by Bernadette Flaim

Winter is FINALLY over . . . and whether you plan to dwell or sell, don’t be too quick to trash your hidden treasures or set them aside for a spring garage sale – consider “upcycling” instead.

This stylish bucket is made from a used tire... how brilliant is that! Photo: upcycle.com

This stylish bucket is made from a used tire… how brilliant is that!
Photo: upcycle.com

So what is Upcycling? According to hipcycle.com, it is the process of converting old or discarded items into something useful and, surprisingly, often beautiful. Upcycling also gives an item a better purpose. Although both are incredibly “green” unlike recycling, upcycling doesn’t involve the breaking down of materials, but rather a creative way to refashion and sometimes repurpose them. The upcycled item is typically of better quality than the original and certainly an upscale, “refreshed” version of its former self. What’s old is new again, but with a twist.

Your Grandparents Were Probably Upcyclers

Although upcycling is considered “trendy” it is certainly not new – big in the 30s and 40s – it was considered an “age of thrift” when families needed to reuse and repurpose almost everything – over and over again.

We are Still Doing It for Fun and Profit

Repurposed Belt Art Crazy Belt Lady - Etsy.com

Repurposed Belt Art Crazy Belt Lady – Etsy.com

Most of us are “green” at heart – whether it’s to send less “stuff” to the earth’s landfills, or to pay it forward, leaving a better place for our children. But who are we kidding . . . this upcycling thing is FUN and aesthetically satisfying – you only have to visit the many upcycling boards on Pinterest – here’s mine – or take a spin around Etsy.com – many of their artists’ beautifully upcycled items can rival those found in high-end boutique shops.

Not yet convinced? Here are some more amazing and fun examples:

Travel slides make the perfect upcycled lampshade. Photo: Esty.com

Travel slides make the perfect upcycled lampshade. Photo: Esty.com

Vintage book repurposed to collect greeting cards. Photo: twopeasinabucket.com

Vintage book repurposed to collect greeting cards. Photo: twopeasinabucket.com

Spray-painted yellow and topped with plywood, three Goodwill filing cabinets "morph" into a stylish storage unit. Photo: CountryLiving.com

Spray-painted yellow and topped with plywood, three Goodwill filing cabinets “morph” into a stylish storage unit. Photo: CountryLiving.com

Upcycling is . . . simply Responsible

I couldn’t agree with hipcycle.com more – when you upcycle, you remove items from the global garbage stream. The possibilities are endless and so are the things you can upcycle – suitcases, costume jewelry, furniture, clothing, housewares, old bathroom fixtures, tires and tools just to name a few – upcycling is only limited to your imagination.

So . . . sort through your closets, your attic, your garage and your basement – showcase what you love, but in a new and unexpected way . . . how? . . . by UPCYCLING it . . .!