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ORGANIZED LIVING: Creative Ways to Recycle Your Old Stuff

Got a creative bent?

Here are some ideas for you DIYers out there—and even those of you who aren’t particularly crafty—for breathing new life into your old stuff in storage.

Look around any long-term storage unit (including your own), and you’re bound to notice a few well-loved items that bring back some nice memories. So why not rekindle that love—and, in the process, clean up your unit a bit!

Coffee Mugs

How about that collection of old coffee mugs? Take them out of their box and put them to good use. With a little bit of potting soil and some seeds (or cuttings from a friend’s garden), you can brighten up your home with succulents or whatever plants you choose. And don’t worry if your mix-and-match assortment of mugs doesn’t match or has chips. That’s part of the charm.

Fish Tanks

Back in the 1970s, you were really into fish. But that old 20-gallon aquarium is now just sitting in the corner of your storage unit, taking up space. What about repurposing that fully functional tank into an indoor herb garden? Clean out your tank and line it with marbles. Fill the bottom with potting soil, moisten the soil, then add your herb seedlings. Cover the seeds with more soil, and gently water. Then place your new garden in full sun. Or opt for a hydroponic garden that requires no dirt, just water and lots of light (under a high-watt light bulb or next to a southern-facing window).

Console TV

It may be hard to remember, but TVs were a major piece of furniture back in the day! If you happen to have one in your storage unit, it likely doesn’t work—but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it again. If you’re handy with tools, you can pull out the mechanisms to turn the console into a storage cabinet. Some people use theirs as a retro mini-bar, while others have repurposed their vintage TVs into bathroom storage for towels and toiletries.

Old Cutlery

Want a great use for that pile of mismatched silverware—or maybe even the spoon collection your aunt gave you? Craft a coatrack by bending the cutlery into hooks and nailing them onto a finished or painted piece of wood. This creates a fun centerpiece for any entryway.

Computer Monitors

These take up space in a lot of storage units. They’re big and bulky, and you don’t like (or don’t know how) to throw them away. Well, don’t! Once you take out the workings, there are lots of creative uses for the shell: cat bed…planter…chicken coop…magazine rack…book display rack…mailbox…aquarium… Use your imagination!