Credit: Deposit Photos

We’re coming ever closer to spring, which means spring cleaning. Instead of gathering broken, old, and seemingly useless objects and throwing them away, try seeing them in a new way. Give trash a new lease on life and making recycling work for you.

Scraps of yarn

It can be tempting to throw away scraps of yarn, which cannot be used for a full project. Instead of seeing these bits of yarn as useless, see a new purpose in making a multicolored granny square which you can donate to the Warm Up America project, or you can make a striped scarf to wear, or donate to a shelter, or even as a gift.

Old shirts

One of my favorite ways to hold on to T-shirts that can no longer be worn is to make a quilt using the material. The shirts serve a new purpose, and you do not have to be rid of an old friend. It is also possible to cut T-shirts into strips and tie them together to make a yarn-like material which can be used to knit or crochet a project. My sister is an amazing seamstress and took a sweater which my mother no longer wanted and resized it to fit her little girl.

ShoesLeavesCredit: Deposit photo

The final destination for shoes with holes seems to be the dumpster, but with a little imagination, you can make a sneaker into a planter. I would only plant flowers or ornamental plants and avoid edible plants. If the shoes you want to get rid of have been outgrown, and have plenty of wear left, consider donating them to a shelter. There are several organizations in and outside the US which collect shoes to help those less fortunate.


I have several gardening tools, which have broken under steady use, Usually, I would try to repair the tool, but if I could not mend it, I would throw it away. Look in your community for artists who reuse gardening tools for art projects and see if they want your cast-offs. You might want to try your hand at creating art with broken tools, it may be a way to start a side income or make a charming gift.

Art supplies

Old paint, colored pencils, and yards of canvas may seem like clutter now that you or your children are no longer in their artistic phase. There are innumerable schools and institutes, which would be glad for your donation. Donations are tax write-offs and so it is a win-win for you, a cleaner home and tax write off, and the organization receives items they desperately need.

101 Ways to Recycle Everyday Household Items
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Eye Glasses

When you need a new prescription for your eyesight where do your old glasses go? For me, the answer to this question was on a shelf where they would collect dust. The better answer is to donate old prescription glasses so that someone else can see. Check your local community for drop-off sites or check the Internet if you want your glasses to serve a worldwide purpose.


More often than not, books are in a digital form instead of paper, but if you are in the process of converting your collection to electronic copies and want to reclaim the space physical your books take, then I propose donating your books to local schools or libraries. 

When making the commitment to clean your home, look through the eyes of a recycler instead of consumer. Think for a moment how you could reuse the item, whether it is broken or not, who could make use of the item, and where it will end up if you throw it away. A moment spent in conscious thought will make recycling work for you.