Chances are, especially if you have kids, that you have at least some old sporting equipment cluttering up your garage or kids’ rooms. As great as new equipment is, you need to do something with the old stuff. There are a few ways to get rid of that stuff without consigning it to the dump. You could sell it to a place like Play It Again Sports or you could have a yard sale. You could also donate it to charities like Goodwill or to your local youth sports league. However, if you don’t want to go with any of those options (or if the stuff is not worth selling or donating), there are still a number of alternative uses for your old equipment that are well worth considering. The following are some repurpose options that may give your old sports equipment a new life as something other than it was originally intended.
Old baseball/softball bats can be used for self-defense in the event of an intruder in your home. You can also use one to break a window, either in your home or car, should you find yourself trapped in a fire or in a car filling with water. It could, in a pinch, serve as a cane. These uses can also apply to old field hockey sticks, golf clubs, or hockey sticks.
Old tennis balls can be cut and placed on chair legs or walkers so that they slide more freely across the floor. They also make great dog toys, trailer hitch covers, and can help childproof pointy objects. You can also hang one from the roof of the garage to help you position your car.
Old volleyball knee pads make household chores like scrubbing tubs or floors where you have to be on your knees much easier. You can also use them for improvement projects like installing new floors or you can take them into the garden.
You can use an old racket as a rug beater or convert a pair of rackets into snowshoes. Cut out the strings and replace them with a sheet of plastic/wood and you have a large bug swatter. You can also remove the strings and replace them with mesh or a screen to make a pool/pond skimmer or strainer. Replace the strings with a fine net and you can give the kids a butterfly catcher.
Basketballs, soccer balls, or volleyballs. Balls that won’t hold a lot of air anymore make good pet toys. Larger dogs will have no trouble gripping an under inflated ball. Cut them in half and you have interesting planters or bird baths. They also make silly hats for Halloween or other parties.
If you have a lot of balls, you can use them to help with drainage in the bottoms of flower pots or in gardens instead of stones. In a pinch, a golf ball can be used as a drain plug. You can also gently roll your foot over one for a cheap massage.
Since clubs are nothing more than long metal rods, you can use them for a variety of things. You can use them as stakes or fence posts in the garden. You can make towel bars out of them. They make strong but lightweight walking sticks. They’re also very useful for fishing things out from under furniture or pulling items down from high shelves.
Since many roll and most at least have strong shoulder straps, these make great caddies for everything you need to move around your house and yard, from tools to gardening supplies to cleaning supplies. Kids can also use them to drag their toys from outside to inside.
Use an old frisbee under a potted plant to catch water overflow. They make good birdbaths as long as they aren’t cracked. If they are cracked and won’t hold water, they’ll probably still hold bird seed to become a feeder. When thoroughly washed, they make good plates and serving dishes, especially for kids’ parties or camping were breakage is likely.
Of course, you’re only limited by your creativity and DIY skills. I’ve seen people make table legs from old baseball bats, hall trees and furniture from hockey sticks, and art from old balls. I’ve even seen a purse made from an old football. Almost any old equipment can be turned into some sort of art project, decor, or repurposed into something else, as long as you have the imagination to visualize what it might become. So before you chuck it into the landfill, see if you can find some other use for it.
(Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan)