Mindful Re-Use

Upcycle and recycle have always been a part of my genetic make up. The pointlessness of throwing away serviceable or repairable items is never lost on me. I would rather store something for five years and then find the perfect use for it, rather than throw it away and eventually have to buy something similar.

It means that in very small ways, I am always looking for creative ideas to repurpose items or keep them to hand if at all possible, rather than leave them behind. Because of the transient nature of my life, I have been kept thinking on my feet. My business, in its six years, has moved city twice, but between studios, storage and working from home, part (or all of) it has moved no less than five times, six now that I have just left Progress Centre where I had the most breathing space to expand my clutter.

Whilst I don’t get any joy from simply throwing things away, as someone who has also learned to let go of things, having a clear out on an epic scale, is cathartic and liberating. I hate clutter. But my dislike of waste wins over every time. This move is not my biggest yet, but it comes a close second.

Over two weeks in September I filled and emptied my small hatchback no less than 12 times to bring all that I could and all that still had use, to my new studio outside the city centre.

I have found things I had forgotten about and have given them purpose in my new flat. It has saved me money both now and in the future. I have also found boxes of items that I can sell on to other people via my Etsy store, who will have a greater use for them than I, items I don’t want to simply throw out even though I cannot use them.

Upcycle, recycle and make do and mend are important parts of my every day life. I diligently recycle at home. I mend, I repurpose, I break down and rebuild. I hope that I am doing a small part in my attempts. But I think that unless everyone else does it, my efforts will remain little more than personally practical.

I spotted this banner on the back of a Manchester bus last week as my moving spree drew to a close, and I posted it to my Instagram account. Not enough of this goes on. Recycle is not second nature to most people and when you see the wheelie bins heaving, their lids wide open stuffed with all manner of things, I do wonder where it will all end. I have only emptied my wheelie bins three times since I moved in April.


I enjoyed this recent article about leaving behind unecessary food packaging at supermarkets. I always aim for the loose fruit and veg where it’s provided.  More people like this might encourage supermarkets to make more concerted efforts to deal with all the plastic they force us to buy, take home and then put straight into the bin.

It isn’t rocket science, recycling that is, but it seems that without incentive it will never catch on. Charging 5p for plastic bags reduced the number of bags we use. I cannot remember the last time I needed one. Keeping ‘bags for life’ in the car has become second nature. I now have about 8 of them. And whilst you may not notice it, it is cheaper to buy your fruit and veg loose or in its most natural form. Try it.

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