A lot of us have a bad habit of throwing things away instead of thinking about how to use them better. Whether it’s broken or not, our instinct to any item we don’t want or use is to chuck it into the trash. Stop for a second and check out these guides to see the golden opportunities you’re throwing away.
There is a strong movement on the internet around reusing, repurposing, or “upcycling” items. The idea is exactly what it sounds like: to take a thing you aren’t using, and put it to another use instead.
Some of these require some DIY skills, so hopefully you have a toolkit ready. But even if you don’t, there are plenty of repurposing ideas that anybody can do without any special skill sets.
1. Upcycle That
If you’re getting started with the repurposing movement, Upcycle That is a good place to kick off. Not only is it an excellent aggregator of upcycling ideas, it also has the simplest system for any beginner.
All the projects on Upcycle That are categorized into two broad headers: “Use That” and “Make That”. If you already have the material that you want to repurpose, you go to “Use That” and see all the projects that can be made with it. If you have an end product in mind and want to know how to make it from scraps, then “Make That” will serve you well.
Both Use That and Make That have subcategories to further refine your choice, and a long list of projects to go through. And if you have any creative repurposing idea or project of your own, click that Submissions button.
2. /r/ReuseIt, /r/Repurpose, and /r/Upcycling
There are three places on Reddit that will give you lots of ideas on how to reuse, repurpose, or upcycle any item. No points for guessing their names.
The /r/ReuseIt subreddit is great if you are looking for ideas. Use the three popular flairs: IWTU (I Want To Use), IHAP (I Have A Project), and TII (Turn It Into). Man, you’ll never know all the trendy acronyms and internet slang words.
Finally, /r/upcycling is the best of all these communities, with a constant flow of ideas and projects. You’ll almost surely find something here, if not the inspiration to come up with something new.
Gail Wilson believes that with a little bit of imagination and hard work, any old thing can be made useful again. Browse through her blog and you’ll know how well she backs up her beliefs.
My Repurposed Life has over 250 projects based on repurposing things that you will find in any household. Wilson gives detailed instructions for every project, and has carefully categorized them so you can find just what you need.
Wilson is at her best when she’s working with furniture, so it helps if you know the basics of woodworking. There are plenty of non-wood projects too, though.
Instructables is among the best DIY sites on the internet. And in its large community of people who want to show off what they’ve made, is a pretty big community of those who have reused or repurposed stuff.
The Technology category has its own reuse subsection for projects on how to repurpose gadgetry. Similarly, the Home category’s reuse subsection will inspire you to never throw away a household item without repurposing it first.
While there isn’t a single “reuse” category for the whole site, one search for that keyword will land incredible results. It’s almost like a section of its own. You can browse through the results endlessly, with hundreds of creative and new projects. Expect detailed instructions for any project, as well as plenty of help from the community.
For any of these projects, it’s ideal if you can watch a video of it in action. And that usually means YouTube. But did you know that YouTube has automatically created an entire “Repurposing” section?
The repurposing section has clips from across the entire user-submitted video site. The popular videos playlist alone will be enough to get some amazing ideas and projects. You’ll also find popular videos broken down by categories such as cosmetics, jewellery, electronics, house, and so on.
The best part is the “Latest Videos” section, which makes sure you will never miss out on a YouTube video with an ingenious upcycling hack.
What Do You Plan to Reuse?
Did any of these resources help you find a way to reuse, repurpose, or upcycle an item that you thought was junk? Tell us about it in the comments below!