The Last Thing to Do with an Old Refrigerator Before You Recycle It

published May 6, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
A small kitchen with a microwave on refrigerator.

As much as I would love for kitchen appliances to stand the test of time, as with anything, wear and tear does eventually reach a point of no return. And while there are appropriate methods of discarding your old products safely (so they don’t end up in a landfill), like appliance pickups or even donating them for a tax write-off, you’ll want to check with your local municipal protocols to see what options are available near you. However, if you’re not ready to part with your favorite kitchen items just yet, there are plenty of smart ways to upcycle or reuse your favorite gadgets around your home. 

Upcycling can take a boost of creativity and a pinch of DIY to give an old item a new life — but it’s so worth it when you create less waste, and find a totally new use for what could’ve just been trash. If you’re wondering where to start, these TikTokers have you covered.

1. Upcycle a refrigerator into storage.

If you have an old refrigerator that doesn’t work anymore, or you’re ready for an upgrade, look no further than TikToker @thefurrminator for inspiration. The creator placed an old refrigerator horizontally and set it on a wooden platform outside of his home, using it to store garden supplies and chicken feed. Rather than splurging on an all-new storage bin, the old refrigerator offers great protection and insulation.

2. Upcycle a food processor into a crafting staple.

TikToker @roycycled stumbled upon an old Cuisinart food processor at a local thrift shop and decided to use it for their craft studio. Perfect for concocting papier-mâché or other shredded art supplies, the creator couldn’t have been more excited about the find, calling it “just what I needed!”

3. Upcycle old pots into planters.

Everyone has an old pot or two on hand — but you don’t have to throw them away, or let them go untouched in storage. TikToker @redeux_style turns her pots into planters for DIY centerpieces. Sometimes she paints the pots to fit a certain aesthetic she’s going for, but other times the natural finish works perfectly. She also uses skinny baking pans for orchids!

4. Upcycle plastic produce containers into craft storage.

If you’re a big fruit eater, particularly berries, the plastic containers from the grocery store likely pile up in your kitchen. Instead of tossing them in the recycling bin, TikToker @itsnicolejaques opted to get creative. She decided to use a longer vessel to store art supplies like colored pencils and scissors to bring for her children to use on the go, and used taller ones to store electrical cords. According to the post, there are tons of ways to reuse plastic berry containers — use them to house puzzle pieces, pack a sandwich for a picnic without the bread getting crushed, or bring them along if you’re going to pick your own berries.

5. Upcycle glass jars into candles.

There are so many ways to upcycle glass jars, according to TikToker @problemsolved, such as using them to make your own candle (perfect for gifts), growing herbs and plants, or refilling bulk goods at your local sustainable store like nuts, oats, or even toiletries like toothpaste capsules. However, if removing the label is daunting, the creator shared our same winning method for getting the sticky residue off: Just soak the jars for about 20 minutes in a mixture of dish soap, white vinegar, and hot water. Once the label comes off, you should be able to easily scrub off the adhesive for a smooth finish.

6. Upcycle a hand mixer into a stand mixer.

If you’re looking to invest in a stand mixer, but don’t want to write off your hand mixer just yet, TikToker @enerji88 decided to create her own. She starts by turning an empty plastic bin on its side and placing an empty bowl on the base. Then, she attaches the hand mixer with a strap to the top for a makeshift stand mixer. This way, you can allow your concoction to combine without having to hold the gadget, which is especially helpful if you’ve got a lot to blend.

Do you have any brilliant tricks for upcycling old kitchen items? Let us know in the comments below!