Think twice before tossing that cardboard paper towel roll in the trash; upcycle it nto one of these useful household items, instead.

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Paper towels are one of those items used frequently in households everywhere. However, after using all of the paper towels, what do you do with the cardboard tube? While your first instinct may be to toss that tube into the recycling bin, consider this: according to Jill Nystul from One Good Thing, it takes approximately 50 times more water to recycle cardboard than plastic. So, instead of tossing out that cardboard paper towel roll, repurpose it into one of these useful household items instead.

Repurposing Paper Towel Rolls For Home Organizing

Cardboard tubes can be very useful for organizing your household. For example, if you have a large collection of pens and pencils, you can cut a paper towel roll into tubes of varying lengths, place in a square or rectangular box, decorate with scrapbook paper or washi tape, and place your writing instruments in them to organize your desk area. You can also use a cardboard roll to store any extension cords or cables and prevent them from becoming a tangled mess – just wrap them up, slip the tube over the cord, and label! Nystul says these rolls are a great way to organize another household item you might have a growing collection of – plastic bags. If you stuff them into the tube one at a time, they’ll take up less space and be easier to grab when you need one. “You can do the same thing with a toilet paper roll to keep in the car, so that you’ll always have a plastic bag handy if you need a “trash can” while you’re driving!” Nystul suggests.

Decorating With Upcycled Paper Towel Rolls

Not only can paper towel rolls be used for organization, they can also be used for decoration around your home! It may require a little bit of time and effort, but you can create some decorative pieces – for pennies! One idea is to make a wreath using inch-wide circles of cardboard. You can paint them to coordinate with a certain holiday, or distort the shape (hearts for Valentine’s Day, for example). Glue a bunch of them together and hang with a ribbon on your door for a welcoming entry. Rachel from Keep Calm & DIY says you can even create beautiful décor for your home that looks like faux ironwork. Her tutorial here details how to use both toilet paper and paper towel cardboard rolls to create a framed work of art for your wall. When creating the art, Rachel says the fun comes with being creative and using your own imagination. “Whether you’re using a pattern or just coming up with a design on your own, there’s always room to experiment with new ideas,” she says.

Cardboard Tube Crafts

Practical reasons aside, paper towel rolls can be used for fun crafts for people of all ages. A timeless and easy craft that all children need to experience is the cardboard binoculars. Using either two toilet paper rolls or a paper towel roll cut in half, decorate and glue them together, and teach your children about the wonder that comes from viewing through homemade binoculars. Another fun one for kids is a homemade bird feeder, made by applying peanut butter and bird seed to a roll and hanging outside. Your kids will love watching birds come and snack from something they made! You can also manipulate rolls into different shapes and get kids to practice stamping in paints. A great craft for adults is using cardboard rolls to make pillow boxes. Karly Wood says these are great for storing little treasures in or for wrapping up gift cards in a cute way. “All you need are empty toilet paper rolls, a little craft paper and a glue stick,” Wood says. “You can tie it all together with some thread and you’ve got a cute little box to store whatever your heart desires.”

READ ALSO:  12 Genuinely Cool Household Hacks and Products

Whether you use your cardboard rolls for organization, decoration, or crafting, you can find many ways to repurpose them before they are tossed in the recycling bin… and know you are being more environmentally friendly while you do so!

Love to upcycle? Check out How to Creatively Use Coffee Filters in Your Home and The Best Ways to Reuse an Empty Tissue Box.

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