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24 Useful Ways to Reuse Milk Cartons

We drink a lot of milk around here.

Between the teens 5 cups a day, the girls’ breakfast, and the hubby’s mixing bowl sized cereal servings, it’s all I can do to keep the fridge stocked. We empty 3-5 gallon milk jugs every week.

I buy milk bottled in recycled containers. We recycle our own empty containers. But, there has to be even more we can do with that many milk jugs.

I just don’t do a lot of random crafting, so I didn’t want to keep the milk cartons around on the off chance that I would use them with the girls. However, I’ve been finding a lot of simple solutions that use milk cartons — storage, organization, and more.

Here are 24 smart ways to reuse a milk carton of all shapes and sizes:

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  • Toss Game 1 of 24
    Toss Game
    I've bought several inexpensive toss games for the backyard. They all end up broken before school starts. This year, I'm saving my money and using materials we already have at home!
    Photo and tutorial via Creative Connections for Kids
  • Craft Storage 2 of 24
    Craft Storage
    Store craft materials, leftover fabric, and kids' art supplies in milk cartons. Thread the handles through a mounted pole or shower curtain rod for easy access in a craft room, office or classroom.
    Photo and tutorial via Sew Many Ways
  • Plastic Scoop 3 of 24
    Plastic Scoop
    Anything you use in the garden gets dirty quickly. I just hate to buy brand new tools only to have them filthy immediately. The solution? An upcycled milk jug scoop.
    Photo and more green garden ideas via Absolute Bodo
  • Igloo 4 of 24
    Igloo
    My girls can spend hours creating and playing in forts built with blankets. If I can bring myself to store so many milk cartons, they'll have an absolute blast making an igloo.
    Photo and tutorial via Apartment Therapy
  • Bunting 5 of 24
    Bunting
    Create a translucent bunting with cutouts from milk cartons. With this project, it won't even matter if containers are identical.
    Photo and tutorial via Remade Simple
  • Flowers 6 of 24
    Flowers
    Okay, so this one isn't super useful, but the flowers are super fun yard decorations that can entertain the kids for awhile.
    Photo and tutorial via Family Fun
  • Planters 7 of 24
    Planters
    Use milk jugs as plant starters or add linens to half gallon jugs to display plants indoors.
    Photo and tutorial via Family Chic
  • Cars & Trucks 8 of 24
    Cars & Trucks
    I couldn't resist including a few kid craft projects, but I love this one because the vehicles have real, working wheels!
    Photo and tutorial via Origami Mommy
  • Gift Basket 9 of 24
    Gift Basket
    Create a gift basket or tote with scissors, ribbon, and an empty milk carton. Use it as an Easter basket, goody bag or treat basket.
    Photo and tutorial via Crafty Corner
  • Candles 10 of 24
    Candles
    Make your own milk carton candles with this simple project. It uses a taper candle instead of wicking for a craft even children can complete.
    Photo and tutorial via Baby Center
  • Drawer Organizers 11 of 24
    Drawer Organizers
    This is one project I'm doing right away. The girls' drawers are a hot mess, and this is an easy, inexpensive way to divide their clothes.
    Photo and tutorial via 4 Eighteen
  • Wreath 12 of 24
    Wreath
    I'm amazed at the materials people use to make wreaths! This one uses pieces of milk containers for a translucent wreath that glows beautifully with holiday lights.
    Photo and more wreath ideas at Alpha Mom
  • Bird Feeder 13 of 24
    Bird Feeder
    Feed the birds with this upcycled birdhouse craft. I love the natural design in a simple project to attract our feathered friends.
    Photo and tutorial via Mother Nature Network
  • Storage Containers 14 of 24
    Storage Containers
    Ah, storage solutions! I can just never get enough. These boxes can be used to hold any number of things — or even act as an inexpensive gift box.
    Photo and tutorial via Sherbet Blossom
  • Flower Pots 15 of 24
    Flower Pots
    These flower pots are a little more whimsical than the linen wrapped containers. They'll make a fun project for kids and use up fabric or felt scraps along with empty milk jugs.
    Photo and tutorial via Kaboose
  • Piggy Bank 16 of 24
    Piggy Bank
    This project was originally created with a pancake batter bottle, but the design will hold up with milk jugs, too. I'm giving this project to my little one later in the week — she's in need of a new bank.
    Photo and tutorial via Jean's Crafty Corner
  • Greenhouse Heat 17 of 24
    Greenhouse Heat
    Mind. Blown. The idea that a milk jug filled with water can help retain greenhouse temperatures just amazes me.
    Read more at Alberta Home Gardening
  • Desk Organization 18 of 24
    Desk Organization
    Use a variety of cartons to store desk supplies. Milk, buttermilk, cream — the different sizes and shapes will add interest and give you several storage options.
    Photo and tutorial via Michael's
  • Toy Scoop 19 of 24
    Toy Scoop
    Create a scoop for small toys out of a milk jug. The kids can scoop legos, cars, and other tiny items, then just set the jug on a shelf for the next play.
    Photo and tutorial via Family Fun
  • Vintage Blocks 20 of 24
    Vintage Blocks
    These building blocks were create out of cardboard milk containers. You could use your own images to create alphabet blocks or holiday decor, as well.
    Photo and tutorial via Vintage Image Crafts
  • Paint Cups 21 of 24
    Paint Cups
    What a brilliant way to contain a paint mess. Just use the bottoms of several containers to hold a different color of paint.
    Photo and tutorial via Play Based Learning
  • Lego Decor 22 of 24
    Lego Decor
    Use a cardboard milk carton and several milk caps to create these giant Legos.. It's a perfect decoration for a kids' room or birthday party.
    Photo and tutorial via Top Party Ideas
  • Watering Jug 23 of 24
    Watering Jug
    Finally! A watering "can" that doesn't leak. Pin holes into the top of a milk cap, fill the container, and water your household plants without mess.
    Photo and tutorial via A Journey to a Dream
  • Stormtrooper Helmet 24 of 24
    Stormtrooper Helmet
    I saved the best for last! It's been awhile since I've outed my geekiness, so I should admit this Stormtrooper costume is the project that sparked this entire post.
    Photo and tutorial via Filth Wizardry

Follow Heather on Twitter, Pinterest, and her blogs.

More money saving ideas from Heather on Inexpensively.com:
6 Ways to Reuse Popcorn Tins
The Future of Fuel Efficiency

More on Babble.com:
Organizingg Your Car for a Road Trip
12 Simple Solutions for Everyday Problems

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