Monday 21 January 2019

I spark joy with upcycling

Everyone is talking about Marie Kondo, and the mantra that items should spark joy in order to have a place in the home. If an item doesn't spark joy for owning it, then it should be moved on and the result is a lovely decluttered home that is easy to keep clean and has wonderful energy because everything in it brings joy. I think this is a wonderful idea, once it's been put into practice.

Of course, this has inevitably meant that there has been a rush of people decluttering their house and moving things on - op shops in my area are turning away donations and the buy/swap/sell sites I follow are overflowing with items. I love the idea of only owning things that bring happiness. This is something that I have practiced myself for a long time - considerate buying, and thinking about whether the item I'm purchasing is a need or a want. Often, if I walk away and think about it, I realise that I don't really need it after all, or I have something already that will fit the purpose.

The frugal Asian side of me also delights in a bargain, in fixing things that others might discard, and reusing or repurposing what I already own. I like to hoard things, just in case they might spark joy come in useful in the future. With that in mind, here are two of my most recent projects:

Dining room chairs
Our dining room set was a bargain. A friend was going to send it to the dump because she was redecorating and it didn't suit her new decor. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the set, so I claimed it and we suddenly had a new (to us) set for free. It's a wonderful solid wood table that expands from seating 6 to 10 comfortably. It also had 6 wooden chairs with plain upholstery. These chairs serve us well, but as the kids grow, so too did the wear on the chairs. There were stains I couldn't get out and holes in the fabric that my small man has been picking at so they were no longer discrete holes but great gaping tears.

Mr Fork wanted to get new ones. I convinced him that they had good bones so instead to come to choose new fabric so I could re-cover them. For $5/m (on sale!) and half a day of labour unpicking staples and re-stapling (we already had one, and staple guns are fun!) we have chairs that look just like new again (if perhaps a little crooked on the pattern).  $12.5 worth of fabric, a little bit of work and I saved 6 chairs being sent to waste, and having to buy new ones that would never match the table properly. Also, I love that no one else will have chairs like ours.
New fabric on the left, old stained fabric on the right
I even had some time to use the leftover fabric I'd bought to whip up a quick cover for the ottoman, and added some pockets for tv remote storage to help tidy things away. Win!

Reuseable makeup wipes
I just knew that my love of flannelette pyjamas and keeping my sewing scraps would pay off. As soon as I saw the tutorial on Fiona's blog for making reusable makeup wipes, I knew that was a project I could pull off. An hour later, and I had a tidy little pile of cute wipes. I won't go into the method as I pretty much just followed Fiona's guide. All my little offcuts and threads went into the compost heap so no waste here!
I've been using them for the past couple of days and they're just as good as the bought ones, and heaps better for the environment. I followed Fiona's tip to keep a delicates bag nearby and they go straight into that as I use them ready to be washed. During this process, I also remembered just how much I hate sewing curves though. If I make another batch, I'm doing square ones!


  1. I haven't read marie kondo but she does seem to focus on the throwing out rather than where it goes from what I can see. I love your upcycling - and am fascinated that you compost fabric scraps.

    1. I guess it's about being a mindful consumer and doing what works for you. I'm starting to really think about how long something will last for, and that throwing it out, still means it goes *somewhere*. The fabric scraps haven't been a problem in the compost so far, as long as it's a natural fibre it seems to break down easily. I do make sure they are cut small though so it's a fairly fast process.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...