I don't know how trash is handled in your area, but for me there is an extra fee to haul away large appliances. And, of course, every landfill is close to overflowing with our broken and used things. So, why not be creative and put your old washer, dryer, iron and ironing board to good use in its second life?
Creative Ways with Retired Washing Machines
An old, top loading washer is a treasure trove of parts.
So before you have it hauled away, disassemble the machine and look at each component with a creative eye. An added plus is if you have a child who is curious and mechanical, a great deal can be learned about how a washer works by taking one apart. My daddy was just such a child and would get in trouble for taking apart his mother's clock. But, he learned a great deal that benefited him throughout his life. He could fix anything (and sometimes had left over parts!).
Within the old top loader you'll find a metal, stainless steel drum, assorted switches and solenoid valves, a motor, a water pump, lots of wires, nuts, bolts, screws, brackets and at least three nice pieces of sheet metal. A front load washer offers many of the same treasures. Plus you get a nifty front door window that can become a porthole on a make-believe ship!
Here are some ideas on how to use those parts:
- Create a fire pit: Use the metal drum to create a patio or camping fire pit. The metal drum can be placed on firebricks or stones to lift it slightly. The fire stays well contained and holds enough wood and kindling to create a very warming fire. The holes in the drum create great airflow so the fire will ignite quickly and burn brightly. The drum is lightweight enough to move easily for emptying ashes and can be rinsed out for transport away from the camping site.
- Make a container garden: That same metal drum is perfect for a container garden. You can spray paint the drum and create the look that you want for your patio or yard. Since the drum is large, you can fill the bottom with vermiculite or packing peanuts to keep it light enough to lift and then add potting soil. Drainage holes are built-in so you can plant right away. Add a decorative trellis if you want to grow vines or plants that need some structure for support.
- Have a seat: Add a plywood top and bottom and create a very study ottoman for your living room. Pad the plywood with polyester batting and cover with upholstery fabric or leather. You can spray paint the drum for a modern, industrial look or cover the entire drum with fabric.
Recycle That Old Dryer
Broken clothes dryers can be taken apart just like a washer and the various parts recycled into something useful. The dryer drum should always be tested to determine if it is metal or plastic. Obviously a plastic drum cannot become a fire pit!
- Outside Toy Chest: Use a plastic dryer drum as a place to store outdoor toys, It can rinsed with a hose and the water will drain away keeping outside toys neat and clean.
Ironing Board Uses for Those Who Don't Iron
If you have an ironing board that is gathering dust because you never iron, put it to good use elsewhere in your house.
- Create an Art Piece: If you have an old metal ironing board, grab a can of spray paint and create a statement piece. The clean lines are perfect for a modern home and the sleek shape can fill in an empty space in a small room. Picture it in a fire-engine red holding books, as an entryway table or in the dining room to hold extra dishes or even a couple of buffet lamps.
- Movable Desk: If you need a desk for your laptop computer, pull out the ironing board. You can adjust it to the height you need for any chair or sofa - or even standing up. You'll have a flat work surface and room to spread out any papers or other supplies you need, including that cup of coffee.
- Craft or Kitchen Storage: Find an old metal ironing board with a grate/"pegboard" surface. Remove the legs and give it a coat of paint. Hang to use with craft hooks or s-hooks attached to the ironing board holes. You can store and display kitchen tools, ribbon, jewelry, accessories or even crafting tools.
- Folding Table: This is pretty obvious but sometimes we just don't think about it in a moment of need - use the ironing board as slim folding table when you need a little more flat work space. In the kitchen it can hold small appliances while you're cooking a big meal. It can become a bedside table if someone is confined to bed for a long time. Use it to hold tools and supplies when painting or doing repairs - it sure beats bending over to get something from the floor every time!
How to Recycle a Broken Iron
That old iron can become more than a paperweight! Here are some ways to use a broken iron. It is best to remove the cord first!
- Tape on some sandpaper to use when sanding a flat surface.
- Use the iron's bottom plate to spread glue or plaster or spackle over a large surface.
- Cover with fabric and use as a doorstop.
- Use to weight down flowers or leaves when drying.