What do I do with my Old Flatware?

Sheri Cyprus

When you have a flatware set that you no longer need or want, there are several different things you can do with it. You could donate it to an organization that helps needy people. You may want to keep it for cutlery to use outdoors on a deck, at a summer cottage or for taking camping. Still another use for an old flatware set is to use it for crafts.


For example, a rectangular scrap of wood can be turned into hooks for hanging clothing or jewelry by using three or four forks from an old flatware set. The tines are curved with pliers around screws placed in the board, while each fork handle is bent upward to create a hook. The finished board can then be hung on a wall or the back of a door. Pretty necklaces and bracelets or light clothing such as scarves tend to work well stored on the hooks.

Old flatware can be used to sculpt modeling clay.
Old flatware can be used to sculpt modeling clay.

Old knives and spoons can be hung lengthwise with clear fishing line as part of a homemade wind chime to hang outdoors. When a gust of wind hits, the knives or spoons clanking together can make a pleasing metallic sound. Old flatware can also be used as craft tools such as for stirring paint and cutting or pressing modeling clay.

As long as the utensils still work for use on food, an old or mismatched flatware set is ideal for taking on camping trips or picnics. The set can be kept with other outdoor gear so it's ready to go. By using old or mismatched flatware, if a piece or two ends up getting lost or scratched it's not going to be a big annoyance. Also, washing and reusing old flatware for outdoor eating rather than buying plastic disposable cutlery is much more environmentally friendly.

Mismatched flatware used in a summer cottage can actually be more stylish than having a matched set. A table set with mismatched forks, knives and spoons looks informal. With the addition of a vase of wildflowers for a centerpiece as well as rustic, colorful placemats, mismatched eating utensils can add a quaint tone to a cottage table. If you have an outdoor kitchen cart or drawers, keeping old flatware there can be much more convenient for eating outside than having to bring your daily eating utensils back and forth from the kitchen.

If you really don't have any use for old or mismatched flatware, you may want to donate it. Some community groups help mentally or physically disabled people become more independent by supporting them in independent living situations. In independent living, the people being helped often have a small apartment. They often need to live on a low budget — especially if they have only a small government supplement and/or a minimum wage job.

Pliers can be used to turn old flatware into functional hooks.
Pliers can be used to turn old flatware into functional hooks.

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