Upcycle Your Last Project’s Scraps!

Karen from This Old House has given us these wonderful alternatives to throwing away your garage leftovers!

neat bungee cord hanging storage, hardware cloth 10 uses

Create Hanging Storage With Hardware Cloth

Store bungee cords or other tangle-prone items neatly on the wall using a DIY hanger. Staple each end of a 3-by-12-inch strip of hardware cloth to a 3-by-3-inch piece of scrap wood. Affix the hanger to the garage wall; hook one end of each cord in the mesh.

10 uses paint stirrer used to raise planter off ground

Use Paint Stirrers to Raise a Planter

Cut notches into stir sticks every 1½ inches and assemble them as shown. Place the grid under a pot to prevent deck stains and rot.

10 uses for weatherstripping spreading stain on chair with felt weather stripping squares

Use Weatherstripping to Spread Stain

Cut felt weatherstripping into squares for spreading stains in tight corners on furniture.

10 uses for sandpaper, woman cleaning up tile grout in shower

Use Sandpaper to Spiff Up Tile Grout

Some gentle friction with a folded fine-grit piece rubs out stains. Cover glazed surfaces with tape, and apply a sealant once the grout is clean.

brush applies shellac to hinge over a can of shellac

Use Shellac to Restore Old Hardware

After removing dirt and paint drips from hinges, knobs, and pulls, seal the pieces with clear shellac—it will keep brasses from tarnishing too.

piece of carpet scrap used as a kneeling pad in the garden

Use Carpet Scraps to Cushion Knees When Gardening

Roll up a scrap of carpet and kneel on it when spreading mulch, planting flowers, or weeding.

car wax can help keep stainless-steel fingerprint and smudge free

Use Car Wax to Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free

Apply a thin coat of car wax to stainless-steel fridges and stoves. Buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges.

bag of sand holding door open

Use Sand to Hold Open a Door

Center a sealed ziplock bag of sand on a square of fabric. Gather the fabric at the bag’s top and secure it with raffia, then place it in front of a door.

copper pipe wind chime hanging in a yard with blurry trees in the background

Use Copper Pipe to Make a Wind Chime

Cut various lengths of the tube; the longer the piece, the deeper the sound, says Dale Powell of the Copper Development Association. Drill a hole an inch from their tops. Loop fishing line through the openings and hang from a wood disc.

painting a bird feeder red with scraps of drywall corner bead for elevation and support, 10 uses

Use Drywall Corner Bead to Lift Up a Small Paint Project

Place two short lengths of bead on your work surface so that the folded edges are facing up. Rest your item across the pieces before painting it.

person cutting window screen scraps to fit in flower pots

Use Window Screens to Keep Soil Inside a Flowerpot

Line the bottom with a patch of screen before filling it, to stop dirt from washing out through the drain hole.

bricks painted to look like books used as bookends on bookshelf, 10 uses for bricks

Use Bricks to Make Literary Bookends

Get inspired by your favorite classics and brush a faux book jacket onto a brick with acrylic paint and a calligraphy pen, then display it proudly next to the real thing.

hang curtains with wood dowels, 10 uses wood dowels

Use Wood Dowels to Hang Curtains on the Cheap

Cut a 1½-inch dowel to your desired length; the rod should extend at least 3 to 6 inches past the sides of the window casing. Drill pilot holes in the dowel ends to accept threaded cabinet-knob finials; hang on brackets.

woman standing in yard over a pile of leaves using pvc pipe as a handle extension on a rake with which she's raking up more leaves with houses and fall-foliage trees in the background

Use PVC to Help Collect Leaves

Use this trick from TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey: He rakes leaves into a PVC frame clamped to a garbage bag. The frame holds the bag open and works like a dustpan.

man using a cleat to hang a mirror, 10 uses for wood flooring scraps

Use Wood Flooring Scraps to Create a Cleat

To hang a heavy object, cut two pieces of flooring to a length just shorter than the width of the object. Screw one piece, groove-side down, to the back of the object. Fasten the second length, tongue-side up, to the wall, making sure to hit at least two studs. Lower the object onto the piece mounted to the wall, resting the groove on the tongue.

tube with a screw in the end to seal it, with four other similar screws sitting next to the tube, all on a neutral white background

Use Drywall Screws to Sub for a Stopper

Screw one into the nozzle of a tube of glue or caulk to clear and seal it; leave it in for a top that screws off.

image of a brown tool apron hanging on a white plastic bucket on a neutral white background

Use a Drywall Bucket to Carry Garden Tools

TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook wraps a canvas tool apron around the outside of a bucket so he’ll always have pruners and a waste receptacle at the ready. Similar to shown: 56-Pocket Bucket Tool Organizer by Bucket Boss; about $20, Amazon

bright yellow paint spilled onto the floor next to a someone's feet stepping off a ladder and a paint roller and pan in the background next to a taped off wall painted the color of the spilled paint

Use Sawdust to Soak Up Spills

Keep a bucket of sawdust handy for accidents. Sawdust is highly absorbent and can quickly contain spills of oil or paint.

These great ideas are brought to you by Karen Zigathis at This Old House Online


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