Upcycling is just a new way to say, “Waste not, want not” or “Use what you have”. In older days it was common practice to use everything and to use it over and over. When items were used, another use was soon found for them. Things were saved, because as my husband would say, “You never know when you might need that”.

Our grandmothers and grandfathers saved everything: old jars, small wood pieces, fabric and ribbon scraps, and more. I remember many times searching through my grandmother’s button jar or ribbon scraps. She let us learn to hand-sew with scraps, and we thought it was the best thing ever! There’s nothing better than a doll dress made from scraps!

Think about the hours of entertainment that can be found in a bag of empty toilet paper rolls. Egg cartons are famous for childhood crafting projects. And, what toddler won’t love playing and creating make-believe worlds with a few cardboard boxes.

Upcycling can be as primitive or sophisticated as the imagination of the creator. Because many of us don’t have an upbringing with a resourceful grandmother, it’s helpful to learn from those who have had practical experience. And, for the artistic endeavor, there are tons of ideas to be found on blogs all over. I’m sharing some of my favorites in this post.

Home Decor

Clothing

Spare Socks

Egg Cartons

Everyday Items

Photo from HomeyOhMy.com

Towels

Candle Jars

Vintage Junk

T-Shirts

Tin Cans

Plastic Bottles

Cabinet Doors

Candy Wrappers

Old Baking Pans

Denim

Red Wagons

Picture Frames

Junk

Industrial Decor

Lots of Thrift Up-cycles

Drawers

Toilet Paper Rolls

Sweaters

Coffee

Shutters

Farmhouse Designs

Books

T Shirts

Photo from @ Bark Post

Summer Things

Things for Pets

So, if you haven’t already, start saving all those jars, scraps, and little objects. Then, get creative! You can create things with your husband’s help, your grandchildren’s eager hands, or a group of friends. Let’s learn to recycle things in a new, fun, and practically frugal way!

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman


Lisa Ehrman

Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.

36 Comments

Debbie P · August 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm

People have become to quick to throw thing out today. That old say “Waste Not Want Not” comes to mind. Thanks for the article.

    Lisa Ehrman · August 12, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Yes, it’s easy to throw things away. Thanks for sharing, Debbie 🙂

Jo D. · August 13, 2020 at 10:45 pm

We were raised with this and have saved more than our fair share of things we may need some day. The biggest problem is eventually using it all so that you don’t accumulate too much and cause a lot of clutter.

    Lisa Ehrman · August 14, 2020 at 10:43 am

    I agree. If you’re organized and have enough room to store some things, it’s doable. Not everyone has that ability. 🙂

Deb Pelletier · August 13, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Some wonderful Ideas, I like the dog bed. 🙂

Suzanne Greene · August 14, 2020 at 9:52 am

Ahh, the lists are endless. Thanks for the great info. just beware of becoming a ‘hoarder’. lol

    Lisa Ehrman · August 14, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Hahaha…..I’m a tosser, naturally. My husband tends towards hoarding. Thanks for the laughs 🙂

Antoinette M · August 14, 2020 at 5:41 pm

So many great ideas! Thank you for sharing.

Mya Murphy · August 14, 2020 at 10:13 pm

I try to upcycle all I can.. Recycling Reusing is everything to me.

Betty Curran · August 14, 2020 at 10:41 pm

I tend to be a hoarder because I was also raised to “reuse, repair. recycle” and it really does come in handy when I I don’t have to run out and spend money on something new.

    Lisa Ehrman · August 15, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Well, saving money is such a great reward for this.

monique s · August 15, 2020 at 9:47 am

Such a cost saver to upcycle where one can

Jennie Taber · August 16, 2020 at 1:14 am

This is wonderful!! I am pinning this for easy find, because I always have something I know I can reuse it int something beautiful! Thank you

    Lisa Ehrman · August 16, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Great! Please share a pic of one of your creations 🙂

Christina S · August 16, 2020 at 3:35 pm

Great ideas, thank you!

monique s · August 17, 2020 at 4:43 am

I have found it is super easy to reuse aluminum foil

    Lisa Ehrman · August 17, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Great savings! Just wash and use again 🙂

Calvin · August 17, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Always good to see things being re-used, cheers to a more sustainable future.

Sarah L · August 19, 2020 at 11:34 pm

I save a lot of stuff, but also give a bunch away when I don’t need it any more. Then I have to find stuff that I’ve saved. (where did I put that???)

    Lisa Ehrman · August 20, 2020 at 9:36 am

    I’m the same way. Without some way to organize things, I’ll end up having to purchase another to replace what I can’t find!

Vickie L Couturier · August 20, 2020 at 8:39 am

those are some awesome tips and ideals,cant wait to do come crafts with the grandkids

    Lisa Ehrman · August 20, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Thanks! I’m saving up for when my grandchild is a little older, too.

Christa L Sloan · August 30, 2020 at 8:46 am

I love the drawer idea! That’s very unique and that dog is adorable!

    Lisa Ehrman · August 30, 2020 at 11:46 am

    He’s so cute. When I found this picture, I knew it would be the perfect one 🙂

Melissa Storms · October 31, 2020 at 12:23 am

So many great ideas, I love the little drawer pet bed. My chihuahua would love that.

megan allen · November 22, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Thank you for these helpful tips!

gloria patterson · July 3, 2021 at 3:48 pm

So many great ideals. I don’t do it as much as I used to but I still stop and look at stuff before I trash it.

Lauryn R · July 4, 2021 at 12:38 pm

These are awesome ideas, thank you so much for sharing! My kids are masters of upcycling, and will make things out of just about anything.

Heather Swanson · July 7, 2021 at 7:40 am

such fun ideas

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