How to Save Money by Upcycling and Recycling Items in Your Home

If you’re concerned about environmental sustainability your home design decisions are often complicated. On one hand you don’t want to do anything that negatively impacts the future of our planet, and whatever steps you can take to lower your family’s carbon footprint is well worth your time and attention. But on the other hand you don’t have an unlimited budget. That’s no secret, what with the recession economy dealing most individuals a pretty significant blow. So money is a factor, yet it cannot be allowed to trump environmental concerns. That’s why the savvy eco-warrior will consider upcycling and recycling first and foremost with any decisions involving the home. Here are a couple of tips to help you save money by upcycling and recycling items in your home.

First of all, consider that clothing should have many more lives than you’ve previously given it. Anyone who comes from a large family is more than familiar with hand-me-down outfits. It’s a natural part of growing up, and most people have experienced getting clothing from an older brother or sister or seeing your younger siblings walking around in your outfits a year or two later. Bring that strategy back to save serious cash at home. You could probably consider that recycling, as the clothing will live on in a similar fashion as before. But upcycling can give you a slew of new options. Think about the clothing you’re ready to get rid of differently. With a bit of sewing skill shirts could become blankets, old jeans can transform into pocketbooks and wallets, shoes could become works of art and quilts could transform into curtains. Any time you need a new fabric product at home look at your bin of old clothing and consider how repurposing an item could save you a new purchase.

Next, check out your old books. Whether paperback or hardcover these things cost good money, and unless one of them becomes an all-time favorite you’ll probably get rid of it when you’re done reading. You can donate or recycle those books to fulfill your sustainability requirements, but try upcycling them instead. You’ll need an adventurous eye for design and a couple of tools, but you’ll be surprised what’s possible. Old books can become the covers for notebooks, or the base for a set of wall-hanging bookshelves. You can use them as the core of a coffee table, or when laminated as the raw materials for recovering an older table. If you’ve got books you really don’t like, save that paper and use it for packing material when shipping anything. You’ll never have to settle for buying bubble wrap again.

If you’ve got a garage, a basement or an attic crammed with stuff you’ve got all the makings of an upcycling goldmine. You’ve got to get in there and see what’s possible. If there’s anything you haven’t used in a year or more, it’s time to either get rid of it or transform it into something useful. Old frames can be refinished and used as wall hangings or to edge off a painted wall. Dusty travel trunks can be turned into end tables or the base of a contained garden. Old wooden furniture can be broken down and used to build something new. Records can become decorations, or old silverware sets can be used as the material for jewelry construction.

Finally, keep an eye out for the traditional recycling efforts around the house that can save you money. Depending on the state you live in you can trade in cans and bottles for cash money. But any old batteries and ink cartridges you use in a home office should always be brought into an office store that provides incentives for recycling. See if you can get any of those online codes these places offer that give you discounts on these items. You should be able to earn new ink cartridges by recycling your old ones. The same goes for batteries and computer equipment.

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