Instead of simply throwing things away to take up space in landfills or trash heaps, reuse, recycle and repurpose. Making this approach a regular part of your daily life not only reduces your carbon footprint, it also saves money. With a little creativity and ingenuity, recycled or repurposed clothes or furnishings can also become attractive and functional decor itemsl.
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Don't toss that broken table or lamp--fix it! Freshening older items or fixing damaged ones is not only good for the environment, but good for the wallet, as well. Mend a torn lampshade with contact paper or scraps of extra wallpaper. If your armoire or chest has broken or missing legs, simply remove the remaining legs, and the item is as good as new.
Recycle clothes, fabrics and linens that have seen better days. Recover a torn or stained throw pillow with the remains of a favourite old shirt or pair of jeans for a quirky, urban look. Save frayed throws or pillows, and use them as stuffing for new ones or to add freshness to pillows showing their age. Get further use from worn yet comfortable blankets, flannels or towels by recycling them for pet bedding or kennels--your pet will love the cosy items that smell like home, and she won't mind a few holes!
Salvage sentimental items by repurposing them for new uses. Place that much-loved old sideboard in your bathroom, or convert it to a printer stand for your home office. An wooden toy box can provide storage for linens or bathroom items. Turn old china saucers into pillar candle holders, or make that tea tray into a wall feature. Repurpose your old mismatched silverware by hanging utensils on varying lengths of fishing line to create wind chimes. Plastic bags can be stuffed in curtain valances, or woven together to create totes, planters, or other items.
Don't trash that old armchair or couch--toss on a stylish slipcover for a brand-new look in minutes. Turn a glass pitcher into a striking vase with a handful of flowers, and hang that empty picture frame as an offbeat wall decor item in its own right. A breakfast table makes a terrific instant desk--no assembly required. Today's faded rug is tomorrow's cool wall hanging.
Add new life to a dining set with a quick sanding and a coat of eco-friendly paint or stain. Renew an aged hatbox with a coat of paint and wrapping paper scraps for a new storage container. Paint an old wine rack, and use it to store bottled oils, cloth napkins, tapered candles, hand towels, shampoos, or hair products. Hit your local thrift store to stock up on wicker baskets, and paint them for storage units.
Pass It On
If you buy a new couch or recliner, don't send the old one to a dump or landfill--instead, use an online classified service or recycling exchange to offer it free of charge to anyone who will pick it up for you. And if you're looking for a good cause, check out your local homeless shelter, church or favourite charity and offer to donate any decor items in good condition. Most organisations will pick them up from you.
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