Since the introduction of the blue cans on our sidewalks, recycling is on our mind more than ever—and it should be. We, as humans, waste so much. Whether it’s product packaging, food wrappers and to-go shells, or items around the house that you thought had fulfilled their desired purpose. But wait—some of those things have a bigger calling!

Welcome to the world of repurposing. It’s a world of reinvention and giving older items a new life, hopefully one that surpasses its initial intent. A world where a door knob is now a coat rack hook. Where a retro water ski becomes a cut up frame for a mirror, and a vintage teapot is now a whimsical birdhouse.

(L-R) David Rowley finds new use as with this rusted propane-cooker-turned-rustic-side table. Wil Brown enjoys re-purposing many metal objects including steel drums.

The good news is that any of us can become repurposers. You may have already done it and just labeled yourself as being creative or resourceful. Repurposing can be at any level from a small reuse of an item to putting many things together to make one glorious creation! You’ll find that once you start thinking this way, it doesn’t stop. Before you know it, you’ll have many creations around the house you can take pride in because YOU took a small step toward saving something from the landfill.

Everyone’s process is or will be different. It can be as quick as mounting a clipboard clip to an old license plate for a new clipboard or something dramatic like a cascading water fountain out of random metal platters, cups, and utensils. For me, it always starts with seeing something which becomes a catalyst for a creation. Usually I know the end result and what purpose it will serve from the beginning.

I have reused things here and there throughout my life, but several years ago I jumped headfirst into repurposing. I started by making repurposed birdhouses, mostly out of old metal objects. I found satisfaction from pulling all of these items together that most people would say were on their last leg. A teapot was the main housing for the birdcage or maybe an old gas can. That object was the jump off point for all of these other smaller objects to come forward and bound together for a very rewarding creation. Before long, I was creating custom furniture out of mixed objects and making trucks out of roller skate wheels and metal baskets and objects. It’s gone so far that I’ve made things around the house that were needed by me or the family. My daughter needed a clothes hamper so I made one out of a vintage wall radio cabinet. My wife needed something to hold her washi tape for crafts so I used an antique sewing machine drawer as the body and brought in lamp shafts, vintage yardsticks and a hacksaw blade to house them. And, my son needed a desk so I broke down a piano that no one would take and it now has four legs, a flat desktop surface that was the base of the keys board and voila!

So, go as far as your imagination can take you. Chances are that if you always strive to think that far out of the box, you’ll create something no one else has before. The world of repurposing only comes with one warning. You’ll be addicted before you know it. The good news is you’ll be doing everyone a favor by reusing the old items that only need a moment of creative thinking to keep them out of our landfills and to serve a greater purpose.

All my creations are documented on