well in plastic trashcans.
  • Dressers store children’s toys or linens.
  • Silverware drawer sorters can serve as dividers in any drawers: desk, makeup, etc.
  • Plastic magazine holders can house potatoes or onions in a pantry.
  • Pegboard could be hung at the end of a closet to hang belts or purses.
  • Unused dishpans can hold books for young children so that they can see the front of their books.
  • Flat, plastic gift-wrap storage boxes can store out of season clothing under a bed.
  • Flat, wicker paper napkin holders can accommodate makeup on a bathroom counter.
  • Tackle box becomes a craft container.

The possibilities are endless. Don’t be fooled by containers that tell you what should be stored inside. In order to find the best container for any item, take into account the amount of like items, the appropriate shape for the container, and where the container is likely to be stored. Once these factors have been considered, you can search your space to see which current unused container meets your qualifications.

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For example, if you have craft supplies nicely organized in clear plastic boxes which are stacked on shelves, you might get frustrated when you have to move a number of boxes to access a box on the bottom of the stack. The good news is the items are contained in bins with lids and they are on a shelf. But it isn’t easy to get into all of them and as a result, some of the bins get left on the floor or on a table on a regular basis. Additional shelving is needed. When looking around the house, you notice some shoe shelves in your closet that don’t have shoes on them. They are just the right size to fit on your existing shelves. You triple your space, and the craft boxes do not have to stack. Problem solved!

Always consider repurposing before you purchase something for organization. And just a reminder, having organizing containers doesn’t make you organized. You have to use them!