What exactly does ‘repurposing’ mean?
Repurposing is simply starting to reconnect the dots in different ways. It is thinking about how to use things that you already have in new and innovative ways. It is really on old-fashioned approach to life. When you do not have the financial means to always toss things out and getting new ones, then your creativity often grows.
Like so many things these days, there is a trendiness that is going on making certain things sound super-cool, interesting or just down-right special. Repurposing and recycling are becoming more main-stream. If making SUSTAINABLE sound sexy works to get more people interested in becoming more sustainable, then I am totally happy with that! Again, it is taking something old and making it brand new again!
The result are what matters here.
Over the years, as a creative person I have often aimed to look at things DIFFERENTLY.
Why? Because it was much more challenging and fun for me. I never wanted to repeat my designs. Early on I believed that my clients deserved to get their own unique spaces, with their own solutions so I had to work extra hard to not repeat the same designs that I had done previously.
Though I realized the create-repeat prototype was a financially more lucrative approach, I felt it was not serving myself or my clients, so this was not ever my preferred approach. I prefer to be creatively challenged!
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
MY REPURPOSING IDEAS
So, after more than two decades of designing with my innate sustainable approach, I have come up with some different REPURPOSING IDEAS for my clients. Here are some examples of the ideas I came up with.
Old built-in wine rack into a home organizer. My client no longer drank wine but this piece was sturdy and it seemed to be a shame to throw it away. We relocated it into the area near her island, painted it and it became a way to organize her junk drawer into a much more useful and visual one.
Used wine corks into floor mats, hot-pads or pin-boards. A client of mine was a major wine lover and collected all of his wine corks which he stored in large vases throughout his apartment. Given this was not going to change in the foreseeable future, I knew a creative solution on how to use some of these corks was necessary. I designed a floor mat and hot-pad instead of having him buy these things. Water and heat proof, cork was the perfect material and added a Wabi-Sabi feeling to his otherwise very modern apartment.
Old silver trays into black boards. A client of mine had a lot of things left over from her Grandmother and though she appreciated them, they simply were not her style nor could she imagine how they would fit into her modern household. After I suggested repurposing them into useful blackboards, she changed her mind. She fell in love with them and was able to honor her Grandmother as well.
Old door knobs into curtain tie-backs. A client of mine had decided to upgrade all of his door knobs in his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment so they would all match. Afterwards, we had some left over knobs which I then used to hold back the curtains in their living room bringing in more daylight, as well as repurposing these lovely knobs.
Outdoor garden furniture used for new dining area. When I moved back from London to NYC I did not have a garden. Though, because I loved my garden furniture so much, I decided to forgo the traditional dining set and kept the outdoor furniture inside instead of getting rid of it. It worked perfectly as my dining room for many happy years.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE IN YOUR SPACE?
I suggest that you take a good look around your space. Think about what, in a perfect world, you would do if you could to make your space better, more functional, prettier? Think of this as you wander from room to room.
Would you like to have your desktop being clutter-free, or to be able to actually see the kitchen countertop? If so, take note of what the stuff is that is on the surfaces for future ideas. Is it paper, dishes, magazines, technology devices, mail or keys?
LOOK AT YOUR STUFF WITH NEW EYES
Now it is your turn to be creative and have fun. Take a look at the things you normally ignore. The things in your basement and garage or attic. What is sitting there?
Start to think creatively. What can that old suitcase be used for? What about those unused shutters that once were on the side of your house? Maybe you have decided to keep every single box from large purchases you have made over the years? Start to ponder….
If you try, you may be able to connect the dots…..what you need can be creatively repurposed from something you already have with a little or no work. It is all about seeing the possibilities.
“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
There is also the option for mini-DIY projects where you can literally transform, with some basic handyman skills, old things into new. For example, you can transform an old, unused clothing dresser into a new bathroom vanity. No matter what style you want it to be, you can create it. It all depends on how you refinish it!
SOME OTHER IDEAS…
Hat boxes/Old suitcases: used for holding onto intimate apparel that isn’t use daily.
An old wooden dining chair: cut in half, painted rad color, hung on wall – new modern coatrack!
Stained glass window hung inside other window for privacy inside a shower with a view.
Old medicine cabinets hung on wall in entrance as key holder.
Leave it better than you found it. ~Robert Baden-Powell
You can go online to see what others are doing to get inspired and even start your own Pinterest board as I have: https://www.pinterest.com/sleewright/eco-cool-products-i-dream-of-using/
However, I suggest you do the first two steps beforehand. Conscious creativity comes from within. Discover what you need/want to change in your space. Look at what you have that is not being useful in your space now. See what you can transform.
It is that simple. Be creative. Be inspired. Do something your future self will thank you for.
If you need a little more help from your DIWY™ designer, reach out.