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Clear your cupboards and turn dusty unused items into new treasures

I use the cold months to edit my cupboards and clear the clutter. (I am inspired by all the tag sales in my neighbourhood every weekend.) 

Aside from donating a fair share of goods to my local second-hand shop, I try to concoct new uses for old stuff. Here are 10 super-easy ways to give everyday items new purpose. In most cases, all you need is a few minutes, scissors, tape and glue. 

Vases: Have a cylinder glass vase left over from a flower arrangement someone sent you? Instead of letting it collect dust in a cupboard, why not turn it into a picture frame? Not only is it pleasing to look at, but you can also hide stuff behind the picture – like your TV remote controls. First cut a band of coloured paper the same height as the vase. Centre a photo on the piece of paper and affix it with double-sided tape. Bend the paper to fit inside the vase. 

Empty tins: Transform old tins by covering them in Japanese washi tape. Similar in texture to masking tape, washi tape is more durable and comes in many stylish patterns. 

Maps: Rather than sitting unused in a drawer or glove compartment, you can turn maps into placemats. Choose maps of where you live, favourite destinations or somewhere you are about to go and visit. Cut them to size and laminate to reuse, or use once and throw away. 

Gift wrap and wallpaper: Create instant art by framing wallpaper samples or scraps of your favourite patterned wrapping paper. Or take any “paper” collection and turn it into art. I recently framed a client’s collection of potato bags. 

Toothbrush holders: These make an ideal vase because they have holes that keep the flowers in place. Fill with water, place the lid on top and add flowers. Make sure you cut the flower stems short enough so the vase doesn’t topple over. 

Collect old corks and use them to hold name cards at your next dinner party. Picture: Supplied

Wine corks: Save the corks from finished bottles of wine. The next time you have a dinner party, make a slit on one side and insert a place card in each cork. 

Leftover tiles: Don’t discard unused tiles from your bathroom renovation. Instead attach adhesive felt tabs to the bottom corners of the tiles. Stack them and use as coasters. 

Saucers: Put a pretty orphan tea saucer to use in your bathroom as a soap dish. 

Casserole dishes: If you’ve broken the top to a covered casserole dish (like I have), use the bottom as a vase for fresh flowers or as a pot for plants or orchids. If using it as a planter, make sure you create a drainage layer by adding stones or pebbles to the bottom of the pot, under the soil. 

Old-fashioned toast racks: Store mail in the slots of a toast rack. When it is full, pay bills, respond to invites and shred or toss anything else. – Mayhew, a Today show style expert and former magazine editor is the author of Flip! for Decorating

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