Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, farewell parties, begging Anna for forgiveness after you made flirtatious eye contact with her ex-best-friend Jennifer during Monopoly night… there’s an endless list of occasions where a present is mandatory (or at least a very good idea).
But here’s the thing: you’re not made of money. You can’t be buying an iPad or the next season of Pretty Little Liars every time your bratty niece gets another year older. She streams every episode online anyway, right? Yeah, she probably does. You’re pretty sure that’s a thing she would do.
You can confirm that detail later, though. Right now you need to pay attention. We’re about to show you how to make a great gift out of stuff you have lying around your house.
What better way to get rid of all your useless crap than to palm it off onto someone else? (After turning it into something beautiful, of course.) Get creative with these ideas to turn the ‘stuff’ in your house into upcycled gifts for your friends and family. They get a cool present and you get to clear some clutter out of your home – everyone wins.
Coffee Cans = Succulent Planters
Once you’ve consumed all your instant coffee (in a normal amount of time – do not drink the entire can just to make this gift), wash the can and remove the label.
Next, paint the can a fun colour. Actually, go all out and paint your recipient’s pet dog or something if you want to. It’ll distract them from how cheap the gift is.
Add some soil and a succulent from the markets or your yard. Or your neighbour’s yard. If they ever inquire, tell them you saw a rebellious-looking rabbit lurking around the neighbourhood not so long ago.
Voilà. A funky present for any member of your family.
Trash Can = Garden Bed
They say your trash is another’s treasure. Grab that old rubbish bin sitting in your garage and turn it into a beautiful garden bed in minutes.
All you need is some potting mix and some pretty flowers to get you started. These beautiful blooms are a gift that keeps giving, and the bin brings an on-trend rustic feel.
Old CDs = Mosaic Tile Dish
You know who wants to listen to that old Nickelback CD? Nobody. Cut it up and make a mosaic tile dish instead.
Just get a plate you don’t use, some old CDs, scissors, super glue and a clear lacquer to create a smooth surface. This is a great way to ditch that old CD collection while making a striking gift.
If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear Chad Kroeger crying: How the hell’d we wind up like this?
Picture Frame = Jewellery Holder
This one is perfect for those photo frames that were broken while you were cleaning (never dust angry).
Turn the frame into a jewellery holder by adding hooks or wire. This will make a beautiful addition to your sister or niece’s wall while keeping their favourite pieces untangled and organised.
You could even paint a trendy saying like ‘on fleek’ to make the frame extra cool, because you are one cool cat and everyone should know it.
Broken Jewellery = Decorative Magnets
Finally, a use for the broken earrings and brooches hidden in the depths of your dresser drawers.
Grab some wire cutters and remove any pins or fasteners at the back of the piece to create a flat surface, then glue a magnet on. Easy.
Your friends and family will love these quirky little magnets, and your dresser drawer will thank you for it.
Unused Scrabble Tiles = Beverage Coasters
Scrabble is so 2009. Now that you can play scrabble on your phone, that dusty board game is wasting space in your house. Give it new life by turning the tiles into funky beverage coasters.
Whether you spell out naughty words for a friend or coffee-related words for your caffeine-addicted grandma, these (kind of) homemade coasters add a fun touch to any coffee table. All you need is glue and thin corkboard. And maybe some wine, just for fun.
Old Book = Secret Hiding Place
Now your nieces and nephews can keep their secret love letters and collection of dead bugs (or whatever kids like these days) hidden from prying eyes.
Take an old book and map out your secret compartment with a ruler and pencil. Leave the first few pages out to keep the compartment concealed. Brush glue on the outside of the other pages and push the book firmly to make sure the pages stick together. Use a box cutter to cut out your secret compartment.
Then use the box cutter to open a big box of chocolates for yourself. You’ve earned it, Martha.
Old Watch = Photo Bracelet
You’ll score major brownie points with this one. Take that broken old watch and remove its insides. Replace them with a sentimental photo to create a special photo bracelet. Reap the rewards of being the most thoughtful gift-giver in all the land.
Forget expensive jewellery or meaningless cash. Give new life to unused stuff around your house and DIY your presents. You might like your creations so much you decide to keep them for yourself. Your rellies will get gift cards instead, and they’ll be happy about it.
Prefer to hold on to your excess bits and bobs? Hey, that’s quite alright. Find out why it’s OK to love your clutter right here.