“When in doubt, throw it out.”
While I agree that this term applies to questionably spoiled food, I have never been able to follow that advice in any other area. I have lots of clothes that are too small (just in case!) and I have shelves and shelves of books that I will never reread. But I just can’t part with items that are still useable. My husband doesn’t complain when I won’t throw away things that I ALREADY own. He does complain, however, when I bring home other people’s old stuff! But when I see a perfectly utilitarian chair or bookshelf or wooden frame (the list goes on and on) sitting curbside awaiting transport to the local landfill, I always feel that I must intervene. After 20 years of marriage, I think my husband has finally resigned himself to this habit.
But what to do with these cast off items? Old furniture gets refinished or repainted. Old jeans get sewn into bags. Wool sweaters get felted and cut up and made into gloves, or wreaths, or pot holders! Some of the reinvented creations I have made have ended up in my home, while others have been passed on to others. But every time I have made something useable from something that might have been trash, I feel great!
So a few years ago, when some crafters and artists started using the terms repurposed and upcycled to describe their works, I was thrilled to use those labels to describe my own work. At RoofTop Creations, everything I make and sell has been made from some repurposed material. I am a repurposer! I am an upcycler! My children love to argue that neither of these words qualifies as a “real” word, but I don’t care. In this life, many of us are often too quick and eager to replace the old with new and we miss out on the benefits of making new FROM old! Upcycling and repurposing help our pocketbooks, our planet, and our mood!
So next time you are ready to throw out something that might still have some life in it, please take a closer look and ask yourself what other use that item night have. Be creative. If you can’t do that, then please donate the item to charity. Or if I know you personally, call me and I may come and pick it up. Just don’t tell my husband!
When in doubt, don’t throw it out.