Repurpose for Real Progress

I’m putting “repurpose” on my list of favorite new vocabulary words. According to Merriam-Webster Online, the word repurpose has been around since 1984. Thanks to recessionista thinking, repurposing is enjoying a lot of buzz these days, although the idea itself is far from new.

What does it mean? To give a new purpose or use to.

Instead of “out with the old, in with the new” which isn’t always practical, repurposing gives us a chance to change perspective and find different ways to make use of something. Crafters and shabby chic folks have been doing this forever. In fact, you’ve probably repurposed something at some point. Ever used a bottle for a candleholder, or old milk crates for bookshelves?

For January (which is my month for closet clearing and clutter removal) I’m going to be thinking of ways to repurpose the stuff that’s been shoved to the back of the closet instead of just throwing it away or hauling it off to Goodwill. 
I’m not limiting my repurposing to tangible goods, either. When I keep running into the same obstacles, the same negative thought patterns, or the same failures, it’s utterly foolish to keep going back to the beginning and repeating the process that got me to that place the first time. But I do it anyway. Do you?

How many times have you argued with your spouse, all the while knowing you’re doomed to repeat the argument again and again, because you never come to a real solution?
How many times have you started an exercise program or diet, only to find yourself slumped on the sofa with a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream days, maybe mere hours, later?
How many times have you had the same battle with your kids over cleaning their rooms or getting up on time or _________________?

In these “beating my head against a brick wall” moments, we need to step back and repurpose, instead of recycling the same scheme.

Sometimes the problem is simply a lack of purpose, or a purpose that’s been forgotten, or hasn’t adapted over time to fit the situation. In those cases, we simply repeat the same scenario because it’s comfortable, familiar, and habitual, even though it’s not producing anything of value.
Without purpose, there can be no progress.
Take the thing you’ve battled with again and again, the stuff you’re either too frustrated or embarrassed to work on anymore. How can you repurpose the way you approach it?
It’s time to get radical with repurposing in our lives. Instead of recycling the same tired old ways and means we’ve used before, make some dramatic changes in the way we attack that goal or approach that conflict. You never know where your “outside the box” thinking could lead!

(This house was made from an old grain silo. For more info, click on the picture.)  

2 thoughts on “Repurpose for Real Progress

  1. Patti Lacy says:

    LOVE this post! My best friend's husband built a house out of recycled stainless steel. Also a swimming pool and sauna! You wouldn't BELIEVE what the place looks like.

    Sigh. They say India could survive for decades on what WE throw away because they have learned to "repurpose."


  2. Niki Turner says:

    Thanks Patti!
    Someday I want to do a "green" church building. Either straw bale, or something else, and totally green. My husband scrinches up his face at this idea, but I love it.
    don't even get me started on the waste issue… The food waste alone is horrific. Which may just be a subject for another post!

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