House & Home

10 Clever Uses For Expired Credit Cards

Posted December 12, 2012 6:05 a.m. EST

I recently upgraded to a "grown-up" wallet, and as I was cleaning out the old one, I was struck by the amount of plastic I'd acquired. Old credit cards, an expired driver's license, my sisters expired driver's license that she gave me as a "fakie" before I turned 21 (um, I am approaching 32 now), empty gift cards, and store cards for places that no longer exist (hello, Blockbuster!). So obviously, this purging was many years overdue and I can't believe I'm admitting all this on the Internet.

But! It got me thinking about all those cards. I didn't want to just throw them away, and they're not recyclable. What was a green-minded gal to do?

Get crafty! Apparently there are all sorts of fun things you can create out of old cards. Here are my top ten picks:

1. If you have a lot like I did, you can cut them up into pieces and then use them to make a mosaic. OK, so its not the same as having a San Diego tile contractor come retile my bathroom, but it is an opportunity to make something pretty. Glue them to a piece of canvas, using the different colors to create an abstract image or pretty pattern. Or, you can glue the pieces around a picture frame, mirror frame, etc. You can Google around for inspiration – there are some incredible creations out there!

2. This (meaning the link that follows) is a super funny tutorial on how to use a credit card to replace the missing battery cover on your remote. Why do those pieces always go missing?!

3. You can cut up cards and use the pieces to replace the lost collar stays in you or your partner's dress shirts (the collar stay is the small piece of plastic that slips inside the collar tips to keep them from bending).

4. Make guitar picks! Maybe my favorite idea on the list. You can buy a pick punch or just use scissors.

5. Your credit cards all say your name, so cut that part out and use it to label your belongings. Glue your name to your iPod, your Moleskine, or use it to make a name necklace. Are you a remodeling contractor who carries a cooler to work? Glue one on your cooler to keep your lunch untouched.

6. A credit card can be used to keep cords from tangling at the back of your desk. Just cut a notch in the card, one for each cord, and then cut out a circle at the end of each notch. Now you can slip the cords in and they'll stay, side by side, without flipping and flopping all over the place. Each card will hold 3-4 cords.

7. This tutorial (meaning the link that follows) shows you how to turn old credit cards into ear bud holders. Brilliant!

8. It's easy to make a bookmark out of an old card. Just cut a large "v" into the face of the card, so that it can slip over pages ("v" on top, the rest of the card underneath). Or, you know, just use the card itself (though it might fall out).

9. Google "credit crunch bracelet". It's adorable, and easy to make.

10. The stiff plastic of cards is perfectly suited for marking your seedlings in the garden. Just cut the card into strips, paint them white (optional), and use a sharpie to write on each one. Use one label in each starter pot, or at the end of each garden row.

Any other clever ideas for old cards? Let us know!

Sayward Rebhal writes for

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