Charity Shop

How to Choose Items to Upcycle

Without knowing what kind of items you would like to upcycle, you could end up with the entire contents of your local charity shop spilling out of your cupboards. I did this at the beginning; it was not pretty!  So I suggest that you ask yourself some questions first to get a little focus on what you’re looking for…

    1. What am I good at?Two children painting

      Look for items that will lend themselves to upcycling methods that you can do well.  If you can’t sew or don’t want to sew, don’t pick up a bundle of felt/cotton swatches.  If you like painting or pyrography, look for wooden or other similar items which lend themselves to painting techniques.  To help focus your purchases, make a list of creative techniques that you wish to use and match the items to the list.

    2. Am I making things for myself or to sell?

      If you are making things for yourself or as gifts for friends and family, it’s very easy.  Choose what you or your friends would like! However, if you are making things to sell, there are a few more considerations such as current trends, availability, time spent on a product or similarity to existing products (say from B&M; you don’t want to spend a week sanding, painting and decorating something similar to cheap commercial item).  See  ‘How to make handmade items look handmade’.

    3. Do I want to create a ‘theme’ in my upcycled items?

      Humans love patterns and similarity – it helps them to feel secure by recognising things that group together.  (Exception to this rule is matching his and her jumpers/jackets) You can do the same with very disparate items, but all upcycled with the same theme.  If you want to do this, take your ‘focus’ list from no. 3 and add another selection ‘Could this fit in with my theme?’.  You may love 10 items you’ve seen, but 8 of them might be things that will do another project sometime. Be strong! Put them back! I do this a lot when my workspace is beginning to look like a hoarder’s paradise

    4. What do I have time or space for?Yemen carrying heavy package

      Another part of the ‘something for another project’ dilemma.  Choose items that you know you will have time or space to do soon.  If you are pondering over a well-used 6ft Scottish porridge kist and you’re hearing yourself say ‘I could do it in the garden when Summer comes’ – ponder not!

    5. What can I afford?

      This one is most of important of all and hardest to stick to if you think you’ve found a gem of an item.  However, it’s also the one which will stop you from disappearing under a mountain of ‘tomorrow projects’ when you open your hall cupboard.  If you have asked yourself the previous questions and you’re still standing there with your money in your hand, make sure it’s within your budget to prevent buyers regret/cabbage soup lifestyle.

Please follow and like us: