Goodwill Makes Waves in High-End Consignment

Photo: Blue Boutique, Grand Rapids, Mich. via Facebook

Photo: Blue Boutique, Grand Rapids, Mich. via Facebook

You may have noticed a few Blue boutiques quietly springing up in your area. From Denver and Tacoma, Wash., to Western Michigan and New York state, these Goodwill spinoffs are growing in popularity across the country.

So what’s the deal with these stores anyway, and how are they different from ordinary Goodwills?

For starters, Blue stores are marketed as “upscale boutiques” (think: posh consignment shops rather than we-take-anything thrift stores). According to the company, the stores feature “the best Goodwill has to offer,” such as top names like Lucky Brands, Coach and Cole Haan.

“The best part about shopping at Blue is not only the extreme bargains you’ll find, but that the revenues from the sale of items will be used to fund Goodwill’s job training and placement services for people with disabilities and disadvantages in our community,” Goodwill says of the spinoff on it website. “Your purchases make a difference.”

Upscale consignment stores — along with Web-based fashion sharing solutions like Rent the Runway — are increasingly popular among millennials on tight budgets, even those who may not necessarily be interested in the environmental benefits of buying used.

The idea has sparked so much interest that a 1,900-square-foot, first-of-its-kind boutique called Déjà Blue recently opened its doors in Denver. Catering to cash-strapped urbanites seeking fashion-forward clothing or in-demand vintage duds, the store provides affordable, gently used items that carry virtually no environmental impact.

The store also hosts an annual event, called the Good Exchange Fashion Show & Clothing Swap, where locals can revamp their wardrobes and get some fashion inspiration. Fashion icon Tim Gunn and up-and-coming designer Mondo Guerra, winner of Project Runway Season 8, were in attendance at this year’s Déjà Blue event.

Further indicating that Goodwill’s endeavors in fashion-forward exchange are picking up steam, the company recently opened a second Déjà Blue location on the Las Vegas strip.

To see what all the fuss is about, visit Goodwill’s website to track down a Blue boutique near you, or shop online via the Tacoma, Wash. boutique.

Letting Go and Finding a Second Life for Old Toys

A toy lineup. Photo: Flickr/Evelyn Giggles

A toy lineup. Photo: Flickr/Evelyn Giggles

After the winter holidays, I get into decluttering mode. This is especially true with regard to my daughter Sofie’s stuff. She accrues so many new toys as gifts, and I swear the tiny plastic pieces multiply while we’re sleeping! Pretty soon my internal clutter meter goes off, and I know it’s time to purge.

This can be tough since kids tend to cling to their possessions. Yes, you can do it covertly when your child is not around (a mom’s confession: I sometimes do this), but it will serve you better in the long run to involve kids in the art of letting go.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

For kids too young to grasp this concept (ages 1 through 3), the “out of sight, out of mind” theory works well. When Sofie was that age, I would routinely relocate the less-played-with toys to the basement. Usually she didn’t even notice their absence, although several times I had to suddenly “find” the such-and-such doll she adamantly remembered having.

Once a toy has sat neglected in the basement for a month, you can move it out of the house.

Making Choices

Starting around age 4 or 5, kids can participate in the decluttering process. At least twice a year (after her birthday and after the winter holidays), I enlist Sofie’s help in choosing which toys to pass on by giving her a cardboard box to fill. I see her thoughtfully weighing these tough choices and believe it helps develop her decision-making skills.

Here are a few tips for this sorting process:

  • Start by making piles based on if the child is ready to let the toy go (yes, no, maybe)
  • Fill a box (one per child)
  • Set a deadline (such as two days; otherwise the procrastination over decisions may be endless)
  • Do it with them (clean out your wardrobe or your old CD and movie collection so the kids see that everyone is participating)
  • Pack the box up and get it out of sight (before regret sets in or a sibling tries to confiscate an item)

Personalize the Action

Giving up toys just to have less of them is not a logical reason for kids, and it might lead to resentment. However, you can gently educate your little ones (even as young as 4) about landfills or, in kid-speak, “mountains of trash that make the earth sick.” Show them online photos or visualize the concept with this sandbox landfill project (PDF).

Or you can appeal to their altruistic nature. Telling your kids about children in the world who don’t have any toys might inspire them to give away more stuff. Whether you’re talking about an outgrown jacket that will keep someone else warm or a favorite toy that will delight a homeless child, putting a face to the action helps reframe the decluttering process.

Next page: What Do I Do With the Old Toys?

Best Cleaning Products for Thrift Store Finds

It only takes a few simple cleaning products to make those thrift stores finds as good as new. Photo: Shutterstock.

It only takes a few simple cleaning products to make those thrift store finds as good as new. Photo: Shutterstock

Looking for ways to spruce up those hidden gems from the thrift store? Sometimes you might stumble upon the perfect item only to find it has stains, sticky residue or water deposits that seem impossible to remove. Luckily, Thrift Core has some great tips for how to clean up thrift store or garage sale finds.

Brillo steel wool soap pads
These steel wool soap pads are great for removing hard water deposits and other stains. They can be reused multiple times as long as they aren’t completely soaked in water (which isn’t necessary for cleaning). And if you need to stuff holes or cracks around the home, the old pads can be reused that way, too.

Goo Gone
This cleaner is great for easily removing sticky residue. Use it to clean up products left with residue from tape, stickers, price tags and more.

Magic Eraser
The Magic Eraser has a lot of benefits — it removes sticky residue and marks from markers and pens, and it could even brighten dull finds.

Remember to practice sustainable use and disposal of cleaning products. To find out how, visit our recycling guide.

5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget the big picture. Remember the environment and those in need this season by taking a moment to give back. Even small acts can make a big difference. Check out our list to get started.

Remember the environment and those in need this holiday season by taking a moment to give back. Photo: Shutterstock

Remember the environment and those in need this holiday season by taking a moment to give back. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Clear your cupboard to feed the hungry

Canned and dried foods that have been sitting in your pantry for months aren’t technically “food waste.” After all, they’re still perfectly edible and have yet to be tossed in the trash.

But with the growing demand on food pantries across the country, all that nonperishable food could definitely be put to better use than sitting forgotten on the back of a shelf.

Clear out your cupboards, and set aside nonperishable food you won’t realistically use in the near future for donation to your local food bank. A few minutes of pantry purging will help local food banks and soup kitchens meet demand as well as prevent future food waste (that stuff expires eventually, you know).

2. Donate toys to make a child’s day

Kids in low-income families often go without during the holidays. Help make sure every child in your community receives a gift this season by donating toys and clothes to charities or thrift stores in your area.

Parents on tight budgets may be doing some of their holiday shopping at secondhand stores, and charities that collect toys will surely be distributing them during the holidays. You’ll prevent unwanted toys from going to waste and just may make a child’s holiday a little more special.

3. Volunteer for neighborhood ‘treecycling’

An ever-increasing number of communities now offer Christmas tree recycling (often called “treecycling”) programs that transform discarded trees into mulch for playgrounds, parks and other public spaces.

Many of these programs depend on volunteers, and giving a few hours of your time helps ensure your neighbors can recycle their trees rather than send them to the landfill.

Use Earth911’s recycling directory to find your local treecycling program, and check out its website to see if volunteers are needed. A bit of time spent mulching trees isn’t bad for burning off all those holiday calories either.

4. Fight litter while making merry

Holiday schedules are often packed with parties, community activities and seasonal shopping. While you’re out and about, make it a point to pick up litter when you see it. Bring a bag with you while shopping or caroling with the kids, or de-litter rest areas when traveling to visit family and friends.

It may seem simple, but the planet and your community will be far better off as a result.

5. Choose charitable gifts

If you’re stumped on what to give to a friend or family member this season, think outside the box and choose a non-material gift such as a charitable donation.

Provide clean water to a family in need through The Water Project, or donate livestock and seeds with Heifer International. Kiva now offers Kiva Cards, which are like gift cards that allow recipients to choose from a library of micro-financing projects around the world.

Choose a cause that suits your loved one best for a thoughtful gift that’s entirely waste-free.

More Ways to Give Back: Feed People, Not Landfills

Buffalo Exchange Thinks Outside the Bag for Sustainability

Resale shop Buffalo Exchange asks customers to bring their own bags. Photo: Melanie Medina

Resale shop Buffalo Exchange asks customers to bring their own bags. Photo: Melanie Medina

From the time that Kerstin and Spencer Block opened the first Buffalo Exchange store in 1974, the company has been dedicated to sustainability. Providing hip and fun stores for customers to buy, sell and trade new and recycled clothing and accessories, the company has grown to include 46 stores and three franchises in 17 states.

The store’s sustainability efforts go well beyond giving clothes a second life through reuse and recycling. Among the many initiatives the store has implemented over the years is the innovative Tokens for Bags program, which has raised nearly $525,000 since 1994. The money raised has gone to local nonprofit organizations and also has kept some 10.4 million bags out of the landfill.

Long before the “bring your own bag” concept became cool and commonplace, Buffalo Exchange identified this as an area where they could reinforce the “reduce, reuse and recycle” mind-set. When shoppers decline a bag, they’re given a 5-cent token instead. That token can then be placed into a box representing a charity — there are three boxes/charities to choose from at each location.

Given the more than half a million dollars raised by this campaign alone, it has shown its merit. And now, other stores are borrowing from Buffalo Exchange and creating similar campaigns. At Whole Foods Market,  many of the stores offer customers a wooden token for every reusable bag that customers bring in and use for carting home their groceries. Each bag they bring in represents 5 cents, and shoppers can choose which selected charity they’d like to give their donation to. A similar program exists at Wild Oats Market, a member-owned cooperative.

Shop for Great Deals on 'Green Friday' in NYC

Photo: ReuseNYC

Photo: ReuseNYC

If you’d rather not shell out your holiday shopping dollars at the big-box stores this year, why not skip Black Friday and try hunting for great deals on Green Friday instead?

On Nov. 29, nonprofit retail locations throughout New York City will participate in ReuseNYC Green Friday — a community-oriented answer to Black Friday that focuses on supporting those in need and preventing waste through secondhand shopping.

More than 40 retail locations will take part in the event by offering a variety of sales in locations across the five boroughs.

Participating retailers include common names like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, and some you may have never heard of, such as the Arthritis Foundation Gift Shop, Cancer Care Thrift Shop, Lower East Side Ecology Center and more.

Deals range from 10 percent off to 50 percent off storewide — meaning you’ll not only score rock-bottom deals but also rest easy knowing your dollars supported causes you care about.

Click here for a map of all participating locations and more information.

Homepage Image: Flickr/Play Among Friends

'Thrift Shop Divas' Web Series Features Goodwill Good Deeds

The Thrift Shop Divas serve up innovative upcycling ideas with a big dose of hope. Photo: Thrift Shop Divas

The Thrift Shop Divas serve up innovative upcycling ideas with a big dose of hope. Photo: Thrift Shop Divas

For the Thrift Shop Divas, a visit to Goodwill isn’t just about saving money — it’s about creating hope. The web-based series set in St. Louis follows the adventures of three thrift store mavens, led by 87-year-old Naomi Trudeau, as they give a deserving individual a makeover at Goodwill.

Erik Light, producer for the show, says he got the idea after meeting Trudeau at a Goodwill store. Trudeau is energetic, entertaining and flamboyant, and Light knew that she was exactly the kind of personality that he could build a show around. He took the concept to Coolfire Media, the company behind such shows as Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and Funeral Boss. After adding two more divas — Susannah, a fashion blogger/stylist, and Jenny B, an interior designer and owner of the design studio Jipsi — they had all they needed for a show.

“I think our message is that in the face of hard economic times, our society responds with resourcefulness and compassion in a variety of ways,” Light says. “Our show just happens to celebrate all the people who donate to Goodwill, shop at Goodwill and, by doing so, help people in need. I consider anybody who participates in that process a Thrift Shop Diva. Even us guys!”

With two episodes online so far, the series uses uplifting storytelling, such as showing Trudeau creating a beautiful gown for a young woman with disabilities who’s competing in the Miss Amazing Pageant. Along the way, viewers learn plenty of new ways to upcycle old products, which just could change their perception of shopping at Goodwill.

“It’s nice to work on content that you can bring home to meet your mother, so to speak,” Light says. “Our goal is to create a fun and inviting online hangout for all the Thrift Shop Divas out there who love sifting through the racks as much as we do.”

Fall Wardrobe Need a Refresh? Swap, Donate or Recycle Those Duds

Swapping out your summer clothes for fall fashions? Now's the time to donate those gently used duds. Photo: Flickr/keepingtime_ca

Swapping out your summer clothes for fall fashions? Now’s the time to donate those gently used duds. Photo: Flickr/keepingtime_ca

The air is crisper, the days are shorter and sweater weather is surely upon us. As you’re making room for all those cool-season clothes in your closet, take the opportunity to free yourself of items you no longer wear.

That shrunken tank top or over-ruffled blouse may be just what another shopper needs to avoid buying new, and you’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with unloading the stuff you don’t want or need. Here are some recycling solutions that may surprise you, from selling trendy fashions online to diverting damaged clothing from landfills.

Next page: Selling on-trend apparel online

7 Tips for Donating to Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Photo: Habitat for Humanity

Photo: Habitat for Humanity

On the surface, making a donation to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore seems pretty straightforward, but it’s not long before questions come to mind. Do they even accept these items? Should I put them all in the same box? How do I claim a tax deduction?

Donating to your local ReStore is a convenient way to prevent unwanted building materials, furniture, appliances and housewares from heading to the landfill. Additionally, money from ReStore sales goes directly back into Habitat for Humanity’s work building and rehabbing homes — making it a win-win-win for you, your neighborhood and the planet.

While there are no set rules when it comes to getting your items ready, you can help employees and volunteers process your donation quickly and safely by following a few simple steps.

Read on for top tips from Drew Meyer, senior director of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Operating Group, that will make your next donation a breeze for you and your local ReStore.

Next page: Schedule a free home pickup and prepare building materials

Post-Landfill Action Network Breaks Records, Attracts Donor

Students at the University of New Hampshire host a giant yard sale each fall to keep last year’s waste out of landfills. Photo: Dan Mannarino/Trash 2 Treasure

Students at the University of New Hampshire host a giant yard sale each fall to keep last year’s waste out of landfills. Photo: Dan Mannarino/Trash 2 Treasure

Last month, we wrote about the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), a student-led nonprofit started at the University of New Hampshire that launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to promote waste reduction on college campuses. Since then, PLAN has achieved success with both funding and eliminating waste.

In late August, UNH’s third annual yard sale, put on by PLAN’s pilot program Trash 2 Treasure, took place to encourage new and returning students at the school to opt for used items when furnishing and decorating their dorm rooms and apartments. This event was the largest yard sale the group has hosted yet, with $22,000 raised and about 45 tons of usable materials diverted from landfills. All items sold at the sale were collected at the end of the previous semester in May. The three-year total for waste diverted from landfills now stands at 110 tons.

Take a look at a time-lapse video showing the setup, sale and teardown:

The group, led by recent UNH graduate Alex Freid, plans to assist other campuses in reducing waste by employing similar methods to those used in New Hampshire.

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Student-Led Nonprofit Creates a Zero-Waste Campus Movement

Post-Landfill Action Network, Trash 2 Treasure

Students at the University of New Hampshire collect landfill-bound reusable items at the end of the spring semester and then host a giant yard sale in the fall. Photo: Post-Landfill Action Network

When college students leave campus at the end of the academic year, plenty of reusable items like furniture, dishes and plastic shower caddies find their way into dumpsters. In 2010, a group of students at the University of New Hampshire decided to do something about this problem and started a program that collected this “waste” at the end of the semester, cleaned and sorted it over the summer and sold much of it at a giant yard sale in the fall.

This program, called Trash 2 Treasure, diverted over 100 tons of reusable items from the waste stream in its first three years and reached $30,000 in sales, making Trash 2 Treasure the first self-sustaining program of its kind in the country. The students also branched out and started other waste-reducing programs on campus like bike sharing and electronics waste recycling.

Now those students want to grow the reuse movement by extending programs like Trash 2 Treasure to other college campuses. To do so, they’ve set up a nonprofit called the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), which is headed up by Alex Freid, a recent graduate of UNH. PLAN is currently raising money through an Indiegogo campaign to help facilitate waste reduction on campuses nationwide and eventually make the idea of waste on campuses obsolete.

“Between the 2,100 colleges and universities across the country, million of tons of waste are landfilled each year, but we can and will solve this problem,” Freid says in PLAN’s Indiegogo video.

Post-Landfill Action Network, Trash 2 Treasure

Trash 2 Treasure collects lots of items like mugs, lamps, food storage containers and furniture, which are then sold during move-in week. Photo: Post-Landfill Action Network

PLAN intends to work with schools in three phases; by assisting those just starting out who need financial assistance to pay for trucks and storage space, by enabling those that have move-out waste reduction programs to improve and expand those programs and by helping established programs expand into other sustainable initiatives. The plan is for university groups to become members of PLAN so they can utilize the network’s services.

In addition to helping other student groups, money raised during the campaign will also be used for overhead expenses for the start-up, development and management of the new PLAN nonprofit.

“This organization is a win-win for everyone involved. We build student leadership around waste reduction initiatives that save students, parents and colleges money while also helping the environment and raising funds for future sustainable initiatives on campus,” Freid says.

To learn more and to support the Post-Landfill Action Network, visit their Indiegogo campaign page.

Homepage Image: Post-Landfill Action Network

5 Expert Tips for Vintage Furniture Shopping

vintage, shopping, home decor

Photo: India Shannon/Apartment 528

Many people head over to a big box store to furnish and decorate a new apartment, but a more eco-friendly and stylish alternative might just be vintage. You can go vintage shopping at your local secondhand store, on Craigslist or eBay or even at an estate sale in your neighborhood, but finding the good stuff among the not-so-good stuff can be a little daunting.

We spoke with India Shannon, a seasoned vintage shopper and owner of the handmade and vintage home goods store Apartment 528, to get some tips and advice for how to make the most of the time you spend seeking out decor for your apartment.

Shannon admits her first apartment had quite a few Ikea furnishings, but over time she realized she not only prefers the style of vintage items, but she can also save money by buying secondhand.

“The thing about vintage is you can find it affordably,” Shannon told Earth911. “It’s just as cheap and sometimes cheaper than Ikea. It’s very well-made. It’s extremely durable. You can bang it, drop it, do all kinds of things.”

Because of that durability, vintage decor probably won’t need to take a trip to the landfill anytime soon either. Keep reading to learn how you can start finding vintage furniture and decor for your apartment.

Can Worn or Damaged Clothing be Donated?

clothing, recycling

Worn or damaged clothing should never be sent to a landfill. Photo: Shutterstock

Most of us have some old, worn clothing items in our closets, and many people hang on to them because they don’t know what to do with them. We feel bad throwing these clothes in the trash, but fear donating them to a charity like Goodwill or the Salvation Army would be inappropriate, since no one would want threadbare t-shirts or torn jeans.

We’ll let you in on a little secret: charities will accept all sorts of textiles, including those that you think are too worn or damaged to donate.

“As a general rule, there isn’t much that we won’t allow to be donated to Goodwill,” Michael Meyer, vice president of donated retail goods at Goodwill Industries International, Inc., told Earth911. “We take all textiles in any condition. All those textiles end up in our system and they’re sorted to determine where they will land.”

The misconception that worn and damaged clothing items cannot be accepted by charities like Goodwill stems from the use of the term “gently used items,” which was a tagline for charities seeking donations for many years.

“The reality of it is ‘gently used items’ is all up for interpretation,” Meyer said. “Really, that’s more of an internal thing for us to say the gently used items will end up in our stores, in our outlets and on our auction sites.”

How Donated Textiles Get Sorted and Sold

After arriving at a Goodwill donation center, textiles are sorted and the majority of them end up on the sales floor in Goodwill’s retail stores, Meyer said. Because of the vast quantities of textiles arriving at Goodwill locations, sorting does take time, but Goodwill employees have the process down to a science.

“They are very efficient at moving things through, and [sorting] is a job creator,” Meyer said.

If clothing items don’t sell after a period of time in stores, some Goodwill locations send these items to Goodwill outlets where they are sold by the pound. Some Goodwill organizations even have auctions to sell this clothing. If any textiles remain at the end of this process, Goodwill sells them to salvage textile recyclers, which is where clothing not suitable for resale gets sent as well.

Goodwill does everything it can to ensure clothing not suitable for sale in their stores stays out of the landfill, so they work with aftermarket textile recyclers who use old textiles in a variety of ways. The charity keeps the proceeds of these sales in local communities by using them to support programs designed to help families and job seekers.

The Fate of Unsellable Textiles

Once your old clothing is sold to a textile recycler, it may find new life in a few different ways. According to Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), a nonprofit trade association of companies that recycle these materials, 45 percent of used apparel is sent abroad to countries where the demand for secondhand clothing is high, 30 percent become wiping and polishing cloths and 20 percent are turned into fibers for things like upholstery, insulation and furniture stuffing. Only five percent of the textiles purchased by these companies are unusable.

You might be wondering why a lot of your unwanted clothing ends up in developing countries, and SMART explains it’s because there is a market for those items abroad. A 2005 study by Oxfam, an international confederation of organizations that fight poverty, explored the impacts of the secondhand clothing industry on West African economies, and among their findings was the fact that the livelihoods of many people depend on this industry.

Eco-Friendly Building Materials for Your Home Remodel

In any remodeling project, balancing factors like time, budget and aesthetics can be a challenge. But don’t forget the planet while planning and prepping! Whether you’re working with a contractor or doing it yourself, check out this list of eco-friendly building materials to lighten the footprint of your project.

Photo: Trex

Photo: Trex Company

1. Composite decking

Made from recycled or reclaimed materials, composite decking offers a sustainable alternative to virgin timber for your garden and outdoor living space.

Rather than using new wood, this lovely composite decking from Trex is made from reclaimed sawdust and recycled plastic from common household items like sandwich bags and newspaper sleeves.

Composite decking is also very low-maintenance and resistant to warping, rotting and mold, meaning you won’t have to use chemical cleaners or sealants to keep your outdoor area looking its best.

DIY Style: Make Your Own Fashions for Less

Fashion trends change in the blink of an eye, and those of-the-moment threads you picked up last season are already on their way “out.” Sure, you want to keep up with the latest fashions, but buying new clothes each season can be pricey. Prematurely tossing those once-trendy duds also produces excess waste, increasing your impact on the environment. So, what’s a green girl to do? Rather than heading to the mall for the latest fashion find, repurpose old, rarely-worn clothes from your closet and other recyclables from around the house to create new-to-you outfits that are as stylish as you are. Read on for ideas you’ll love.

Homepage Image: Erica/Caught on a Whim

Stay Green in 2013: Crazy DIYs to Try

If you’ve always marveled at those DIY mavens who manage to make everything themselves, why not resolve to add a touch of homemade to your repertoire this New Year? Since every resolution needs helping hand, Earth911 dug up 13 crazy ways to go DIY in 2013, reducing waste and treating yourself to new-to-you decor for every room of the house. Self-sufficiency, here you come!

Homepage Image: Anjelika Paranjpe/Brit + Co.

Top 12 Green Trends of 2012

As reporters of all things green, it’s our job to keep our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled for the next big thing. While there are some fads we won’t be sad to see retired in the new year (mustache T-shirts, anyone?), emerging trends in the green scene piqued our interests and left us wanting more. So, just in time for New Year’s, Earth911 rounded up 12 hot green trends we hope will stick around in 2013.

Homepage Image: Empire State Building

100+ Ways to Reuse Thrift Store Finds

Shopping at thrift stores, secondhand boutiques and garage sales in your area is a great way to avoid buying new items – saving both cash and virgin resources. Buying secondhand also helps prevent useful items from heading to the landfill, which carries obvious environmental benefits. But, as any thrift store addict will tell you, secondhand finds can often pile up quickly before you find a way to repurpose them. To give you a helping hand in your reuse revolution, Earth911 assembled this list of 12 common thrift store finds, along with more than 100 clever and crafty ways to reuse them.

Homepage photo: Sibylle/Funkytime

PHOTOS: 10 Cool Reuses for Thrifted Luggage

Prized among vintage-lovers, antique luggage is a common thrift store find and family hand-me-down. But it can be tough to figure out how to use those bulky suitcases if they aren’t quite right for your next vacay. If your luggage is a bit too damaged to take with you on trips, or even if it’s simply not your style, you can still find loads of useful ways to repurpose it and give it a second life around the house. So, dig all that old luggage out of the closet, and check out these 10 savvy and stylish reuse ideas from around the Web.

Homepage Image: Sarah Hanks/Fancy Seeing You Here

PHOTOS: 12 Ways to Upcycle Thrifted Furniture

Furniture accounted for 8.8 million tons, or 3.6 percent, of our overall waste stream in 2005 (quadruple the tonnage in 1960), according to the EPA. One man’s trash may be another thrift store-lover’s treasure, but let’s get serious: That $2 coffee table isn’t doing anyone any good sitting in the garage. Dust off that stash of thrifted furniture and check out these 10 creative ways to give it a second life in style. Not a thrift store enthusiast? Don’t worry. One look at these projects may change your mind.

Homepage Image: Shutterstock