These are items I collect on a regular basis:
Return Envelopes: I get so much junk mail it's ridiculous. Almost every piece of junk mail contains a return envelope. I save all of these and keep an envelope drawer in my classroom for students to use when they have small pieces of paper (collaging) that they don't want to loose. I make sure to black out any envelopes that have my address printed on them since I don't want my students to know where I live.
Plastic Containers: I use these to hold water or other supplies. I have found that these lids are excellent palettes for acrylic paint. Once the paint dries you can just peel it off.
Gatorade Bottles: I drill a hole in the lid and then use these in my classroom to dispense paint. The lids don't clog on the inside and all you have to do is peel off the dried paint on the top. I also like that you can see how much paint is left in the bottle since it's clear. It's easy for kids to use and if you drill a small hole to begin with they can't pour too much paint.
Cardboard: I hoard cardboard like nobody's business! Especially at the beginning of the school year when supply orders come in. I don't always have an idea of what I'll use it for but inevitable I need it. This year I had the kids build the set for their Christmas program...out of cardboard. The fireplace, Christmas tree, snowmen, 12 Days of Christmas props, and presents were all cardboard.
I needed canvas bards for my clay unit so I bought about 4 yards of canvas fabric, cut up cardboard and then stretched the canvas on each board. Cost me $20 in fabric and I made 30 canvas boards.
My students made Dale Chihuly sculptures out of water bottles. I used cardboard for the inside base and hung the bottles around the cardboard tube.