Repurposing Junk for the Garden

While it’s too late for spring cleaning, it is always a good time to clean out the accumulated junk in your attic or basement. And while you’re at it, why not make money on the side? Garage sales are too common and won’t fetch you a good sum. However, you can—and should—transform your old wares into something new and interesting.

Let’s assume that none of the junk is antique. Many of them are actually reusable as—drumroll—garden ornaments. And depending on how well you execute them, you can sell them at a good price to a landscaper knowing the competition for unique gardens heightened during the lockdowns. But even if you can’t sell, at least you will be able to improve your garden.

Here’s a rundown of what you would usually dig up in your attics, and some suggestions as to what you can do with them.

Shoes.

You might still have those shoes from when you kicked your first goal or the pair you wore to your prom. You hadn’t wanted to give these away back then for sentimental reasons, but you eventually forgot about them. And finally, they are unearthed after a decade in limbo.

Well, if they are still in good condition, there might be individuals who need them more. Otherwise, they would make great planters. Depending on the make and condition of your shoes, you might need to punch in holes at the sole so the water could drain. But other than that, it’s really not too much work to put in soil and add the plant. If you have lots of shoes, you can even hang them later on a wall.

Old Clothes.

Again, if they are still good and you know someone who might need them, please prioritize them. But if it happens to be the gown you wore and tore in someone’s forgettable wedding or a costume you wore to a Christmas play when you were eight years old, then they’d make perfect pots.

This one needs a bit more effort than your shoe planters. For this small DIY, you will need cement, and a wide-mouthed cylinder or anything you could mold your pot on. First, cut your cloths into circles, squares, or rectangles so that the drape won’t be too asymmetrical. Next, mix the cement with water. Simply dip the cloth in the cement mix—make sure it is fully coated—and then drape on the cylinder or molding vessel. Leave it to dry, and that’s it. You have your pot. Don’t forget to wear gloves, though, to protect your hands.

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Broken Drawers.

It would be easy to dump soil inside the drawers and add the plants. So here’s a little challenge. Turn it into a mini waterfall.

First, you have to waterproof your drawers. Otherwise, the water would destroy it in no time. Go have an expert coat it with polyester resin. If you know how to do it by yourself, but if you will be experimenting, don’t. It can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin. For the easier cycle of water, place the drawers inside a shallow base that would be the final catchment for the water. Add lilies, water plants, and other ornaments to camouflage it.

And now you’re ready to attach the water system. If you plan to have this feature for a longer time, make sure you take care of it properly with additional protective and cleaning features.

Bottles.

Bottles have so much potential. There are several ways to arrange your flowers in them. But you can again challenge yourself to repurpose them in another way—a chandelier for your patio.

Gather some three or four bottles. You may choose similar-looking bottles or a varied bunch. It depends on how you would want your chandelier to look like. Cut them in half. There are tools for this, or you could have it done by a glass cutter to avoid the hassle or mistakes. Then, buy the hardware for your lights and have them installed by an electrician. It’s not entirely DIY, but if you can do everything by yourself without risking losing your fingers or getting electrocuted, then consider this as just a design suggestion.

There will be other stuff in your attic that you could upcycle: old books, broken chairs, broken umbrellas, etc. Like what they do to stimulate coral reefs—they sink large objects for corrals to grow on—you can also use practically anything to support or hold your plants. And keep in mind, not only will you have a pretty garden, but you will also be helping the earth.

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