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Annoyed with JUNK MAIL? Get creative!

Updated on February 26, 2015
The unstoppable pouring in of junk mail.
The unstoppable pouring in of junk mail. | Source

10 Simple Uses to Recycling Junk Mail at Home

There is too much of junk mail coming at our doorsteps and mailboxes nowadays. What do you do with all these unwanted mail? Do you sort them out and retain what is useful like promotional coupons on fastfood and groceries? Do you immediately get rid of them and say, "To recycle you go."? With time in your hands, would you select the bright, attractive ones to use for craft projects?

On the "common-standing postboxes" like the Canada Post mailboxes in my neighbourhood, some residents would leave their flyers and junk mail laying on top of the postboxes and not take them into their homes. These could easily be disposed in a recycle bin than having the wind blow them away littering the neighbourhood grounds. It is just plain common sense to accept junk mail as our own garbage.

If you are passionate about DIY crafts, here are a few ideas that you can incorporate junk mail into homemade craft transformation. The world is going green so does creative ideas.

1. Flower Power Décor - Create flowers out of coloured flyers and magazines and use a crepe streamer to cover the wire stem; also you may use the streamers as solid petal colours combined with the printed junk papers. The wire stem will keep it flexible. Set nicely in a tall, large glass vase on your patio protecting it away from natural elements. Add paper butterflies.
2. Personalized It - Handmade envelopes became popular amongst my friends way back in school years, cutting patterns out from glossy coloured prints of catalogs, newspaper pages and old magazines. They were cute and useful. Your friends will love to keep your special unique, thoughtful ways.

A good envelope for greeting cards.
A good envelope for greeting cards. | Source
Samples of reused window envelopes crafted with glossy newspaper ads and articles.
Samples of reused window envelopes crafted with glossy newspaper ads and articles. | Source

3. Master Coaster - Make your own glass/cup coasters using colourful waste paper or cards from junk mail. If you prefer simplicity, it is much attractive too by using simple black and white newsprint. You can make cut-out letters and favourite colours to turn into personalized coasters for each member of the family. Or find words and form them into "Message Coasters" like- "How's my cooking?", "A crumb is dumb.", "Glad you joined us.", "Drink. Don't wink.", "Worry about calories later.", "Food for thought. What are you thinking?"...and many more. Shape them into square or round pattern, glue neatly, and then apply thick coating of varnish or adhesive lamination to protect it. There are plain cork coasters that you can buy from dollar stores or craft stores and make them from scratch.

4. Placemat Matters - Create sturdy placemats out of them, same trick as #3. Use it as creative pieces for your coffee table and tea time with friends, or to match your coasters. Make photocopies out from your collage if you prefer a monotone appeal.

5. Spare Change - I just made a "coin-change bottle" as a birthday present for my daughter who will be turning 22 to put all her extra and loose change in it. Hopefully, if she makes this a habit, she will not be pestering me for some change whenever she needs it. She will be 22 and I want her to learn how to look after her bus fairs. "Mom, do you have $3 for the bus?" she would occasionally ask.

I also have a medium rounder jar for my dog where I drop in extra small bills to save up for his costly necessities. Our dogs are extra special and my, their things are more expensive than ours. My dog is richer than anyone of us in the household. We borrow money from him and making sure we return it back in his jar.

A coin bottle to save spare change.
A coin bottle to save spare change. | Source

6. Waste Not - Glue or wrap around an existing/not-so-attractive waste bin; spray varnish. Create picture ads and news patterned garbage cans for your kids' rooms or as a storage basket for their magazines.

7. Hot Box - Turn junk mail into colourful art patterns for a cardboard treasure box. Use sturdy & wide or small shoe boxes, or any craft boxes from craft stores. This will make a great gift idea with your gift inside for your small children and teens where they can reuse the box as a school supply box, storage for trinkets, memorable and sentimental treasure box or for safe keeping of photographs. Your teen will probably take it to school for her locker.

8. Illustrative Jars - Use coloured cut-out images as symbols to label recycled jars in your cupboard. We always have the "extras" in our cupboard from open packages and moving them into recycled jars would keep them fresh and a longer shelf life. Examples: pictures of different pasta for your pasta storage jars, pictures of spices to mark your recycled jars for extra spices, sugar, tea bags, etc. It creates a neat and attractive organization in your cupboard.

9. Tricky Sticky - Junk mail makes attractive fridge magnets. Cut them in geometric magnet shapes by reusing those old fridge magnets that you have collected from promotional give-aways. Those magnets that you think are no longer updated, don't toss them away, but make creative and lively magnets with your junk mail. Perhaps cutting and gluing onto the magnet your favourite chicken wings and pizza delivery phone numbers with their logos. Probably a magnet that says "To Do" a reminder that would secure your shopping list or kid's snack reminder hanging on your fridge. Another is keeping information of the "hours of operation" of your favourite grocery, pharmacy, liquor and beer stores. You can trim them out from their flyers and glue them onto magnets. Helpful tip: Never post your recent lottery tickets on your fridge.

10. Kinder Organizer - Use clear symbolic pictures to mark and help your toddlers to identify what is to be kept into their toy compartments/bins or to label their clothing drawers. Reward your little kids with stickers sticking them onto a bulletin board to give encouragement into maintaining good helpful habits with organizing. Start teaching your little ones about organizing in their own little playroom and bedrooms using helpful identifications to guide them through. In the end, you will be one happy and proud mom.

≈ ♥ ≈ © coffeegginmyrice

Reuse junk mail labels of your name and address

Aside from crafts out of junk mail, I cut out my address from the envelopes and junk letters and keep them in a small compartment in my desk drawer. It is also useful to label some stuff that needs labelling with both your name and address already pre-printed for you, or just trim out your name. I learnt about this practical idea from my ma who sends me mail from the Philippines reusing my addressed envelopes to her, cut them out and paste them on her mailing envelopes back to me. It just does not save her time from writing it, but my address is not plastered in her memory. Instead of looking through her address book, she just grabs a cut-out mail address from her drawer and glues it on. There you go, smart and easy!

She also gathers mail addresses from family members who are now living abroad, some from relatives and friends by trimming them out from their mail to her, then pasting them on her address book. That's totally a convenient way to update an address book.

With these cut-out addresses with my name on it, it will serve and save time for me to write them out fully when mailing Christmas cards or for other mail. I would just glue them into position. Thanks, ma!

I keep pretty sturdy envelopes neatly by opening my mail without ripping. The used envelopes come handy in useful cases like filing pockets and sending out a not-so-important mail, rather saves money than using a fine new envelope. And again, the cut-out home address contributes to it.

When to use "used mail envelopes" as filing pockets inside a box or your drawer to avoid clutter:

  • for receipts that you don't dispose right away
  • for storing stamps, stickers, labels, tags
  • for keeping jot down old notes that you might look again one day
  • for grouping your paper bills by month, marking 12 envelopes for each month
  • for saving little scrap papers (coloured cut-outs of card or paper materials)
  • for keeping cut-out old greeting card messages to reuse for homemade occasional cards

≈ ♥ ≈ coffeegginmyrice

Other usage of newsprint

Retain a few newsprint for cleaning purposes. A newspaper really makes a mirror, car windshield and windows or a glass table squeaky clean. If you just got caught by pouring rain, of course your shoes are soaking wet. To dry them quickly and absorb the smell, use a newspaper, rub some baking soda, round it into a ball and insert it inside the shoes. Let sit until shoes are totally dried. And perhaps your dog wants to read the papers after you.

≈ ♥ ≈

My dog, Simba is interested with the news.  :)
My dog, Simba is interested with the news. :) | Source

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    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Super useful hub...love the envelope idea! Voted up!

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow. There sure was a lot of useful information for re-using junk mail and printed materials. I save the envelopes that people send me and use them for the weekly grocery list. The list goes on the outside and the coupons on the inside. That way there is less chance of losing the coupons and I get to re-use the envelopes instead of just throwing them out. up + .

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you, HawaiiHeart!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      That is true. I like the reusing of the envelope to write down your grocery list and the coupons inside. What a smart thing to do! I put my coupons in my wallet and they end up getting expired for I forget to pull them out when I do my groceries. I will heed to your idea. Thanks for dropping by, Angelo52!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      Great ideas, I'm proud you wrote this hub in answer to my question on creative ways to use junk mail!

      Sometimes I've used it in bed flowers to block weeds from growing, a layer of junk mail, and a layer of mulch on top.

      Your ideas are great. Thanks.

    • Nomascus concolor profile image

      Nomascus concolor 5 years ago from A Country called Earth

      I love the envolopes you made! Lots of brilliant ideas in this hub - I am proud to be your "fan"!

      I keep newspaper to light up the chimney fire... but might think twice before burning some of the pages now!

      ps: Say hi to Simba from me :)

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Robie, I actually was putting my answers in the answer box to your question but then, I couldn't make my answers short, so here I made a hub out of your question instead. Thank you for your interesting topic because around the same time, I finished the surprise jar for my daughter's birthday which is today; and also it reminded me that I have lots of advertisement cards and flyers that that I had collected. Since I am a graphic artist by profession, I like selecting the good ads from junk mail.

      I will share your idea with my partner since he has a garden. Thanks too! Cheers!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Nomascus, I told my dog, Simba that you said "Hi", hahaha!

      That's right, you might also find interesting small articles from the newspapers before lighting them for your chimney fire. My ma likes to collect jokes of all kinds from the local papers. She would cut them, gather, staple together and mail them to me. I had planned to make a JOKE Scrapbook (ma's suggestion) out of all those she's been sending including the ones that I have collected here from the Canadian newspapers because of her. She's told me that it will serve as a good way to keep your visitors entertained while you are catching up in the kitchen. Just like how we use to pull out the photo albums to them. A joke book will give them lots to chuckle about. But honestly, I have not constructed one yet. Together with the "Quotes of the Day", "Love Letters" from a Valentine's issue, "Short Stories", "Funny Cartoons", etc. They are just sleeping in a file folder.

      Thank you Nomascus concolor! Cheers!

    • profile image

      Hanri jons 5 years ago from Bangladesh

      I like the reusing of the envelope to write down your grocery list and the coupons inside.more learn visit this sits http://www.todaydetails.com/?p=3047

    • SMD2012 profile image

      Sally Hayes 5 years ago

      Cool ideas! I get so much glossy junk mail and it just ends up in the recycling in. I love the idea of reusing window envelopes and jazzing them up. Shared, beautiful and useful! Cheers, Sarah

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you, Sarah! Enjoy what you can do with your glossy junk mail. Endless junkiebilities! Cheers!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Hanri! Thanks for sharing!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Awesome job with this hub! There are so many fun ways to recycle junk mail. I love that you included so many photos.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Good day, randomcreative! I'm happy that you dropped by. You are absolutely right..."there are so many fun ways to recycle junk mail". The ideas don't just stop until there from many creative minds. It is fun to think, and much more fun if we could actually craft it out. If not, at least we share what has been blinking and blinking inside our heads. Cheers and happy crafting!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Great ideas. The envelopes look really cool. Do you have a pattern for them?

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Deb! Thank you for dropping by. I like the fancy newspaper or magazine print envelopes too. There are two ways to craft them out:

      1) You may evenly apply some "clear" glue or paste over a junk mail envelope and neatly press with a roller using a plain blank sheet over it. I use a glue stick since it does not make creasing marks. Thinly spread on the glue with a glue spreader so you can keep your fingers off the stickiness that could ruin your envelope.

      2) You may open up all the flaps of a few different sized junk mail envelopes and use them as patterns. To keep them sturdier, glue it on a thin bristol board or any used cardboard, then cut to shape. For the window-envelopes, open up all flaps gently and carefully or using steam, and cut a pattern of your colourful junk mail to its exact size. Spare one envelope and remove the "plastic window" and make a cardboard pattern out from the "open" rectangular shape, not from the plastic (the plastic is a bit larger than the hole).

      Before pasting your print pattern onto the envelope, trim with a sharp blade cutter the section for the window. Some envelopes have their existing "reverse-side" pattern designs, you may keep it as is and glue over neatly along the edges.

      Hope this helps. Thank you and have fun! :)

    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

      Wonderful tips! You have shared som great ideas to recycle. I found the envelopes to be a cool and fun craft project. Voted up and sharing!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi SanneL! Thank you very much! Take care.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I have seen necklaces made from junk mail and old magazines. Their really cute. Enjoyed reading your lots of good information. Voted Up.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi moonlake! Thank you for the feedback and votes. There are many out there who are very creative using junk mail. It is just awesome to find what junk mail can turn into. Love to recycle. Cheers to you!

    • profile image

      whowas 4 years ago

      Hi coffeegginmyrice,

      Thanks for that great hub. I used to hate the junk mail until my daughter turned up one day with an idea to recycle it.

      She cuts it into equal width strips about an inch across and then uses these strips, folded over for extra strength and fixed with a little glue stick, to weave multi-colored sheets that she shapes into baskets, little gift boxes, purses and so on. A great idea.

      Thanks for all your fabulous suggestions. I'll be sharing this with her - she'll be inspired!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hello there whowas! My, you've got a creative daughter who takes recycling seriously. That is really good.

      Thank you for your visit and shared thoughts. Have a great day!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      You are so "eco-friendly" a hubber! Lol! This is fantastic. In our house, newspapers and other fliers come handy specially this summer. We use them as fly and bug splatter. Lol! :( Kidding aside, voted useful on this one.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hahahah! That is sooo true, Cris! And this morning, I did chase a big fly buzzing in the kitchen to leave my food alone using a rolled-up newspaper! Thanks! :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Great hub. l have a bookshelf but I have to say, it has become more of a haven for attracting these junk papers than it has for holding books. So yesterday I attempted to clean off the book shelf. I ended up getting rid of a lot of junk paper and recycling. Maybe I should have read this first!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      What a great hub! Loved these ideas!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Barbergirl, (I typed in Barbiegirl first and looked again) thank you for your visit. Junk mail really builds up fast too including the junk flyers in between our newspapers delivered to our doorstep. It is still better to get rid with most of them and save only the attractive ones that can be useful with creativity. Cheers!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Audrey, I'm happy to see you. Thanks a lot and have a nice day!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These are great ideas! I'll have to give some of them a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you savingkathy! There's just a solution we can all use, turning trash into creativity.

    • profile image

      Barbrella 3 years ago

      I would like a craft to use the envelopes supplies by my creditors to send back my payment. I pay on line so these envs. are a waste. Yes, I usually recycle but would like a craft idea for some ladies in a church group

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