Upcycling Ideas for the Home: Donate your repurposed junk!


Who Else Needs Upcycling Ideas for the Home?

One of the goals of my sustainable living journey is to throw away less junk. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. I am not a person who likes to save stuff. I hate clutter, and I hate having old junk lying around the house.

In fact, my kids are constantly coming to me with upcycling ideas for the home. They ask me if they can keep stuff like used milk cartons, scraps of old clothes, hardware, and everything else that makes a mess. And I say no.

No, I don’t want milk cartons and cardboard boxes piling up in your bedroom. You’re never going to use it. It’s just going to sit there and make us look like hoarders.

It’s not just in their bedrooms, either. My house is overflowing with junk in every room. I’m swimming in it. Dreaming about it. The junk follows me into my nightmares, crying, “Upcycle me! I only want to live on in a child’s cardboard fort that blocks your path to the bathroom!” Your upcycling ideas are my horror movie! I CAN’T TAKE IT! 

(OK, it’s not quite that bad. Suffice it to say, I’m not a big fan of junk.)

OK, it’s not QUITE that bad. But I do hate junk. AnywayI had an idea last night. A while back, I heard about a craft store that uses nothing but old junk. The woman who operates it collects old junk from people and lets her customers use it to create their own crafts. (Sorry, I can’t remember the name of the store or even where it was located. I tried to Google it and came up empty. If you know, please tell me!)

I thought to myself, “I wonder if any local businesses or charities would like to use my junk to make crafts?” I thought it was a long shot, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to email a few people and ask.

people holding assorted coloured balloons
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Here’s what I wrote in my email:

Hi there. I have a bit of an odd request.

I have a bunch of “stuff” that could potentially be used for children’s crafts, but I know that my children and I will probably never get around to using it. I was wondering if you would take these things as a donation.

For example, I have a lot of fabrics from old throw pillows and clothes with holes in them. They could be cut up for sewing or something similar. I also have some hardware pieces, buttons, cardboard, and other similar items.

Would you be interested in taking this stuff and using it in your crafts? I’m trying to find a local business or charity that will take all of it rather than running around to a bunch of different places. My goal is to keep it out of a landfill.

Thanks for your time!

Nicole Roder

I sent ONE email and someone has agreed to take my stuff! So right now, I am gathering up all of the repurposed junk in my house. Next week, the kids and I will drive it over to the Chesapeake Children’s Museum in Annapolis. (We will also stay to play at the museum for a while, so we’re not even wasting gas!)


More Places to Donate Upcycled Junk?

Since I know I’m gonna have more repurposed junk to give away in the future, and I don’t want to overwhelm the good people at the Chesapeake Children’s Museum, I’d like to create a list of businesses and charities who might also be able to use my junk.

Here’s where you come in!

Can you all help me identify businesses and charities where children make crafts? If you send me links to their websites (or contact info!) I’ll email all of them with my “odd request.” Anyone who responds positively will earn a spot on a new list I’m making. It’s called “Organizations who Help Accept Upcycling Donations.” I’ll be happy to share my list with all of you, and hopefully we can all put more of our junk to good use!

Do you have more upcycling ideas for the home? Let me know in the comments!



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