Let’s Talk Trash @ ReduxLou

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGarbage. Junk. Scrap. Trash.

Most of the time we misuse those words, associating “garbage” with things that are distasteful or beyond use. In reality, garbage is just something we deem no longer useful or wanted and, as a result, we throw it out. But, not all garbage belongs in a garbage can.

So, how do you tell the difference between just garbage and good garbage? Learn to look for the potential, to see the possibilities in items you’d typically toss.

Some things are obvious. Leftover supplies, incomplete sets, prints or patterns that aren’t your style – all of these still have life in them. While extras or odds and ends might look like clutter in your home, in a classroom or artist’s studio they are welcome additions and sources of endless creativity.

Other things pose more of a challenge. Broken appliances, stained or worn out clothing, junk mail – you can’t imagine anyone finding a use for these things, and yet, once you train your eye to see the possibilities in what’s around you, even those can find a good home.

At the very least, you can recycle or properly dispose of almost anything these days (search online for your city’s .gov site and you’ll learn what’s allowed and where to take it). Repairing or repurposing is becoming more common. If your sewing machine is already broken, how much more can you hurt it by tinkering around with it? Or, if your headboard is beyond repair, put it in your backyard and let your Morning Glory grow all over it.

A word of warning: once you start seeing potential in the things around you, you may start seeing it in people, too – a lovely side-effect in a world where people are often treated as disposable.

So, there’s the premise behind ReduxLou – a blog inspired by and in support of Good Garbage, Louisville’s first (and only) creative reuse center. Lynn Quire (a creative reuser and owner of Good Garbage) and Leah Bradley (a maker who blogs at makingsomethingofit.com) will share their ideas for diverting usable materials from landfills.

Likewise, it’s hoped that you will share your questions, projects ideas and brick walls when it comes to working with what you have. It’s all fodder for good conversation around what’s garbage and what’s not.

So, welcome to a new way of looking at things. It’s all good here!

* This post is a reprint of my inaugural post at ReduxLou, a blog for Good Garbage Creative Reuse Center in Louisville.