First, where did upcycling start?

Upcycling or repurposing an item is when you give new life to something that would otherwise end up in a landfill, such as an old bookcase. With upcycling, you have an opportunity to decorate your home or apartment without spending a ton of money and keep items out of landfills. 

Most of us learned to recycle at a young age (I like to credit Captain Planet & the Planeteers for their excellent propaganda). You separate your glass, plastic, green waste, and other recyclable materials and place them on the curb to get picked up. But what if you could use something that you already have to create something new?

According to the EPA, the average person produces 4.9 pounds of waste per person per day (source link), So what if you could turn that into something you can refresh while helping the environment and your budget?

Where can you start?

We’ve all have that one crafty friend who is always talking about “upcycling” and “repurposing,” but what exactly is it, and where do you start?

First, identify the item you want to repurpose and gather some inspiration.  Pinterest and other social media platforms like Tik-Tok & YouTube have thousands of ideas and inspiration. Most social media platforms have detailed tutorials and include a list of materials. Your item can be as simple as a picture frame, old bedsheets, a table, bookcase, even a broken plate!

Check out some of our favorite easy & crafty ideas from “Six Clever Sisters” and “Do Dodson Designs.”

Candle Jar Succulent Planter: Full tutorial here.

(Courtesy of: Six Clever Sisters)

Picture Frame Tray: Full tutorial here.

(Courtesy of: Do Dodson Designs)

Things to Remember:

Don’t forget to take before and after photos. You’ll love to look back at what your project looked like before and what it became.

Once you have identified your item, gather your materials and an area where you can work. You can use your kitchen, spare bedroom, garage, or outside. Make sure you protect your work surface with newspaper, grocery bags, or canvas.  

If your project calls for a tool you don’t have readily available such as a saw, you can always rent one from a hardware store; even better, borrow from a friend/family member. 

Love to create but don’t have the room to use them? 

Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, and other social media sites have free classifieds to sell projects online to someone who would love to purchase items you created. 

Upcycling is a fun way to turn everyday objects into something new. There is no wrong or write. You just have to start!

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