problem solving, minimalist style: re-purposing the things you already own


Sometimes I feel like my home is missing something or needing some help in the decorating department.  When I feel this way, I usually find myself window shopping in a store within the next day or so, searching out a particular item I have been hankering for that I am convinced will make my life easier/better/more pleasant.  I’ve been dreaming of a new duvet cover for our bed (we received a lovely, cozy duvet as a gift from my parents recently), as well as something to hold my small but special jewellery collection.  Last weekend I found myself setting out for a walk in the sunshine while my youngest dozed off in the stroller, and I stopped into several stores in the couple of hours I was out and about.  But I didn’t buy anything.

While looking for a duvet cover at one store, I realized how boring and plain most of the bedding being sold nowadays is.  Most of the duvet covers I came across were beige or off white.  Unfortunately, having children and a husband who likes to eat the occasional snack in bed (eek! I know!), white bedding is just not in the cards for our household.  As I left the store and walked down the street, I began thinking about the flat sheets my kids don’t use on their beds and how we might be able to transform them into duvet covers.  My mom is an excellent seamstress and can surely easily transform two large flat pieces of fabric into a fabulous duvet cover!  I’m also going to look in my basket of bed linens to see if we might be able to transform a couple of our larger sheets into a duvet cover for our own bed.

It never ceases to amaze me that every time I feel a need to buy something for my home, there is a good chance I already own something similar that can be used in its place.  A few other things I’ve repurposed lately:

  • Some silicone muffin tins that I bought sometime in the last couple of years that aren’t getting any love in the baking department have been repurposed into adorable bento lunchboxes for my kids to use when they are eating at home. I just could not get the hang of using silicone for muffin baking, and everything I baked when I used them tasted like silicone – ew!  So I’m thankful that these little babies have found an alternate purpose in my home, and one that my kids can get excited about!
  • A white serving dish that was stashed away in the upper regions of my kitchen cupboards gathering dust has been re-purposed into a jewellery/trinket catch-all on my bedroom dresser.
  • A small towel valet that I purchased years ago for one of our bathrooms to hang towels on has now been re-purposed to hold a few of the remaining pieces of jewellery I still own and am wearing regularly, particularly necklaces and bracelets.

Don't let the marketing fool you, this little stand works great for holding both towels AND necklaces!

How about you?  Do you have favourite belongings that serve a multitude of purposes?  Or do you have a couple of things in your home that were designed for a certain idea and you found them useful for other reasons entirely?  Do tell, I love a good hack!  Be sure to share in the comments.


10 responses »

  1. I love that you are looking to see what you have in your home already first before buying! That’s what I’m trying to do too. We use a glass pasta (spagetti) container for my sons massive crayon collection. Hopefully we will eventually get down a normal amount of crayons. Also, I use an antique smoking cabinet as my nightstand. It was in my grandparents, and then our, bathroom for years but I decided it was too beautiful not to be used better. It holds my books too.

    • Cool! I really admire your ability to sew, as I am hopeless at it. Thankfully, my mom is an expert, so I like to enlist her help when we travel there in the summer months. 🙂

  2. I love this post and the idea of inspiring each other to repurpose things. I first read this post a couple of days ago and couldn’t think of anything I’ve been re-purposed, but since then I realized there are a few things. My medicine cabinet is rather small, and typical toothbrush holders are too tall to fit. When our old toothbrush holder fell out and broke, I replaced it with a small, shallow ring holder. It works perfectly! Also, q-tips are stored in a small plastic juice glass. Old tins for tea and cookies have been repurposed to hold seed packets, as storage in the linen closet (to coral bottles together) and to hold miscellaneous screws and other bits and bobs. Lastly, when we finally run out of parmesan cheese, I’m going to reuse the container to hold baking soda for cleaning and voila, no more wet/messy baking soda box!

  3. Hi Erin,
    Great post. I do the exact same thing! Remember the throw pillows?
    It’s always such a relief when I realize that what I really want has nothing to do with the store. I go on an annual comfy boot hunt, whether or not I need them, it takes me hours of internet looking to realize that what I really want is comfort. Boots or no boots! Sure wish I could resist the hunt and save myself some time. Nine times out of ten I already own a pair of boots that does the job.

  4. I have to ask the bento lunchbox that you created from you silicone pans can you take a pic? I’m now googling the term to see what they are as I have some pans I bought in December which aren’t in use.

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