Recycling is an over-used word that gets, uh, "recycled" too often, so I've been trying to think of a different word that might describe a creative way of reusing items. How about re-creating? I am particularly inspired by Sylvania's (OH) own Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage, one of my favorite local businesses. The crafts and artwork for sale there are the epitome of re-creations--journals made of old books, tie-dyed fabrics/clothes, jewelry made of buttons, and many other handmade items. (The food and tea are delicious there as well.)
My minimalist philosophy heartily supports re-creation. I hate to wastefully keep items that I'm not going to use, and I hate to see perfectly good items go to waste. So, I'm at it again--cleaning out my closets, sorting through books, and, essentially, getting rid of items that are not, well, essential to my life. I regularly donate my old clothes and household items to the American Cancer Society's Discovery Shop in Saxon Square in Sylvania. Other items I simply give to Goodwill. Either way, I am excited when my discarded items can be re-created in any way in which someone else can use them.
But, there are other ways to re-create. Check out Feeding Body & Mind, a place to donate books for distribution to food banks around the country. (No, people will not be eating the books; but while food nourishes the body, books nourish the mind. Both healthy bodies and minds are necessary for life.)
Get that creativity flowing and think about what new things you can do with old items. I've seen (neck)ties made into decorative pillows; I've seen t-shirts made into pillows as well. When your jeans have worn out in the knees, re-create them into shorts. When you spill on your t-shirts, re-create them by tie-dying them (I've had to do this to a number of shirts; I finally just stopped buying any clothes that were light-colored).
If you're not using any arts and crafts supplies (of any kind), support Shared Lives Studio (Toledo, OH, area) by donating the supplies to them. At Shared Lives, adults with disabilities make artwork that is available for sale.
While garage/yard sales can bring in some extra spending money, donating the items to worthy causes can feel so much better. Re-create your life by helping others re-create theirs with re-created items! (And how about we start using the word re-create instead of recycle?!)
If you have any other ideas for re-creating, please leave a comment (because I have a lot of "stuff" that needs re-creating!). Thanks!