New uses for old things…

A lot of people use minimalism and Zero-waste as an easy excuse to get rid of things. Things that don’t fit their lifestyles anymore, things that aren’t useful or aesthetically pleasing, etc. They donate or sell the unwanted items, or even give them to family and friends, which is great. But what do you do with the things that can’t be donated/recycled/ or given away? I’m not against downsizing by any means, I’ve done it myself. But now that I’m at a happy equilibrium with my things, when something loses it’s usefulness I have to ask myself if it’s really “dead” or if I can save it somehow so it isn’t wasted.

A big part of my new minimalist/zero-waste approach to life is finding new uses for old things before they find their way to the trash. Making as little trash as possible necessitates getting a little creative.

For example, I found a few of my socks have gotten new holes in them. I’ve patched the holes before, but the poor things have finally bit the dust. Now, normally I would’ve thrown them straight into the trash….but, I found myself thinking if there was anything else I could use them for to extend their life.

I thought about turning them into rags, but the holes were in the way, so I came up with something else. I cut the stretchy parts off the tops and am going to save the soft fabric of the foot of the socks to stuff a pillow later. But for the stretchy parts (which would be quite uncomfortable inside of a pillow), I had to do something else.


For the long socks, I decided to fold the stretchy part down and turn it into wrist sweat-bands.

And for the shorter one, I folded it over on itself and did a quick hand stitch to hold it in place. Now it is a stretchy hairband/scrunchie 🙂

So, I now have new sweat bands, a hair tie, and some fabric to save for a future pillow. Not bad for a few old socks, if I do say so myself. 🙂

It might not seem like much, but it’s a small change in a way of thinking that not only helps give things a second or third life, but it also saves simple things like old socks from ending up in the waste stream before their time.

This isn’t the first time I’ve repurposed/upcycled old items. I’ve turned an old pair of shorts and an old t-shirt into handkerchiefs. I’ve turned an old t-shirt into a reusable bag. Repurposed old worn out sheets into soft cat bedding for my kitties. Used an old coffee pot, punch bowl, and baking dishes to create an indoor garden. I’ve even used old trash cans as catchers for rain water from our porch, which I then use to water my garden.

Now I know some of you are thinking “Candice, don’t you thinking you’re taking this a bit too far? I mean, socks, really? Just toss them.”

But that’s the thing, they are socks, but their not JUST socks. They are a purchase I made that I am now responsible for disposing of when they have ended their usefulness. So, instead of simply tossing them, I found a creative new way to use them. This might seem crazy, but it is how I apply my values to the way I live. I want to produce as little trash as possible, and take into account the amount of resources I’m using to minimize my harmful impact on the planet.

I’ve been called a “hippy” before, but it’s a title I wear with pride.

Have you done any upcycling lately? Reinvented an old appliance/piece of clothing, etc? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!




Baby-Step #19- Sewing Kit

Everyone knows about the 3 R’s…. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, but I would add 2 extra R’s to this list. My list goes like this…

Refuse– plastics, single-use, etc.

Reduce- what you use, the amount of possessions, etc.

Repair- holes in clothes, etc.

Reuse- upcycle, use in a different way, etc.

Recycle- what doesn’t fall into the previous categories.

I would go down the list in exactly that order as well, that way, by the time you get to the recycle option, there won’t be that much to recycle.

Today I want to focus on the Repair R. Almost every “new” piece of clothing comes with some sort of extra button or string, and along the way I started collecting these things in a glass mason jar that I had. (I mostly buy second hand now, but occasionally buying “new” is unavoidable)

As time went on I added  small pair of scissors to the jar, along with a sewing needle, a thimble, and a few bobbins of thread that I had collected over the years. I saw a pinterest sewing kit in a jar, and it had a pin cushion on top of the jar, so I decided to DIY one for my jar. I just took some extra fabric for the stuffing, and a purple scrap to cover it, I hot glued it to the lid of the jar and my home-made sewing kit was born.


This beauty has helped me save many sweaters, skirts, and bags from the landfill. It is extremely convenient to be able to pull this out whenever I find a hole or torn seam, and just sew it back together. I have extended the life of most of my clothes with a tiny sew job.

When the clothes or other cloth items can no longer be mended, they will be reused as scraps or hankies, extending their lives even further.

Do you have a sewing kit at home?