Organizing your recycled craft materials

Minimalism and Creative Reuse

Last month, I was interviewed on the podcast The Sustainable Minimalist, hosted by Stephanie Sefarian. Stephanie is a great interviewer! In today’s Trashmagination podcast, I will share some tidbits from that interview.

You can listen to my podcast episode on the challenges with minimalism and creative reuse in this YouTube video. It originally aired in October 2018.

To give some context, Stephanie’s podcast is for people who are simplifying their lives or learning about minimalism. A stereotype of minimalism is that the main goal is to reduce your possessions and downsizing your home. That can be a big part of the process – but it is just one facet of minimalism. It can also mean simplifying your schedule by learning to say “no” to commitments and being intentional about how you spend your time and money.

Stephanie asked how one might work towards a minimalist lifestyle if you also want to pursue creative reuse as part of an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. Just like there are stereotypes about minimalism, there are stereotypes about creative reuse. People imagine that to make items from recycled materials, you must store crates of recyclables in your home, which would not seem to align with minimalist goals.

There are ways to do creative reuse that do not involve giant crates of recyclables. In this episode, I share strategies to help you achieve goals of minimalism AND creative reuse!

How to Set Up Your Home to Be Both Minimalist and Still Do Creative Reuse

  • Step 1 – Figure out what you want to collect
  • Step 2 – Store what you collect in a way so you don’t forget about it
  • Step 3 – Getting rid of collections that you realize you are not going to creatively reuse either because your interests have changed or you are moving somewhere and can’t store it anymore.

How do you know what to collect?

  • Look at the trash and recycling items your family generates
  • Start a Pinterest board of ideas for what you could do with that material
  • Match a “making skill” to the trash/recycling material
  • Only collect items that delight you
  • Tell your friends what you are collecting

How to store materials until you use them

  • Clean and deconstruct
  • Set maximum collection amounts
  • Set maximum “keep” times
  • Store in clear containers

What to do with collections you decide you don’t need anymore

  • Many trash and recycling items can have value if they are in quantity, clean and stored neatly
  • People might want your recycled material collections if you show how to use the materials
  • Design projects around materials

Check out the robot craft I designed to use up my gray plastic cap collection

Show Details

I’m still looking for broken or unwanted tents if you’d like to give them to me!