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Repurposing Your Things Is Good For The Environment

By November 26, 2023December 29th, 2023How to Declutter: Use Simple Strategies

Do you repurpose your things? I love to repurpose furniture. One of the chest of drawers in my house is no longer used for clothes but has been repurposed as my wrapping station. The drawers along the top hold tissue paper, tape, scissors, and small gift bags. The three large drawers are dedicated to ribbon, birthday wrapping paper, and holiday wrapping paper. These drawers are so long and deep that I can also stash small gifts inside them. Repurposing things which we own is one of my primary missions as a professional organizer.

Titles of businesses

Do you ever think about the titles people use for their professional organizing businesses? I do. I love to read the title of the business and see if I can figure out how it relates to the person. The title of my other business is DNQ Solutions. It’s really easy to relate that back to me because DNQ are my initials and I’m great at figuring out solutions to problems. The title of this business is Release Repurpose Reorganize.

Jonda Beattie and I decided to give our joint business this title because this is what we do with many of our clients. We work closely with them to release things they no longer need, use, or love. One of our goals is to repurpose what our clients already have to minimize costs and reduce what we discard. Repurposing their things extends the usefulness of the objects. And we love to guide them to reorganize their belongings so they can find their things.

Instant gratification

Our world has become one in which many people seek instant gratification. If something is broken, out it goes. Even if there is a quick and obvious fix. Why is that? I believe it’s because fixing things takes time, energy, and resources.

To fix something you need to know which part or parts must be fixed or replaced. Then you must either find the parts amongst your stuff or go out and get them. Finally, you must set aside time to do the work. It’s easy to just go out and buy a replacement. Plus, it doesn’t cost as much in time and energy.

Repurpose your things vs. discarding

The problem is that discarding things, instead of repurposing things, adds to the landfill. Intellectually, we all know that when we throw something out if must go somewhere. Many of us don’t spend time analyzing what ends up in the landfill and the impact that has on our beautiful planet.

If one of our clients has lots of stuff to release, we often call Junkluggers. Part of this company’s mission is to “donate, rehome, or recycle” as much of what they remove as possible. But what about clothes? Did you know that clothing is one of the biggest contributors to the landfill. According to this website, the world produces 92 million tons of textile waste each year.

Repurposing your clothes

Our friend and fellow professional organizer, Julie Bestry, shared an article with us recently which tells about a fabulous new concept promoted in France. The idea is that if someone goes to a tailor and has their clothes fixed, the government will subsidize the amount they spend. The French government knows that if an article of clothing is missing a button, needs a new hem, or a waist let in or taken out it takes time and talent to fix it. It’s easier to toss that article of clothing and get something new. The French government is making going to a tailor more economical than getting a replacement.

I found a similar theme echoed in a book I read to my grandchildren a few weeks ago. The book is: Jacob Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. In the story, Jacob keeps repurposing his overcoat. He remakes it into other garments until all that’s left of it is a handkerchief.  It is a beautiful story and underscores the message that something, even an overcoat, can be repurposed and made useful long after its intended use is finished. There’s no need to just discard it once its initial purpose is no longer valid.

As we move into the holiday season look at the things you own through new lenses. Is repurposing your things, instead of discarding them, an option? Can you remake something or fix something instead of adding it to the landfill?

Ask yourself those questions before putting your belongings out in the trash. If you’d like guidance as you release, repurpose, and reorganize your belongings join the Clear Space for You virtual clutter support group I run with Jonda Beattie. We have new groups starting in January.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.




  • Seana Turner says:

    I love the whole ethos of this company and this post.

    When my daughter and I went shopping this past weekend, we decided to begin with the local thrift shop. She bought a dress and her boyfriend a tie. The proceeds from this particular thrift shop go to scholarships for young people. We felt great about the prices, the scholarships, and our purchases. We also found that these stores are a great source for holiday decorations, and my daughter is planning on visiting her local thrift store now that she is back home to get a few more festive pieces.

    There are so many ways to love our things AND our planet. Beautiful!

  • Speaking of moving into the holiday season, another form of repurposing is re-gifting. It takes some thought to not offend someone by accidentally giving them something that they previously gave you! Depends entirely on the thing, of course, and the relationship. But the perfect gift could be something you already have that they would love.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I think re-gifting is a good thing to do. Of course, it’s always best if you can avoid re-gifting to the original gifter!

  • What a wonderful write, I love repurposing, reusing, recycling. What a wonderful concept the French government is doing in order to help their people save them from tossing and buying more. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I’m so delighted that you were able to make use of that article! The minute I saw it, I knew I had to share it with you and Jonda because, although it wasn’t a logical fit for my own blog, it was tailor-made for Release*Repurpose*Reorganize!

    I’m big on repurposing things, and I rarely purchase something new if there’s something that functionally fits the bill. In fact, the only thing I bought on Black Friday were socks because last Spring (the last time I wore socks) my dryer started eating them, causing holes. So now I’ve got sock-mitten dust clothes (repurposed socks) and real socks. I am sure that if our government would subsidize repairs, people would learn how to repair instead of buy fast fashion.

    The Jacob book sounds lovely. Thank you for these stellar reminders to take care of the planet.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I use my old socks as dust mittens, too! I’m so glad to know you like this blog – the Jacob book is a beautiful story, good for young and ‘more experienced’ alike!

  • I have always loved the idea or repurposing things. I used to give theme parties every summer. One year was a Repurpose Party. Everyone was to come prepared to share new uses for everyday items. They could either bring the item, a picture, or just their idea.
    It was a lot of fun. I also was intrigued by the book you read to your grandchildren. I looked it up and ordered it for mine.

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