76 Hacks for Repurposing Random Old Household Items

Updated: Apr. 16, 2024

Old milk jugs and pool noodles are standard materials for repurposing, but check out what you can do with items like books and gutters.

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Pipe Insulation for Baby-Proofing
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Pipe Insulation for Baby-Proofing

Use foam pipe insulation to baby-proof your home. Cut the tube to length and slip it onto edges and corners that could be dangerous to a small child. The pressure of the curved foam will keep it in place for an easy-to-remove baby-proofing solution. Or, use the adhesive strip to hold the insulation in place for a more permanent safety fix.
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Chain Compass

Chain Compass

Project running you in circles? Trace perfect arcs or circles in an instant with a ballpoint pen, an awl or a nail, and a short length of plumber's chain (sold at home centers). The pen pokes through the chain's smaller links just enough to create an exact radius when you keep the chain taut while tracing. As a bonus, each link provides a 1/2-in. increase or decrease in radius for quick adjustments without measuring. It's one of our brilliant repurposing ideas.
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Trash-Can Amplifier

Trash-Can Amplifier

Use a small trash can to not only protect your speaker from rain and other outdoor elements, but also to amplify your tunes!
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No More Rusty Garden Tools
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No More Rusty Garden Tools

Your vegetable oil isn't just for cooking. Here's a great way to use it, other than in a pan. Pour a quart or so into a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand. Now store your garden tools in it. This keeps them rust-free and ready for use. — reader Gary Snell
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Knife Block

Who says practical storage can’t be pretty? This DIY knife block, made from old books, is a cinch to make. Simply pick some unique books in your favorite color scheme and tie them together tightly with twine to create the perfect home for all your kitchen knives. You can even create different color schemes based on the seasons and holidays, making this a versatile hack and one of the more brilliant repurposing ideas around. Need more counter space to accommodate a knife holder? Need more counter space to accommodate a knife holder? Here’s how!

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Save Your Containers
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Save Your Containers

Save all your glass and plastic containers for your shop. Glass jars work well for liquids. Clean brushes in an old tin can. Brush on glue from small containers of all kinds. Sour cream/cottage cheese containers work for just about everything. Clear plastic containers are great for miscellaneous storage because you can see what's in them. Just label everything with a permanent marker.
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DIY Dog Feeder
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DIY Dog Feeder

Make a tough, self-filling dog feeder from a couple of 5-gal. buckets. With a saber saw, cut the bottom off one bucket to create a serving tray, and cut a food dispensing hole in the food storage bucket (as shown). Cut part of the lip off the bottom of the food storage bucket to flatten it, then use silicone to glue the two pieces together. NOTE: Don't build this dog feeder unless your pooch can exercise some self-control. Check out our collection of clever and unusual ways to make your pet happier, healthier and more comfortable, using things you'll find around the house. — reader Justin Moujoodi
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Paper Tube Saw Guard

Paper Tube Saw Guard

Here's an inexpensive way to protect your fingers and the blade of your bow saw. Slip an empty gift wrap paper tube over the blade. Just slit the tube lengthwise and slide it on.
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String-Dispensing CD Bins

String-Dispensing CD Bins

Here's a great way to reuse empty CD bins. Drill a hole in the top of the bin for the string to slide through, then screw the lid under a shelf and snap on the string-loaded bin. Pull down and snip off the desired length and never worry that your ball of string will roll away across the floor dragging its tail behind it!
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Power Cord Coilers

Power Cord Coilers

Got a shelf loaded with drills, saws, sanders and routers but can't untangle the cords to safely pull one off the shelf? Buy a pack of elastic ponytail holders and use them to keep the cords neatly coiled while the tools are stored. Snugly loop the ponytail holder around the cord so it stays on the cord while you're using the tool.
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Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage
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Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage

To keep light-duty extension cords organized, slide them into toilet paper or paper towel tubes. Write the length of the cord on the tubes before you put them in a drawer or bin. You'll be able to find the right cord easily with this extension cord storage hack, plus you've made good use of the tubes. Check out these other cardboard tube hacks.
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Double-Lid Cord Reel

Double-Lid Cord Reel

Make this handy cord reel using extra bucket lids. Cut a 5-in. length of 4x4 and then cut a groove in the side the same width as your cord. Fasten the lids to the 4x4 with 1/4 x 2-in. lag screws. Make handles from an old 1-1/8 in. diameter broom handle and drill a 1/2-in. hole through the center. Fasten the crank to the lid with bolts, nuts and washers, and apply Loctite sealant to the end nut. Fasten the handle to the 4x4 through the lid with a 6-1/2 in. lag screw. Just insert your cord and reel it in.
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Wrench Caddy

Wrench Caddy

Organize your wrenches in your toolbox by stringing them onto a large, bright colored carabiner (sold at camping and discount stores). It will keep your wrenches together and make them portable and easy to spot. Buy some carabiners now on Amazon.
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Pull-Tab Picture Frame Hook
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Pull-Tab Picture Frame Hook

If you're hanging pictures and run out of those sawtooth hangers, just grab the nearest pop can. Bend the pull tab back and forth until it breaks off. Then screw it to your picture frame. Bend the free end out slightly and hang the picture. - reader Carrie Tegeler
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Scour Off Grime with an Electric Toothbrush
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Scour Off Grime with an Electric Toothbrush

Now that discount and dollar stores carry cheap electric toothbrushes, you can add a modern twist to routine cleaning. Rapid vibration will quickly scrub out stubborn dirt, while the long handle can get to hard-to-reach places without all the elbow grease.
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Tennis Ball Bottle Opener

Tennis Ball Bottle Opener

Slice a tennis ball in half using a utility knife. (Be sure to stabilize the ball in a vise or with clamps while cutting.) The rubbery inside of the ball is perfect for gripping stubborn twist-off bottle caps or sticky jar lids.
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Milk Jug Scoop
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Milk Jug Scoop

Cut off the top of an empty gallon or half-gallon milk jug with sharp scissors. It helps to draw the cut line with a marker first. Clean up the cut to make sure there are no sharp or rough edges. Replace the jug cap and you have a handy (and pretty much free) scoop for pet food, potting soil, etc. Remove the cap and you can use the scoop as a funnel! See what you can do with a milk jug in the garden as well.
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Paper Towel Roll Bag Storage

Paper Towel Roll Bag Storage

There are many uses for plastic grocery bags in the workshop. You can use them to seal up brushes and rollers during a painting project, so you don't have to wash so much stuff between coats. The point is, it's worth keeping a handful of plastic grocery bags on hand in the workshop, and here's a great tip for storing them: Stuff as many plastic grocery bags as possible into an empty paper towel roll. Then toss the roll in a drawer or cabinet. The cardboard tube keeps the bags contained, and it's easy to pull one out at a time when you need it. Check out more home hacks using cardboard tubes.
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Greenhouses from the Salad Bar

Greenhouses from the Salad Bar

Reuse a plastic clamshell container from the salad bar as a mini greenhouse for starting seeds in the spring. After washing the container, punch a few holes in the top. Fill the bottom with potting soil and plant your seeds. Close the lid and place the container in a sunny spot. It acts like a mini greenhouse, allowing the sun to reach the plants while holding in moisture.
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DIY Curtain Rod Rack
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DIY Curtain Rod Rack

If you have space in an upper cabinet, try a DIY spice storage rack that uses a spring-tension curtain rod.
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Paint Stick to Clean Lint Buildup
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Paint Stick to Clean Lint Buildup

Once in a while it's important to clean the area around your dryer's lint trap, as the screen doesn't always catch all of the debris. A paint stir stick with a clean rag wrapped around one end makes a great tool for this task.
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Hot Glue Gun Uses: Fix Wobbly Furniture with a Penny

Hot Glue Gun Uses: Fix Wobbly Furniture with a Penny

You can fix a wobbly bench or table with your pocket change. Add a drop of hot glue to a coin and attach it to the problem area. The coin will act like a shim, leveling out the furniture piece.
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Use a Pool Noodle Inside a Drawer

Use a Pool Noodle Inside a Drawer

Silverware is a notoriously difficult part of kitchen storage and organization, especially in small kitchen with oddly sized drawers. Reader Roy Allison found a solution for keeping his silverware drawer organizer from moving around each time he opened or closed the drawer: a pool noodle! He cut the noodle to size, so that it fits snuggly between the back of the organizer and the back of the drawer. This is just one pool noodle hack to use around the home. You can also make your own silverware drawer oragnizer.
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Flour Sifter Flower Pot

If you have an old flour sifter you no longer use, try turning into a planter. If you don’t have one, there’s a good chance you’ll find one at a thrift store or garage sale to use for repurposing ideas.

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Oil-Bottle Hardware Tote

Oil-Bottle Hardware Tote

Here's a fun little project to keep your screws, nails, nuts and electrical whatsits handy and neatly organized. To make one, you'll need:

  • Six quart-size motor oil bottles (empty!)
  • One 9-in. x 7-3/4-in. floor made from 3/8-in. or 1/2-in. plywood
  • One 7-3/4-in. x 6-in. plywood handle
  • Two 3-1/2-in. x 9-in. plywood sides

With a utility knife or snips, fashion the oil bottles into bins with 15-degree angled sides starting 2-1/2 in. up from one side. (If your bottles have hash marks, the 12-oz. hash mark is great for the low end of the angle.)

Saw a handle slot in the vertical piece, and saw 15-degree angles on the sidepieces. Glue and nail the six-pack together. Add solid wood strips along the open sides to keep the bins from falling out and to make it easy to pull one out as needed.

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Pie Plate Storage Pockets

Pie Plate Storage Pockets

Screw cut-in-half pie tins and heavy-duty paper plates to a shop wall and you've got space-saving storage for the sanding discs, circular saw blades and abrasive discs that like to hide in a drawer. Be sure to tape the sharp edges on the cut pie plates to protect your fingers!

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Use Soft Socks to Clean Blinds
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Use Soft Socks to Clean Blinds

The next time you need to clean your window blinds, use a sock on your hand! Your hand makes a perfect tool for reaching all of the nooks and crannies on the blinds, and the sock picks up dust wonderfully.
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Onboard Glue Spreader

Onboard Glue Spreader

For years I used my finger to spread glue beads on the edges of boards. Then, in sweaty haste, I'd wipe my fingers on my pants and another pair of nice jeans would become 'work-only' attire. To make the job less messy, all you need is an old credit card (or new, your choice), a 3/4-in.two-hole EMT conduit strap (about 50? at a home center) and two 1/8-in.nuts and bolts. Crook the conduit strap in a vise to level the conduit strap wings with the bottle cap. This way the credit card stays flat when you bolt it on. Drill a couple of window holes in the middle of the credit card so you can monitor the size of the glue bead, then drill bolt holes in the end of the card, snap the conduit strap onto the bottle cap and bolt on the card. Practice applying glue on a scrap board and in a few minutes you'll get it down (pun intended). Be sure to use fresh glue—the lightly bending card will spread it like butter. Want to get really good at edge-gluing boards? This video and these 10 tips teach you everything you need to know.

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Safety Glasses Insurance
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Safety Glasses Insurance

Protect safety glasses by storing them in an old sock. Hang the sock on the wall in your workshop, and they'll remain scratch-free, dust-free and easy to find. If you don't have a pegboard wall in your shop, it's time to build one! In just two hours you can make a versatile pegboard wall with a handy storage bin beneath.

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Pallet Wine Rack

Here's a simple woodworking project  on how to build a wine rack — use some old pallet wood to make a wine rack. The rack would make a great addition to an outdoor patio area.
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Wallpaper is making a huge comeback in home design, as long as it’s unique and limited to an accent wall or two. There is no more unique statement than wallpapering with book pages. Once you figure out the basics of hanging wallpaper, you’ll have this unique feature wall complete in no time.

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Window Shutter

Next time you see old window shutters at the resale shop, pick one up. Screw on some small baskets and use it as a seasonal decoration or to store items such as garlic, onions and potatoes in your pantry.
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Fabric and Electrical Conduit Room Divider
Photo: Courtesy of HomeMadeModern

Fabric and Electrical Conduit Divider

Here’s a clever way to use electrical conduit: Attach some fabric and you have a modern DIY room divider. For a how-to video of the process, visit here.

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Cardboard Carton

Instead of tossing that cardboard milk or orange juice carton in the recycling bin, cut off the top, wrap it with fabric and use it as a planter for herbs or flowers. For more repurposing ideas, visit Cut Out + Keep.

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Mattress Spring Flower Wall
Courtesy mer

Mattress Spring Flower Wall

This clever DIYer used old mattress springs for a flower wall. The springs are hung on the side of the house near the patio.

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Stuffed Animal Storage

All those stuffed animals can be difficult to keep corralled. Try cleaning up an old plant hanger, painting it and hanging it in your child's room to keep the animals off the floor.
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Chicken Wire Divider

This DIYer took an old room divider, tore out the inserts, painted it and used chicken wire to replace the panels. The chicken wire is then used to showcase photos and artwork. Here’s how they did it.

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Broken Table Legs

This woodworker took some broken table legs and attached them to a slice of maple and created a small stool. The stool would be a great addition to a kitchen pantry where you may need help with hard-to-reach items or as an extra side table in a den.

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Sewing Machine Table

This DIYer took an old sewing cabinet, attached a shelf unit, covered the shelves with paper and painted it red. This furniture hack can now be used as a dining room hutch or extra storage in a kitchen.

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SV Production

Old Cart

Some of the oldest and most hard-working pieces can be transformed into works of art with repurposing ideas. This old cart is now used as a flower planter.

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Old Patio Furniture

This table is made from an old trunk. The DIYer attached legs to the underside of the trunk to raise it up to table height and it’s now used on a patio. You might even be able to use these as repurposed end tables. Revamp your furniture from drab to fab with these innovative ideas. Did you know you can buy thrifted furniture?

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Ladder Pot Rack

Storing pots and pans can be a challenge because they are bulky and take up a lot of space. Use an old ladder or even a wheel to hang pots from your kitchen ceiling.

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If you’re really not sure what to do with your old books, perhaps this will shine a little light on the situation. A homemade book lamp will provide the most amazing vintage touch in any room. Just remember to follow the rules of polarity when fixing or replacing a lamp cord.

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Window Frame Room Divider

To save money, this DIYer used an old window frame as a room divider in the basement. It helps break up a sitting area and a craft room and as far as repurposing ideas go, this is super creative.

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Tea Pot

This old tea pot has a new life as a planter. You can get a similar look with an old coffee carafe.

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Pendant Lamps

There’s an artist who takes old wooden blinds and turns them into pendant lamps. He got started reusing blinds and other items for projects when he was young. His repurposed blind pendants come in 12 different styles.

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Partition to Create an Entryway Space

Furniture-Quality Divider

If you have woodworking skills, you can build this hinged room divider.

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Reclaimed Wooden Spools

Another option for DIY furniture projects is converting large wooden spools (usually used for electrical wire) into end tables. These wooden spools are often available online after they’ve served their original purpose. Also, you can cut the spools in half for two smaller tables.

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Nejron Photo/Shutterstock

Shutter Divider

If you come across some old window shutters at a resale shop or garage sale, consider using them as a DIY room divider. Just paint or stain and add some hinges. You can get a similar look with salvaged closet doors, too.

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Time for a New End Table

One trend in DIY end tables is to start with a large old clock. This DIY end table started out as an old clock and an end table with a battered top. It’s a neat look for repurposed end tables.

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FH17JUN_579_00_006_article rustic barn door
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Barn Door Divider

Depending on the room, a barn door can work as a room divider. In just a few days, you can create a sliding barn door to help break up a room for the fraction of the cost you’d pay to purchase one and have it installed.

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O.C Ritz/Shutterstock

Pallet Wall

Here’s yet another project that uses an old wooden pallet. You’ll need some landscape fabric to attach to the back side of the pallet, then fill with soil and plant your flowers. Prop the planted pallet up against a wall or fence.

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Artichoke Pendant

Sometimes the best thing about a DIY project is making an existing product even better. This modern pendant takes a generic paper lantern and steps it up a notch by carefully pasting circles, cut from book pages, in a scalloped pattern which resembles an artichoke!

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Wine Bottle

If you’re up for cutting glass, try using empty wine bottles as planters. You’ll need to cut either the side or the top, depending on the look you’re going for.

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Gutter Garden

Gutters can also be used for creative outdoor water features. Or, like here, gutters have been mounted on a wall for a hydroponic garden.

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Amalia Zilio/Shutterstock

Coffee Cup

Try using an old coffee mug or tea cup to grow some small plants. Try an oversized mug to hold flowers on your dining table.

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use gutters for tool organization

Supplies Storage

Cut your cheap downspouts into short sections, about 6 inches long, then stack and bind these sections so you have several rows of openings. You can store these downspout storage slots in a work bag for quick access, or mount them on a table. It’s a great DIY project for hobbyists with supplies that are tough to store and organize.

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Swing From the Rafters With Mesh Storage
Photo: Courtesy of Brenda Porter-Rockwell

Swing From the Rafters With Mesh Storage

A hanging mesh storage hammock creates a cradle for lightweight toys like balls or plush toys. Or, use a cloth hammock or colorful sheet to create the same effect. A yard or two of tulle fabric works great and has a fairyland look. And when you're done with your kid's room, it's likely time to apply some handy storage ideas to your garage.
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Catching Chicken Droppings

Got chickens? If you keep a coop, you know that dealing with droppings is a problem. However, if you position a length of gutter under roosts or cages, and incorporate a French cleat, you can catch most of the droppings before they hit the floor.

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Vadim Georgiev/Shutterstock

Jewelry Box

A hollowed out book is an age-old space to hide valuables, but it also looks great on display as a jewelry box. Get creative and add wooden feet or several stacked boxes for optimum effect. These boxes would also look great in an organized closet space which would make it feel like a luxurious dressing room, even in a small footprint.

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Tablet Case

There are some great ideas out there for DIY tablet storage, but using an old book is a brilliant way to store your tablet on the go and help prevent it from getting stolen as it perfectly conceals the electronics within.

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We all have books that we remember forever. Now you can carry those works wherever you go by creating your own word jewelry. Or if you’ve got an extra dictionary or two lying around, pick some words that describe your loved ones and create custom jewelry as a one-of-a-kind gift. These custom-made gifts will mean so much that whoever receives them will want to find a safe hiding spot to keep them secure.

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This book wreath is nothing short of breathtaking. Patience and careful planning will result in a truly one-of-a-kind décor item that visitors to your home will swoon over. Just be sure to hang it in a prominent location for maximum effect.

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Pencil Holder

This quaint pencil holder is a genius DIY project because it is made with the leftover scraps from the previous artichoke light project. Once you adorn your desk with this masterpiece, you’ll want to know all these genius home office organization tips to make your space truly functional.

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Supakorn Sakdiyapan/Shutterstock

Plastic Jugs

Those plastic milk jugs can be cut and used as planters. Try hanging them from a fence with wire coat hangers, as shown here.

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Hexagonal Chair Bench

Here we have a set of six wooden dining chairs combined into one unique bench. This project requires some precise measuring and angle cuts, but it doesn't require any special tools. This bench was built to surround a tree! A great outdoor use for these repurposed materials.
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Book Nightstand
Courtesy Merchant

Book Nightstand

Who doesn't have a stack of books they don't know what to do with? And if you don't, used books are super-cheap at yard sales and library fundraisers. So take that stack of books and turn it into a versatile, mobile nightstand or repurposed end tables!
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Piano Breakfast Bar Island

Used pianos can be hard to get rid of, so if you have one (or know someone who's trying to get rid of one), turn it into a useful breakfast buffet and bar. A flat surface, such as a piece of marble or wood, over the keyboard area, plus an extended flat surface installed over the top provide plenty of space for food and dishes. Add two barstools and your island is complete.
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Hidden Storage

All you need to create this amazing hidden storage box is glue, a sharp knife and a simple box frame. This is one home security hack that looks as good as it works.

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It takes a bit of patience, and a large hole saw to create this well-read planter, but the effort will be worth it for book lovers. Play with different combinations of books and pots, stacking where needed to create a mini garden of words. Wondering what to plant? Here are some excellent choices.

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This book-page pennant is an easy-effort craft to do with kids and is endlessly customizable. Simply cut, paste and thread the pennant flags and adorn with whatever lettering you like. Stickers, stencils, and paint are all ways to make this DIY Decor your own.

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Alternative to Plastic Bags: Mesh Produce Bag
Brenda Porter-Rockwell

Alternative to Plastic Bags: Mesh Produce Bag

One of your easiest and most eco-friendly options for toy storage is already in your refrigerator. Empty your mesh produce bags and toss in your child's bath or beach toys. Attach a plastic hook and hang the bag of toys on the shower wall within easy reach. And if you need more room than what you can hold in a 5-lb bag, buy a reusable mesh produce bag and still have an eco-friendly bag alternative to traditional toy storage.
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New Life for Broken Shop Vacuums
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New Life for Broken Shop Vacuums

Next time an old shop vacuum dies, don't trash the whole thing—just toss the lid and motor, and then use the canister as a roll-around trash can. Just nudge it with your toe to move it wherever you need it.

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Organize Paperwork with a Pot Lid Holder

Organize Paperwork with a Pot Lid Holder

Borrow from the kitchen! Use a kitchen pot lid stand to organize your desktop's most current paperwork. A simple wooden dowel style like this can easily be painted to match your décor. No desk space?
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Repurpose a Dresser
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Repurpose a Dresser

Repurpose an old dresser as a printing station. Keep wire baskets near for printer discards and store ink and paper supplies in the drawers for easy access. Drawers also make for a sturdy storage solution for extra notebooks, binders and books. Getting rid of your file cabinets? Use them in the shop! Check out this great, repurposed file-to-tool cabinet.

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Wall Hooks

No longer utilitarian and plain, wall hooks have become an indispensable part of home organization – and good decor. By following this tutorial, you can create this great, vintage-looking coat rack that will be an instant conversation piece in your home. Just be sure to hang it level!