The Best Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Tips from 14 DIY Experts
Here at Ransom Spares, being kind to the environment is important to us. Every year, 800,000 tonnes of appliance waste, such as washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves, are thrown away – that’s the same weight as 16 Titanics.
Add to this the number of other household items we throw out each year, from plastic bottles to old furniture, and the amount of waste starts to become mind-boggling, and worrying.
We want to promote a 'make & mend' culture, instead of this 'throwaway society’. From old garden furniture to sticky drawers, there’s almost always a way to repair, reuse or upcycle a household item, rather than throw it away.
To inspire you, we’ve asked 14 of the most influential DIY and eco-living experts to provide us with some of their top tips – plus, we’ve come up with some of our own (because we’re nice like that!).
From sticky drawers to loose cupboard doors, repairing your furniture is often simple with a bit of know-how.
Refinishing plastic laminate counter tops – by Danny Lipford, who hosts the television show Today’s Homeowner
“Over the last few years several companies have developed some very impressive products for refinishing plastic laminate countertops that can make a significant difference in the look of a kitchen or bath. Instead of getting rid of laminate, a great way to upgrade is to utilise a refinishing kit (under $100/£70). The finishes we like the most are from Giani (gianigranite.com) and Rustoleum (rustoleum.com).“
(National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. You can learn more about Danny and his home improvement brand at todayshomeowner.com)
How to repair sticky doors in seconds – by Lindsay from Makely Home
“There’s an easy way to fix sticky drawers. Take a cheap tea light out of its metal lining and rub it onto the bottom of the drawer, where it comes into contact with the dresser frame. If you don’t have any tea lights or old candles, paraffin wax (if you are a canner) or a bar of soap (if you bathe) will also serve the same purpose… Then, rub the candle on the dresser frame, making sure to lightly coat each surface that touches the dresser drawer. Within seconds, your dresser will be sliding freely with no hint of the irritating sticking.”
How to easily fix loose cupboard doors – by Rachelle from Earth Friendly Momma
“Cupboard doors quite often come loose, especially under high use. This is caused by the hinge screws moving ever so slightly and pulling out of their holes…There is a very simple way to fix these holes though. Grab some tooth picks, about four or five, depending on the size of the hole, and use wood glue to stick them together. Place them in the hole, covered in the glue, and cut them off at the surface. Once it’s dry and firmly in place, you can simply fasten the screw back in and find your doors once again secured”.
Got a tired old chair? Or some garden furniture that’s seen better days? Re-upholstery or a lick of paint can work wonders, giving the item a whole new lease of life.
Spray painting tired garden furniture – by Sherry from Young House Love
“It's amazing what a few cans of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint did for our old metal outdoor furniture. In one afternoon they went from "rusty old mess" to "dude, they look new!"(see the results by clicking the link above)
The key to avoiding a splotchy spray paint job – by Kate from Centsational Girl
“The best way to get rid of a splotchy surface that results along long flat surfaces from spray paint is to coat it with (a) protective brush-on formula with a cheapo sponge brush…these can…be applied to fully cured, oil based, completely dry, spray painted surfaces.”
The best way to prepare furniture for repainting – by Jessica from Décor Adventures
“(If you’re preparing wood furniture for repainting) Proper preparation will make the whole project a success. First remove any hardware. Then, carefully look over your piece and fill any cracks or dents with wood putty”
(read more at Pretty Handy Girl)
How to avoid getting into a pickle when painting stairs – by Sarah from Ugly Duckling House
“Painting your stairs is a great way to give them a makeover. The painting-yourself-into-a-corner equivalent with stairs is to paint all of them at once; you're either trapped above them or below them until they're dry!
“To avoid hours of dry time and not being able to use your stairs, paint every OTHER step and let dry. Then do the other set. This way, you can still go up and down them as needed, but get the job done.”
You’d be surprised what uses you can find for the rubbish you throw in the kitchen bin or garden skip.
Tips for working with pallet wood – by Karah from The Space Between
“I find that patience truly is a virtue when it comes to working with pallets. There are so many great project ideas out there using pallet wood, but you have to know how to choose the right pallets. How many nails are holding the slats together, how the pallet has been treated and what the pallet has been used for are all important considerations before you attempt any project. Taking the time to make sure you're selecting the right pallets for your projects will make the project that much more fun!” (Find some great pallet projects, here)
A clever use for old water bottles – by Lynn from Green Divas
“Plastic bottles can be placed on (the end of) hangers for hanging knitwear”
Having a ‘make and mend’ mentality is all about seeing things in a different light – a little creativity (or know how) is often all it takes to envisage how you could give a household item a new lease of life.
Here’s some expert inspiration for making the most of what you already have.
A little paint and elbow grease can work wonders – by Katie from Upcycled Treasures
“My tip would be that if you have something in your home that no longer fits your needs or taste, don't be afraid to change it. A little bit of paint and elbow grease can go a long way. Don't get rid of it, re-imagine it!”
Always look at what you already have – by Antonia from Tidy Away Today
“My tip would be to simply look at what you already have at home before buying new (for example, furniture such as a bedside table) and try something different like a bold pop of paint colour and a quirky new drawer knob to transform it. Be adventurous!”
Try and think of a new use for items - by Cher-Ann from Designs by Studio C
“Before getting rid of anything or throwing it away, I always try to find a new use for it. 90% of the time, I can use it in another project!”
Fixing your appliances is easier than you think – Lee from Ransom Spares
“Problems with kitchen appliances are usually simple and quick to fix. For example, if your oven isn’t heating up properly, it could just be the oven element needs replacing. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to fix yourself – follow my tutorial video. Give it a go.”
Find a home for everything with clever organisation – by Anna Ryder Richardson
"De clutter, good for the soul and nothing wasted, there's always a home for everything!"
The message is simple – don’t throw it away, repair, reuse or recycle it. By envisaging the way you can give your household items a new lease of life, you can save yourself money and help the environment too.
Stop your appliances from adding to the 800 tonnes of appliance waste each year by visiting the Ransom Spares advice centre, for more expert repair tips.
Category: Articles, News & Tips