Instead of tossing unwanted items, try upcycling

My mission this year is to really focus on getting rid of things I no longer need, with the possibility of downsizing in the future. It is never too early to start. This week I went into the storage area of my basement and almost had an anxiety attack. My intention was to start the purging process, but I got very overwhelmed.

It was too easy to just walk away but I organized one area, pulled a few items to recycle and donate, and created a yard sale pile. It is a small start, but at least it is movement forward. Lack of time always seems to be my issue, but I made room to do an hour of editing, and it felt good.

One way to recycle is to “upcycle” and use what you have in creative ways. That is what Stephanie Uszenski of the Village of Walden did by beautifully upcycling a few items, which might have ended up in the trash.

Upside to upcycling
Maybe it comes from being raised by parents who were raised shortly after the Depression, but Uszenski hates to waste anything and loves to craft. “In this crazy, busy, modern existence, there are few things that we do with any sense of permanence. For me, crafting is like therapy; it’s something to feel a sense of accomplishment about, even days later,” says Uszenski.


“When my kids were small, we rented a beach house each summer, the type you bring your own sheets, etc. This left me with a vast collection of twin and full sheets that we no longer needed. Using a tutorial on Pinterest, I was able to cut the sheets and create “yarn” balls of coordinating colors and patterns from three flat twin sheets and crochet this round rug. It was my first “practice” rug,” says Uszenski.



The birch tree

Uszenski tells how they lost a birch tree in a storm this year. She saw birch log candleholders and other crafts online and at gift shops, so she set aside some of the nicer branches. Her husband set up his Workmate table on the patio with a chop saw.

She says, “I hadn’t used a saw like that since wood shop in high school. It was so much fun to cut the branches to various lengths. Then I used the table as a vice and using an easy to get, inexpensive drill bit, bore the holes that fit tea lights. I’m still bundling them together with burlap, ribbon and twine, and giving them as gifts on a dish of fresh greens.”

How cool is that? Old sheets become a rug and a fallen tree becomes a decorative item that anyone would be happy to receive as a gift, especially since it is handmade with love.