8 Charming Second Uses for Household Items

Whether it's a broken tea cup or stray placemats, you can repurpose your household items and make them like new. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

Here are 8 DIY hacks that will breathe new life into your old things.

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Find a Home for Buttons

Buttons that have popped off and long since lost their owners make neat  decorations for a plain frame. Simply use a hot-glue gun to jazz up the edges and  add a personal aesthetic. (Don’t forget about the extra buttons that come with fancy  clothing and inevitably end up in a drawer untouched for decades.)


Cutlery trays can also be used for purely decorative purposes. Turn yours into a table centerpiece by pouring sand into each compartment and setting pretty votive candles on top—use colored sand and candles for a fresh twist or to enhance the mood.

New Use for Old Glass Jars

Not sure what to do with a stash of empty glass jars? Here’s an idea: candleholders! Reuse your prettiest jars to hold white tea lights or votive candles. Collect them together on a mantle or table, or arrange them around the living area for some all-around illumination.

Your Cup of Tea

If you’re into the shabby chic look, a broken tea cup or mug makes a pretty container for a small plant, herb, or candle. You can use tea lights for candles or fill with melted wax topped by a cotton wick. Attach the saucer to the bottom with superglue and you have an instant conversation piece as well.

A Place(mat) at the Table

If you have one or two old placemats around the house that used to be part of a larger set, give them a new life! With a pair of pinking shears, cut them into squares and use as coasters for your drinks.

Rain Boot Bookends

It’s hard to say goodbye to those adorable frog or ducky rain boots when your kids outgrow them or burst a hole through the toe. Turns out you don’t have to. Put a small bag filled with rice or beans inside each boot and you’ve got yourself two cute bookends for your child’s library.

Cookie Pan Bulletin Board

We love this crafty idea for a homemade magnetic bulletin board: Repurpose an old cookie pan! Line it with shelf liner or other pretty decorative paper, then stand it against a wall beneath your kitchen cabinets or hang it on the pantry door.

Jar Displays

Have some beautiful clear jars, but don’t know what to do with them? Try putting photos inside! Add marbles, rocks, colored sand, or other decoration at the bottom, then bend the photo ever-so-slightly so it fits the curve of the jar. This is a great idea for birthday or anniversary parties. Put pictures of the honorees in the jars and you have some unique centerpieces!

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Photo by Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.