What To Do With Old Calendars

January is finally here and that means out with the old and in with the new!  Wondering what to do with expired calendars as we move into the new year? From recycling calendars to places to donate them, here are a few ways to upcycle, recycle and reuse old calendars as we work on decluttering the house this month. 

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pile of old wall calendars with text overlay 'ways to repurpose old calendars'

Can you recycle old calendars?

So, first things first, are glossy calendars even recyclable?  Yes, however, only if the calendar paper is actually easy to tear.  Basically, the shine on the paper doesn’t make it impossible to recycle expired calendars. 

However, if there is an actual plastic coating on it, or the paper is much to thick, you will have to find ways to reuse them instead.  If you are really unsure, call your local trash hauler and ask if recycling calendars if allowed in your community. 

Where to donate old calendars if you aren’t crafty

If you don’t feel like reusing old calendars yourself, there are a few other places that might love to have them. 

Your best bet is to look for places that do crafts.  Consider preschools, elementary schools, or even local nursing homes.  Many of these organizations will cut out the pictures for use in an assortment of paper crafts.  Bring them your old magazines while you are there!

Female hand with with paper preparation for decoupage crafts

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Craft Ideas for Calendar Pictures

So, you decide you want to try your hand at a few calendar crafts.  What exactly should you do with them?

Grab your expired calendar and a sharp pair of scissors and here are a few things to make with them:

picture of cocker spaniel puppy in picture frame on grass

Frame old calendar pictures for your wall

Make a wall collage with pictures from last years calendar.  Head to your local craft store and find a few photo frames.  They don’t have to all match.  In fact, a hodge podge of frames will give your wall a unique look to it.

Just cut out the photos from the old calendars and from them.  Then, hang on the wall.  Whether you go with a travel theme or pretty garden photos all depends on what type of calendar you chose last  year!

Use expired calendars for origami

Turn your old calendar pages into a pretty homemade origami box with lid.  This is a great way to give a small gift to a friend without having to buy anything at all to wrap it in!  

Don’t feel like you are skilled enough for origami?  Just wrap your next gift directly in an old calendar picture.  Those expired calendars make pretty wrapping paper!


magnet on refrigerator door made from old photo of flip flops in the beach

Make your own refrigerator magnets

I am a huge fan of homemade magnets for the fridge.  Cut out the calendar pictures and put them into  Magnetic Photo Pocket Picture Frames.  This is great for babies learning their words for the first time.  Put them at eye level and use them as an educational picture dictionary for kids. 

Make a picture book for toddlers

Wondering what to do with old calendars instead of throwing them away? Babies LOVE looking at photos of all sorts of things. 

Make a three ring binder picture book with your expired calendar.  Just fill an old binder with clear sheet protectors and slide in the photos from your old calendar. 

Keep your new homemade picture book in the car for those times when you get stuck waiting in the carpool line or need some last minute entertainment for your fussy toddler. 

A closeup shot of colorful bookmarks with floral patterns made from old calendars

Make your own bookmarks

Turn  calendars into simple homemade bookmarks.  All you need is your expired calendar, a hole punch, some ribbon or yarn, and  a small thermal laminator

This would be a wonderful craft for your kids to do and sell as their own personal side hustle.  Or, make them as homemade Mother’s Day gifts for grandparents or teacher gifts for Teacher Appreciation Day.  

Start scrapbooking

Using old calendars as part of your scrapbooking journey is a great way to throw away less trash this year.  And if you personally don’t scrapbook, offer your old calendar up on Craigslist or your local buy nothing group and I bet there are some scrapbookers who would love to have it!

homemade postcards made with upcycled calendar photos

Learn how to make your own postcards

Homemade postcards are a great way to keep in touch with people near and far.  

Just crop the pictures from old calendars down to the right size (about 4 inches by 6 inches).  Glue a thin piece of cardboard to the back.  Then, add in your message, the address it’s going to, and a stamp.

Make your own coasters

We go through a lot of coasters in my house.  They are in every single room.  Near every computer.  In the teen’s rooms.  Out on the patio.  Basically, just about everywhere.  Upcycle calendars into coasters with this DIY coaster kit.  Just plain white tiles and ModPodge turn old glossy photos into homemade coasters. 

small wooden box with butterfly image

Learn how to decoupage

You can reuse calendars by cutting out the photos and decoupaging them onto unfinished wood boxes

You can also decoupage calendar pages onto glass jars, metal cans and just about every other type of upcycled storage container.  

Make DIY Gift Tags

Plan ahead for next year (or just the next birthday that rolls around) and make your own homemade gift tags. 

Just get a pair of scissors, construction paper, a hole punch and some ribbon. Cut the calendar photos to the size you want and cover the back with construction paper in a matching color.  Punch out a hole and add some ribbon.  Voila!  Personalized gift tags!

 2015 calendars with inspirational and motivational quotes.

Ask Google ‘When Can I Use My Calendar Again?’

Eventually, every calendar will be reusable!  You just need to know exactly when the patterns of days of the week and numbers is going to line up again.   Check out whencanireusethiscalendar.com to learn exactly when you can reuse your calendar again. 

If you are a fan of upcycling, check out my post on how to reuse old spice containers for more inspiration. And my article on what to do with expired spices instead of throwing them away!

10 thoughts on “What To Do With Old Calendars”

  1. Thanks for the great ideas on how to reuse old calendars. I’ve been using them to make envelopes out of for years. They are beautiful!

  2. I use calendar pictures for making homemade beads. Paper beads last a long time. I use Elmer glue over the entire bead to give it a coat so it then becomes almost waterproof.

  3. I use calendar pictures to make homemade cards. Simply paste the picture to the front and write your verse or sentiment inside. Great for kids wanting to make their own cards too. I have also cut them down to size and used inside the clear pockets on many 3-ring binders. My daughter loved doing that. Great idea about covering boxes. I will use some Mod Podge and do that soon!


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