I will continue regifting, reusing, and repurposing with no shame. As a matter of fact, no matter how wealthy I get, I will always use these methods to recycle stuff that I already have. Why buy new if you can utilize the stuff that is just cluttering up your closets and cabinets? There is no reason at all.
Saving money is not something you have to be obsessed about but should be a natural part of your money mindset. When buying anything over a certain dollar amount, you should be cognizant of that proverbial line in your budget’s sand. Bargain shopping can be made a sport. And when you can spend near-zero, while getting huge value, what is better than that?
Well, I wanted to find ways I could find new life out of stuff I already have for little money, so I did my research … by asking my wife, Christine! The good news is that I got a ton of ideas from her. The bad news is that I can’t possibly write about all of them or this post would never end. So, I want to present to you my favorite 6 ideas.
Save Money While Being Generous
I started on this journey to find new ways to generously give without breaking the bank. You might be asking, “how are you being generous when it doesn’t cost you much?” If you are, you may not know that the receiver of the gift may cherish it in a way that you wouldn’t. You may not understand that spending time, energy, and talent to create a gift could “cost” you more than dollars and cents.
I feel that we think about price tags too much in our society today and we don’t think about the person we are giving the gift to. The expression, it’s the thought that counts, has little meaning when you haven’t put thought into the gift.
Handmade gifts are many times appreciated more than the expensive store-bought trinket. That’s when I realized that there is no shame in regifting, reusing, or repurposing when you put thought and heart into the item.
What Does Regifting, Reusing, and Repurposing Mean?
Before I go into the list, let me define how I am using these three terms.
So, to regift in its basic form is to take a gift that has been received and give it to someone else on an occasion. In this case, there was no modification to the item except possibly rewrapping. The perfect time to do this is when the person, to whom you are regifting the item, will appreciate it far greater than you would. They may really need it whereas you did not. It’s a win-win!
To reuse is to take something and combine it with something else making it better. The major reason why reusing is not repurposing is that the original item is still in its original form, but by using it again, it has been giving new life. The item being reused may have otherwise been thrown away or discarded but now it’s being loved again and saving the giver money at the same time.
Repurposing had created an entire industry. You can find many crafters on Etsy making a living by reusing but making the item different and better. These make awesome gifts, but you may not ever want to give it away.
In the picture here, the Venn diagram shows how these ideas overlap. You could reuse something for yourself or even repurpose something for personal use. There are times that you could reuse something that was a gift to you and regift it. Or you could take something you have been given and create something else out of it and use that as a gift.
By combining these ideas with items around your home, the possibilities are endless.
So, here are my favorite 6 ways to get the most out of regifting, reusing, and repurposing!
Regifting may be the easiest to do, but don’t underestimate these gifts. Here are 2 items I’ve found that I can many times give away. I’m sure you can think of many items like these; please add your suggestions in the comment section below.
I can’t tell you how many times I found a book that was given to me, I’ve never read it, and now sits on a shelf collecting dust. Sometimes I get a gift like this and it is just not for me. Other times, I get more than one of the same books! It happens.
So, if you are in this situation, think of all your friends and family. Who would absolutely love this book? In my case, I usually have two of the same book, so I have previously enjoyed the book. Now, I can highly recommend the book to someone I know and give my extra copy. They never have to know that I received it as a gift from someone else.
The other regifting idea is similar but found in the kitchen. Have you ever gone to the deepest part of your kitchen cabinet only to find a mug you never knew you had? You got this one for Christmas 5 years ago and forgot all about it. If it’s a nice mug, how about regifting it?
We all have way too many mugs and we typically use the same 8 or so daily. So, if you have a pristine vessel in the depths of the cupboard, dust it off, clean it up, place it in a nice box or bag, and regift it! This idea makes me feel best when it is a set of mugs and I’m giving them to a young college student that has nothing. How could you use this idea?
Obviously, you could reuse something for yourself, but I’m going to focus on two ideas that are for reusing items as part of a gift. The first is the gift bag itself, so this is one of those reuse/regift ideas. Open that gift carefully. Don’t ruin that bag. Your future gift for someone else is going in there!
Reuse Gift Bags
Gift bags have become super popular because, really, who likes using wrapping paper (what a pain). But they are kind of expensive. Here is the deal: no one really cares about the gift bag; they want what is inside. We want it to look pretty, and we are not total cheapskates, so the garbage bag is not going to cut it.
When you get a gift in a gift bag, treat it nicely and save it for later. If you get enough gifts, you will never have to buy a gift bag again! This is a reuse tip and not regift because you must add the gift. But luckily for you, there are a pair of mugs that will look perfect inside that bag.
Reuse Mason Jars
Okay, enough of the easy stuff. How about reusing those 20 giant Mason jars that were sitting in front of those mugs? Where did they all come from anyway? Oh, spaghetti nights.
My wife loves reusing these to create gift kits. You put a bunch of inexpensive small items together that are related and create a themed gift jar. Fill in the gaps inside with shredded colored paper and tie a bow around the lid. Wala!
Here are some examples:
- Sewing supplies
- Shaving Kit
- Cookie, Cake, or Brownie Making Mixes
- Mini-Tool Kit
- Travel Sized Toiletries
There are so many ways you can use this idea. Just make sure the theme matches the person you are giving it to, and it will be one of the most appreciated personalized gifts you could ever give. You could really get fancy and add their name to the outside of the jar!
Now that your cabinets are empty, we need to move to another room.
I’m not going to lie; I find the repurpose category the most difficult as far as skills needed. But these are some of the best gifts ever. As a matter of fact, you may not want to give these away. So, repurposing could be regifting if you are using items that were given to you, but it doesn’t have to be.
Repurpose Picture Frames
Use old picture frames to create something else useful. You could create a whiteboard or corkboard. Maybe draw some word art or create a calendar. The idea is that the frame is not going to be used for pictures because you have no need or desire to put pictures up on your walls. Or maybe you have frames that are an odd size. Well, repurpose them!
Here is a super short video I found that shows you how to make the chalkboard: Make your Own DIY Chalkboard From an Old Frame
Repurpose Old Clothing
Last, but not least, turn sweaters and or jeans into headbands, pillows, placemats, hot pads, etc. Okay, this one requires some skills and is completely out of my league.
Many of these ideas have detailed instructions out there on a blog, video, or Pinterest board. For example, on Instructables there are steps to make the headband: Simple Jean Headband
Share Some of Your Regifting, Reusing, and Repurposing ideas!
Wow, that was a lot and I feel like I just got started. There are so many ways to regift, reuse, and repurpose. This post is not even the tip of the iceberg. Please share more ideas in the comment section below.