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To reuse or not to reuse, that is the question.

I like to take old unwanted or broken things and turn them into something useful. I have been teaching my pack of tiny humans to do the same. I was recently told that this practice is disgusting. The reason being that I am teaching them to be scavengers and act like bums. Now I am curious, how does the rest of the world view this topic? Also if you would like to leave any suggestions in the comments about ways to repurpose things, I would be much obliged. Thank you for your time.
I would like to add a side note. In general I don't teach the kids to go scrounging through the landfill. But I do teach them that if they ever find themselves in a desperate situation, not to overlook a valuable resource because it is used. We go to our local thrift stores and we find things at yard sales. We reuse old broken toys as planters in the garden. We save our coffee grounds and orange peels and egg shells for the garden also. We find things on our walks that have been tossed on the ground, a button or bright rhinestone, and use them for art projects. We learn about the local plant life that can be eaten and which ones to avoid. I just showed them today what a hazelnut tree looks like. ?

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By Byrd7
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52 comments

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9

Cultural propoganda against things like thrift and reuse has been going on for a while. We are encouraged to consume, consume, consume instead of reusing and foraging. The person giving you a hard time has bought into the consumer propoganda. You do you and keep doing good for your family and the planet.

Preach, sistah!!!!

You are simply following hunter-gatherer principles probably genetically woven into you.

8

I totally support reusing and buying second hand. But, my ex came from a long line of hoarders. It's a slippery slope saving everything in case it might be useful. They had 4 generations worth of junk and just kept putting up 40x30ft buildings to house it in. They had so much junk they couldn't find anything and ended up buying new stuff anyway. The grandson that inherited grandma's place filled 7 large roll off dumpsters with broken tools and toys, nasty old cheap furniture, Mayo jars and shoe boxes. My ex had boxes full of junk crammed in a shed that was never sorted or organized. None of it was ever useful. I went looking for nails one day, and found 6 bags of the same kind of nails. Boxes full of 8 track tapes too rotten to play.

I’ve known people like that! Homes looked like unkept antique shops, though most of the stuff had no real value.

@Barnie2years exactly. There is a very fine line between antiques and junk.

7

My ex-wife, both when we were together, and even more so after we split up, obtained much of her furniture and decore from roadside trash piles and free yard displays. Repourposed school lockers, old wash tubs, she was very creative in that way. Even had her friends keeping an eye out for useable curbside treasures. Good for you! Myself, I just tend to keep things way beyond their intended use, mostly by treating them gently! If it goes into my trash, it’s dead!

The x and I furnished an entire apartment from yard sales and discards, including a stereo and tv. We were quite proud of ourselves and would comment about it often!

I'm using a 30 maybe 40 year old washing machine. It is so old that the plastic of the top was cracking and disintegrating. Simple I just glass fibred it all with a fibre strand resin left over from a job on a motor vehicle. It looks disgusting as the glass fibre is a nasty brown orange colour but it has kept it going for four years and it looks like it will go another four. The machine cost me $20 at a deceased estate sale the family saving $50 in transport and local tip fees.

@FrayedBear I have a washer and dryer that has been in use since I moved into the house in 1992. Not sure the newer ones would last that long.

@Barnie2years dead right! The w/mc bought to wash my daughter's nappies only gave up four years ago hence why I bought the $20 one needing glassfibring mentioned above. My daughter is now mid thirties.

@Barnie2years It was quicker, more convenient and probably cheaper than preparing my own thirty + year old machine that I currently use for a saw bench.

7

I am increasingly aware of the impact we have on our environment. We create so much trash, pollution, etc and I would much rather give things to someone who will use them than have them go into landfills. Good for you!

7

no that seems a good outlook to have on life plus your spending time with the younglings and teaching them skills i used to love going with my grandpa to the dump and bringing back things to repurpose

weeman Level 7 Aug 21, 2018
6

What asshole told you that? I'm guessing American, since for the most part, we think shiny and new is always best. Yep, I'm an American trashing Americans! Re-use! Repurpose! I repurpose all kinds of discarded clothing for my custom aprons...look how cute!

I need an apron and have dresses I don't wear anymore. What a great idea!

@LilAtheistLady this was actually a most horrible outfit. The skirt of apron is the pants. The top was taken from shirt.

I love the deep pockets.

6

My last husband used to work at a landfill company in Houston, TX. You would not believe some of the stuff he would bring home. For example:

1)For several years my daughter and son was clothed by the new clothes he would bring home. We were told that stores would rather trash them than give them to thrift stores. Adult clothes however were shredded.

2)An entire Playboy collection in almost new condition

3)Two classic sports magazines with Mickey Mantle on the cover (one was I believe a Sports Illustrated with him as a rookie)

4)Like new classic toys

5)Gently used Persian rugs. They may have been fake, but they weren't that polythread crap.

My grandfather would go dumpster diving in the Pasadena, TX dumpsters for scrap wood. Personally, reusing things is a lot better than just throwing them away.

kiramea Level 7 Aug 23, 2018

My mother in law used to do a lot of her Christmas shopping in the dumpsters behind retail stores. A lot of it was good stuff, maybe a button missing or a small tear. But a lot had nothing wrong with it.

6

All of my cheesy art is made from what others considered trash. If it isn't rotten or mostly reclaimed by the earth, it still has life in it.

Holysocks Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

And I do so love your style!

@Byrd
Why thank you very much!

I had to go look at your pics. I like your style! Really fun art.

@Freespirit64
Thank you so much!

6

I'll echo the sentiment expressed by others on this thread: If someone is telling you that this practice is disgusting, tell them to fuck off. Endlessly buying, buying, buying stuff, stuff, stuff is disgusting. It can't be sustained in the long run, and it's pure foolishness. Good for you for sharing this with your children. I do the same with my Little. It's a valuable lesson we can share with our children.

6

As I see it , this is not a question at all. I am a long time, proud scavenger ! I've been known to haunt dumpsters, home trash piles, and deserted houses. I have acquired perfectly usable (or repairable) furniture, lamps, tools, odds and ends - and even food .

Not only do I see reusing as smart, I believe if more people did it, there would be so much less waste in the world.

Your kids are lucky to have wise guidance !

For those of you that want to help keep things out of landfills - here's a site to swap stuff - all for free :
www.freecycle.com , then join your local group to post , or request items !

evergreen Level 8 Aug 22, 2018

There is also a group on this site.

6

Reuse, reduce, recycle. Love your mother (planet earth) she is all we have. There is no Planet B. I love to reuse. I compost, I have a worm box, I recycle everything I can. Screw the naysayers, you're doing a good thing!

6

Who are these people who tell you that? Since when is being resourceful disgusting?

6

Good for you. I've been a minimalist since before it was a thing, and I have few things but keep them a long time. Little need or desire for more, but when I do, I consider used.

I am the same.

@Donotbelieve I have t-shirts that are more than 20 years old. I bought my winter coat for $35 at a thrift store. It's an army-issue trench with a button-out wool liner. I bought it 30 years ago. I don't know how old it was when I purchased it. I get it dry cleaned every couple of years (unless I need to do it more often). It's holding up like a champ!
Nearly every piece of furniture I own has been a hand-me-down. The pieces I've purchased have all come from thrift stores. I also use old milk crates for all sorts of things. They make excellent end tables and I never worry about leaving water rings. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of my "decor". As long as stuff is functional, I'm not that concerned with what it actually looks like.

@KKGator Yup, another reason for me to like you.

@KKGator In the last 10 years, I have purchased one casual t-shirt. And that was only because I was participating in a fundraiser to support the owner of the gym I use; she has type 1 diabetes so we did the JDRF walk. I am nearing the point where I may need to buy a few, but since I work from home (in a t-shirt) I can let them get pretty threadbare.

@Mitch07102 I cannot remember when I last bought a shirt from a store or outfitters. Mine are all from the local op shop and most were new when I bought them. It is fortunate that my idea of sartorial elegance tends to be what is left on the rack by mainline buyers.

6

I host an open mic at an art gallery in Long Beach. Almost all of the furnishings in the gallery have been rescued from the curb or the alley.

As for the equipment I use, I have saved a substantial amount (i.e., 20% to 65%) by buying used mics. Let's face it, I buy the mics to use them. After a few weeks I have a used mic even if I paid for a new one. A Shure SM57 is still a Shure SM57 even after it has been used for years. And Sennheiser e835s don't have a shelf life either. By intelligently buying a mix of new and used equipment I have put together a sound system that gives us the best sound of any open mic in the area, and saved a few hundred in the process.

Also in Long Beach we have a shop, Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse, that carries nothing but scrap items from manufacturers. Artist and craft types find all sorts of things there to incorporate into their projects.

My other favorite is buying refurbished items. Those are real bargains most of the time.

mcgeo52 Level 8 Aug 22, 2018
6

I am into it

btroje Level 9 Aug 21, 2018
5

I totally agree with you. I grew up in the post WWII austerity of the north of England where a common saying not to be ashamed of was "where there's muck there's brass".
Where I used to live someone started on a 5 acre site next to the local tip, a recycling site called "Junkastic Park". There you could buy spare parts for old washing machines, hair dryers, beds, concrete mixers, toilet bowls and sinks, bathtubs, wood, tiles, ... One time I even saw the mounting bearing for a 6 inch naval warship gun turret machined out of solid stainless steel. No one at the auction of navy surplus wanted it so the auctioneer gave it away to say himself carriage and tip dumping fees.
Sadly some snowflake determined that it was too dangerous for people to be clambering over old fridges and washing machines disassembling them for the pump or tub or whatever. Too risky for local council, insurance company et al to continue. So it was forced to close. Besides which the employees at the local tip were complaining that they couldn't steal and sell the better stuff down at the pub!

5

I think it's important to salvage resources if possible.

Pamscwf1 Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
5

I’m not proud. We even go dumpster diving!

Pride doesn't come into it. It is the instinct of the hunter-gatherer providing for themselves and family.

@FrayedBear Providing really doesn't come into the question. It's more like treasure hunting.

@AstralSmoke hmmm there is that as well ?

5

I think it's great you're teaching your kids not to just throw everything away. Yeah, dumpster diving might be a bit much....but thrift stores and garage sales, go for it! Way better than having them expect to have lots and lots of "things"

5

"Vintage" stores are a big trend right now, almost everything has value to someone. Its good you are teaching your kids to be resourceful.

16classic Level 5 Aug 22, 2018
5

I do that with complete buildings people no longer want. Anyone willing to do some carpentry for a few months can get a free house for themselves. Blow up this picture. Notice I just cut the nails holding one wall to another. Laid the walls down on a trailer and pulled them home.

Anonbene Level 8 Aug 22, 2018
4

I reuse as much as possible before I toss or even have a yard sale. Old curtains might turn into cut pieces used for dust cloths or wiping chores. I've even used them as pretty table coverings. No one notices they're curtains. I reuse grocery bags. I haven't purchased trashbags in years. I reuse glass jars for storage; spices, coffee, bacon grease. I don't throw away plastic food containers. They make great Tupperware . I reuse dish sponges on floors and bathrooms before finally tossing.
Wooden clothes pins have turned into chip and frozen bag clips. You can paint them if you want. And of course clothes and shoes I don't wear anymore are donated to thrift stores. These are all small and virtually effortless ways to contribute your part in reducing waste.

Oh my golly! I do all of these things and have done so for so long that when I was trying to come up with examples I didn't even think to mention these ones

@Byrd I remember my mother washing out 12" plastic food bags to recycle. Now you buy them with cliplocks at one cent per bag.

4

I'm an artist, so even if something doesn't have a super practical use it can sometimes be turned into something beautiful

Yes!!!!

4

Absolutley reuse, repair, conserve. I keep things forever and do everything I can to prolong the life of things I use.

4

The social taboo of being resourceful needs to go. Our planet is covered in disposable everything.

ThisGuy Level 6 Aug 22, 2018
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