These upcycling ideas will turn your trash into treasure!

woman holding empty glass jar over recycling bin

Save money and the planet at the same time with these fun and inspiring upcycling ideas and turn things you’d ordinarily toss in the trash into something useful!

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming old or discarded materials into something useful or of higher value. Oftentimes, upcycling involves creatively reusing items in their current state or with minimal modifications.

shoe boxes on table with wrapping paper

1. Upcycle shoe boxes for stylish storage.

Before tossing away a thick shoebox or greeting card box, consider using it for office or craft room storage. I covered these bulk greeting card boxes in stylish shelf liner paper and I use them in my office area as pretty yet functional storage!

empty medicine bottles with bandages

2. Make a mini first aid kit from a pill bottle.

Re-purpose prescription pill bottles into mini first aid kits by including a few bandages, antiseptic wipes, and some allergy or pain relievers.

A Hip2Save reader suggested more upcycling ideas for pill bottles:

“Our empty medicine bottles are the perfect storage for a stack of quarters. Good for beads, buttons, and little stuff.” – Lora

upcycled toilet paper holders with wires

3. Organize household cords with toilet paper rolls.

Use toilet paper rolls to keep all your electrical cords labeled and organized. I embellished mine with duct tape and scrapbook paper.

hand holding old bath and body works candle with upcycled jars in background

4. Upcycle empty candle jars.

I added pretty knobs to the tops of these Bath & Body Works candle jars for easy and adorable bathroom storage! Check out these directions for how to reuse candles!

clear snack containers with food inside

5. Use food containers for on-the-go snacks.

Re-purpose smaller plastic food containers as convenient and portable food storage for snacks. Keep them in your pantry or take snacks to go in your purse, diaper bag, or to the beach!

mason jars with pencils and erasers inside

6. Organize with empty Mason jars.

Use Mason jars or glass food container jars to organize everything from craft and office supplies to pantry items! They are so versatile and can serve so many purposes.

wipes container on counter

7. Store plastic bags in empty wipes containers.

An empty wipes container makes a great way to travel with trash sacks or empty grocery bags for the beach or campsite. When empty, use it to keep wet bathing suits separate, as well.

close up of mason jar pin cushion upcycle

8. Stick with this pin-worthy Mason jar.

How cute is this Mason jar pin cushion and mending kit?! I created this cute pin cushion in about 10 minutes with this fun tutorial from – all I did was hot glue a ball of cotton filling and a piece of fabric to a Mason jar lid and then placed my sewing items inside!

coffee container upcycle with baby wipes and diapers

9. Upcycle a coffee container into a wipes holder.

Reuse those oversized plastic coffee containers to store your homemade baby wipes made from a roll of paper towels. Check out the full instructions and video in this oldie but goodie of a post!

diy hand washing station on table outside

10. Create a DIY hand washing station.

Keep your campsite or outdoor party organized with a smart hand washing station. Fill an empty and clean detergent container with water and use the spout for hand washing.

wasabi tape on pencil holder

11. Craft a Washi tape pencil holder from an old tin can.

Upcycle tin cans by covering them with different colored Washi tape. Group them together for stylish and functional pencil and office supply organizing.

desk with upcycled cereal boxes

12. Upcycle cereal boxes for desk organization.

There’s more to cereal boxes than the toy surprise! Use the empty containers to create a pretty and functional desk organizer like the one seen here.

beer packaging coasters diy

13. Make DIY coasters out of beer packaging.

Save the cardboard boxes from your favorite brands of beer and use them to make these unique drink coasters.

white hangers with clothes

14. Use aluminum tabs in the closet for more space.

These aluminum tabs double your hanging space by allowing you to stack hangers! So smart and easy!

tupperware lids

15. Keep a lid on your old CD storage rack.

Don’t toss that old CD rack! Instead, use it to keep unruly storage container lids in order! Don’t have a CD rack? You can often find them at thrift stores.

Plastic hanger on tortilla chips bag and recipe book

16. Upcycle pant hangers for chip clips in a pinch.

Plastic pant hangers can easily be re-used as chip clips. Consider using one as a clever cookbook holder while making a recipe too!

sports jersey tote on floor

17. Create a useful tote bag from an old jersey.

Don’t toss your old sports uniform. Cut it up instead! Hip2Save reader Michelle surprised her coaches with these tote bags upcycled from old jerseys.

close up of map frames
Source: In the Wabe

18. Use an old map to make a unique travel gift.

Give a plain picture frame a new look! An old map and Mod Podge can transform your frame into a thoughtful gift for a traveler. See the full DIY on In the Wabe here!

blue colander hanging flower basket
Source: Bird’s Eye Meeple

19. Turn an old colander into a whimsical plant holder.

Give your front porch a makeover! Repurpose an old colander into a functional planter. See the full DIY instructions on the Bird’s Eye Meeple blog.

close up of floral fabric rings on white background
Source: Sarah Hearts

20. Use fabric scraps to make a new fashion accessory.

Save your sewing scraps and use them to create a custom bracelet. Wrap a strip of fabric around a bangle and secure it with Mod Podge. Get the full instructions on the Sarah Hearts website.

Want more upcycling ideas? Give your decor a makeover with this spray paint hack!

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