Repurpose Items Instead of Buying New for Big Savings

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

We all know a tremendously creative and crafty person who can take a pile of dryer lint and turn it into a stylish sweater… Let’s be honest, though – most people aren’t that clever when it comes to taking something we consider “nothing” and turning it into “something.” Just because we’re not the Martha Stewart of repurposing and up-cycling, however, doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t appreciate some creative inspiration. This article is for those of us who would love to frugally create treasure from trash, making “something old” new and useful again. There’s a lot that the only moderately creative can do to reimagine and repurpose everyday items to make useful, decorative or fashionable items for very little financial outlay.

Dipping Your Toes into Repurposing and Up-cycling

Honing your eye
The trick to repurposing is to train yourself to see beyond what something is to what it could be. For example, an old stepladder may not be safe to stand on anymore but it does have design elements that may lend themselves to another purpose. Those rungs could make perfectly serviceable curio shelves and when attractively refinished, the ladder could make an eye-catching and useful display shelf. It’s a matter of learning to see potential from what exists. It will take time and practice but it can be done. After a while, you’ll begin to think long and hard about an item’s “repurposing potential” before automatically discarding it.

Identifying your own resources
When you determine the need for something new, try “shopping” in your attic, closets or basement (or someone else’s) for something to repurpose into what you need before heading to a traditional store to buy something “off the rack.”  You may also find items suitable to your purpose at garage sales and thrift shops. Some items people commonly have lying unused around the house, sell off cheaply or donate include:

  • T-shirts
  • Fabric, buttons and craft scraps
  • Recyclables (cat litter containers, milk cartons, paper towel and toilet tissue tubes…)
  • Garden hose and other implements
  • Mismatched china
  • Old silverware
  • Videotapes
  • Record albums
  • Magazines, newspaper, greeting cards…
  • Old pots and pans
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Old clothes, socks, gloves, hats, scarves…
  • Extra building materials (scrap lumber, doors, windows, bricks, moulding, tile…)
  • Unused or broken furniture
  • Tires
  • Home decor (baskets, vases, ceramics trays…)
  • Old sports equipment

What can be up-cycled?
It may help stir up latent creative juices to see examples of what people have repurposed into what. Here are some sites that feature a plethora of ideas for almost anything you could imagine repurposing:

12 Clever Uses for Old Furniture
Repurposed Furniture
Home Smarts – Repurposed Furniture

48 Ways How to Use Your Old T-Shirt
Repurposing Clothes/Ideas
The Ultimate Green Guide to Repurposing Clothes

General items
Repurposing Ideas – Trash2Treasure
30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff
The recycling and repurposing possibilities are endless!

Be brave!
Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly handy, adopt the attitude that whatever you make, you have something; whereas before, you had nothing and the item was unused anyway. You’ll eventually discover the repurposing skills at which you excel, whether it be refinishing, painting, sewing, building, decoupage, stenciling, embellishing or conceptualizing ideas for someone else to implement…With practice, your repurposing skills and confidence will increase.

In a world that’s overly materialistic, it’s important to remember that not everything of value or usefulness must necessarily be purchased new. With a little imagination and ingenuity, we can create some of the items we need and want to our own specifications and preferences, without having to pay a retail price for them.

What have you repurposed or up-cycled?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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