Want to turn your stack of magazines into something useful? Of course you can just toss them in the recycling bin, but paper can only be recycled a handful of times before the fibers are completely worn out.

That means reusing before recycling does more good by extending the life of paper products. Here are three of the best ways to get the most out of your magazines.

1. Reuse

There are plenty of ways magazines can be reused.

As Teaching Tools:

  • Help kids develop fine motor skills by practicing cutting with scissors.
  • Unleash kids’ creativity and let them create collages.
  • Let kids practice basics like colors, shapes, numbers, and letter recognition by having them hunt for the letters in their name or foods that would make a healthy lunch.
  • Create your own flashcards with cut-out pictures and words.
  • Have kids rearrange cut-out letters into words, and words into sentences or even poems.

As Creative Inspiration:

  • Many designers, artists, writers, and other creative types keep an idea board with images, words, even items that speak to them. Putting them together onto a cork board or magnetic board makes it easy to find inspiration for their next project. So when you see something that speaks to you in a magazine—a DIY project, a color, a phrase—tear it out and start your own inspiration board.

2. Upcycle

With the rise in popularity of both DIY projects and green living, there’s no shortage of ideas for creative things to make from magazines. Here are a few favorites:

  • Magazine garland for any season or occasion. Simply cut the shapes you want (hearts, pumpkins, pennants) and string them up. Try hanging them across a window. You could even add letters to spell a name and hang them over a bed.
  • Magazine mobiles use the same idea as the garland: cut the shapes you want and dangle them from thin branches for a natural, rustic look.
  • Magazine coasters made from folded magazine pages are easy, useful, and would make great homemade gifts.

3. Donate

If DIY isn’t your thing—or you have more magazines than you could ever use—donate them to a new home. Here are a few places that would love to put them to good use:

  • Schools. Art, reading, English, and even science and history classrooms can make good use of donated material for art, reading, and other projects.
  • Daycare centers and preschools. Remember all those ways we said you could use magazines as teaching tools for kids? Donate here so they can do the same.
  • Libraries. Even if they don’t end up on the shelves, some libraries can sell used magazines to raise money for programs worth supporting.
  • Shelters. Whether it’s a family, women’s, or homeless shelter, they may be glad to have new reading material for the people they serve.

Just remember to always cut off the address labels before you donate (you don’t want to accidentally donate personal information, too). And always call before you show up to find out about donation policies.