Hi everyone – I have a special post for you today.
Reuse, recycle, upcycle, reprocess, reclaim, re-purpose, remake, remodel, upcycle, new use, salvage, economic sustainability, convert, transform, regenerate, fabricate, re-manufacture – and the list goes on. Now apply those words to arts and crafts.
Today’s world is swollen with options, a place where there are very few things that can’t be found either locally or online to fill our crafting needs – but wait! There’s one other place you may not have searched for that item you need to complete a project – REUSE STORES.
Do you have one of these in your area yet? Put out your crafting spidey sense because it could be there, tucked away in a somewhat obscure location with little or no advertising to alert you to it’s presence. But if you’ve got one and you haven’t been there yet, well, oh man, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
Come and see…
In this case, the ‘A’ frame sign outside the door to a local nursery and seed store is all the outside notice you’ll get for the treasure hidden within. This is sort of typical for these ‘reuse’ stores as most are non-profit, donation only businesses that don’t have a spare penny for things like expensive advertising.
Once in the store, a staircase beckons…
They had me at “Art and Craft Store”. I turn the corner and go on up the stairs as more and more things come into view.
Boom! The first section blasts over the newcomer – this is right at the top of the stairs – and then I turn my head right and then left and my hunting skills quiver into high alert.
There’s boxes and bins, barrels and baskets and sometimes – well it’s just piles, stacks and stuff hung on the walls!
This is just a glimpse of the craft books available. How many of you have stack of these in your house? When was the last time you used them? Make a special mental note: “I will go through my craft books and set aside all the ones I know I’ll never use again”.
The same goes for that even larger collection of craft magazines! Start small with just weeding out a few or go BIG and clean out a huge stack that’s just gathering dust because these guys take those mags, too.
Look at the labels here, all of these things are in demand and things you might be tossing out on a regular basis. So much that goes into landfills can be turned into something else. And the prices – be still my thrifty heart!
As every town and cities school funding gets tighter and tighter arts and crafts classes and their corresponding budgets get smaller and smaller. A HUGE thanks goes out to those teachers who scavenge art supplies (frequently at their own expense) so kids might know the fun and satisfaction of making art and learning a skill. If you know a teacher, please be sure to pass on the whereabouts of your local ReUse store to them.
Stitchers – check it out. Past stitchers – this is where you can feel truly wonderful about finally giving your collection of needlework supplies a new home. Know that someone will walk in this store and gasp at the treasures they’ve found.
Whether it’s yarns and related tools and supplies…
…threads, cords, floss, patterns, instructions, ribbons and more…
…fabrics – whole huge sections of fabrics! All of these items come in thanks to crafters who were, are, or wanted to be – and then they go out the same way. The circle continues.
Are you building that pile yet? Don’t forget that you don’t need to take in a big old box full of stuff (though if you wind up with one, don’t be surprised). Just do a walk through your crafting stash and pull out the left overs from a project you know you won’t repeat.
And remember, these stores are great source of inspiration. These racks of donated store fabric samples? I ran into a couple of women who use these swatches to make amazing totes and purses. They sell their product at craft fairs and open markets (and do pretty well with it, too, I might add)!
The jewelry making section changes fast as you can imagine. Do you just have a few pieces of leftover cords, wires, rhinestones, beads and fasteners? Believe me – they’ll take them!
Paints, brushes, markers, pens, glues, pastes – you name it – they’ve got it! But these are areas that always needs more, more, MORE! Keep adding to that pile of stuff you’re gathering!
This is just a section of the papers on offer here. Where does it all come from? Well, you and me but also businesses, don’t forget stores, markets, offices and every other kind of brick and mortar shop – you may have piles of reusable materials that for you is just another thing to be hauled off to the dump BUT your local ReUse market would LOVE to take it off your hands. See anything in these pictures that you might have heading for the dumpsters right now? Consider this a big TIA if you reroute that to the ReUse.
And look – yes, there’s scrapbook papers and supplies, frame items too, but see down low on the left? Wallpaper books!
I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve made using wallpaper. I’ve even found Vintage and Antique wallpaper (and a few other old treasures) here at my local ReUse Market.
Now if you’re lucky, your market will be as well organized as mine is. These people put so much effort into sorting and stocking all of these donated items for my convenience. And look, it’s not just craft supplies you could donate – it’s storage, too!
I had to replace the floor in my craft room a couple of years ago and I took a very firm stand with myself when I was moving everything out for the job. I decided I would take the opportunity to not only really organize my craft supplies but to take a good ‘realistic’ look at everything and decide: will I ever use this, is this something I’ve tried but didn’t get into or man, I don’t even know why I have this? When I was done I had a trunk load of items that, though it was a momentary wrench, I was in the end, glad I donated to my ReUse Market. It was like ‘from a crafter to a crafter’ and it felt real good!
I get it, we paid good money for those supplies and there’s always a bit of dreams and ambitions wrapped up with them, too. But why hang on to them if you’re not going to use them – or worse – sell them in a yard sale for mere pennies on the dollar? Did I mention Tax Deductible? I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better helping to restock your local ReUse and while you’re there – walking out with new items to play with!
So put out your craft feelers and track down your local ReUse store. Or maybe this article has ignited a spark and your ready to put on a super hero cape and open your own store!
And another idea: like a neighborhood garage sale try getting everyone together for a neighborhood donation of art and craft supplies. Imagine how it would be when you tote in box after box of goodies folks just had to leave on their porch for you to pick up and take to the ReUse shop. (I’ve got one of these events planned in the near future – just in time for back to school and those teachers who need all the help they can get).
Here’s the link to my local ReUse Market:
Please, hop over and give it a read. There’s a wealth of information there about do’s and don’ts and ‘how can I help’.
So, back towards the top of this post I asked that you start making a pile of items you could donate. I hope you’ll go do that right now!
Jump into the circle of craft use and reuse! Support your art, your community and your world by donating and buying from your local ReUse Market.