Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Restore, Revamp, Reinvent, Recycle…

How I love all those “Re” words! This post is sure to be one of “preaching to the choir” but here goes:

My lovely leafy inner city suburb currently resembles one big open air garage sale. Yes, it’s annual Hard Rubbish time. Outside almost every home is a pile of unwanted and unloved goodies – this year TVs and monitors have been especially popular but there’s also a lot of things that…should go into the recycling bins (so much cardboard!) or should have gone to op shops. Perfectly useable items like furniture and household bits and bobs, now ruined from the rain.

I like to think better of my neighbours but it seems that we’re a lazy bunch who hoard up our unwanted possessions and can’t resist putting them outside our home when someone else offers to take them away for us.

A saving grace is the large numbers of scavengers who’ve been roaming the streets, snaffling free items. I have no idea what they will be used for, but anything saved from landfill is a good thing. Our material world is so full of Stuff, most of us have more than we need or even want and we’re very fond of accumulating more.

For those items that are surplus, please remember the “Re” words and consider whether it could be repaired, restored, revamped or reinvented. Perhaps not by you, but by someone you know? If it’s beyond hope, perhaps the components can be recycled? Councils have transfer stations with a bewildering array of categories of recycling – I love visiting my local one, and perhaps bringing home something that someone else has no use for…I got some great silver art deco serving trays and garden tools last time. Amazes me what people throw out.

Items that are good but no longer needed, can be donated to op shops – they’re always pleased to receive good condition donations that they can sell at reasonable prices to raise money for their causes. Please don’t send them your rubbish! Rubbish is what should be sent to be recycled or thrown away. Rubbish is what should go into Hard Rubbish.

All we have to do is think and perhaps make a little extra effort – it breaks my heart to see good things go to waste where there are so many out there who can use them. In the meantime, I hope the scavengers manage to salvage them before the rain comes down again.


  1. I think the key here is “make a little extra effort”. That’s what most people have trouble with these days. The majority of people take the path of least resistence whenever it is offered. Not sure how to fix it though because it is becoming the norm for ours and future generations. The world of modern convenience is making the population lazy.

  2. It’s great that there are some of us out there who take pleasure and satisfaction in reducing, re-using, re-inventing and restoring and thanks to Nicole who as always has some wonderful insight to share with us all. Here here!! I say.

  3. Nicole
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I was genuinely shocked at what people threw out this time around – as I mentioned on twitter I salvaged three beautiful vintage suitcases – all they needed was a bit of a clean. Perhaps people don’t really know the value of these sorts of things to people like us? I do think one problem is that op shops like Salvos are very fussy about what they take, I organised a pick up of some old furniture etc and they simply will not take anything that is not up to their ‘standard’ and of course they cannot take electrical items so it all ends up in rubbish. Anyway, that is my rant for all its worth, sorry for the long comment!
    Maria x

  4. Thanks for your comments ladies! I knew you’d understand.

    Maria, you’re right about the Salvos – and you have to book a pick up weeks in advance, often difficult for those of us who are having a clean up.

    I wanted to donate some 1940s furniture (in good clean condition) a few years ago and they turned their noses up at it (I had even bought one piece from them previously for $400!) and helped themselves to a wrought iron ’50s hall table that I was keeping – I’m still stunned that they took it! I couldn’t get it back, either..

    The hard rubbish truck came this morning and everything was crunched up together – so any ideas that I might have had that the council would recycle were also crushed.

  5. By the way, another option to consider is OzRecycle (used to be Freecycle.

    “The OzRecycle Community is an Australian Recyclers Community helping our environment by reducing landfill. How do we do this? By giving away and getting things for free (gifting) instead of throwing them out to the tip or into the wheelie bin. “

  6. I am with you girls makes me cry to see waste.Everything can be reused revamped recycled people are just plain lazy and dont care I am sure.I know some opshops refuse to take beds and cots but others do and I also know some will take and repair or check electricals and others wont.I am shocked they up and took your table Nicole maybe they took it for them selves and didnt even put it in the shop?

  7. I’d just like to know why it is that whenever it’s hard rubbish time it always rains!

    Ohhh, that crushing machine breaks my heart–to me it should be a criminal offence under the destruction of property act or something similar. To see like I have, beautiful 30s sideboards and easily revamped chairs etc go under those enormous teeth is soo very wrong in this era of environmental awareness. What are councils thinking?!

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