What is upcycling besides a phrase that started in the 90’s?  Is it taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it a new life for a higher value, or is it just turning it into something useful and creative?  It’s both!

When I really started thinking about it I realized my dad was big on upcycling, only back in those days he called it puttering around.  For example he would take empty baby food jars or coffee cans and use them to store nails, screws, etc.  How many times have you seen that done?

I loved puttering around in the workshop with my dad, which was really just an “upcycled” old shed.  He would let me paint the lids to jars and glue whatever was in the jar onto the lids for easier identification; pretty fancy.  One of my favorite upcycled items was a bedside table and old singer sewing machine my grandmother was getting rid of which he turned it an into a sewing table for me.  I made a gorgeous evening gown only a six year old could love.  Did he upcycle out of necessity because we couldn’t afford to buy new things or was he ahead of the times by giving items that were longer needed or wanted a new life?  Does it really matter?  It was time I spent with someone I loved.

When I discovered the Habitat for Humanity ReStore it was like coming home.  It is a true treasure trove of goods.  I would love to say I am a creative genius but that’s not really true.   The staff would throw out a challenge by giving me an obscure donated item to see what other use I could find for it.  Sometimes I would come up with an idea on my own while other times I would resort to Google.  Yes I said Google!  You can find anything on the internet and now with Pinterest it’s even easier.  I don’t look at it as if I’m copying off of someone else; it’s sharing ideas with others.  Not all my projects turn out perfect, but that’s okay because who wants to be perfect anyway? Who’s to say that my “upcycled” item will not end up in a landfill some day in the future; it’s just not happening today!

Whatever your reason is for recycling, reusing or reducing, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to start.  Stop in and check out our ideas and inspiration center or just browse the store.  You never know what you will find.

We would love to hear and see your “upcycling” story and see your creations here at the ReStore.  Just email us at info@habitatbucks.org

Dianna has been a volunteer at our Chalfont ReStore for many years and has logged hundreds…maybe thousands of volunteer hours upcycling for us. She is our hidden treasure!