The Flaming Vegan

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Make Upcycling Your New BFF!
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Make Upcycling Your New BFF!

Upcycling is a hot trend in eco living - and one that doesn’t seem to go away because it’s such a great way to make use of what you already have in new and creative ways. Best of all, it can be heaven for your wardrobe.

I sometimes call my wardrobe the place where my 'war robes' are - I have items that I have bought on a whim that take up space and others that I am sick of wearing (they're currently eyeing out the hospice box for my next spring-cleaning session). Does this sound familiar? What should we do with these clothes? With upcycling, things get a lot more eco-friendly because most of these will not end up in the bin. You can fall in love with them again.

The Ups of Upcycling!

  • 1. It prevents waste. We have enough of rubbish going into the landfills! We don’t need to make this situation worse. 
  • 2. It saves you money. Instead of tossing items in the bin and then having to replace them with something new, you get new life out of old things. 
  • 3. You tap into your inner fashionista! You get to be creative with your style and possibly start some trends while you’re at it.

Here are some steps to help you embrace upcycling:

  • 1. See the Item Objectively 

Take an item of clothing that you dislike and set it on the table. Think of what is still good about it and also consider its bad points. Maybe it is a dress that is in a color which doesn’t suit you or it's missing a few buttons. Or maybe it's the perfect color but you don’t really like wearing dresses.

  • 2. Sustainable Solutions

Now, think about how those problems can be fixed. If the item is missing a zipper or buttons, you could add those to it and get more wear out of the item. If you wish it had been a top instead of a dress, consider cutting and sewing it, and so on. If you really like the material but you don’t want to wear it, you could cut up the item and turn it into something else completely: a cushion cover, pieces of fabric to repair torn jeans (the patchwork look is always fun), and so on.

If all else fails…

  • 3. Swap it!

If you have an item of clothing that you don’t like and you can’t think of anything you can do to still make use of it somehow (this is quite rare), then why not see if your friend might want it? You could even go one step further and host a clothes swapping party where you all bring clothes and other fashion accessories you don’t like and swap them. Someone’s trash might become someone’s treasure!

  • 4. Donate it

If the clothes you don’t want are still in good condition, you could donate them to a hospice. This is a different way to upcycle: you give something of value to someone else who will make good use out of it. It's a great way to clothe someone who is poor and would never have been able to purchase the item themselves.


*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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