Health & Fitness

Aging Matters: Turn trash into treasure

If one man’s trash is another’s treasure, what do you call a treasure made from trash?

This recovering packrat has turned numerous oddments into — well, treasure is a little too elegant for my re-creations. Interesting, yes. Good conversation starters.

Example: After I’d crumpled the foil from a small raspberry candy into a tight ball, that light bulb you see in the comics came on. Eventually, I’d produced a handful of similar items that I supplemented with a few white beads salvaged from a broken necklace. Used a large darning needle threaded with embroidery floss, I assembled a handsome lightweight string into a compliments magnet. So far, not one admirer has questioned its origins. Cost? Nothing.

Age had yellowed my lovely old white filigree brooch, a junk jewelry survivor from an earlier era, another lifetime. Five minutes with a bottle of the typist’s white correction fluid resuscitated the relic. Still cheap, now chic.

Most geranium blossoms wilt and fade, but I have one prolific bloomer whose lovely salmon blooms hold both shape and color long after they dry. Several stems in a white vase are prettier than expensive dried flowers from the craft store.

Disguise a problem with a creative cover-up. A favorite white cotton top had been ruined by several small stains that stubbornly resisted bleach. Now, with embroidered lazy-daisy flowers covering and concealing each spot, it’s “new” again! (Shhh — don’t tell.) Cost? Fifteen or 20 minutes with a variety of who-knows-how-old embroidery floss.

You can do it, too. Make a treasure out of trash. Recycle small gift-wrap gimmicks; cut and string greeting card glitz into ornaments. Paint designs on common clothespins used for pants hangers (makes a neat little gift, too). Clip cuttings from houseplants to root and share with friends. Turn stuff like butterflies salvaged from florist arrangements into seasonable door decor. Recycle. Restore. Renovate. Reincarnate.

Making something from nothing challenges the aging brain’s creative lobes, nurtures that innate human hunger for beauty and restores that fading sense of self-worth. And it helps extend both the personal cash cache and the public landfill.