Is upcycled really a word?

Upcycled scratched LP record albums make great novelty bowls for any music lovers!

Upcycled scratched LP record albums make great novelty bowls for any music lovers!


“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.

About RoofTop Creations

My name is Lisa and I have a craft business/hobby called RoofTop Creations where I use repurposed materials to make useful housewares. This blog is about my crafting process and what inspires me. It is also about my shop's mascot, RoofTop Chalie, my repurposed racing greyhound.
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5 Responses to Is upcycled really a word?

  1. scrapsecrets says:

    Great post Lisa! It really tells a lot about who you are and what you do. I am the same way with clothes and books. I have a hard time getting rid of anything. I think repurposer and upcycler are words, even if WordPress is underlining them in red, telling me they aren’t real words! Looking forward to reading more posts from you.

  2. I bet you could win a Scrabble game with either of those words…and then make some really cool barrettes out of the letters when you are finished! This is really a great post…looking forward to reading more!

  3. madge says:

    What a great blog post. Great tips,ideas and even some humor thrown in.

    Keep it up, i cant wait for the next post

  4. lacartera says:

    Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog… & I’ve nominated you for theVersatile Blogger Award. Please check it out here:http://lcartera.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/the-versatile-blogger-award-x2/

  5. hookandply says:

    I agree, we are so quick to throw things away and replace them with the latest trend. i am all for a bit of recycling and taking things to the charity shop. I haven’t heard the word repurposing used here but I think it is a very appropriate word for the unloved and abandoned item that is reinvented and transformed.

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