20 Reusable Everyday Items

Helping save the planet may sound like a superhero-sized task, but everyone can do their part to keep the Mothership clean. Our New Year’s resolutions reminded us to “reduce, reuse, recycle” with an extra emphasis on REDUCE and REUSE. Recycling is great but there are some untold complications (like high energy use and lack of recycling centers). The best solution is reducing what you use in the first place and reusing the things that you already have. Here are 20 reusable items – superhero powers not required.

    1. 1. Beer bottles: Repurpose old beer bottles as funky new string lights. Or, use an old bottle as a soap dispenser.
    2. 2. Wine corks: Fill an old jar (reusable items x2!) with old wine corks and 90% rubbing alcohol; let the corks soak for a week. What you’ll get is flammable corks for an easy, non-toxic fire starter. (Just make sure to use all-natural corks; no one wants to breathe in synthetic fumes.)
    3. 3. Tea bags: There are an endless amount of opportunities for reusing tea bag herbs: in homemade soaps or air fresheners, to feed your garden, de-grease dirty dishes, shine glass, renew wood furniture, and to treat burns, rashes, and infections. You can use old tea bags to add flavor to food (like jasmine tea to rice or cinnamon tea to oatmeal), and spruce up a bourbon or vodka cocktail with a little herbal somethin-somethin.
    4. 4. An old toolbox: This is possibly our favorite camping hack. Fill an old tool box with spices, pantry staples, utensils, mini bottles of booze, whatever you want in your camp kitchen kit.S19_Day_2_32_Group_Yurt_0138
    5. 5. Used coffee filters: Just to be clear, you CAN reuse coffee filters for more than one brew if you dump the grinds out. You can also rub dark shoes with used filters to make them shine again. To dispose, compost or stick them in your garden, grounds and all.
    6. 6. Coffee cans: Embrace the Kondo Method and use old coffee cans to collect all that random junk that’s accumulating. Already de-cluttered? Make indoor or outdoor planters from old cans. Or, a rusty colander comes ready-made with holes and needs barely any work to become the perfect planter.
  1. 7. Beer/Soda can tabs: Use a can tab to hook two hangers together, creating double the storage for hanging clothes. Small closets rejoice!
  2. 8. Old condiment bottles: Fill one old condiment bottle with pancake batter and one with eggs (un-shelled, obviously) for a quick camp breakfast. Best enjoyed outside with a side of bacon.
  3. 9. Egg cartons: It’s like they were designed specifically for growing seedlings. Plant a few seeds in each cup until they sprout into seedlings, then replant. (Bonus hack: let a few of your best plants go to seed and save the seeds for the following season.) If you don’t have a green thumb, reuse egg cartons as packing materials or donate them to local farmers.
  4. 10. Food scraps: There are zillions of ways to prevent food waste (we’re fans of Save The Food for endless ideas), but here are some Toad faves: season potato peelings and sauté for a crunchy and addictive snack; mix and match leftover veggies to make savory scones; and use strawberry tops for a refreshing Rosé Granita cocktail. Citrus peels infused with white vinegar make a nontoxic, smells-so-fresh, cleaning solution.
  5. 11. Jars: The poster child for reusable items. Reuse jars for leftovers, homemade sauces (see #10 for ideas), bulk dried goods, and pre-fab lunches. Pro tip: When freezing liquids, don’t seal the jar until contents are completely frozen or the jar will break.
  6. 12. Gallon jugs: Forget the bags of ice, fill an old gallon jug with water and freeze. That giant “ice pack” will keep your camp cooler just as cold. Bonus: You can use the water for drinking, cooking, or washing when it melts.
  7. 13. Prescription bottles: The perfect size for a mini first aid kit. Be a hero when you have band-aids, Neosporin, ibuprofen, and allergy meds on hand.
  8. 14. Empty laundry detergent dispenser: Fill with water, flip upside down, and you’ve got a camp hand and dish-washing station. Bungee your paper towel roll to the top for even more glamp-tastic efficiency.
  9. 15. Fabric scraps:  Like food, there’s a lot you can do with old fabric scraps. Here at Toad, we recycle them into new clothes. For minimal effort: use fabric scraps to wrap gifts. For more DIY, here are 100 fun projects.wrapping header
  10. 16. Bathroom items: When looking for things that can be reused, your bathroom is a great place to start. Old toothbrushes make great scrubbers for grout and hard to reach places. Empty toothpaste tubes can be repurposed as frosting tubes (cut the end off and clean them well!). Fill empty deodorant bottles with your own DIY deodorant. And when you finish a bottle of product, opt for a place like The Refill Shoppe that will fill up old containers with new shampoo/conditioner/etc.
  11. 17. Cereal liner bags: Lots of ways to keep these pesky little bags out of the trash. Make a piping bag for frosting, use the bag to store leftovers, or use the bag to crush crackers, nuts, cereal and more without making a huge mess.
  12. 18. Vintage camera: Turn a camera into a cool lamp. You’ll need an old camera, a few small tools, and a couple of free hours.
  13. 19. Sunglasses cases: Not just for glasses. Storage for reusable utensils, makeup, and anything else that you don’t want getting lost in the fray.
  14. 20. Old skis: The great and powerful shotski. As far as we’re concerned, a group shot-taking tool is the only use. Instructions for building one here.

Do you have more tips for reusing and up-cycling? Let us know, we’re suckers for living sustainably.