What to Do With It? 7 Tips For Re-Purposing Items You Already Have With Unique Ways of Recycling
By Erica L Newcomb
Most people have a garage sale or give away old unwanted items, but perhaps you can reuse some of the things you no longer use in their current context. Here are some simple inspirational and thought-provoking ways to change your perspective on seeing past the surface and coming out with a fresh prize.
1. Add to it. Sometimes just adding a small part to a piece can completely change its function and/or look. Look at your items and try adding hooks for coats or keys to architectural wood or metal pieces, add hangers to glass or pottery for hanging planters or perhaps a magnet or frame to re-purpose a miniature find.
2. Glue it up. Do you have oddball plates, vases, cups, bowls, tins or trays just collecting dust? Try playing around with them and stacking them in different ways even upside down to create new pieces such as tiered serving platters, cake plates, yard art and fun trays to hold perfumes or small collections.
3. Group it. Do you have a collection of items that just aren’t being showcased the way you’d like? Try looking for a new way to showcase your items. Perhaps a simple shadow box would suffice or maybe a completely new background outside of the box. Try taking your vintage brooch collection and pinning to a sewing bust, or make a collection of small bowls a new coaster set. Perhaps take a button or key collection and group them on a wire tied to an old stair baluster.
4. Store in it. You see them all over, cool old vintage suitcases, luggage, canisters, boxes and totes. So how do you make these new and functional? They are perfect storage for things you must keep but don’t use often like old magazines, seasonal clothes, baby memorabilia or kids artwork collections. Try stacking the suitcases vertically for an extra table surface or put in a row down the bottom of a console table. Add shipping or decorative tags with the name of contents for easy reference.
5. Sew it. Everyone has old clothes, linens and accessories they typically end up giving to thrift stores because they don’t know what to do with it. In the mix is usually some great colors, patterns and cabochons you must have liked when you bought the outfit. Now is the time to peel off any embellishments or cut up the fabrics you could use for other things. Sew or glue fabric pieces to new items such as aprons, towels, hats, collages or t-shirts.
6. Alter it. Can you alter your item to better fit your style? Try painting, sanding or embellishing to achieve the look and color you desire. You can take an otherwise ugly figurine and with just a can of gloss spray paint have a modern decor piece. Other options might include adding color with markers or acrylics, adding sparkle or stickers or even themed items to bring about story or feeling. Fabric or paper decoupage can be a great way to add new color and pattern to nearly anything.
7. Change it. Incorporate things in a new light. Think about what you need functionally as well as what you could use to fill a particular space. Maybe you need a new letter organizer, a pencil cup? How about a wreath for your front door? Once you have in mind what need you should fill, find objects you no longer need or like as they are. Play with those objects, looking at them in different views and planes. Then use those items with the above tips to create something entirely new. An old frame could become a mail organizer by adding some canvas, perhaps that cute swankie swig could be wound in wire to hold plant starts or pencils, or try gluing similar items (keys, buttons, hardware) to a wreath for a new front door welcome.
Now go- Create something wonderful out of something once great.