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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Creative ways to reuse everyday items


Plastic and paper bags 

Instead of spending money on small trash bags for dorm trash cans or trash cans in your bedroom or bathroom, reuse plastic grocery bags as liners. 

When traveling, wrap shoes in plastic bags before placing them in your suitcase to keep dirt and germs off the rest of your clothes. 

For those with dogs, try using old plastic bags to pick up pet waste as opposed to buying a new roll of bags.  

Paper bags, especially ones with nice designs, can make excellent wrapping paper. Cut the bag into a flat sheet and use as you would normal wrapping paper. Paint or draw designs on the paper if desired. 

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Cardboard boxes 

Shoe boxes or boxes from items you ordered online can be repurposed as drawer organizers, miscellaneous storage, gift boxes or even used to mail things again. 

Cut the top third off of cereal boxes to create a magazine or paper holder for your desk. Wrap in paper or paint the exterior to improve its appearance. 

Tissue boxes can be used as decorative gift boxes or small trash cans for your car, bedside table or bathroom counter. 

Newspaper and magazines 

Did you finish reading your copy of the IDS and are now thinking of tossing it? Instead, save the paper and crumple its sheets inside your shoes after a long day. The newspaper will absorb odor and moisture, leaving your shoes fresh for the next wear. This is especially helpful if you have soggy shoes after being caught in the rain. 

Another way to use old newspapers and magazines is for collaging projects. Look through pages and cut out pictures, drawings and words that could be used to create a fun art project to decorate your room or gift to a loved one. 

After buying gifts around the holidays or for birthdays, it can be hard to shell out more money on wrapping paper. Old newspapers can work well as a unique and sustainable way to wrap presents, and you can decorate the paper to fit the occasion.  

Newspapers can also serve as quick kindling for a fire or as floor and furniture protection for messy activities like sanding and painting. 


Old T-shirts can make fantastic towels for your hair, as they are less gritty than regular towels and can help reduce frizz during the drying process. Additionally, they can be used as pillowcases in a pinch — a size large or extra- large Tt-shirt will fit nearly perfectly over a standard pillow.  

If you’re bored of an old t-shirt but still like the design, try upcycling it into a tank top, or changing its length or neckline. 

Old shirts and sweatshirts can also be cut into rags for all-purpose household cleaning. If you suffer the misfortune of losing one sock to the dryer, try using its counterpart for dusting. An old sock can also be filled with beans or rice to create a microwavable heating pad. 

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If you find cold air drafting underneath your door in the winter, try using old shirts, a sweatshirt or jacket to stuff in the crack. 

Bottles, glass food containers and cans 

An old salsa jar, soup can or juice bottle can be transformed into an organic- looking flower vase or a container to hold small items like hair ties or pens. Simply peel off any labels and rinse the remaining glue residue with soap and water. If you want to spice up their appearance, try painting the exterior or adding some ribbon around the top.  

Sheets and blankets 

Bedding you no longer use on your actual bed can be used as picnic blankets and for spreading out at the beach. 

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