Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Recycle Reuse Repurpose

My life in appalachia recycle reuse repurpose

Photo by Gale Oliphant

A few weeks ago I was invited to a friend’s birthday party. She gave every lady who attended the same instructions: Don’t bring a gift, instead bring something sweet to eat or drink…and clean your closet out and bring all the clothes you no longer need for a clothing swap.

I arrived with my bag full of clothes and dish full of sweets and knew I would have fun. I did not think I would come home with any ‘new to me’ clothes.

I guess I figured the clothing items wouldn’t be to my liking. I was wrong. I practically came home with a new wardrobe…for free. AND the other ladies did the same. AND there was a van full of leftover clothing to donate to charity.

The Recycle – Reuse – Repurpose mentality is alive and well in Appalachia.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Great idea! Great fun! Since I’m built for comfort and not for speed I’d have trouble finding a fit. 🙂

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    March 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    This is such a great idea! I have a birthday coming up. This would be so much fun! I think I will say bring clothes, purses and jewelry. If they want to take their items back home that’s leftover they can or donate to our local nursing homes who have ppl who no one ever brings them clothing , etc. And they only get 40.00 monthly from their checks to buy all personal items. Nursing homes get the rest. Thank you for this idea! Crys in Arkansas

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    March 19, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    What a great idea for a party, and sounds like fun too!
    The last time my sisters and I all got together, we did a jewelry swap, each bringing jewelry they no longer wear to trade with another sister who might like them. That was fun too. And one sister took the leftovers home to give to a lady who recycles them making them into CHRISTmas ornaments that she sells.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    March 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    What a fun girls night out party!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I neglected to mention, the old fridge had a big wire basket and three wire racks that will be handy for many things.
    I ended up throwing away only about ten lbs. of plastic.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I had a side by side refrigerator-freezer that quit on me. The repair man charged me $50 to tell me it would cost more than a new one to fix it. I just hated to haul it off so I decided to recycle it. I took out all the copper wiring to sell (copper is worth a pretty penny.) The tubing was saved for other purposes. All the screws and bolts went in a jar. The mechanicals went to the convenience center to be recycled. The case, I put beside my little garden to store tools in (don’t worry, the doors have magnetic closures.) I left some of the shelves in the doors to hold small items. I am going to paint it camo so the neighbors don’t complain (or maybe not.) It had three glass shelves with clear plastic drawers under them. Those are for starting seeds. I can carry them out and hang them on the deck when it’s sunny. They can be stacked when I bring them back in. I have tomatoes growing in repurposed plastic pudding cups in one of them (I used left over seeds from last year.)
    I have always been a recycler (junk collector) even before it became the norm. I am trying to teach my son to be the same. The other day he helped a friend clean out a garage. They got out all she wanted to keep. She gave him $20 for gas and told him he could have anything that was left in the building. He came home with an air compressor, a chop saw and a complete crotch rocket. The air compressor and chop saw need a little work. The motorcycle is totally disassembled but there is hope for it. If he don’t get it running, he can always sell it for parts.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    What a great idea! Most of my wardrobe is from thrift shops but swapping would be even better.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Hi Tipper,We had such a party at a ladys Bible study about 15 years ago.Went over great.God Bless.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Cool idea! Kind of like a seed/tuber/plant swap but a good “winter” alternative.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    March 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

    If that is not the most clever way to shop, I’ll pay for lying! I have several closets FULL of such clothing. Wish I could have attended and given away lots of items – including shoes!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 19, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Most of my clothes go to the Good Will, that is I think they are worthy of re-wear! Otherwise, the buttons are cut off, and the neck tag is cut off. If they are rag material, like 100% cotton or fleece, etc. they are cut up for rags or go to the collectors rag bin…I reuse buttons for crafts, etc. I use cloth label tags for crafts, collage, etc. I had a hey-day going thru and snipping off old cloth labels on some of my parents old clothes that was in the attic. The graphics on them were fantastic and you just don’t see that effort put into some woven labels today…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Now where can I put all this recycled, repurposed, and these jars of buttons and labels…LOL
    And yes, I brought home Moms jars of buttons from her sewing room…Just amazing buttons…!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    March 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Great idea! Sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 9:28 am

    My ladies club does this about twice a year but we make a donation of any amount of money we can afford. The whole time we are picking through tons of goodies, a yard sale is taking place. The yard sale buyers also pay whatever they think their loot is worth. The money we make is always put to good use in our community.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 9:24 am

    What a fabulous idea! This is such a great way to recycle clothing and other accessories could be included. I especially like this idea for kids’ clothing. Happy day!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 19, 2015 at 8:03 am

    What a grand idea. I love the idea if repurposing things as well as clothes. It just seems criminal to throw away anything that someone else can use.
    I’ve been repurposing things for as long as I can remember.
    I love yard sales too. There is a world of treasures there.
    My whole picture framing business was repurposing. I bought frames and repaired/refinished them and I bought prints framed and unframed and put the two together and sold them for a modest cost. It was fun for me and gave me great satisfaction to make use of damaged and unwanted things.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 7:33 am

    What a fun party idea! Will spread the word about this.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 7:24 am

    That was SO fun!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Such a fine idea!

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