Creative Repurposing: Three Fresh Ideas

With Earth Day only two weeks away and environmental consciousness on everyone’s mind, we thought we’d share a little about how Goodwill® helps to save our planet. On top of creating a wonderful opportunity for neighbors to reuse one another’s second-hand items through retail stores, Goodwill stock that doesn’t sell after a significant amount of time in stores and outlets is baled and sold to textile recyclers, which extends the life of already manufactured goods. Right there we have two of the three sustainability Rs, now let’s look at the third: reduce. Here are a few fresh ways that people have reduced their need to buy new things simply by reusing the old for their creative repurposing projects!

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If you’re still spring cleaning, you’ll probably appreciate a little organization inspiration and this gorgeous reclaimed jewelry sorter is just the ticket! I was stunned by the beauty of well-worn wood studded with jewelry hanging on hand-hooked keys! One click through to the tutorial enlightened me to the fact that the wood isn’t that worn at all, but painted to look aged with a simple technique – even more amazing! And who knew that bending keys to form hooks would be such a cinch? I bet sifting through your junk drawer to find some old, abandoned keys will be more strenuous, but at least then you’ll have less clutter and won’t be contributing to the landfills when you remove them. Thanks so much to Industries Goodwill Renaissance Montreal for sharing this charming tutorial on their Facebook page! (Pssst! The website can be translated to English, too.)

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Get ready for an Earth Day double whammy with this DIY project that repurposes unwanted items while also supporting new plant life: garden markers made from thrifted spoons! After collecting silver spoons from your favorite Goodwill store, see how Lindsay of Shrimp Salad Circus uses metal stamps to produce whimsical plant labels. One great tip she offers for metal stamping is to fill the letters in with permanent marker then rub the excess off with a nail file. This establishes a distinct patina to make the letter stand out without a lot of extra work. Now I feel like I want to stamp letters into any metal I find. What a fun crafting skill to have!

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Repurposing keys and spoons may seem a little more intuitive seeing as both are useful tools to begin with, but how about saving textiles from the landfills by turning clothing into art? When you see the eclectic fabric collages that Jim Hornsby of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee (Nashville) has been constructing, that won’t sound like such a crazy idea. These fun create-your-own puzzle pictures are perfect for anyone who can wield a pair of scissors and since static allows fabrics to easily cling together, not much else is required! Where does Jim find his medium? Here’s a hint: he says that the inside of a Goodwill is “like an artist’s palette, with all the reds and blues” and admits that he’s very inspired by shopping there. I know exactly what he means!

So when you’re looking for a good deed to do this Earth Day, it really can be as easy as shopping at or donating to your local Goodwill! If you reduce your need for buying newly made necessities, reuse what others have donated, and support an organization that recycles whatever doesn’t sell in its retail stores then you’ll already be making a great start.