Upcycling Trash Into Simple, Functional Home Storage

We live in a world where everything is linkable, buyable, shareable. But what if we spun the script. What if instead of shopping for our next need, we explored the option of upcycling?

I know it goes against everything in our consumer driven world to encourage living with less. But today on the blog I wanted to share with you many of my upcycled pieces to provoke some creative thought.

And in the process, hopefully, spark some light to live with a little less waste.

Did you know you can Pin any of these photos to save them by giving them a simple TAP!

How many things do you think are linkable in this photo?

Besides the washer and dryer, and maybe the hangers, the answer would be a big fat zero!

The folding tray baskets were saved from a dumpster. The hanging planters are upcycled from a gift basket container and a plastic cheese balls bin. The clothespins are hand-me-downs.

The log piece is almost nine years old, saved from our wedding decor. The two tan boxes for storage, upcycled packaging from our thermostat. The white canister for reusable bags is an upcycled wipes container (I consider this one a gift of 2020). The laundry detergent jar is an upcycled pickle jar.

Speaking of jars… one of my favorite things to upcycle is a solid, quality jar.

Inside our laundry storage we use bins to organize our cleaning and laundry supplies by category. Also, are you even surprised to find more jars in these cupboards? One holds my mini sewing kit for quick mends and stitches. The second holds bulk baking soda for DIY laundry and cleaning needs.

Jars, a girl’s best friend.

Cookie jar? Pickle Jar.

Decanted food storage? Lots and Lots of pickle jars.

Pasta canisters? Trail mix bins, upcycled.

It’s really cool what a little de-labelling, paint on the lid, and a cheap old fashioned label maker can do to a jar colletion!

Why keep food in clear, decanted storage? It’s definitely more than a pretty picture. With open faced jars, I’m able to see what I’m running low on with a quick glance. This way, I’m less likely to run out of flour, sugar or chocolate chips.

For a better glimpse inside our pantry storage solutions, check my blog post out here!

Another perk of visually seeing what’s in stock? Less food waste! We’ve noticed we now operate a low food waste kitchen, especially with things like snackables and cereals. Half used boxes and bins no longer get stuffed to the back of a shelf or cupboard destined for the stale life. Each bin holds a boundary. And we use up what we have before we entertain opening any new packaging.

More jars? You bet!

I know cohesive spice collections are all the rage. I’ve been eyeing them up for years! But did you know that by pulling off the labelling on your store bought spice jars, you can get a really cohesive look?

I noted which brands carried black lids, and slowly over the following months, as we used up and repurchased spices and herbs, I consciously chose those black lid brands, and phased out red lids for a more cohesive black lidded look!

Some general label removal practices, adding the cohesive label maker look, and I created some really simple, clean, alphabetized jar storage for my spices and herbs!

To learn more about simple label and odor removal, check my post here!

For my favorite affordable label maker + other kitchen favorites CLICK HERE!

Going Simple Tip :: want to note your expiration date but still ditch the labels? Scribble it down on the bottom of your jar with a sharpie! Once you are ready to update the exp. date, simply color over the top of your sharpie with a dry erase marker, and wipe clear!

We use this tip to note flavors in our decanted food storage for any quick swapped goods, such as coffee and tea storage. This helps us decipher between blends, flavors, caffeine vs decaf, and the like!

Limitless Food Storage

Yes… another use for jars. We buy food in jars, so why don’t we store food in jars?

Produce keeps SO WELL when we keep them in jars. Not to mention it’s more accessible in our refrigerator! Did you know, carrots and celery can keep twice as long when stored in water?

Berries store so well in jars too! Simply soak in cold water and a dash of vinegar for 10 minutes, rinse, prep and store.

Arts and Crafts Station

Our kids love our grab and go arts and crafts tote. We upcycled a tool box insert, added some upcycled white tubs from store bought frosting, and created this great tote they can carry to our table when ever the creative mood strikes.

We used to store our mediums in mason jars here, but with busy toddler hands, plastic is a safe option as opposed to glass. And the white frosting tubs work SO WELL for just this purpose!

Bonus points, it looks adorable when sitting out on the dining room table too!

Office Supplies and Pen Collectors

It is no secret I love a good pen collection! But how to organize all my faves without bogging down precious drawer space? Jars of course! I keep my collection sorted in my cupboard. And whichever fave’s I have slotted for this week’s spread sits next to my open planner for easy access.

I keep our office supplies pretty minimial. But just think how cute a collection of binder clips, post it’s, paper clips, push pins, highlighters, and the like would all look sorted on a shelf in an upcycled jar collection?

Plant Propagation Station

One of my favorite new hobbies is growing ALL the baby plants! My personal favorite upcycled jars for propagation: spice jars, salsa jars and olive jars. They are miniature in size and perfect for holding a propagated clipping from your favorite plant mama’s!

Simplified Toothbrush Storage

For the longest time I fought with those fancy decorative toothbrush holders. Hand wash only, they’d collect so much gunk, especially in the kid’s bath. Then one day I realized that was a lot of work for little return. At the end of the day I just needed something dishwasher safe to hold the brushes and catch the drip.

Enter… more jars! I mean are you even surprised anymore? My favorite about this hack is how simple it is now to keep this space in the bathroom clean. And sanitary.

Check out this quick reel on my IG for the toothbrush jar swap!

Bathroom Drawer Storage Trays

On the topic of bathrooms, how do you organize your drawers?

One of my fave organizers cost me $0.00 and came straight from my kid’s last birthday party. Behold the Melissa and Doug toy set tray.

I keep these trays in every drawer of our bathrooms. The girls love them to sort out their hair ties, clips, brush and comb. They work great for my face wash, lotion and other essentials.

Device Boxes as Storage Trays

Lastly, for now anyway because this is the last spot I can think of at the moment (I’m sure there are more upcycled spaces in our home I’m forgetting!), are the infamous device boxes.

Anyone recall this meme floating around the internet?

As much as I love the concept of ridding our homes of things we don’t need… one thing I was SO GLAD I held onto during my decluttering spree was all those silly device boxes. Because they are sturdy, they are simple, and they fit together so well inside a drawer to help organize the space.

Check out one of my favorite drawers in our home, The Office Drawer.

Finally a place our laptops can call home. A solution to the kitchen ‘junk drawer.’ And a way to ensure charges don’t go missing. We keep purely the essentials in this drawer. One charger of each essential type. A note pad and pens. Remotes for our television. A pocket knife. And tape.

Utilizing those silly device boxes (even the ones our laptops came in), was a great way to upcycle them in a purposeful way to bring harmony to our space, and less waste to the environment.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post. And more than anything, I hope you feel inspired to upcycle something new into your home. Tell me, what do you think you could reuse right now in a purposeful, simple way in your home?


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