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Proper Green: 5 Kitchen Items to Reuse in Your Closet

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Cheese graters serve a purpose in closets, too. Here are five kitchen items you can give a second life as you clean out your closet.

Dear Proper Green,

I recently received some new kitchen items as gifts for my birthday. How do I dispose of my old kitchen utensils? Or, is there a way to reuse them elsewhere in the house?

-Emily, Wescosville, PA

Dear Emily,

You’d be surprised how many uses your kitchen supplies have elsewhere in your house! Seeing as it’s the turn of the season and many of us are preparing to trade in our sleeveless tees for our turtle-neck sweaters, I thought it was appropriate to provide some ideas on how to reuse your kitchen utensils when reorganizing your closet or dresser. Here are five tips for just that:
  1. Cheese Grater as Earring Hooks: Using an old cheese grater, whether it’s a box or flat, is an easy way to organize your earrings. A box grater is good for earrings with dangling backs, while a flat grater is good for both dangling backs and studs. A box cheese grater is also beneficial because most will have different size holes allowing for storage of different sized earrings. You can use the grater in original form or spice it up by painting it.
  2. Tea Cups and Saucers as Jewelry Organizers: Have some extra tea cups and saucers you don’t use any more? Place them on a counter or shelf as a place to put bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Bracelets and earrings can be put in the tea cup itself. I’d suggest lying necklaces on the rim of the cup so part of the necklace sits in the cup while the other part hangs on the outside — this keeps your necklaces from getting tangled, and you won’t have to worry about struggling with knots in your beautiful necklaces!
  3. Utensils as Coat/Sweatshirt Hooks: This concept may take a little more work. Using metal utensils (specifically spoons, and maybe even forks), drill the handle into your closet door, or onto a board that can then hang on your closet door. Then, mold the ladle or tong part of the utensil upwards to make it hook. Some metals are easier to mold than others, so if you are working with particularly difficult metal, you may need to heat them first.
  4. Trays as Shoe-Debris Catchers: Set plastic trays on the floor of your closet as location for dirty shoes. Snow boots, gardening shoes or rain boots can leave snow, mulch, dirt and other debris on your floors. Putting them on a tray to catch the debris will save you time cleaning more floor space than you need to!
  5. Wine Bottles as Boot Props: Sick of all your boots folding over, making your closet look messy while also ruining the shoes themselves? Put used wine bottles in the barrel of the boots to maintain the straight shape — thereby also keeping them out of the way of other shoes.

Did these ideas work for you? Do you have other ways you’ve use kitchen utensils to organize? Let us know!
About Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and the environment are still evolving) to providing easy ways to make your every day more sustainable, Proper Green aims to help smooth the way with answers to questions that are important to you!

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to Please note: Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

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Proper Green
Proper Green
Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and th... more
  • Rachael T. 4 years ago
    Great ideas! I never thought to use wine bottles for boot holders. Now that's just plain clever! :)
  • Nina B. 4 years ago
    If you make candles (or want to learn how), you can use teacups as the vessel for the candle! I've seen some really cute ones. I want to learn how to make candles...after I finish the 87 craft projects that I already have on my list :P
  • Kerry K. 5 years ago
    I broke the handle of a cup and my husband glued it back together. I did not want to use it for drinking anymore so it is a great pen and pencil holder.
  • glo m. 7 years ago
    good ideas
  • Lauren F. 7 years ago
    I have teacups and saucers filled with potpourri around the house
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