STYLE Savvy: 3 Guidelines for Repurposing

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A few weeks ago, as I dropped some items into a bargain glass placed strategically in my I need to see it-arranged bathroom drawer, I got to thinking about the three Rs. No, not reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

Recycling, reselling and repurposing: the 3 Rs to consider when it’s time to let something go, but tossing it in the trash just seems too harsh. While the first two Rs actually get the items out of the house, repurposing simply moves them to a new spot.

Like my glass. I bought it super cheap one summer, thinking it would be bright and fun for outdoor use, but the truth was, I didn’t need another drinking glass. Sure, it was bright and fun (and cheap — don’t forget cheap), but none of those attributes created space for it in my cabinets.

So, when I was rearranging my bathroom drawer, I repurposed it. Now, it’s bright and fun and earning its keep. For cheap.

If repurposing a beloved (or simply useful) item gives it new life or helps it earn its keep, then hanging on to it is actually a good thing … as long as limit how many things we do this with and follow a few simple guidelines.

Repurposing implies purpose. It’s right there in the name. Is the item in question being used, or is it merely taking up space? One or two decorative items that add personality to a space, or a collection that’s housed in an aesthetically pleasing way is one thing. A pile-up of “I know I’ll use this someday” is quite other.

For items in limbo, designate a purpose. In our DIY, Pinterest-fueled society, it doesn’t take much searching to come up with new uses for everything from empty soda bottles to old furniture. Here’s where you have to be honest with yourself. Are you really going to do that project? If so, when? And where will the supplies “live” in the meantime?

Be selective. You can’t save it all, yet the reasons we have for keeping things vary according to both styles and personality. Sentimental people keep things because they make us smile when we look at them or bring back a special memory. The more practical among us save things that solve a storage problem or serve more than one purpose. Those who are frugal often keep a backlog of things they don’t want to have to pay to replace. Whatever your reasons, you need to set a limit to how many of those things you can realistically hang on to.

Often, Let it go is the toughest step in the STYLE process because, inevitably, we come up against some things we just can’t seem to get rid of. Considering the value an item has to you or to someone else can actually be the first step in letting things go and escaping the fourth R.

Regret.


Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess

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About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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