Did you try out any of last week’s upcycling projects over the weekend? Still have a bunch of junk from your latest storage auction left over? Here are the last five ideas to get you in a creative mindset! Just remember: Work with it, or live without it!
Contrary to what you might think, that old Kennedy assassination newspaper you got at the latest storage auction isn’t going to fetch you thousands of dollars. In most cases, you’ll be lucky to get 20 bucks. While I’m not suggesting you use that particular newspaper to do arts and crafts with, chances are that most newspapers you find in a storage unit aren’t going to be worth the paper they were printed on. Some folks keep newspapers for sentimental reasons, such as commemorating elementary school spelling bees, weddings, or even deaths.
While these newspapers aren’t necessarily a hot seller on eBay, they’re an invaluable resource to green thumbs around the world. Since newsprint is very biodegradable, it’s perfect to make seed starters with in early spring. You can either make seed tape as described in the above link, or make little pots that can be put directly into the ground when the time is right. Or of course, you can always use your newspaper in the classic fashion: hamster cage linings or arts&crafts table protectors are both suitable uses.
Books can be tough to sell, whether they’re new or old. Only particular titles are really worth anything substantial, so most books you find in a storage unit will end up going to the thrift store, public library–or if you’re a bookworm–into your own personal collection. But what do you do if they’re ripped, stained or otherwise unreadable? It seems like a waste to throw it out just because one or two pages are missing, doesn’t it?
There are a few ways to upcycle an old book. Use old pages with beautiful illustrations or sweet poems as unique wall art (you can use an upcycled frame from last week’s blog to hang them on your wall!), or you can even turn some pages of a romance novel into a Valentine’s Day card. If you’ve got some old books with a pretty design, cut off the spines and make them into bookmarks. But here’s my personal favorite: a book shelf…made out of books. If you’re looking for a conversation piece, this is it.
Cutlery–something everyone uses, but we don’t really think about buying it too often. So what do you do with it? Bend it, twist it, make it into coat hooks or jewelry holders–and if you have the proper tools, you can even make rings out of beautifully designed fork and spoon handles. Though some of that can be kind of time consuming and involves special tools, you can still make a boring old set of cutlery into an eye catching work of art without breaking out the heavy machinery!
Take that old set of cutlery and dip the handles in any color paint you chose, and let them dry. Take a look at the picture. Doesn’t a simple color change make such a dramatic difference? You now have now breathed life into a beautifully re-purposed set of cutlery that matches your kitchen perfectly! This would make a unique and thoughtful housewarming gift as well. Since it’s relatively easy, you can even get your kids involved.
Whatever you do–do NOT throw away all those boxes from your storage unit…that’s practically like throwing away money! Boxes to a storage hunter can be like gold. You can use them to carry things, store things for later, and most importantly, you can use them to ship goods you sell on eBay. Even boxes that are destroyed can be cut into sheets which can be used to reinforce packages containing magazines, books, or other easily bendable items you plan on shipping. Paying for postage is costly enough, so reusing boxes is a great way to cut down on costs and be environmentally friendly.
Any boxes that you use for storage in the home can easily be transformed into stylish and functional additions to any room, using a little bit of imagination, paint, and collage techniques. Take a look at this storage shelf made out of old cigar boxes. Upcycling at its best!
How can you possibly reuse a light bulb after it’s burnt out? This one’s a bit trickier, but it’s still possible and the things you can create from there are pretty beautiful! Click the link above for a tutorial on how to remove the bottom of the light bulb. Be very careful since you’re working with glass!
Once you’ve successfully removed the bottom, you have a couple of options–you can coat the inside of the bulb with paint or nail polish to make beautiful little Christmas ornaments, or flip it upside-down, tie some string or craft wire at the neck, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful hanging flower vase. Just imagine how they would look hanging from your front porch! Who knew there was such beauty in a burnt out old light bulb?
Hopefully these projects have helped you see the infinite uses that lie in a pile of junk. Storage hunters have a the great advantage of being able to save perfectly awesome items from landfills all across the country. You should pat yourselves on the back for that!
If you’re looking for more ways to upcycle, there are tons of incredible ideas on Pinterest to get you inspired.