Recycling common household items

Whether you call it recycled, upcycled, or repurposed, reusing old household items to create something new is a trend that has caught on all across America in the last decade with amazing results. If you’re handy at all, there’s no end to what you can do with a little creativity and the right piece of furniture. Recycling not only saves you money, but it helps save the environment, which is especially important with our landfills quickly reaching capacity. So the next time you’re thinking that old dresser or chair has seen better days, think again!


How many times have you driven down the street and seen a beautiful old dresser sitting curbside and thought to yourself that you just had to have it, only to realize a drawer or two was missing or a leg was broken and passed it by? Next time that happens, load it up anyway, because the DIY recycling magic is about to begin. If a leg is broken, remove all the legs by either sawing them off or unscrewing them, and let the dresser sit floor level. If one of the drawers is missing, saw the dresser off just below or above the missing drawer or just underneath the dresser top and then reattach the top. Either way, with a fresh coat of paint and a bench seat cushion or two. you’ve got a great storage and seating area that will make a wonderful accent piece at the foot of a bed or underneath a window.


There are so many ways you can go when recycling chairs. Cut the legs off a wooden chair and drill holes at the front corners of the seat and at the top of the back support. Then run rope through them to fashion a really cute swing for your porch or favorite shade tree. Ice cream parlor chairs with wicker bottoms that are destroyed through years of use can be restored by removing the wicker caning and replacing them with plywood, a quick coat of paint, and a fresh seat cushion. Simply trace the pattern of the seat size and shape and then trace it on the plywood. Cut it out and fasten it securely in place.


When recycling shutters, the sky’s the limit. A single shutter panel attached to a wall makes a perfect magazine rack. Angle the louvered slats to a slightly open position, and drape a magazine over a slat while tucking the bottoms in beneath the next slat. Let it slide down until it rests on the inner spine. You can make a mail and bill organizer the same way by taking a thin sheet of particle board and cutting it to fit neatly behind the shutter. First, angle the slats forward, decide how many slats deep you want to make each slot, run a bead of glue along the back of the slats you’ll be using to form the bottom of each slot, and then lay the shutter neatly on top of the particle board. Position the slats with glue on them until they come into contact with the board. Allow to dry before painting.

Louvered doors

Recycling louvered doors is easy. When replacing louvered bifold doors off a closet, you can make a fun privacy screen or room divider. Remove the upper and lower metal tracking guides from the panels and then reverse the hinges so that each panel folds in onto the next like an accordion, and viola!