Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 21 Wonderful Ways to Reuse Old Cardboard Boxes

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Unless you are getting a package or need boxes to move your stuff, you probably don’t think about cardboard very often.

While it’s not the most interesting thing to think about, cardboard is so widely used that the average American household throws away 13,000 pieces per year. Approximately 80% of the products you used are packaged in cardboard. In America, cardboard and paper waste amounts to 1 billion destroyed trees every year.

While these facts are sobering, the good news is, you can reduce this waste and save trees by reusing old cardboard and repurposing it into some new and wonderful. Cardboard is perfect for reusing and repurposing because it is versatile and sturdy.

If you are wanting to reduce your impact on the environment and save trees, here are several ways you can reuse your old cardboard boxes.

  1. Sell Them to Be Reused by Someone Else

If you’ve been wondering what to do with old cardboard boxes, consider selling them to a retailer who buys and sells old cardboard boxes. This is a great way to recycle them for someone else to reuse and get paid for your trouble. If you have gently used Gaylord boxes, you can sell them to The Gaylord Box Exchange.

If you have a different brand of a cardboard box, there are many other retailers you can sell them to.

  1. Sequined Letter Garland

A great way to use an old cardboard box is to make the letter garland you see at a graduation, birthday, and any other type of party. You only need a few materials to make your word garland, and as a bonus, you can make it say whatever you want. Add sequins or glitter for a stand, out, and eye-catching design.

  1. Postcards

The stiffness of cardboard makes it perfect for making personalized postcards to send to loved ones. You’ll need to cut out the standard postcard size and shape and then get to work decorating it. This is a great craft for children and a great way to teach them the importance of reusing early on.

  1. Wall Mirror

Use an old corrugated cardboard box to make a decorative frame for a wall mirror. You can decorate this any way you like, and go as simple or as over-the-top as you feel in the moment. Make one mirror or make a set to hang in several rooms in your home.

  1. Lamp

Cardboard lamps are fun to make and interesting to look at. The stiffness of the cardboard makes lamp-making easy and fun, especially if you choose a geometric shape or another interesting element.

  1. Desk Organizer

Cardboard paper and cardboard boxes are ideal for making organizers for your desk. The typical desk is scattered with post-its, pens, paperclips, and all kinds of small office supplies that can get lost easily and create what seems to be never-ending clutter. Use a few cardboard boxes to make the organizer of your dreams.

A bare cardboard organizer will add a nice, rustic touch to your desk or you can make one that is perfectly decorated.

  1. Decorative Coasters

Old cardboard is the perfect material to use to make custom coasters for your home. All you need is coaster-size cutouts, glue, paint, paper, and more to make something that looks great on your table. You can even cut out a photo of something you love and glue it on top of the cardboard for a quick and easy themed coaster.

  1. Shoe Rack

If you have a collection of shoes, you know a shoe rack is essential and the perfect shoe rack can be hard to find. Why not make your own with a few cardboard boxes? You can design and create the perfect shoe storage system, one that is completely custom in its design and it’s decoration.

  1. Fabric Covered Storage Bin

With the right sized cardboard box, fabric, and something to secure the fabric to the box, you can make several fabric-covered storage bins that fit right into the decor of your home. These are great for storing small to medium items in beautiful boxes that stand out for the right reasons.

  1. Wall Art

There are all types of wall art you can make with cardboard boxes. You can cut out geometric shapes and make a statement piece, you can make shadowboxes, you can even make abstract art using pieces of all sizes, shapes, and colors. There is no limit to what you can do once you unleash your creativity.

  1. Headboard

A great DIY project is to make a headboard, and you can use strong and sturdy cardboard as your base. You just need a large piece of cardboard or several small pieces that fit together, your favorite fabric and some basic tools to make a show-stopping headboard for your bed.

  1. Drawer Dividers

A simple way to use cardboard is to repurpose strips of cardboard as drawer dividers. While you can cover the strips in fabric, paper, or other decorations, you can also use the bare cardboard to make the dividers. This is a simple, 10-minute craft that will help you get organized and spend less time looking for items you need to use.

  1. Weed Control

Did you know you can use old cardboard to control weeds in our yard?

Soak your cardboard so it lies flat, place it a few inches under the soil in a weedy area, and cover it with dirt. The wet cardboard smothers the weeds and feeds the soil with the broken down weeds and cardboard. This form of mulching, known as sheet mulching, also traps the moisture in the soil, helping you conserve water in the process.

  1. Pen and Pencil Caddy

Most people need a pen and pencil caddy for their desks at work or at home. Using old cardboard is perfect because it is sturdy and can take a lot of wear and tear. You can use a small cardboard container or make your own design.

  1. Christmas Decorations

Cardboard is the perfect material to use to make beautiful Christmas decorations. You can make Christmas tree ornaments, garland, wreaths, tree toppers, and more. You can even make and decorate cardboard Christmas trees, poinsettias, and nativity scenes. Cardboard is also great for present wrapping accessories like bows and other present toppers.

  1. Cord and Charger Organizer

Many of the electronics you use come with cords, chargers, and even extra cords and chargers. Keeping track of them all can get confusing, making it feel as if cords and chargers are slowly taking over your life. Using a simple cardboard box and cardboard cylinders (like toilet paper rolls) you can create a cord and charger organizer so you’ll always know what cord and charger go with each device or appliance.

  1. Storage Totes With Handles

Using cardboard for storage is a no-brainer but you can level-up your storage by creating belted storage totes. All you need is a couple of cardboard boxes, fabric, handles, and items to secure the fabric the cardboard. Cover the cardboard boxes, add a handle and you have a storage box that doubles as a tote.

  1. Fort for the Kids

Kids love playing with cardboard boxes so why not level up their playtime and create a cardboard fort?

By using several boxes of several sizes, you can design the perfect fort for your little ones. Make this a family crafting session by having your kids decorate the fort and create their ideal playhouse. A cardboard fort is great because you can fold it up and store it away after playtime is over.

  1. Knee Pads

Repurpose cardboard by creating knee pads for kneeling in the garden or doing other housework. This is an easy DIY because you can simply cut strips of cardboard, stack them to the desired length, and then use them whenever you need to kneel.

  1. Picture Frame

With a few cardboard cutouts, fabric, and a glue gun, you can turn an old cardboard box into the perfect picture frame. This is the perfect DIY craft for anyone who wants to frame a cherished photo or memento.

  1. All-Purpose Container

Probably the easiest and simplest way to reuse a cardboard box is to use it as an all-purpose container. No need to get fancy or decorative with this project, using the box as is will do the trick.

There Are Many Fun and Interesting Ways to Reuse Old Cardboard Boxes

Old cardboard has value and can be reused to make many new and useful items.

You can use cardboard to make toys and play furniture for your children, household items like clocks, organizers, caddies, and lanterns. You can also get creative and use cardboard to make party decorations and incredible wall art. Cardboard is so versatile, it can even be used for controlling weeds in your yard and as cases for your devices.

Whatever way you choose to reuse and repurpose old cardboard boxes, you will be helping the environment, stretching your creative muscle, and even saving money.

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