Around your house or in other areas of your life, you may have items that you have a difficult time throwing away. They might still be functional, but have outlived their purpose for what they were initially meant for.
It may surprise you to know that you can still get a lot out of these items, although it may mean getting creative with finding a new purpose for them. “Repurposing” simply means finding a new way to use an item, while “upcycling” means finding a new purpose for an old item that ups the value. Both repurposing and upcycling have the benefit of being environmentally friendly (reducing the amount of stuff you’re throwing away) and easy on the wallet.
Furniture is a common repurposing/upcycling project. One “simple” solution for revamping furniture you have become a bit lukewarm about is staining or painting. This children’s dresser is one example of using red paint to give the dresser an entirely new look. These steps are also helpful for any type of furniture painting– it’s always a good idea to sand down furniture before painting (rather than just painting over what’s already there). This gives a smoother looking finish and makes the actual painting process a bit easier.
In addition to painting, you can also repurpose bed frames into benches, shutters into a letter/paper organizer, and so much more.
Glass jars are another common item for repurposing and upcycling, as they can be reused for storage, organization, decoration- just about anything you can imagine. A few ideas here:
You can save glass jars to use for gifts, too. Think of the money that gets spent on wrapping paper (which ultimately gets thrown away anyway). So, glass jar gifts are a great idea because they reduce waste and you might just happen to have some lying around the house anyway. A few popular gift in a jar ideas are:
Clothing is another household item that you may give away or throw out once they’ve outlived their clothing-related usefulness (i.e. no longer fitting, outdated style, there’s a stain you can’t get out, etc.). Clothing is pretty versatile and has a lot of potential when it comes to repurposing. One easy way to repurpose old clothing is cutting it up to use as cleaning rags for dusting, washing, etc. Other ideas include :
- Clothing draft stopper (which also helps you save money on heating)
- Tshirt Pillow
- No Sew Tote Bag (which you can use for a grocery bag, too)
If you are interested in repurposing generally, but aren’t sure what you can do with the materials you have on hand, the website How Can I Recycle This shares different to recycle various household items that are creative and relatively easy to accomplish. You can search the website for a specific item that you have on hand, and request that they feature it in a later post. This post from Apartment Therapy also has some unique ideas.
Before you start throwing things away, ask yourself if it can be repurposed or upcycled (and if not, recycled). It’s also a fun, cheap way to breathe life into a room or living space, give a unique gift, or save environmental resources.
If you get really into upcycling and want to make it profitable, you can also try selling your goods on a website like Etsy. Either way, repurposing and upcycling are good for your wallet and help prevent adding more waste in the world by using what you already have.