Upcycling—it’s not just for your hipster neighbor anymore. These days (with a little creativity), everything from plastic bottles to corks and even suitcases are becoming better-than-before. Read on for 10 reasons why you should be giving your old stuff a repurpose.

1. You’ll be able to explain the “junk” in the garage.
“Oh that? No, it’s not an old rusty wagon without wheels or a bottom; it’s an upcycling project in progress.” Basically, your hoarding habit just went way up on the coolness scale.

garage_lilszeto_flickr_upcycling_nationalphoto: Lilszeto via flickr

2. It’ll keep you out of the art supply store.
If your kid goes through art supplies like she’s on fire, using materials you might otherwise throw out helps keep costs down (think: corks as stamps, toothbrushes as paintbrushes and TP rolls for just about anything).

corkpainting_jessicawilson_flickr_upcycle_nationalphoto: Jessica Wilson via flickr

3. Those tiny concert tees bought pre-kid take on a whole new meaning.
Don’t give up on your tiny tees. Make them into an uber-cool tote, instead. You’ll be the hippest mom at the farmers market.

greenproducebag_deliaowens_DIYmothersday_motherdays_national_redtricyclephoto: Delia Owens via Delia Creates

4. Kermit would approve.
It’s not easy being green. Do you ever wonder how much recycling actually gets… recycled? Repurpose stuff headed for the bin and you won’t have to hope it ends up in the right place.

Grocery Storephoto: Sarah McClelland via Little Bins for Little Hands

5. It’s a great way to get rid of the plastic bags under the sink.
Maybe, one day you’ll remember to drop all those bags in the recycling container at the store. Or, you could just use them in an awesome upcycling project. Gorgeous mini planters, anyone?

plasticbags_upcycling_carolinapez_flickr_upcycling_nationalphoto: Carolina Pez via flickr

6. It forces kids to think outside of the box.
Give kiddos different and new materials; wait and see what happens. In a flash, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and old jeans might become a miniature city complete with roads and cars. There’s no end to the creativity!

upcyclingkids_NickNormal_flickr_upcycling_nationalphoto: Nick Normal via flickr

7. Empty wine bottles look nicer as candle votives.
Or a chandelier, or a vase, or even a bird feeder. There are tons of creative uses for those bottles (besides pouring a second glass), so drink up! Psst! Save the corks for reason #2.

photo: Toni Lucatorto via flickr

8. Your home will have history.
Whether you use old crib bumpers to make a quilt for your first born’s big girl bed, or if the dining room table was made from the scrap wood from your grandfather’s barn—it’s a story you’ll share for years.

upcycledtable_abbeyhendrickson_flickr_ypcycle_nationalphoto: Abbey Hendrickson via flickr

9. You’ll save major cash.
Need building blocks on the quick? Skip Target and try juice cartons filled with sand as an alternative. Want to give the play room an update? Make pillow cushions out of old pajamas. Upcycle, and save cash—plain and simple.

upcycledbuildingblocks_savecash_kenowen_flickr_upcycling_nationalphoto: Ken Owen via flickr

10. You’ll be the cool parent on trend.
You’ve giggled with other parents about your neighbor and his upcycled messenger back (gum wrappers, seriously?) but the movement is going mainstream—so why not lead the eco-friendly, playground pack?

playgroundupcycling_McBeth_flickr_upcycling_nationalphoto: McBeth via flickr

Do you upcycle? Share with us in a Comment below!

—Gabby Cullen