How to Determine If Someone’s Trash Can Be Your Treasure

What’s the Purpose for Your Re-purpose

Recently my web and social media coordinator, Stacey, gave me a list of questions from her husband, Daniel. One of them was “repurposing ideas?”. I am assuming that he is asking about some specific ideas and that list would be pretty long.

So, this answer may not be exactly what he was looking for, but more of a reasoning and thought process. I hope it will give him and you some direction when you are considering repurposing.

Repurposing is currently a popular trendy topic. Not that there is anything at all wrong with repurposing. On the contrary it can be a frugal and thrifty way to be good stewards. This kind of thing has been done since the beginning of civilization. Cavemen didn’t just go down to the store and pick up a hammer. They made one out of repurposed sticks, rocks and leather.

I grew up repurposing, before it had a cool name like that. I remember as a kid setting on the concrete step of the barn straightening bent nails that had been pulled out of used boards. We had cans full of them and when doing a new project, we would repurpose them.

Repurposing ideas are as big as your imagination. The internet is full of ideas that range from using discarded toilet paper tubes for storing cables and cords to using old picture frame corners to tile a ceiling or using old bathtubs for furniture and a grand piano for an outdoor fountain. Some of these ideas are simple and easy to do, some, not so much.

 

To find the answer to your specific repurposing questions, ask WHY, WHAT, HOW. These questions will be as wide ranging as your imagination. For Example:

  • Why do you want to use something designed for one thing for something else?
  • What is the intended outcome?
  • What is the cost going to be?
  • How is it going to be achieved?
  • How much time is it going to take? 

Old wringer washer, going to become a laundry sink

 

The answers are where you separate the realistic from the unrealistic.

  • Everybody is doing it
  • Saves money, less expensive than buying
  • Improved use of original idea
  • Better than throwing it away, not being wasteful
  • Currently not being used, just sitting around and taking up space
  • Physically not going to work
  • Too costly
  • Don’t have the time needed
  • Don’t have the skill or ability
  • Historical or sentimental value
  • The finished product “cool factor” is worth it

A couple months ago I wrote about turning used grain bins into a home. This is a sizable repurposing project. When considering this project these questions and more have been and are being answered. This project is going to be a big repurpose full of smaller repurposes.

I told you that I would be sharing the project as it moves forward. We have met a couple of times and reviewed design ideas. I have set up an online project notebook in OneNote and Hannah has listed product thoughts and idea links. This is the current elevation and floor plan drawings. Sign up for our weekly solutions for more construction and repurposing ideas.

 

Repurposing is a great solution in many situations, but don’t do it just because someone else is doing it. Have a clear purpose for your repurpose.

Let me know if you have some specific repurpose questions or share your repurposed projects in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How to Determine If Someone’s Trash Can Be Your Treasure”

  1. I like your suggestion of “Have a clear purpose for your repurpose.” I think too often people try to repurpose something when they could have spent less time and money by buying the part or the product that was meant to do that in the first place. And all because they saw someone doing it online.

    Don’t get me wrong–I love repurposing items, but do it because you love it, or it saves you money, or it’s something you already have on hand. Don’t go out and spend a fortune trying to force something to do a job it was never designed to do!

    Reply

Leave a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe Today

to receive Mark's weekly solutions!