Creative ways to put old, broken things to new uses

Broken Doesn't Mean Unusable

by Dawn Adams

Related Articles

How to Reuse an Entertainment Center

Repurposing Old Sheets

Repurposing Items for Your Garden and Outdoor Living Space

In this society, we consider everything disposable. This was not the way it was meant to be and Mother Nature is screaming for us to stop. How do we stop? We start to think of new uses for items we considered unfixable or unusable. You say you don't want junk around my house. I don't either. I am not recommending using a computer as a paperweight. I am suggesting finding another use for something that may in the end improve something.

For example:

  • old laundry basket. . . . garden harvest basket
  • picnic basket with a broken handle. . .toy holder or planter
  • stained sheet. . . . . . .paint tarp or kids tent
  • clothes. . . . . . . . . . scavenge for usable pieces (i.e. buttons and material)
  • old sponges. . . . . . . .art sponges
  • mens' old shirts. . . . . smocks
  • crayons. . . . . . . . . . crayon chips (see Tightwad Gazette) or color for paraffin candles
  • coffee grounds. . . . . . .for organic rose mulch
  • kitchen matter. . .mulch -- eggshells have been doing wonders keeping the slugs away
  • old newspapers. . . . . . .mulch / weedblock, wrapping paper (i.e. comics, business, travel, etc.)
  • toilet paper cores. . . . wire or rope holder, silent wind chimes (Jan. 1998, A Personal Touch issue see below for ordering.)
  • Panty hose. . . . . . . . . Christmas ornaments or tomato plant, ties, sachets for drawers
  • Broken garbage can. . . . . . End table--cover with round piece of plywood, weight down and cover with material
  • Burnt out cookie sheet. . . . . Art tray for children
  • Broken Terra Cotta Planters. . . Drainage hole covers
  • Brown Paper Bags. . . . . .cover books or wrapping presents or draining bacon
  • Old book or magazine pictures. . . . Decoupage
  • Crafts to make and sell eBooks. Pick a craft project, make it and sell it!

  • Phone . . . . . . . . . . .children's toy
  • ends of 2 x 4 's etc. . . .children's blocks after sanding
  • cereal boxes. . . . . . . .magazine holders, toy car garage and ramps
  • milk/OJ cartons. . . . . kid cities or candle molds
  • carpet . . . . . . . . . . cat scratch posts

Just look twice before you throw something away. Could it have a second life? Even Martha Stewart reuses her empty wine bottles with an alcohol server tip as a kitchen soap dispenser. It was prettier than the alternative dishwashing soap bottle. So before you toss anything out, brainstorm--you may find that the item has another use and another life.

Dawn Adams is the editor of A Personal Touch, a newsletter that will improve your marriage, family, home, and entertaining on a budget. To request a free copy send a SASE to: A Personal Touch, 24 Flintlock Dr., Durham, CT 06422 or check out our web site at

Take the Next Step

  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

True or False

Prices keep rising while my income remains stagnant and I worry I am heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think I am heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, I am not in debt trouble but I am always looking for new ways to help keep my budget on track!

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to any newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
The Computer Lady

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt