Reuse BEFORE recycling!

repurposeAs you know, I’ve been on a decluttering mission for about three years.

To be honest I find the amount of stuff we’ve accumulated pretty overwhelming. But there are times when I can break through the procrastination and sort through a few drawers, shelves and cupboards in order to reduce the amount of clutter I live with.

Being green can be both a blessing and a curse. I feel good about the things I do to support the environment, but sometimes my conscience can prevent me doing the things I should, such as decluttering. Once upon a time I would simply have thrown anything I no longer wanted away. Now I have to be more creative and find ways to repurpose or recycle; I tend to use this as an excuse for not taking action.

With spring in the air however, I’ve been taking a look at my clothes, kitchen paraphernalia and music collection and here’s what I’ve been up to:


I tend to shove any unwanted clothes into a bag for the nearest charity shop or textiles bank. However REUSING comes before RECYCLING, so put your seamstress head on before you bag up your donations.

The most obvious kind of repurposing for jeans is cutting them into shorts, a timeless summer fashion that will never go out of style. However, you could go a different route and sew your jeans into something entirely different. For example, different shades of denim are the perfect fabric for a home-sewn blanket.

Entertainment Items

Music has been a major part of my life as long as I can remember. At age 3 I was playing the triangle and drums with a perfect sense of rhythm. As a teen I never did anything without listening to Radio 1. I’ve been a flute teacher, a pianist and spent a small fortune on rare and collectable vinyl. Now I have overflowing shelves full of cds I’ll probably never listen to again.

The Internet has become a useful tool that can help you sell unwanted DVDs, CDs, and video games without leaving your home – no more hanging around record fayres for 10 hours on a Saturday! I’ve sold cds on Amazon and eBay with measurable success but sometimes we don’t have time to add listings which is where sites like MusicMagpie come in. Through MusicMagpie you can sell your discs in bulk without paying for shipping. You can sell computer games for cash along with CDs, and DVDs to free up some precious space in your home.

Kitchen Items

Often overlooked when it comes to repurposing and recycling, the kitchen can be a jackpot for creative uses. For example, baking soda that has gone solid in the container (tell me it’s not just me!) is a great way to get rid of unpleasant odours in the refrigerator. You can also mix it with essential oils to clean hard surfaces.

Herbs and spices that have lost their potency for cooking can be boiled up in water and used to mist around your home – oregano and marjoram, for example, are antiseptics which help keep your home germ free. You can also use old herbs and spices in hair rinses – rosemary for dark hair, chamomile for light. Failing that, sprinkle the herbs over some natural materials such as pine cones and make your own pot pourri.

Once you get on the repurposing and creative recycling bandwagon, you’ll be able to think of even more ways to reuse these items. The trick is to exhaust all the possibilities BEFORE recycling.

Tell me; what have you recently repurposed at home?


  1. nadine sellers on February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    in the sewing department, i have cut an older terry cloth robe and made wash cloths out of the good parts, ten to be exact. then cut the rest in usable shapes for cleaning rags; a perfect evening movie watching relaxing chore..yes i can hand sew and not miss a single scene..

    made drapery ties out of ’60’s style belts, macrame and metal loops which i simply hang on a cup-hook screwed to the window trim.

    i poked holes in ‘found’ plastic cookie trays to fill with sandy dirt for germinating my springtime plants..laid them in an old cookie sheet and will simply slide them out at transplanting time.

    fun to play with ideas..between organizing chores.

  2. Mrs Green on February 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @nadine sellers: Loving the image of you sitting infront of a favourite movie sewing in hand; so industrious too…

  3. chris levey on February 15, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I use Pine cones and Orange Peel as fire lighters and they can be dried on the wood burner to give a lovely air freshener, I also use old towels for cleaning the silver, a vigorous rub usually does the trick. Mens cotton pants are good for floor cloths and Jeans legs make nice hard wearing bags for storage.
    In the garden old gutters are great for growig peas in the greenhouse, they can then be slid off into a seed drill in the veg patch for an early crop of peas.Some of my hubbys tablet jars have silica gel in the cap and are great for storing seeds.
    I enjoy finding ways to reuse stuff and it save the enviroment and saves money