I don’t know about you, but I seem to be so much more sentimental about my belts (and shoes) than I am about other items of clothing. Perhaps it’s because they get worn much more frequently, and thus accumulate a lot more associated memories. Whatever the reason, I’m almost always able to remain reasonable when it’s time to part ways with a tee shirt or dress. Less so with a good pair of jeans, but I get there. An old favorite belt though? I just have a hard time letting go, even when it’s well past wearable.
Which is exactly why I went hunting for inspiration: ideas of how I could keep my old belts, and use them too. And I found some pretty spectacular ones! Thank you, Internet, for aiding and abetting my inner nostalgic hoarder. I love you.
And now, may I present . . .
1. Turn it into a headband! If your favorite belt has broken in two, never fear. It may be salvageable if you just rework it for wearing at a more northern latitude – namely, your noggin. Check out this great tutorial if you don’t believe me. It’s surprisingly adorable. All you need is some scissors and a short length. A little creativity helps too!
2. Use a wide belt to display a photo, by cutting it into four sections that fit together like a picture frame. Or, gather up your biggest and bestest belt buckles and create a collection of amazing miniature frames. Spray painting the buckles to match as a set – think black, gold, or lime green – will really enhance the effect.
3. Use a weather worn belt to add flair around the house. The right type will look amazing for hanging a wall clock (cradling it, like a sling), or encircling a decorative basket, or embellishing an ordinary storage box.
4. Bring it on a camping trip, along with some storage hooks (s-hooks), and you’ve got yourself an instant kitchen rack. Simply strap the belt around a sturdy tree, then hang the hooks from the belt, and hang your kitchen equipment from the hooks. Go MacGyver!
5. If it’s the buckle that you’re attached to, you can use it to mend (or embellish) another article of clothing. Choose a buckle that matches with the garment and blends right in, or opt for a bold buckle that brings it’s own personality to the piece.
6. One of the easiest ways to reuse your belt is as a jewelry display. This works especially well for pins and brooches (on a cloth belt) or for earrings (on a double-punched belt).
7. It’s not just fantasy from the movies – a leather strap can actually sharpen a knife! And a leather belt stands in splendidly. Start by rubbing rouge oxide into the backside of the belt. Stroke the knife blade along this side of the belt, flipping it over to get each side of the knife. Then, repeat this motion on the top side (smooth side) of the belt. Keep your sharpening belt stashed in your kitchen, near the chopping block.
8. If you feel like getting a little bit artsy, and have a few belts that are beautiful enough to display, you can use them as cabinet door pulls. Simply cut a short length and affix a loop to the front of each cabinet, for a gorgeous modern rustic look.
9. If you find yourself stuck in the middle of a plumbing project and you don’t have the right tool for the job, a belt may just be able to save you . . . if the item you need just happens to be a strap wrench. Really!
10. And perhaps my very favorite, because it’s just so cool looking. You can use your entire worn-out-belt collection to transform an old chair into quirky perfection, by removing the old seat and using the belts to weave a new one. Just fasten the belts to the bottom of the chair and work a simple weave across the seat. It’s so easy and the visual effect is quite striking.
Have you done something cool with an old belt you couldn’t bear to give up? Let us know in the comments!
Sayward Rebhal writes about remodeling in Portland, decor and green living.