Live Off Grid, Work Online, Sustainably Free
Escape the Rat Race | Live Sustainably Free

Where to Begin With This Upcycling Thing?

 Upcycle Philosophy

Upcycling. The process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

So says Wikipedia, that behemoth of authority around the world wide web.

It must be true.

I take some issue with that statement. Namely the use of “waste materials or useless products”

Don’t get me wrong!

I’m all for “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, but this definition is a little misleading. Mainly because often the product being upcycled is neither “waste material” nor “useless”. Someone simply decided they no longer wanted or needed whatever it was in their life.

I do agree however that upcycled products are usually better products. More because they are now of use to someone in a different form, than they are of better quality than the original.

I prefer the idea (and definition) that upcycling is where old products are given more value, not less.

More value as the useful life has been extended.

Our philosophy in the Free Range Family is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Upcycling fits nicely into Reuse.

Case in point is our move down to Wanaka. The distance from Wellington (where we live now) in the lower North Island of New Zealand and Wanaka waaaay down south is approx. 854km.

sustainable livingWanaka: A 13-14 hour hop, skip, and jump.

A 13-14 hour hop, skip, and jump.

Did I mention the 92km (3-4 hour) ferry ride at the very beginning of the journey?

We have choices. Either pay a moving company to take everything for us, or reduce what we own and do it ourselves.

You know what we’re going to do, don’t you?

We’re independent souls. We’re the Free Range Family after all!

Since neither Ange nor myself have a truck license (and the kids are both too young to drive) what we do want to take with us needs to fit into a one-ton truck, or smaller.

That means downsizing what we own.

The big items are going. Beds, clunky old TV, dining table and chairs, freezer, lounge suite. We take the fridge, the washing machine stays, and that’s about it (there’s also clothes, boxes and boxes of books, and toys)

The lounge suite is the point to this whole story. We sold it last weekend.

There’s camp chairs to sit on in the meantime (recycling for you!) and once we’re settled down South there won’t be another over-priced lounge suite to replace this one.

We live our philosophy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

If you’ve ever hung around places like Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr, then you’ll be keenly aware of the many, many projects that involve upcycling leftover pallets.

pallet bedupcycledUpcycle projects

Yep, that’s our project once we’re South. To upcycle our lounge suite, dining table (and chairs), even our beds out of pallets. I’m looking forward to it.

So how do you begin this upcycling thing?

By reducing what you own, simplifying your life, and thinking about what you really need to have to live.

Do you have an upcycling project on the go? Let us know in the comments below…

 

Be free and happy!

Scott (The Free Ranger)

 Free Ranging

 

Share this article

Comments

  • April 4, 2015

    Scott – that is amazing – upcycling!!! I’ve never heard of the term before! I love the wrenches as door handles – that’s a great pic!! I can’t wait to hear how you guys do on this epic move and adventure!! I can’t say I have any upcycling projects on the go…..mabye it’s time I started!

    • Scott Stembridge
      April 4, 2015

      Now is always the best time to start (yesterday was better ????).

      Be careful, once you start…

  • April 5, 2015

    i can’t wait until you guys do this. i’m looking forward to seeing the photos.

    • Scott Stembridge
      April 5, 2015

      Don’t worry, it’ll be upcycle photo porn galore 😉

  • April 5, 2015

    Very much looking forward to learning more of your journey. My husband and I started on a very similar journey 4 years ago and it has been amazing. Not always easy, but definitely worth it (now that winter is passed, lol).

    • Scott Stembridge
      April 5, 2015

      Lol! And we’re just going into winter down here. It has been an awesome journey so far, onto the next stage.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *