I have often contemplated this. How can a minimalist (me!) co-exist with a re-purposer (my husband!)? I have had a strong family upbringing of a large family – influential with little clutter. My husband also of a large family had experience living on outback stations. You could not run to the corner store to get just what you needed. You had to make do or re-purpose what you had to make what you needed.

Does a minimalist affect a re-purposer?

Painting wooden vintage chair

Working with Vintage furniture

So does a minimalist affect a re-purposer? In a word yes! We are currently in the middle of a move to a new home. My husband sees how I slowly de-clutter and pack all the things I can do without till we are left with just a skeleton of items. That is until the final day of our move where all items are finally packed up. His comment “Minimalism looks good”. Which of course I believe too. My effect on him.

Does a re-purposer affect a minimalist?

So then does a re-purposer affect a minimalist? In a word yes! It wasn’t until I had a pen run out of ink and my husband asked for the barrel of the pen. He was thinking of ways to re-purpose and re-use it. I, of course, couldn’t believe it. I was so used to binning anything “used up” “broken” “old” “out-of-date”. The pen barrel issue showed me to what lengths my husband would go to – to make use of items no longer needed in a previous purpose. A good re-purposer if you will. This made me think twice about my de-cluttering side being put to good purpose. Even if my purchasing was little and simplistic my re-purposing had to have “work”. My husband’s effect on me.

What society seems to think currently about minimalism and re-purposing

Both minimalism and repurposing are currently being applauded in our society. I however still think it is a trickle and needs an even greater injection of enthusiasm.

There are currently being set-up places such as Repair Cafes. This is where there is a turn away from the current avalanche of our “throwaway society”. Also of note – if you are a crafter – a good article on what you can use is Craft like a zero waster from 1 million women. Also, there is a way of making repairs which “add” to the item and need not be hidden There are many ways you can search for how others are recycling, reusing and upcycling. Our society wants to do more – but the action is often slow.  

Repurpsing a vintage frame wtih chisel

Working with wood and vintage items is very rewarding

Some of our own projects for re-purposing

One of the first projects my husband and I did together was to do a whole set of kitchen chairs. All different. All sitting at our dining table. Just a good sand, putty and paint job. I considered everyone different so why not put all different chairs at the table? Rather Bohemian – but that works for me even with my minimalist bent and my husband likes that too. We’ve worked with some vintage furniture – cupboards and units- giving them paint jobs and repairs where needed. I often give ideas – my man is the one that has the good know-how of how to bring it together. I will give comments on aesthetics or changes etc. There have been numerous jobs around the home from re-purposing a Hills hoist line to a shade house, the line to make a modern string line from the wire. Making use of fencing iron for chicken runs to using a dog kennel for their roosting house with a side addition to collect their eggs.  Using pallets for shelving and fencing. Logs for plant borders. Recycled timber for compost heaps. Wire to border our vegetable garden.  The list goes on, plus the numerous small jobs we use little bits of this and that which saves buying and will continue

Re purposing and quality

What you often find when re-purposing from the older material is that the quality is much better. The same goes for older tools. (So naturally – my husband being the collector – we have those too!). So I in my realm look for quality in things as well – at least in the non-techie “stuff”.

May you find a way to include both the qualities of minimalism and re[purposing in some ways to make for a quality life. One where you are not taking so much and helping our environment wherever you are able.


Deborah Hunter Kells

I have a wide range of interests and the top of my list is people and relationships. I appreciate our big wide world and nature which tries so hard to deal with what we do to it. As noted you will find a variety of topics covered (see Home page) My appreciation goes to my team and others whom I collaborate with to make this blog successful and resourceful. Thanks especially to my team: Sarah, Tina, and Billah (See footer for more of their details)

Can a #minimalist co-exist with a person that #repurposes everything!?  #recycle #upcycle