Purposefully Repurposing

After reading Joshua’s post One man’s trash is . . . My treasure, I was lamenting the fact that I rarely find myself in old warehouses filled with useful or unuseful items, and even when I do, I never know what to do with said items.  Case in point, when my town had a trash-picking . . . I mean spring-cleaning . . . weekend, where everyone puts their unneeded items on the curb to be picked up for free and people roam the town with pickups to score some loot, I stayed at home because I felt like I couldn’t identify a use for a salvaged piece of subfloor or some electrical panels.

So maybe I don’t know how to find or repurpose items for use in home renovation at this time.  I’m sure Joshua will continue to inspire me on this point and I might learn a thing or two.  But, I do repurpose lots of things that we no longer use for the purpose we got them.  Here are a few of my favorite household repurposings:

Old refrigerator baskets into storage bins

Before we surrendered our ancient refrigerator to our electricity supplier, PPL, in exchange for $50 under their recycling program, I removed all the interior baskets and plastic bins.  These things were heavy-duty enough to make it through the last 15-20 years, so it seemed a shame to lose them now.  What was a big basket in the freezer now contains some of my food stockpile in the basement.  I use it to hold little glass jars of natural peanut butter, glass jars of olive oil, my bulk order from Amazon of tahini and some bags of walnuts.  It works perfectly to keep things from getting knocked over and falling all over the place. You can see another one of my refrigerator baskets holding my new napkins here.

Old refrigerator basket turned food stockpiling asset.

Old refrigerator basket turned food stockpiling asset.

Baby bottles into food storage containers

I went back to work when Peter was 8 weeks old. To keep him supplied with breast milk, I pumped many times a day and night into bottles that attached to my pump.  Over time, we accumulated more and more bottles to keep up with what was needed for pumping, storage, and day care.  Thankfully, I don’t need as many bottles for breast milk these days as I am at home with my boys, but I don’t want to get rid of them yet as who knows what the future holds. Matt was the first to get the idea that he could use a bottle to take cows milk to work for his coffee, after making sure to explain to his co-workers that he wasn’t storing breast milk in the office refrigerator for some odd reason. This got the ball rolling.  Now we have used the bottles for taking any kind of beverage on the road, especially smoothies or kefir, and have also used it for serving our somewhat runny, homemade raw yogurt.  We also discovered that it is a great asset for making small quantities of homemade dressings.  Just add the ingredients, shake, pour on salad, and then store the rest in the bottle for later.


Coffee mug hooks for keeping measuring cups at the ready.

I have never really liked these type of hooks.  Plus we use the same mugs over and over.  So it made sense to use these hooks to hold my most-needed measuring cups.  I love that I don’t have to rummage around in the cupboard for my cups.


Breast milk freezer storage bags used for storing homemade pesto

I was fortunate to receive many different breastfeeding supplies as shower gifts and I used and appreciated them all. Although I have given away some of my excess items, I had an opened box of these storage bags at the same time as I had an excess of basil that needed to get turned into pesto, so a brilliant idea was born.  Meant for freezer storage and able to hold just the right amount of pesto, the bags worked great and are easy to thaw and get the pesto out when needed.

Old cottage cheese container into salt cellar

Our now infamous Crowley’s cottage cheese container has been with Matt and I since our pre-marriage, upstate New York days.  The salt has changed from the regular grocery store iodized fare to Redmond RealSalt but the scratched, dated graphic design remains the same.  It has been such a constant in our lives and our cooking that I will truly be sad when it one day gets too close to a heat source or suffers some other fate.


Any other ideas for re-purposing household items?


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