You've probably tossed hundreds of paper towel tubes in the trash during your lifetime. But did you know that old paper towel tubes can help you get organized, provide you and your family with hours of entertainment, and save you money? So stop throwing them away -- there are many ways to recycle and reuse old paper towel tubes.
Let's start with organization. We all get plastic bags from the grocery store on occasion and most of us save and reuse them. However, it can be frustrating if you don't have anywhere to store your plastic bags. An old paper towel tube happens to be the perfect plastic grocery bag holder [source: Alvarez-Lundie]. You can stuff a number of bags inside the cardboard tube and save yourself a lot of cupboard space.
You can also use old paper towel tubes to organize your cords [source: Trapani]. Somewhere in your house, you probably have a cabinet or drawer full of unused cable, telephone or other types of cords that are all tangled together. Old paper towel tubes can help you take care of that mess. Simply roll up the cord, squeeze it together and insert it into the tube. This is also a great way to store Christmas lights at the end of the holiday season.
Old paper towel tubes can be used as tree guards as well [source: Make-Stuff]. Using scissors make a cut down the length of the tube and then wrap it around small, young trees in the yard to protect them from your weed whacker. The tube won't be a permanent fixture; you'll want to replace it frequently.
If you're more interested in crafting with your paper towel tube, there are plenty of options. Try making your own napkin rings. Simply cut the tube to make a set of four smaller tubes and decorate them. Finish by applying a spray varnish to protect your creations.
Here's a craft you might like to try with your kids. You'll need a paper towel tube, some packing tape, toothpicks, glue and rice. First, seal one of the tube's openings with tape. Then poke the toothpicks through the tube at different angles and glue the exit and entry points. Then cut off the parts of the toothpicks that are sticking out of tube. Put some rice in the tube and seal the other end with tape. Now you have a functional rain stick that's ready for decorating [source: Make-Stuff].
Who knew paper towel tubes could be so useful? For even more ideas and information, be sure to check out the links on the next page.