Don't Toss Those Cardboard Tubes! 10 Ways to Reuse Them

By: Madison Palmer  | 

sowing seeds
You can sow your early seeds using recycled toilet roll tubes in the garden. Veronique Stone/Shutterstock

You might not know it, but you have tons of products in your home that have more than one use, like spent coffee grounds and tea bags, plastic grocery bags and even aluminum foil.

Something else you can reuse? Those cardboard tubes that hold your paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap and wrapping paper — they, too, have multiple functions. So instead of tossing those in the trash or recycling bin, check out these 10 simple ideas for ways to reuse them in your household.

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1. Sow Seeds

No need to purchase biodegradable pots for seedlings when you have cardboard toilet paper holders. Flatten out the bottom of the tubes, turn them over, fill them with potting soil and add the seeds. Once the seeds are ready, you can plant the entire tube — doused in water first — in your garden.

2. Entertain Your Cats

Cats are known to love a cardboard box more than the pricy cat bed the box was delivered in. So it makes sense your feline friends would also be attracted to empty toilet paper rolls. Ironic, really, since they don't even use toilet paper — or toilets.

cat in tube
We know cats love sitting in cardboard boxes, so it just makes sense they love sitting cardboard tubes, too.
Yuri Tuchkov/Shutterstock

3. Store Your Documents

Important paperwork really should have sturdy storage. Simply roll it up in a cardboard tube to keep it safe — and hidden, if necessary. This is also a great way to save and organize children's artwork. If you have more than one child, keep track of each by writing their names on the outside of the tubes.

4. Start a Fire

If you're always looking for good kindling, keep a bag of your cardboard rolls handy to toss in the fireplace. Once you have your wood and newspaper in place, you can fill a cardboard tube with lint — or something with a similar consistency — and light one end to bring on the flames.

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5. Tame Your Cords

Organize those pesky hair tools, phone-charging and computer cords by wrapping them into a cardboard tube. Then seal them with colorful tape. This works with cords both in use or ones you need to organize and save.

cords in cardboard tube
Toilet paper and paper towel tubes are ideal for wrangling those messy computer and cable cords.
Luis Diaz Devesa/Getty Images

6. Stash Your Knifes

Have a few sharp pieces of cutlery that don't fit into the knife block? Use a cardboard tube to safely stow them in a drawer and eliminate the danger of reaching for a jagged edge.

7. Organize Your Drawers

Not everyone has the budget for custom storage solutions. Ta-da! A simple paper towel tube is the perfect holder for items like pens and rulers. Trim down the rolls and tape one end together for keeping small items like binder clips and staples.

6. Create Cool Party Favors

Need some simple and non-expensive décor ideas for a children's birthday party? There is no limit to what you can fashion out of some cardboard and a few crafting supplies. Better yet, get the kids involved and you'll have a creative party idea for take-home gifts.

kid crafts
The kids will have a blast making crafts out of empty toilet paper rolls and construction paper.
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

9. Tame Your Grocery Bags

Those plastic grocery bags aren't always accepted in your neighborhood curbside recycling, but you can always reuse them. Keep them tidy in a paper towel tube. This will put them easily at your fingertips to reuse in myriad ways, and you no longer have to lasso one out of 20 on that upper pantry shelf.

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10. Hold Up Your Boots

You know how those cold-weather boots slump over in your closet during the warmer months when you're not wearing them? If you insert a cardboard tube into each one, you can ensure they remain upright and crease-free all year long.

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