Home Salvage Items

Ideas for recyling salvage items for your home.

I am fortunate enough to have a small salvage yard behind my home. I take a walk at least once a week to see what other's have discarded that I can make into wonderful items for my home. While not everyone has this opportunity, if you frequent yard sales, flea markets or auctions be on the look out for unwanted items that can be remade into something useful. Here are just a few examples of what I have done with "Someone else's junk".

Discarded buckets, wash tubs and other metal containers make great container gardening bases. Just because they have holes in them does not mean that they are not useful anymore. This will just save you the steps of having to drill drainage holes in your project.

I found a wonderful old wood stove that someone had discarded because it was cracked, so it could not be used to heat with anymore. It was a little rusted from sitting outside, so using a wire brush I scraped off the loose rust. I purchased some inexpensive black metal paint and spray painted my stove. I now have it sitting in my kitchen with various antiques sitting on top of it and a ivy plant sitting inside the open door.

I am an avid wooden box and crate collector. These can be grouped together to make shelving and storage units. Or even hung on the wall. So what if a board is missing here or there, that just makes them more interesting. Another thing that I have done with wooden boxes is, set two of them side by side, then topped this with a heavy piece of glass, that used to be a door of a discarded entertainment center. Voila, instant coffee table!

Also old drawers with unusual storage compartments can be very interesting. Printers boxes can be very expensive, but are findable. But also look for other drawers with various nooks and crannies. These can be hung on the wall, and look cute holding miniatures.

Just because antique stoneware bowls are cracked, they are not useless. I have mine stacked together on top of my kitchen cupboards, can't see any cracks in them at all. They also look nice filled with potpourri, rag balls or other small items. I even have a 20 gallon crock with a hole in the bottom, that does not mean that it cannot be used as a waste basket, just get the smaller trash bags to line the crock.

An old doll buggy, on which the wicker is broken can have a new life by replacing the wicker with a hooded basket. These look similar and have the same shape as the original wicker. My doll collection could care less what they ride in!

The same goes for an old toddler bed frame. The headboard and footboard were intact, but the rails bent and broken. I made new shorter rails from wood and attached them to the good pieces, with screws. Then I made a small mattress from foam, a little dust ruffle, small pillows and miniature quilt. My dolls now have a place to sleep.

Old and mismatched silverware can be turned into a cute kitchen windchime. Mine is made from four spoons which have been flattened, drill a small hole in the handle. Flatten an old fork, and bend the tines up in the shape of an X, again drill a hole in the handle. I mounted all of this using a heavy fishing line to an old eggbeater that was missing several parts. Attach the fork first in the center, by running the fishing line through the hole that you have drilled. Attach the spoons around the fork, making sure that the bent tines of the fork will hit the spoons when a breeze hits them. I have this hanging in one of my kitchen windows, and it makes a lovely noise when the wind blows.

My husband loves to collect old iron tools. They are generally too rusted to be used anymore, but with a slight swish of a wire brush and a little spray paint, they have a new life being grouped together on a wall.

I found an old "cow waterer" the other day. These are the watering stations hanging in a barn between the cow's stanchions that the cows drink out of. I attached one of these to a beam on my deck and filled it with bird seed. I now have a new bird feeder.

Antique sewing machines are very popular also, but it is difficult and expensive to find one that is intact. But the legs will always last longer than the cabinet. So reuse the legs to make a new table! Just top with a piece of wood that has been cut to fit and finished. These make a great small table for placing other wonderful finds.

Glass bottles are easy to find also. Just because they are not very old, does not mean they cannot be used in a grouping. Anything with an unusual color or shape will look beautiful in a sunny window with the sunlight shining through. (An easy way to clean your glass bottles, take a denture cleaning tablet and drop it in the bottle, add water and let them soak. If needed after soaking use a bottle brush.)

I found an interesting looking old rusted iron headboard. We happened to be putting in a new garden at the time, that is on a bank next to our home. We had used old foundation stone to make steps in the bank, I added this headboard next to the steps to use as a railing and also planted a climbing vine on it. It looks great and I have gotten many compliments on my recycling abilities.

This is an idea that I have heard about, and am still waiting to try. Using an old door, stand it upright, now make or purchase a shelf that is the width of your door and attach about halfway up. You will also need to attach two legs on the front of the shelf, this will make the unit balance so it will be free standing. Hang a "country type" wreath to your door and you now have a cute place to set car keys or mail in your foyer. I also thought that this would look great if you can find a door that had a window in it, replace the window with a mirror. You now have a place to check your appearance before you head out of the house.

Old wooden paned windows are all the rage right now. They can be used for a multitude of things. Picture frames (for photos or stitcheries) , a coffee table (by adding legs) or a mirror (by replacing the glass with mirror). They also can be decorated with dried flowers and used as a base to a wall hanging.

Pieces of gray weathered board can be remade into wonderful signs by using a stencil and a little paint. Drill a hole on each end of your sign, add wire and you have a sign that people are paying big bucks for at craft shows.

I hope this will give you an idea of things to be on the look out for when shopping or taking a walk in your favorite salvage yard. Use your imagination and give old objects a new life!

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