How can I reuse or recycle a wooden shoe rack?

There was a neighbourhood “give and take” event near me at the weekend – people took along their unwanted items and took home anything other people had donated that took their fancy — all for free. It was mostly small things – crockery, household knick-knacks and books – but there were some larger things too – old TVs and other electronics, rugs and other bits of furniture.

We didn’t “take” anything in the end: I was tempted by a pretty coffee pot from the kitchenware table until John pointed out that we already have one which we don’t use, and I was also VERY tempted by a lovely black cat who was keeping an eye on the proceedings, though I’m not to sure he’d have been happy to be taken. But we did give away a box of things we no longer needed, and it felt good to have a clear-out.

I did though rescue a simple wooden shoe rack from the “to go” pile at the last minute. I thought it had been thrown out when we replaced it in the porch with built-in cubbies but apparently it had only made it as far as the garage. As it hit the “to go” pile, I declared I could think of “a thousand” uses for it here and demanded to keep it. Thankfully John didn’t ask me to list the full thousand but my brain did start ticking away.

My first ideas were it being a shoe rack in other places in the house — something that’s especially useful coming into winter where there are invariably muddy boots and shoes near every door. Or there is always stuff in the kitchen to go into the garden – I could put shoes on one shelf and have the other shelf for flower pots and what not.

Speaking of the garden & pots, my greenhouse staging is awash with empties at the moment – some extra (albeit small) shelving would be useful in there, and in the spring/summer, it could be useful for holding plants – hopefully the slats would discourage some slugs too. Or I could mount the shelves from the shoe rack onto a wall with strong bracket to make a new potting bench – perhaps with tool hooks underneath.

I made a similarly slatted “tray” for drying homemade soap and before we moved here, I used the very shoe rack in question in the “jumpers” part of my wardrobe as an additional shelf (so they all weren’t piled up in one big heap and the slats allowed air circulation).

Flipped onto an end and lined with an old pillow case, it could be used as a laundry basket and if it was sturdier, it might make a good bench for children.

So that’s about nine alternative ideas – any suggestions for the other 991 reuses? :)


How can I reuse or recycle old glass blocks/glass bricks?

We’ve had an email from Whitney, asking about reuse/recycling ideas for glass blocks (or glass bricks, as they’re also known):

We just bought a house and making a lot of renovations. We removed some glass blocks from an old bathroom window and I want to reuse them for something. I love glass blocks and since they didn’t get broken in the renovation process I’d love to do something with them. I’d love to be able to drill holes in them and place lights for outdoor use, but don’t know how to do it. I was also thinking about just placing them around the garden, but am looking for some more innovative ideas.

I love the idea of using them in the garden – for bed/path edging for example, or if you have a lot of them, as a privacy screen/divider. I imagine in time the edge seals might become damaged and bugs or greenery may creep inside but that could look pretty cool too :)

More creatively, I’ve seen them used effectively as the “legs” on simple tables – panels of glass blocks at each end of the table top, though I’m not sure how it was all fixed together – any ideas?

Any other practical or creative suggestions for using them either inside or outside of the house?


How can I “reuse” fresh eggs that we can’t eat?

(Hi! Sorry to regular readers for the stupidly long break in posting – I’ve been reading all the comments as usual as they come in, just not posting any new content myself due to a combination of busy-ness, illness and laziness. I’m hoping to get back to regular scheduled blogging again now though!)

This question is a bit like the one I posted six years ago (!!) about ways to use up no longer fresh eggs but this one is a little different. We’ve got our own chickens now so always have super-fresh eggs – but sometimes, like this last weekend, I have to give them medication or treat their coup with things that mean we shouldn’t eat their eggs for a few days.

The eggs look perfectly fine but there is a risk of contamination so we can’t eat them. I can’t bring myself to just throw them in the compost though – or even throw them at my boyfriend when he’s not paying attention… ;)

I know egg yolks can be used as a hair conditioner or for a face mask – does anyone have any favourite recipes/techniques?

I’ve also heard some people using them as a fertiliser boost for plants – do any plants particularly benefit from an eggy treat (especially at this time of year), or is there any that definitely shouldn’t have it?

Any other suggestions?

And finally, less on topic but critically important, did you all have a good summer? (Or good winter, if you’re on the southern side of things?)


How can I reuse or recycle toilet seats?

Apologies for the break in blogging – I’ve been super busy with other things over the last month. And in my absence, Recycle This had its sixth birthday! Happy Birthday website! :D

Anyway, moving on: we’ve had an email from Stephanie about toilet seats:


I just came into about 25 toilet seat all different colors (red, yellow, green, blue….) I know they can be reused but I’m stuck. I thought the game horse shoes but they don’t have the open front, I was even suggested picture frames! Please help.

An unusual thing to suddenly acquire but they would make very fun (ok, silly) picture frames in a bathroom.

I’ve got half an idea in my mind about using them to hold open rubbish bags or laundry bags – I can’t quite formulate it into an actual reuse — after a few weeks of not posting, I’m clearly out of practise at coming up with ideas so I’ll had it over to you guys.

What would you do with some unwanted toilet seats? Do you know anywhere that would take them to reuse for intended purpose? Or can you think of any fun or practical reuse or recycling suggestions?

I’m presuming, because they’re different colours, that they’re plastic but do feel free to make suggestions for wooden ones too in case anyone has those to use up instead.


How can I reuse or recycle empty bottled gas/propane cylinders?

Lyndon has emailed to ask about reusing – or recycling – propane gas canisters (the ones for heating, barbecues or patio heaters etc):

Trying to tidy up the yard at work, what can I do with some old gas bottles?

If there is a company name on the bottles (like Calor Gas, Flo Gas or TotalGaz – to name but three), the safest/laziest thing might be to contact them to see if they could pick them up – gas bottles get reused again and again by gas supply companies and if the canisters are still in reusable condition, they might be more than willing to take them off your hands and put them back into circulation. (They’ll be able to dispose of any remaining gas too.) (UPDATED: see the note below from Calor – you should really give their tanks back to them.)

Empty or old gas bottles also pop up quite frequently on Freecycle/Freegle, Gumtree and eBay as it is cheaper to refill old tanks than buy new ones every time (and hurrah for that!). Again, hopefully they’ll disappear from your yard with minimal effort and be reused again & again.

As for non-intended purpose reuses, some people turn them into outdoor woodburning stoves – but do be careful if you want to try anything like that yourself! Safety first, and all that.

Have you got any suggestions for how he could reuse these bottles? Or ways to recycle them? And any other advice (particularly about safety issues)?