One Hobby That Can Transform Your Life & Your World


A pallet is transformed into a new porch swing.

Upcycling has taken the world by storm.

From upcycling your clothing to your broken furniture, the time has come to see your stuff in new light. For the newbies out there, upcycling is also known as creative reuse, and is the process of transforming unwanted products into something new and revamped. You can upcycle nearly everything, transforming your home and your wardrobe, while also caring for the environment.

While you get your fix of creativity and a few more outfit choices, there are also huge environmental benefits to upcycling. By upcycling your unwanted goods, the volume of discarded materials being sent to the landfill is reduced, as well as the need for new production utilizing new materials. Consequently, this leads to reduced air and water pollution, conservation of resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to being a positive change for the environment, upcycling has significant social and personal benefits. Globally, new businesses have been formed utilizing upcycled goods. One company, Repurpose Schoolbags turns upcycled plastic bags into school bags with solar panels, supplying children in rural areas of Africa with not only a school bag, but a bag that can give them light to study by at night.

So by purchasing upcycled goods you are:

  • Contributing positively to the environment and reducing waste.
  • Saving money and acquiring a unique item.

Now that you’ve got a good idea about some of the benefits, its time to get down to business. Here are three upcycling routes to get you started:

Your Clothes Can Be Made into Anything

Ready to donate all those old clothes to charity, bin them or just stuff them in the back of the wardrobe and not think about it? Well think twice, there are so many things you can do with old clothes if you look for their hidden potential. Upcycle That, has some fantastic ideas for you ladies about how to make the most of your partner’s old shirts and ties and most importantly, it’s simple. From taking an old sweater and creating a stool cover out of it (some tips for you here), or turning a dress into a skirt, you can do anything you like.

While there are several websites you can go to for ideas, ideas are all around you – including on social media. Take the @FiftiesFashionistas for example, who inspired me with their Jimmy Choo’s revamp on Facebook and Instagram, by simply using spray paint (or lacquer) to cover scuffed leather in places. Now, they are an accessory to any outfit- bravo!

Your Furniture Has a Second Life

Furniture upcycling takes a little more commitment and some preparation, so you’ll want to think things through before you start a project. Make sure you have a plan in mind and buy all the essentials in advance (there is nothing worse than getting three stages in and realizing you’ve missed the most important one).

Homebase has some great suggestions on the essentials, and some videos to assist you in your task. There are some great examples out there, so use some as inspiration, yet feel free to be creative. Remember, you won’t always get it right but learn from your mistakes on the way. Below is a great example of moving out of your comfort zone and giving your furniture that refreshed, new look.  A classic wooden chest of drawers, several years old, turned into a jazzy, vintage and unique model; after a paint, distress, wax and the addition of some Zara Home sparkly knobs.

Project by Susan Sutherland

Transform Your Garden

Your garden may be your easiest place to upcycling, simply because anything that is no longer wanted or needed inside could find a new home in the garden. I’m loving the upcycled pallet furniture ideas from Upcycled-Wonders for your garden, they are both basic and versatile.

Any kind of vessel can be turned into a pot for a plant, no matter the shape or size; before you discard anything, try to look at it with new eyes and as a potential home for one of your favorite plants.

Finally, get your family and friends involved in these fun projects, delegate tasks, ask for ideas and get opinions. The most important take-away from this life-changing hobby is that you’ve gained a new item for your home, while contributing to a sustainable environment and promoting a positive hobby for all.


Marina Sergeeva

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