I get this question all of the time. “What does upcycling mean?” Valid question as the term hasn’t been in use for very long. Matter of fact, I haven’t been upcycling for very long either. I started about 10 years ago refurbishing items to make them pretty (enough) to use again. Over time, I have become a diehard DIYer and upcycling enthusiast.
So what does it really mean to upcycle?
Upcycling means to take something that is maybe old and worn, fixing it up, and maybe even changing the purpose of that item completely. Some people are pretty inventive when it comes to upcycling. I am not as creative with furniture, but I do love a good sewing project. Refurbishing furniture is what I love to do best.
So, why not just buy it from the store?
1. Waste not want not! Good question with a lot of answers. Here is the first one, waste. I prefer to save items from the dump if possible. Furthermore, if I can buy a good product that may need just a bit of love over a cheaply made product, I am game. There are so many items out there that people just throw away.
2. Older stuff is just better. A lot of times, the older, worn items are much better quality as well. I am a sucker for solid wood furniture. You won’t find too much of that now without paying outrageous amounts of money.
3. Unless it is made of bamboo, it is probably not very sustainable. If you look at the environmental aspect of upcycling, there are several pros in regards to upcycling. Not only is upcycling preventing excessive waste, it is also preventing new products from being used. Not all materials are sustainable. If I can decrease my footprint on earth by doing such a small thing, why not?
4. Saving the planet, one tee shirt at a time! Did you know that Americans throw out about 10.5 million tons of clothing and textiles every year? That is a lot of waste going in the landfills. While the majority of that could probably be recycled, a lot of that could be upcycled (or just worn by someone else).
5. Personalizing is so in! Adding my own personal flair to items is also a fabulous upside to upcycling. When I was pregnant with Little Mister we painted his room in Dr. Seuss. I painted the dresser to match. Not something that I could have purchased easily.
I find great joy in upcycling anything from a tin can to a large piece of furniture. Upcycling is invigorating as it takes creativity and dedication to make something usable again. Are you looking for something to upcycle? I have created a list of great places to shop for used goods. Check it out!
Do you like to upcycle oldies but goodies? Show us those upcycled or refurbished goods!