Keep an eye out for things your workplace might be getting rid of or recycling. They're likely to be of professional quality, and there's sure to be a lot of them. Glass carafes, plastic tubs, old shelving, empty jars: you know you could do something cool with those...

  • I used to live with a talented barista who worked at Ritual Coffee. At the time, they served French press coffee, and in a busy cafe it was inevitable that the glass Bodum carafes would be broken. Any with minor damage were brought home, and put to good use. Over the years I have used these to hold my kitchen utensils, my painting supplies, and now my markers, pens, & blades. I wish I had a hundred of them! Oh, and I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but I covered the chipped portions with thick black electrical tape, and have never hurt myself on them.
  • For years I worked at a beautiful candyshop, and one of our most beloved Dutch licorices came in square, stackable plastic tubs. I had access to hundreds of them, and use them for everything. The ones you see here hold my office supplies, note cards, glues, lightbulbs, and more, but I also have them under my kitchen sink (sponges, rags, solvents) and in my bathroom cabinet (first-aid, home remedies, nail polish & such). Though I scrubbed them well, there's still a faint hint of licorice, and though I like that scent, I don't use them for anything that I wouldn't want to smell like licorice!

What cast-offs from work have you saved from the trash and put to better use?

Images: Tess Wilson