I’m obsessed with finding clever ways to repurpose what I may have, at one time, considered trash. I’d like to flatter myself and pretend my recent obsession with turning the ugly and useless into something pretty and functional is solely rooted in a deep desire to save the planet and eliminate waste, but honestly, it’s mostly about saving a buck (sorry, Captain Planet). Minimizing the amount of junk I contribute to the landfill is just a great ego-boosting bonus.

We done good so far. Our chicken coop was made using materials we salvaged from the old one in the move, and I saved up my wine bottles over the past few months to create a garden border, but there is still so much to do and not a lot of money to do it with.

Fortunately, I have picked up some recent gems online that I’m 90 percent sure I can emulate.

Stumbling across this hanging shoe rack-turned-vegetable garden on Instructables set my heart in a tizzy. For starters, it’s amazingly cute and I can picture it hanging it from the side of our lackluster metal shed. The space gets ample sun and could undoubtedly benefit from the addition of some gorgeous greenery. Secondly, I have one of these bad boys just sitting in a bag in my closet! The new casa has sliding closet doors that don’t do well with hanging intrusions (like this shoe rack), but I couldn’t bring myself to toss a perfectly well-functioning storage device. Now that I’ve discovered this precious number, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a funky new yard piece I can show off to friends whether they want to see it or not.

I feel likewise about this pallet herb garden from Apartment Therapy. Our fridge was delivered on a similar pallet that we kept because, you know, free wood, but haven’t found a use for yet. Finding this pretty much solved that problem.

Since visiting the Habitat for Humanity ReStore a month ago, we knew we wanted to incorporate old windows into the garden somehow. At $5 a pop, how could we not?  Using them in a green house capacity was always in the cards but this design was quite inspiring, and I feel falls well within the skill level of Handyman Heath. With freezing temps still very much in our future, getting one of these up and running may happen sooner rather than later.

We have an unofficial wine bottle theme happening in the yard now, so this torch idea from Design Sponge is practically inevitable.  The only hiccup is waiting for the privacy fence to go up before something like this could be installed. That probably won’t happen until spring, but the bright side is it gives me time to collect more bottles (aka drink lots and lots of wine).

Since moving, we’ve acquired about a dozen paint cans that are nearly empty but not quite. I’ve been saving them with the idea that I might need to touch up a wall or two over time, but seeing this creative use of old paint cans on Best Green Home Tips makes me want to attack them right away and use them to spice up a drab section of fence. The only problem is, I’m not sure how advisable it is to dump paint down the drain. Something tells me The Lorax wouldn’t be too happy about that one.

I found this side table made from old shutters on Good Housekeeping. Writing that sentence makes me a little scared of my own domesticity (Stepford much?), but come on, that’s cute.

Wine bottles, paint cans, shoe racks…nothing is off limits. I don’t know that I will make a habit of rummaging through my neighbors’ garbage for salvageable material, but it’s nice to know that when it comes to creating art from junk, virtually anything is possible.