How to transform basically any item in your house into a recycled treasure.

Thanks to our brand partner, Moccona

If you believe in the wisdom of Marie Kondo, everything in your house should either be beautiful or useful. If it serves neither purpose, throw it away. But did you ever think to salvage those forgotten knick-knacks and empty jars?

You don’t need to have hundreds of dollars to spend on redecorating (have you seen how much a little throw cushion goes for these days? Jeepers). And you don’t have to be a Pinterest-obsessed DIY addict.

You just need a smidge of creativity, and a spare half hour in your day to turn the contents of your junk drawer or cupboard into something spectacular and have your home oozing warmth and style.

These are some of my favourite tried and tested ways to give a much-deserved second life to things around the house, from Moccona jars to old wedding invitations.

1. Paint over old canvases.

Remember that $2 shop bowl of fruit canvas you once thought was passable to fill your empty walls? Chances are it’s still tucked away under your bed because it doesn’t fit with your decor. As luck would have it, it’s really easy to paint over old canvas artwork. Just lay down a few layers of acrylic paint to neutralise the original colours then go to town painting whatever takes your fancy! And you know that art that makes you scoff – ‘a toddler could do that’? Now’s your time to prove it.

If The Block is anything to go by (OF COURSE IT IS) abstract pastels are in. Image: Channel Nine

 2. Empty coffee jars double as kitchen canisters.

We go through A LOT of coffee in my house. And it's probably the one thing that I am actually happy to run out of, because it means I have a new storage jar. Moccona coffee jars are ideal for storing rice, pasta, flour and all my baking goods. The sealed lid keeps everything fresh and I love that I can see what's in them. If you get your different flours mixed up, you can add labels, or even write on them in permanent marker. It wipes off easily, so you can change up your fillings.

Let's bake!

3. Take your chopping board into the bathroom.

This may be my favourite upcycling project ever. You know those ultra long wooden serving platters? They fit perfectly over your bath tub to double as a caddy. Sure, a cheese board is good. But snacks in a bubble bath? Just add a candle, a cuppa and a book and life doesn't get any better!

4. Keep sentimental invitations for bookmarks.

Don't throw out those stunning wedding invitations once you run out of room on the fridge - they make adorable bookmarks. Same goes for old photo booth strips or polaroid photos. If you're anything like me you have 10 books on the go at any one time and end up reaching for an old receipt or scrap of paper to mark your page. So keep a stack of those things that remind you of loved ones. There's nothing that warms my heart like opening up an old book I half finished and finding a beautiful photo inside.

No, thank YOU, newlyweds. Image: Mamamia.

5. Your used candle jars make perfect sized makeup holders.

When your favourite candle finally dwindles down to the bottom, don't throw the jar away. I put all those gorgeous glass jars to good use to store my growing makeup collection. I've got one jar filled with all my brushes, another for tools (this one is a big sucker to fit bulky things like my eyelash curler) and one for all my lip pencils, eyeliners and mascaras.


6. Turn your hats into a feature wall.

Wide-brimmed hats are just gorgeous (does anything scream summer like a big straw boater?) but they're also a bulky nightmare to store. And you definitely don't want to pull out your favourite fedora to discover a crumpled mess. The solution? Pop some sticky hooks on your wall (they're rental safe and won't wreck your paint) and arrange your hat collection as an artistic statement. Looks good, and it's practical.

A post shared by Gaby Burger (@gabyburger) on


7. Reinvent your old furniture.

All it takes is a lick of paint to spruce up an old bookshelf or chair and add a pop of colour to your home. And if you take the spray-painting route you don't even need to prep and prime your surface. Just make sure you give it a wipe down first to remove any dust build up. And you should work outside for this one, those fumes will get you!

8. Pop your plant on an unused stool.

Have you noticed how the world has gone greenery mad? Instead of buying one of those fancy new plant stands, just grab an old unused stool to prop up your pot plant. It gives an eclectic look and you can easily move it around to find sun or shade.

9. Old fabric becomes a fun new rug.

If you've got some old carpet in your garage, or better yet, a scrap of cool upholstery fabric, you've also got yourself the cheapest rug you'll ever find. Yes, even cheaper than the final, last ever day of your local carpet store's 80th closing down sale. It's a great way to warm up tiles or floorboards and even in the summer months, you'll love the softer feel on your feet. The trick to stopping it from sliding around? Pop a few lines of hot glue on the bottom so it grips to the floor.

Super spenny Persian rug? Nope, guess again.

10. Ladder shelves.

I feel like this one is quite self explanatory. Lean a ladder against the wall, fill it with all your pretties! Not one of those clunky metal ones, an old school wooden ladder. It looks even better if your ladder is a bit rustic, but watch out for splinters. Give it a quick sand down if it needs it, especially if you have little hands around the home.

What have you upcycled in your home? Tell us below!

Feature image: @hatattackny

Rachel Wagner is Mamamia's queen of upcycling. She also works on podcasts here at Mamamia. Follow her on Instagram.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Moccona.