Repurposing Ideas

Find items at flea markets to repurpose.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your waste and save money, then why not consider a few repurposing ideas. With a little thought and creativity, it is surprising what can be created from items that would otherwise be discarded.

Repurposing and reusing items is a great way to both save money and also recycle items. A wide range of items can be recycled and repurposed. This has the dual benefit of helping to save money while also helping the environment. Repurposing helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste that is put into landfills, while also reducing the amount of virgin materials that are used to make new items.

Repurposing means taking an item and changing its use. This can be as simple as taking waste paper and repurposing this into memo pads or note books, through to complex repurposing ideas for furnishing a house. All that is required to repurpose and reuse items is a little creative thought.

Some Repurposing Ideas

Here are some interesting repurposing ideas to get you started:


One of the most common repurposing ideas is the creation of new clothes from old. Almost anything can be repurposed, from baby leggings made from discarded wool jumpers through to women's skirts made from pillow cases. A few basic sewing skills are all that is required for the repurposing of many clothes.


Accessories such as bags and purses can be created from a variety of materials. Sometimes these can be so effective that the original item is completely disguised. Purses and bags made from recycled plastic carriers are popular and very effective.

Household Accessories

Many household accessories are created by repurposing without this being the original intention. Lamp bases made from wine bottles which were so popular many years ago was an early form of repurposing. Today, repurposing is much more adventurous. Furniture can be created from a variety of unusual and unlikely items, soft furnishings can be created from vintage fabrics or clothes and decorative items can be formed from anything that makes an interesting accessory. Recycled glass countertops are a great way of using recycled glass.

Garden and Patio

One of the most popular means of repurposing items is in the garden. Items can be repurposed in a purely functional way, for instance using discarded car tires to make a container for growing potatoes or old baths or basins used as planters. Items can also be decorative. Broken tiles and ceramics can make interesting and unusual garden mosaics and old railway sleepers form sturdy and effective garden benching.

Finding Items to Repurpose

As repurposing becomes increasingly popular, the variety and availability of items for repurposing diminishes. Many people make a business out of repurposing items and selling them. Other people find and sell items that are suitable for repurposing. Therefore, the competition for interesting items for repurposing is increasing. There are, however, still many places to look for discarded items for repurposing. Many places have areas put aside for items that are unwanted, but can be reused. These are often free for people to take away. Garage sales and thrift stores are also good sources of items that are suitable for repurposing.

Tips for Repurposing

If you have some repurposing ideas and want to put them into practice, here are some tips to help:

  • Junk to treasures - while it is possible to turn junk into usable items, sometimes this can take a little work. Wooden items,for instance, could be contaminated with woodworm which will need treating. Sometimes items will need completely taking apart before the usable parts can be identified.
  • Safety - remember that there are important safety considerations when repurposing items. Some old paints contained lead, asbestos was widely used as a heat protector and there are many other hidden concerns. Research well before undertaking a major repurposing project.
  • Skills - repurposing ideas are great, but having the skills to put them into place is also important. Happily, many of these are easy to learn and can be picked up with relative ease.

Repurposing can be an interesting way to own new and interesting items as well as being kind to the environment. With a little thought, the most unlikely of items can be given a new lease on life.

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