3 Reasons NOT to Upcycle

It’s all the rage! And everyone wants to get on board! Upcycling or repurposing. What’s not to love? You can create new home decor, save the planet AND impress your friends. But wait! Let me give you 3 reasons not to upcycle . . . anything.

If you’re a creative type, you can see the potential in just about anything. Anything with a board wider than two inches can be a shelf somewhere. Any long cylinder of any length can host hanging objects of any kind.

If you’re a resourceful sort of person, you just don’t see the point in waste. If it hasn’t rotted, then there’s life left in it.

I get all that. I’ve been known to cover the bottom of a cereal box in scrapbooking paper and use if for a chip clip container.

ball jar projects

So if you’re being enticed by the upcycling/repurposing movement, here are 3 reasons not to give in.

  1.  It can contribute to clutter. By its very nature re-purposing means that you will hang on to an items UNTIL  you find another purpose for it. What we know for sure is that inspiration and needed materials do not materialize at exactly the same moment. You either “feel” like an item could be given another life or you “know” exactly how you want to use it. If you “know” how you want to use the item, the question that remains is do you have time right now to create this new masterpiece? Probably not. Then your item is stored in the “I’ll-get-to-it-someday” pile. The result of either scenario is clutter to be stored somewhere in hopes that you remember to come back to the lofty re-purposing goal.
  2. It can rob you of valuable time. If you are convinced that re-purposing is the way to go, then know that this item waiting for its incarnation, will call your name every time you pass it. At some point you will have a decision to make: will you dig into the remake or will you continue to store it all the while feeling guilty until you finally give in? Is another project really the best use of your time right now? Is this project really necessary to the happiness of your family or just a cute little thingamajig to impress? When you finally work to bring new life to whatever you have re-imagined, how much time will you waste spend on it. You are after all imagining a project for which you only have rough instructions if any at all.
  3. It will cost you. Many upcycling projects are just fun; they are for our pleasure. So let’s be honest, you know this project is going to cost you an unknown number of trips to the store, and the cost of supplies (the remainder of which you will never use). Let’s recap: you are spending money on a creation that is not needed, may not contribute to the value of your life, and has robbed you of valuable time. I’m just sayin’.

If someone in your family is suggesting that you could contribute to the family budget by upcycling, please, by all means, feel free to use these reasons to stop the discussion in its tracks.

If you’re the someone suggesting that you could contribute to the family budget by upcycling, please, by all means, ignore these reasons and pursue your projects with all the satisfaction, creativity and stress-reducing that upcyling and repurposing offers.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “3 Reasons NOT to Upcycle

  1. Excellent points here. I find a lot of stuff people hold onto “because it might be useful.” Only keep it if you have a clear and timely plan to put it to use, otherwise… let it go! #POBC

    • You’re so right. I think the operative word is “might” be useful. And indeed, it might. But we actually need to turn our “might” into a “will” with an implemented plan as you said. No one can explain the feeling that comes with letting go until they experience it, can they?

    • Hey Maureen, thanks for stopping by. It truly is a decision-making process, isn’t it. Sometimes not an easy one, but either decision is okay. I just had to see people get on a band wagon and maybe feel guilty because they are not living the culture.

  2. Great points, my view on upcycling is, if you are looking for a container and you can reuse the one you already have for a different purpose that is my idea of upcycling, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a craft. However you are correct it can create piles of “maybes” for those who don’t have a concrete plan for the item.

    • Hey Jill, thanks for your comment. I know exactly what you mean. I have a summer-y utensil caddy that was ready to entertain at a moments notice. I use it now for skin care products. But I also have a pair of handles from a purse that I deconstructed. They have yet to be repurposed. True confession; please don’t tell. 🙂

  3. Wonderful ideas in this post! I agree that upcycling is not always practical. I’ve seen so many “I will get to it someday” piles that cause clutter and overwhelming feelings. Sometimes it is OK to admit that the time, cost and clutter are just not worth it.

    • Nancy, wonder why we are so resistant to moving on instead of sticking with ill-begotten ideas. We really need to get past the idea of failure or giving up or whatever the mindset is and know that when we move on it is just good decision making. Thank you for stopping by and reminding us to value our time, cost and organization.

  4. Good perspective, Debbie! Although I like to reuse & repurpose, I definitely set limits on the amount I am willing to keep on hand. I have a space in the garage exactly for this. I also am not very crafty, just like to be somewhat creative!!
    Thanks for posting to P.O.B.C.!!

    • Olive, thanks for your insight on limiting the space of what we want to re-purpose. Truthfully, we can’t throw everything away that just needs a chance to live again. 🙂 Some things are just to beautiful not to re-purpose. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I see a lot of clients holding onto supplies with good intentions of repurposing, but little time to actually bring their ideas to fruition. I say there is a season for everything, and when you are “under the clutter” is not the time to hold onto anything that isn’t useful right now. Once your space is in order, if you have the space to keep a couple of items and work on a few projects, good for you!

    • Seana, you noted two important paradigm: 1) “useful right now;” 2) “have the space.” I like the way you think. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I agree 100% with #1. I love the idea of repurposing an item, but I know that if I can’t create that new thing relatively quickly, it will turn into clutter.