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Quarantine with your cupboards: Re-purposing the things you find in your home

By Robert Lockyer, CEO and founder of Delta Global   

As we adjust to life in lockdown due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, people are finding more time and motivation than ever before to clear out their cupboards and get creative with their findings.

And, with restrictions on shopping habits set to essential items only, hyper-consumerism has started to slow. Robert Lockyer, owner of luxury packaging provider Delta Global, stresses that as a result, consumers are now coming to realise the worth of their old goods.

 As an advocate of recycling and reusability, particularly in the packaging and fashion industries, the manufacturer discusses the benefits of repurposing the things we find in our homes as well as some creative ideas to try…

The benefits of repurposing during the pandemic

The obvious benefits of reusing, recycling and repurposing old items we find while cleaning out our cupboards are the environmental ones. There are also clear cost savings that can be made by maximising the life of items we’ve already purchased.

A less obvious benefit is the positive impact it can have on our emotional and psychological wellbeing, particularly in a time full of stress, adversity and boredom.

“By engaging in something inventive or artistic, we can improve our mental wellbeing and motivation levels. It provides us with focus and stimulates our brain activity,” said Robert.

“Often in boredom, brilliance is born. Keeping ourselves occupied, organised and entertained could be the prompt that we all needed to put zero-waste at the forefront of our minds.”

Speaking of the accomplishment and respite that comes with a sense of salvaging what would normally be considered waste, Robert notes that this may now be the time consumers truly find pleasure and purpose in creating a circular life for their goods.

“While many of us will take the time to declutter our homes and wardrobes, the process could help us to rediscover our style and become more sustainable long-term.”

Build a make-do and mend mentality

Brands and stylists are increasingly encouraging us to up-cycle and mend fashion items in order to find something new to love in an old garment. Customisation is a great way to create a unique statement piece that shows off your own individual personality and style.

While it makes economic sense, it also helps us to identify the things we really value and refine our style accordingly. In fact, just this week repairs service Clothes Doctor has started an online tutorial series to teach their audience techniques such as yarning, in order to help them restore and customise old garments.

Recycling packaging

With high streets closed and many of us spending our time working from home or self-isolating, online shopping prevails. Deliveries typically arrive in cardboard boxes or polythene bags that would usually end up in the bin.

“Imagine what you might do with an old wine giftbox or even a shoe box – why not get green-fingered and turn it into a windowsill herb garden? You can even transform those non-recyclable bags into a waterproof liner – all you need is some creativity, the soil from your garden and some seeds.”

And it’s not just exterior packaging that can be recycled. Glass objects such as cosmetics and perfume bottles can make stylish home-made reed diffusers and vases.

Create something new

Another way to breathe new life into your old garments is to repurpose the material to create items such as quirky cushion covers. Accessories such as an old necklace can also be attached to a handbag to make a new statement handle.

Stuck for ideas? Look to the internet for inspiration. Apps such as Pinterest, Influencers and YouTubers have great hacks for home resourcefulness. Channels like HGTV Handmade upload weekly videos giving step-by-step guides on transforming old light shades into vases, clothes into pet beds and even old leggings into a plaited pouffe.

There are also plenty of iconic luxury brands salvaging the scraps of their materials to make new products to take inspiration from. For instance, shoe and accessory brand TRMTAB cleverly creates beautifully woven bags and electronics cases out of the excess cut-offs of their products.

“It’s about stopping the throw away culture and encouraging people to rethink how they might re-use the items they are clearing out. Old belts, jewellery and shoe fabrics could generate stunning and personalised pieces that give an individual a regained affinity with their old goods.”

Resell old clothing 

Take a leaf out of supermodel Kate Moss’s book and get into the habit of reselling or donating your unwanted items. With growing concerns about entering into financial hardship, society is turning towards more affordable options for items that would usually be considered a ‘treat’. Pre-owned fashion websites such as Front Row, Amarium and Bagista are leading this movement in the current climate.

Similarly, Kate Moss alongside other celebrities such as Rachel Weisz and Bella Freud and many others, have partnered with pre-owned resale company Vestiaire Collective to run a charity sale in aid of those affected by the coronavirus. They have pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds to a number of charities working to fight the pandemic, including the World Health Organisation, the Italian Lombardia Region Fundraising, the France Hospitals Foundation and Madrid’s La Paz Hospital.

“With the encouragement of pre-loved clothing websites doing deeds of good while still generating revenue, people should be inspired to resell or donate authentic and value items to the secondary buyer market to enable a product to fulfil its life for longer.”

“Not to mention, reselling rather than throwing away garments can reduce an item’s carbon footprint by 14%.”

Style your working from home office space 

 From old paper bags, kitchen foil right through to left-over wallpaper, there are plenty of materials laying around our homes which we can use to style our space. Try covering notebooks and folders or using old boxes and upcycled jars as storage solutions. You can transform almost anything into something that adds colour, texture and character to your space.

As consumers begin to embrace the products they’ve already invested in, it’s hoped that their buying psychology will make a permanent shift to a more sustainable outlook. People are beginning to form desirable habits of creativity and consciousness, with pride and perseverance proving particularly useful in driving forward the shoppers of the future.