Recycle Old Kitchen Cabinets in Basement or Garage (It IS Easy Being Green)

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OK, so it’s time to renovate the kitchen. What’s the first thing to go? Those crappy, old cabinets. You’re sick of looking at them – they’re outdated – they make you want to barf – burn the cabinets you say!

Well that might be one solution, but not a very green one, eh? Recycle your old kitchen cabinets in a space such as the basement, garage or workshop and you’ll be glad you did. (By the way, old drawers make great organizers too, especially for loose, small items.) They don’t have to look pretty; they just have to be functional. (Hell, if they were good looking, they’d still be in the kitchen right?) And…they’ll probably look as least at least as good as the typical, metal utility cabinets or shelving which a lot of us end up using.

If your basement (or garage or workshop or whatever) is at all similar to mine, it looks like a cyclone just ripped through.  ANYTHING would be an improvement. Hang or stack your old kitchen cabinets and organize all the peripheral “stuff” that never seems to have a home: gardening tools, seasonal wear, holiday decorations, paint cans…what the #)%^ is this thing?…I’d better save it…that’s good wood…blah, blah, blah…whatever crap you trip and curse over every day.

All that junk is up and off the floor and more importantly, out of sight. You can actually pretend it’s not even there, (if you’re so inclined to complete delusion.) Yeah, the old kitchen cabinets may be cruddy formica or pseudo-wood panel, but it’s not like you’ll be hosting your next soiree in your work shop. (Or will you? That’s a different dilemma altogether…one that I can’t help with.)

Even if you can’t find a use for your unwanted cabinets, don’t just toss ’em at the dump. (Holy #$^*, there’s enough unbelievable stuff in there already.) SOMEONE will have a need, so recycle, recycle, recycle! Donate the old cabinets, sell them at a garage sale, list them on Craigslist’s “free” section, or just set them out at the curb – they will be snapped up. (I once set out a box containing a mirror that was literally broken into 20 pieces. Before I could blink, a woman screeched to a stop and asked if she could take it. She wanted to use it for making mosaics – who woulda’ thunk it?!)

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About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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4 thoughts on “Recycle Old Kitchen Cabinets in Basement or Garage (It IS Easy Being Green)”

  1. Reusing cabinets in the garage is a great opportunity to give them a themed face lift. For instance, doors can easily be covered with some diamond plate and the rest of the cabinet painted a gun metal grey for an industrial look. Shoot a coat of bright Ferrari red with a gloss clearcoat for that car enthusiast look. Camo paint is a good way to hide physical flaws and will match all your hunting gear. Don’t be afraid to cut or fabricate your stock cabinets so they’ll be more suitable to fit garage gear.

  2. I think many people don’t realize how easy it can be to recycle. Repurposing cabinets is a great example. The garage is a prime spot but don’t overlook giving the laundry room, basement, or mudroom a little makeover using old cabinets. If the style doesn’t match you could always paint them – most of the time creativity is the key to living a green lifestyle.

  3. Our house had (and still has) a few of the original 50’s cabinets in the basement. I wish they were still upstairs, they are much better looking and quality compared to the 70’s knotty pine the kitchen has now.


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