Never Throw Away These Reusable Household Items Again

Are you wasting everyday household items without even knowing it? Despite the word “reusable” missing from the labels of popular household items, many can be used more than once. As a matter of fact, some so-called disposable products can even be reused up to 100 times (page 5).

From cooking waste (page 6 and page 9) to laundry products (page 12) to the one item you’d never think to reuse (page 19), we share 19 reusable household items you should never throw away, ahead.

1. Empty cans

Pepsi, Coca Cola And Fanta

Cans are easy to reuse or recycle. | Radu Bercan/iStock/Getty Images

While metal is easily recycled, empty cans can be a fun household item to reuse (especially if you love crafting). Save an empty can and use it to freeze fat and oil from cooking, or rinse them out and create unique household items like utensil holders, planters, or office supplies.

Next: These can be reused over and over again.

2. Candles

scented candles

Candle jars can be reused in many ways. | Maya23K/iStock/Getty Images

Never throw out old candle jars and containers. Instead, stick them in the freezer to remove excess wax — after a few hours, the wax should pop right out — and reuse them. Like cans, you can turn on candle jars into utensil holders, planters, and organizers. They also make great flower vases.

If you want to get really creative, you can try making your own candles with them!

Next: Can you believe these common throwaway items can be cleaned in a dishwasher?

3. Ziploc bags

plastic bag with lock

You can wash and reuse them. | snyferok/iStock/Getty Images

If you buy sturdy, Ziploc freezer bags, you can rinse them and reuse them! All you have to do is turn the bags inside out, rinse them in warm water, use a sponge and some dish soap to ensure they’re squeaky clean, and let them air dry.

In addition to hand-washing, you can place them in the top rack of your dishwasher (just be sure to secure them down) and give them a good rinse.

Next: Leftovers will never be the same.

4. Plastic wrap

Stuffed peppers covered in plastic wrap

It’s also washable and reusable. | mtutuncu/iStock/Getty Images

Did you know you can rinse sheets of plastic wrap and reuse them to cover leftover containers? It’s true! In addition to reusing plastic wrap, you can also buy silicone food covers that can be used over and over again.

Next: You can reuse these 100 times each and we are shocked about it.

5. Paper towels

Paper towels

There are reusable versions of paper towels. | Paylessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The next time you run out of paper towels, consider purchasing the reusable bamboo kind. Bamboo paper towels can be rinsed and reused 100 times per sheet. Using bamboo paper towels not only saves resources, it saves money, too!

Next: Your water bill will thank you for this.

6. Pasta water

Cooking pasta on the stove

Don’t just throw away your pasta water. | Vladimir Kokorin/iStock/Getty Images

Did you know you can reuse pasta water? The next time you make an Italian dinner, save the pasta water and use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants. In addition to pasta water, you can use water left over from cooking beans, or boiling corn and potatoes to water your garden.

On top of that, other types of cooking liquids — like water from boiled vegetables, pickle juice, and canned beans liquid — can be added to a host of recipes.

Next: These were made to be reused.

7. Empty cleaning product bottles

Cleaning glass or shower with a spray bottle

Fill those bottles again. | Natali_Mis/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t toss empty cleaning product bottles — especially if the cleaning brand sells refills. Instead of buying a new bottle of Windex, buy a gallon of Windex refill and reuse the bottle.

In addition to refills, you can also clean out empty spray bottles and use them to mist house plants, or create a DIY all-purpose cleaner like this one.

Next: You can get at least a couple of uses out of these common items.

8. Plastic utensils

Plastic Utensils

Get a few uses out of them. | Mothy20/iStock/Getty Images

Plastic utensils can be a great way to avoid dishes, however they can also be very wasteful. Get a couple of uses out of your plastic utensils by rinsing them with hot water and dish soap — just like you would with your silverware.

Next: Never buy a Mason jar again.

9. Sauce jars

Three jars of tomato sauce

Store other items in empty sauce jars. | iStock/Getty Images

Sauce jars are a great way to store items. Clean them out and reuse them to store nuts, granola, and other pantry items, or nix the Tupperware and use them for leftover soups, or make a salad in a jar.

In addition to food items, you can also use empty sauce jars to store craft supplies, bathroom items — such as, cotton balls and Q-tips — office supplies, lipsticks, and other items from around the house.

Next: Every house needs a stack of these on hand.

10. Newspaper


They’re great for art projects. | Seb_ra/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t throw away old newspapers. Instead, hold onto them for art projects like painting — they’re great for protecting furniture from paint — paper mache, and more. You can also use old newspaper as wrapping paper or make compostable seed starters.

Next: We can’t believe how many uses these have.

11. Egg cartons

Egg Container

Use them for gardening. | Rightone/iStock/Getty Images

Speaking of seed starters, egg cartons are great for gardening. Fill them with soil, plant your seeds, and watch them sprout!

In addition to using them as seed starters, egg cartons can be used as paint cups for kids’ art projects, drawer organizers for small jewelry items, Christmas ornament storage, and hardware organizers for nuts, screws, and bolts.

Next: Clean pet hair with these.

12. Dryer sheets

Dryer Sheet

They can be reused in multiple ways. | Memoriesarecaptured/iStock/Getty Images

Did you know dryer sheets can be reused? Use them as dusters to wipe up pet hair, or scrub soap scum off your bathtub with them. They can also be used to polish chrome!

Next: There’s a reason stores charge extra for these.

13. Plastic bags

Shopping bag

At least get a second use out of them. | JoyTasa/iStock/Getty Images

Plastic bags should not be used only once. Instead of throwing out plastic grocery bags, reuse them to line small trash cans, as a laundry bag when traveling, or take them to the grocery store and get a second use out of them.

In addition to plastic grocery bags, you can also use the bags in cereal boxes — just be sure to rinse them out first — and produce bags instead of Ziploc bags.

Next: Read this before throwing these items out.

14. Stained T-shirts, towels, and bedding

White t-shirt with an iron

The fabric makes a great cleaning rag. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Think twice before tossing old, stained T-shirts, towels, and bedding. Cut up the old fabric into smaller squares and reuse as cleaning rags instead.

Next: You have to replace these every three months, but can reuse them for other purposes.

15. Old toothbrushes

Colourful Tootbrushes

Use them for cleaning. | Mdphoto16/iStock/Getty Images

Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, but that doesn’t mean throw them out completely. Instead, add old toothbrushes to your cleaning supply bucket and use their small bristles to scrub small, hard to reach places.

Next: Think twice before tossing these.

16. Stained coffee mugs

Coffee Mug

Use old mugs to pot flowers. | Bill-Livingstone/iStock/Getty Images

Breathe new life into old, stained coffee mugs by turning them into planters. Use them as small pots for a kitchen herb garden, or plant succulents and other small plants in them.

Pro tip: If you want to salvage your stained coffee mug, you can also use a little bit of baking soda and white vinegar to remove the stains — here’s how.

Next: Can you believe how many uses these have?

17. Breath mint dispensers

Tic Tac Box

They’re perfect for holding small items. | Jaap2/iStock/Getty Images

Repurpose empty breath mint dispensers — note: Tic Tac boxes work great — by turning them into bobby pin holders, sprinkle dispensers, spice containers, ribbon organizers, and more.

Next: Before you purchase drawer storage, read this.

18. Shoe boxes

Shoe BOx

The boxes are very useful. | Roman Samokhin/iStock/Getty Images

Love shoes? The next time you splurge on a pair, save the box! Shoe boxes can be reused as closet storage, drawer storage, craft storage, and more!

Next: The one item we’d never think to reuse.

19. Shower curtains

Shower Curtain

Save an old shower curtain for a drop cloth or other projects. | Taweesak11/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t throw out old shower curtains, instead use them as drop clothes for household projects like painting! You can also use them to protect furniture in storage, or as a picnic blanket.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!