Monday, July 20, 2015

Reusing and repurposing: Is it worth it?

I blogged yesterday about ways to keep things out of the landfill.  But because this blog is primarily about simplifying, I have to address the elephant in the room: Is it really simpler to reuse and repurpose your trash and items that have lost their usefulness?

Take the example of mason jars, for example.  You get jars with all sorts of things: jam, pickles, spaghetti sauce, salsa, you name it.  If you were to keep every single jar, you could quickly fill your cabinets with nothing else.  You could use jars as drinking glasses, food storage, vases, and pretty much anything else you could think of.

And while this is a cool idea, and very green, the truth is...'s a lot of damn work.

If you're going for a simple life, saving everything for reusing and repurposing is probably not the best thing for it.  It's great for living green or living cheap, but not so much for simplifying.  Continuing with the jar example, it takes time and (a damn lot of) effort to get the labels off of everything.  And if you want to do something crafty, such as painting the jar with chalkboard paint, that takes more time and effort.

Pretty much everything that you would reuse or repurpose is the same way, so I don't recommend it unless 1) you have the time and 2) it's something you actually need or could use or want to do.  Actually, there's a third reason, as a lot of clever and crafty entrepreneurs have made really wonderful businesses out of repurposing trash... but unless you feel strongly about your repurposing project, it's probably going to feel like a waste of time.

There are exceptions, of course.  I don't generally like taking the time to repurpose containers, yet I'm currently in the process of making my own set of tea canisters out of Talenti ice cream jars.  But that's the exception and not the rule for me.

What about you?  Do you feel like it's worth your time to repurpose things... and do you do it with everything, or only certain items or for certain projects?

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