Why a shock can sometimes help the earth

Are you someone who waits for the latest collection in the shops and gives away good stuff because it is out-of-fashion? Many people tend to archive their stuff if a newer model is available. There are mobile tariffs that guarantee their users a new phone every year, just to please this feeling of having the latest technique. But this is something entirely unhealthy for both – our environment AND our bank account. So why not use the old stuff any longer?

Difficult question – one possible answer

We are not used to see something that does not seem to fit to everything else. It does not fit our picture of the society. Therefore, people who reuse old things or create new things of somethings others would call trash cause a “shock” to others.
Shocking others with upcycled furniture, clothes, and art? Does not seem to be very likely, but that is what incongruent things cause in people. Even, if that is not consciously processed. So, if you are involved in upcycling that is what you do to others. But do not fear, it is a good thing! Others will start to think about it and possibly will then think about reusing older things too. And that is a very good start to help the earth to heal. It is a start to end the throwing-away mentality in our society!

Girl looking surprised or shocked

Let us shock the society together!

Of course, I also have some shocking examples for you. So, what do you think of chairs that were formally dustbins? Or guitars out of boxes? Do net let anyone stop your creativity but let it blossom through ideas of the community. Naturally, for some projects you will need some craftmanship that some of you – including me – may not have. Though, this is a community. There are many people out there sharing instructions, tips, and help. Who says that you must do it on your own? And luckily, there are also ideas the require less talent. Just craft a bowl out of wastepaper or a greenhouse out of plastic bottles.

Child in rain having fun

Just make sure that you do not let go of the fun doing this!

“Go out and change the world.
Make old to gold in your own way!”

Your Upcycling blog

Convincing the skeptics: 3 tips to break upcycling preconceptions

Painted vase from an old bottle? And this is my birthday present?

It`s not the best gift reaction, is it?

That`s what people who have poor experiences with upcycled products would say to the re-purposed gift of yours. Upcycling is not a mainstream yet and some of us don`t know such trend as upcycling, an alternative and creative way for giving new life to old items.

Perhaps, you have a set of YouTube tutorials about upcycling, and you will attract an audience to your channel. Or you are ready to set up your own upcycling business. In both cases you will encounter prejudices concerning upcycled products for sure. Common preference for mass-produced goods is a big challenge for such business ideas. People have some preconceptions that you will try to sell them rubbish by offering sweatshirts out of trash.

One yellow tree in the forest
Different can be scary

Turning out wrong perceptions about re-purposed products is the first task for every upcycling inspired person willing to set his or her own trend. Preferences tend to change all the time. And I can give you some advice how you can make this change real.

1.) Exercise your social power

If you launch start-up based on the upcycling ideas, some people can say: „It didn`t cost you anything for the raw material. Can I have a discount?” And what can you do in this case? How to make other appreciate the time it takes to transform the raw material and your creativity?

Social power helps you maintain relationships between you and your audience

Gaining social power is not the easiest task, but it`s possible. Through demonstrating beliefs, for example, by wearing transformed clothes or by posting upcycling ideas on social networks, you can get more support and form your own community. This will be your resource to pursue interest of others and to position yourself as a creator. Distrustful persons should recognize having an upcycled Do-It-Yourself home decor as having good taste and not as lack of money.

2.) Motivate your potential supporters

“Show your identity”

Visualize your identity

Expressing internal values is an initial need of every human being. So, you can seed the idea into persons` heads that they would indirectly broadcast their intention to live sustainably, their intention to conserve the nature. Today there are a lot of young people who carry about environmental issues, but it`s impossible to talk to you everyone you meet about your beliefs and life orientation.

Having any attribute of upcycled things, such as metal box from eaten cookies as your “new” lunch box, will express personal value in a propriate way.

“You can be a part of the community”

The creation of the self-representation picture serves as a base for social approvement by other individuals. Due to the great attention in recent years to upcycling products, many kinds of community exist of which especially the younger generation wants to be a part of. This desire of connectivity can be used as a resource for developing commitment to your upcycling ideas.

If you manage to build social currency out of your online upcycling content or your product, people would be more likely attached to your ideas and products. Especially those individuals who pay a great attention to the social evaluation and to the expression of their ideal (not necessarily real) self to others.

community support
Community support is the key to success

“Quench your thirst for knowledge”

Regardless of our interests and preferences, we always strive either to supplement existing knowledge or to gain insights in new previously unexperienced topics. Thanks to human curiosity, many masterpieces were created, and a huge amount of discoveries was made.

Explore- flag
Explore something that you have never done before

So, if you want to persuade conservative minds, your upcycled product should be a kind of fulfilment of those needs.By offering offline upcycling workshops you will give others the opportunity to experience something new and help them developing their own preferences.

3.) Choose the right context

All those tips would not work, if you are not able to deliver your content or product to the right person, at the right time, in the right place. All parts of your concept should be connected to the main point of your upcycling project. If you are going to promote your idea in social network communities which are interested in luxury lifestyle and one-way dresses.

Trying to convince this target group is just unreasonable and time-consuming. So, recognizing the fluctuating target group could be the first step to success. And only then you can try to break down their preconceptions.

Does someone ask you if it is necessary to upcycle? Do you get questions about the quality of the upcycled products? And what about the value of those transformed products?

skeptical viewing

Now you know what to answer in those cases. Just try to develop new perspective for those, who are skeptical about your upcycling aspirations. Re-arrange their out-of-day perception and change their mental schemas.

And a question for you, our dear reader!

Do you know any other ideas how to persuade others to follow your dreams too?

These 6 tips will make your upcycling project an eye-catcher

  • Have you already tried some do-it-yourself-projects and you have not been completely satisfies with the results?!
  • Are you asking yourself what could make your projects more aesthetic?!
  • Do you want to market your upcycling ideas, but people are not enthusiastic about them yet?!

I have some tips and tricks that might help you!

For the aesthetic perception of your upcycling projects the following 6 aspects are of enormous importance:

1.) Prototypicality

What does prototypically actually mean?

“Prototypes [are] […] the clearest cases of membership defined operationally by people’s judgments of goodness of membership in the category”

Rosch (1978) p.11

Why is that important for your project?

Because people prefer things that are prototypical. If you upcycle an item and turn it into something else, make sure that people can easily identify what it is. If the result is too unique, recipients won’t be able to assign your project into a specific category. This will lead then to perceive the object as less aesthetic, as they will be overwhelmed with the interpretation.

But keep the balance: products / projects that ate too prototypical are boring and do not arouse the long-term interest of people!

2.) Coherent structure (e.g. symmetry)

Our brain remembers patterns and structures. Symmetry is particularly important for our perception of aesthetics. For example, most people prefer symmetrical forms over asymmetrical forms.

Why is that important for you?

For example, if you sew a bag from an old pair of jeans, make sure that it has a (symmetric) shape/form/”Gestalt”, if you want to reach the mass. Especially because the jeans material is unusual for a bag.

Fashion experts may prefer other structures and forms. They have already seen a lot of different styles and they re more familiar with different designs of bags. If you want to win them for you, you should dare to go for something more daring.

Asymmetric flower print on a luxury bag
3. Contrast and clarity

Contrast and clarity are highly appreciated and strongly determine our first impression of an object. You want your project to be perceived as aesthetic from the very beginning? Then use contrast.

4.) Simplicity versus complexity

What is simple and what is complex? Simple objects have few and very similar elements. With complex objects the exact opposite is the case. Furthermore, the elements of complex objects are often arranged asymmetrically.

Down below you can see two pictures. One of a easy designed bag and one of a complex designed bag. You will probably like the simple design better the first time you look at it. But if you look at if for a longer period of time, you will find the more complex bag with all the details more interesting. Therefore, you will like this one better.

Simple handbag design
Complex handbag design (also not prototypical for a bag)

Keep this in mind for your projects! Ask yourself: What is the perfect combination of a good first gut feeling and long-term interest? Try to implement the learnings from this question into your projects.

5.) Novelty

Novelty attracts attention. Dose it correctly! If your idea isn’t new enough, people will get bored of your projects. But if your ideas are too extreme, people will not appreciate them.

6.) Meta-Information

Do you want to market your upcycling projects in your own web shop? Try to provide meaningful additional information (e.g. title and description). This will help your customers to interpret your projects.

Do you have more questions? Then write us a comment. We will answer it as soon as possible.

Storytelling 3.0 – Develop Your Own Style

This one is for the advanced storytellers among you who already started to experience storytelling. If you haven’t read the first two parts, start here.

Ye good ol‘ writing style is what my teachers loved to criticese in school, because they all want you to write in the same style. If you want to learn how to develop your own style, this is your guide.

1. Words

You might want to think about the words you are using. They contain many sub-meanings and can make a huge difference on what you are saying.

“Oi Mate, that’s a bloody good project you are on ther’ “
“Yes indeed, this project that you have chosen is eloquent in the highest extend”

I am sure you get what I mean.

2. Sentences

The length of a sentence strongly influences the way how people think about your story in total. Short sentences are good for transferring information while long sentences can draw your audience in and keeps them bound to what you are about to tell. I do recommend you to start with a long drawing sentence so everybody knows the setting before switching to shorter sentences to not loose your audience. Here is an example of a famous book:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

3. Structure

Structure is very important when it comes to writing and making content understandable for your audience. Simple concepts such as:

  • Simplicity in word and sentences
  • One paragraph for every thought
  • having a leitmotif running through the text

You know, like thinking of a famous speech: “Yes, we can” or “I have a dream” are these kind of motifs that are repeatedly used. You can also think of moving from a general construct of goals to concrete examples. This is what we do. We want to make the world a better place and move to concrete upcycling examples. If we can do it, so can you.

4. Rythmic

Did you know that even tho you are writing about very concrete things, you can invlolve some rythm in there? As a musician myself, I love using this when telling stories. It is however, easier when speaking but not impossible when writing. Look at this one

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

5. Aesthetics

B/W: Women merging with the roots like background in an aesthetic way

Most people, when thinking of aesthetics, think about paintings and pictures. Indeed, you can also use it in your story style. You can freely choose on how to create the setting for your story. Remember, as important of what you say, what you don’t say is as much important. Also think about the language style. Is it written in first person or third person, formal or very direct. Lastly I highly recommend you to carefully think of words with more complex meaning. Use Thesaurus for alternatives to used out and boring words.


Quoting one of the best storytellers of all time, Ernest Hemingway: “First drafts are excrement”. So you might get the idea that you should revise your first drafts and do not be afraid to make changes. Be critical with your points and your style and improve as much as you like. If you use a platform like wordpress, you can make changes even after the upload. Making changes in your work is no weakness. Nobody should be afraid of learning and improving.

Lastly, writing about your thoughts is a powerful way of organizing ideas. It is beneficial for your brain and for inner peace. It is no surprise that many self-help gurus and even psychologist recommend you to write a diary in any form. I myself do this in form of a huge PowerPoint. Writing about your ideas might therefore not only help others, but also yourself.


This was the key to storytelling and fulfilling your dreams

So this is the end my fellow storytellers. I hope to have given you enough tools and tricks to be able to tell fantastic stories. Whether they are for your kids (if you have any), friends, or in the next business meeting. We would love to hear stories about Upcycling from you and hope to have you inspired through this blog-post and all the others on our blog. Thank you very< much for reading up until this point. Feel free to make me happy by liking and commenting below and as always

“Go out and change the world.

Make old to gold in your own way!”

your upcycling blog

Can an old car be upcycled into a handbag? – MariClaRo success story

In the last years, the automotive companies have become more present in the fashion industry. For example, over five years ago Cadillac has signed on to become the first-ever automotive sponsor of the New York Fashion Week: Men`s. Since 2015 this luxury car brand has been actively supporting this event. However, this is not the only way how Cadillac is keeping up with fashion trends. Leather reclaimed from Cadillac`s car seats is used to create high-end accessories by Canada`s MariClaRo, a design brand making quality accessories from used materials.

MariClaRo. Handmade in Canada.

MariClaro messeger bag

“Part of our mission is to show and educate that is no difference between a new or a used material“

The Founder of MariClaRo, Sven Schlegel

MariClaRo is an outstanding example of brand with a great mission. Canadian company offers handmade leather accessories reclaim from old luxury cars like Audi and Lamborghinis. Those accessories could be laptop bags, wallets, or handbags.

Through social networks and websites, MariClaRo shows that refurbished items can look professional and stylish. At the early stage of the company`s development all kind of materials war used, ranging from bike inner tubes to car`s airbags. In the last couple of years, MariClaRo is focusing on vintage cars and aviation materials as seatbelts.

The aim of this project was to demonstrate that used materials are not less high-quality than new ones. Moreover, repurposed goods could be much more interesting and stimulating our imagination, because they are rich with stories, and they have their individual character.

MariClaRo wallet
MariClaRo wallet

The story of one person behind a big idea.

Since 2008, founder Sven Schlegel has been scouring junk yards with the great idea to transform car seats into unique accessories. As a migrant from east Germany, Sven Schlegel knows the importance of being resourceful and sustainable. Due to the unavailability and shortage of many products, he has already learned in his youth how to use and keep things in good condition for a long time.

The history of MariClaRo began in Mexico, as Sven was obtaining his PHD in resource management. The local elections were held at the same time, and the election banners took Sven`s attention. The first MariClaRo upcycled bag was made using an old remaining after the election banner.

Regarding the company`s name, there is also one story behind it. Being in Mexico, Sven had one of those cool nights with a bottle of Tequila on the table. He had already started to search for the project name, and he found it: He just added the names of the girls accompanying him that night- Marilyn, Claudia and Rosie- together.

After moving to Canada in 2009, Sven`s local project born in Mexico had grown into a successful design company. Today, MariClaRo is collaborating with such companies, such as Air Canada, Mercedes Benz, Alaska Airlines, Porsche and more.

Why does MariClaRo differ from other upcycling companies?

Every single upcycled item of MariClaRo is unique. Moreover, every single item provides information regarding the origin of the upcycled material used for this unique product.

For example, this weekender bag is made from the original interior of a 1995 Mercedes W140 S320. According to the brand, this item is unique and one-of-a-kind. So, it`s impossible to buy the same bag twice.

MariClaRo Handbag

MariClaRo enables the transformation of personal customers` experiences into contemporary and beautiful designs. One of the customers, who lost his father more than 20 years ago, tracked down this father`s car. This car was then upcycled into an awesome handbag by MariClaRo. As a result, this customer had both a high-quality handbag and a piece of this dad`s history.

Every material has a story.

The Founder of MariClaRo, Sven Schlegel

In short, MariClaRo`s products gain a lot of attention for several uncontested reasons. On the one hand, MariClaRo offers an attractive design and high quality of the product, and on the other hand, ideas of sustainable consumption and environmental-friendly manufacturing.

Customers can provide their own “experienced” car for upcycling, and MariClaRo will keep the owner`s story alive through creating new accessories from car materials. So, those accessories will be unique in its existence, because they have amazing backstories and unique character.

Here are some other MariClaRo`s products.

Would you like to buy one of those accessories? Let us know your opinion in the comments!


How to breathe new life into old things

Do you know that feeling?! You walk into a room one day and you think to yourself: “I should make a change here”. I felt the same way when I decided to renovate my living room.

Then the question arose whether I should buy new furniture or not. But new furniture is expensive and if the old furniture is just thrown away, it is also bad for the environment. Besides that, it feels much better to refurbish furniture according to individual ideas than to just go to the store and spend a lot of money on something that one in four people have in their living room. So the decision to redesign my furniture was made quickly.

If you are redesigning your furniture for the first time, I am sure that many questions will come to your mind. I will try to answer the most important ones in the following blog post.

Which color is the right one for my furniture?



These pictures show the two side tables that I upcyceled. As you can see, both of them have a dark wood color.

Tastes are different, so I can’t tell you which color you should choose for your furniture. But I can tell you why I chose a deep black with a marble effect for my side tables.

First of all I thought about a room concept for my “new” living room. I decided that white, grey and black should be the basic colors (yes I know these aren’t real colors 🙂 ) Blue is the accent color in my room. Large pieces of furniture are kept in white. That makes the room look large and airy. Small pieces of furniture, like my two side tables, should become an eye-catcher. Therefore I chose the color black for them. But painting them in the accent color blue would also have been an option.

What you should keep in mind when choosing the color tone: Different colors evoke different emotions in us. Cool colors like blue etc. have a calming effect. Warm colors such as yellow or orange can attract attention and evoke energy.

But in principle everything is allowed! Find the color that makes you happy! Colorful is also an option.

If you have decided on a color concept and a corresponding color tone, you can now buy the color. When buying the color, you should make sure that the color sticks to the material of which your furniture is made of. Please note the product description. My side tables are made of solid wood. So a commercial colored lacquer is the exactly right thing.

5 steps to repaint your furniture

1.) Remove the old paint from the furniture

You can achieve this either by sanding down or leaching the paint. If the wood of the furniture is untreated, you only have to clean it before applying the new color.

2.) Apply the paint

When you cleaned the surface thoroughly and it its dry and free of residue, the pain will adhere well. For a small, uneven piece of furniture with many edges (like my side tables) I would recommend spraying the paint instead of applying it with a brush. This is faster and looks more even. The colored lacquer is available in spray cans. Alternatively, you can use a paint sprayer if you already have one.

3.) Let the paint dry

This can take from several minutes up to one day. It depends on the paint you used as well as the temperature and humidity.

4.) Add effect

When the furniture is dry, you can use an effect spray to make your design look even more valuable and individual. You can buy different effect sprays at the hardware store. I have chosen a marble spray in the color silver. This looks great on a black as well as on a white background. It is also very easy to handle.

5.) Seal

To keep your furniture looking beautiful for a long time, do not forget to seal it. You can use a clear varnish for this. There are available from matt to high gloss.

Do you have any questions or remarks? Then write us a comment! If not: Have fun upcycling! I am sure your friends will envy you for your self-designed furniture.

3 Innovative Ways of How to Upcycle old Tin Cans

Tin Cans are very practical. The food is very durable, you can take a tin can with you almost everywhere and have a full meal that will appease your hunger. However, tin cans have other very innovative uses that you should try out next time you got the chance. Here are three creative ways to upcycle old tin cans.

Upcycling tin cans
Upcycling Tin Cans

1. Tin Cans as an Organizer

Tin can organizer DIY
Tin Can Organizer
  • empty tin can
  • newspaper
  • duck tape
  • ribbon
  • clothespeg
  • scissors
  • glue

Tin Cans can be used as an organizer for paint brushes, pens, hair brushes, cutlery and much more. All you have to do is choosing a nice cover for your tin can. For that, you can use newspaper, maps, paint, buttons, feathers, beads, dried leaves, fabric, duck tape, bottle caps and just anything you have lying around at home and could be a nice decoration for the can.

2. Tin Cans as a Flower Pot

Another way of Upcycling Tin Cans is to make flower pots. Again you can choose a nice decoration that fits to the flower and the atmosphere, fill the can with earth and plant the flower.

3. Tin Cans as Wind Chimes

Wind chimes DIY
Wind Chime
  • tops of tin cans
  • stick
  • thread
  • beads
  • buttons

For this project, you will only need the tops of tin cans. First, collect a wooden stick from your garden or a park. Tie three threads (each about 30cm long) to the stick. Then take the tops of your tin cans (you will need three to ten tops, depending on how big your wind chime should be) and put two wholes on the opposite sides of each top. You can now string the tops on the threads. To make your wind chime more colorful put little beads between the tops of the tin cans.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to upcycle tin cans. Post pictures of your upcycled tin cans in the comments! Also, feel free to share other ideas on how to upcycle tin cans.

3 upcycling gift ideas

Man with a light bulb

Maybe you also remember this feeling wanting to provide a unique and meaningful gift to your friends and family, but unfortunately you have no idea what this gift could be. I faced this problem just recently because many of my friends have their birthday soon. So I have to find a meaningful gift for at least three of my good friends at once – without having an idea yet. So what do I do? Clearly browsing around and wait for a spark – an idea coming around and telling me: Yes, THIS is the perfect gift for her. Naturally, this doesn’t happen that often. So, next idea: brainstorming with others; maybe some basic idea will come around.

I have the gifts now. Not that unique and meaningful but I believe they will like them. Now that I have the gifts I found other amazing ideas. Just like it always is. So instead of using them myself and throw away the just found gifts – I share them with you. Maybe with this, I can help YOU to find that sparking idea for a gift for someone important to you. So let’s see what unique gifts you can create with the reuse of old things!

Transform old paintings into new ones

Maybe one of your friends or family is total into art? Don’t buy some overpriced generic painting. Give the gift a touch of yourself and create your own painting! In her post “Verschlungene Wegeateliertw presents a way how to transform a unused, highly yellowed, painting into a new one. That way not only the frame is reused but also the canvas. Thus, with an old picture of minor quality that would be thrown away can serve another purpose. Check out her profile and website for other ideas of upcycling artwork!

Fashion – Upcycling old jackets

Sewed Flowers

Yes, the upcycling trend has entered the fashion sector. Katrin Hilger has discovered a fashion label which presented upcycling army jackets at the fashion week. The style reminded her of earlier fashion trends. While thinking about styling jackets as in the 80’s she also reminds her readers of the environmental aspect of upcycled fashion.

Inspired by this she pimped up her own wardrobe. So if you want to get new inspirations regarding the upcycling of your old jackets, check out her post!

Man with upcycled clothes

P.S.: The mentioned label is Gurlscrime. I haven’t looked at it yet, but maybe you want to try it out and give us a review? However, I found a German upcycling label. They are called “Wiederbelebt” and use discarded materials and thus revive them. They also manufacture masks to suit the current situation.

Building a guitar-lamp

Do you want to build a unique and extraordinary gift for guitar lovers? Use Sara‘s instruction to build your own guitar-lamp! She offers you a detailed guide with included material list for your new project. Hence, create art out of broken art. It is stylish, environmentally friendly and definitely a unique piece.

Check out her website for more convenient tips regarding upcycling projects. Maybe you want to sew your own make-up remover cloth or craft a zero-waste gift box.

Guitar on a chair

Did you find other amazing upcycling gifts and artworks? Comment and share them with the upcycling community!
I hope these upcycling works give you a idea what is possible with upcycling. And maybe some of you will give their friends some upcycled gifts soon!

“Go out and change the world.
Make old to gold in your own way!”

Your Upcycling blog

Storytelling 2.0 – Get Attention and go Viral

Hey my future Storytellers! This is part 2 of the ultimate guide to Storytelling. This time we will learn on how to make a story special and get attention for it. So fasten your seatbelts and let’s jump in.

You missed the first part? Here you go to start your Storytelling journey.

Optical Illusion, Triangle, Puzzle, Shape, Geometric
Ever experienced something unreal?

A Picture like the above or phrases like “What color is your birthday” triggers our minds to think about the given based on cognitive dissonance. Our mind is constructed to always close the circle. So if we keep it open for a short while, our audience will close it for us. Ever thought of closing the circle in an unexpected way? That is humor. People always wondered about a formular for humor. Here it is. You may thank me later.

5+1 Elements to make stories contagious

Talking about contagion these days seems inappropriate. But hey, who would I be, if you wouldn’t be surprised about my wording. These Ideas are based on the book Contagion by Jonah Berger. I recommend reading it for more detailed information.

1. Social Currency

Flowers growing from money jar

Sharing personal experiences, especially those that make you stand in the bright light of appreciation, is impressively rewarding. We always try to share those stories that could be of interest and let out these that make us look bad. This happens for a reason. Good stories raise our social currency while bad stories decrease it. We prefer the positive stories in general. However, remember that too positive stories are literally unbelievable and perceived as sugarcoated. Now, how to make use of this?

a) find inner remarkability

You can talk about remarkable thing that are unusual, interesting and extraordinary. These are things that are worthy of attention because they are useful and therefore spread more often. We do this on our blog and so can you.

b) leverage game mechanics

Everybody loves games. They are motivation and provide us with a tool to compare ourselves. Achievement and rewards signal our status within our communities and we can create them for interaction with our stories. There is no disadvantage for giving a compliment of any form to your audience. You can even decide on how to do it. Badges, votes, premium classes, awards or certificates are all cool to have.

c) make people feel like insiders

Depending on what you do, you can make people feel like insiders by limiting access to a desired good. It does not have to be a product or a reward, but also the end of a story that is only available for limited amount of people from the audience. The moment you belong to that group, you gain higher status in the whole community. However, I would recommend you the first two options for sharing stories in the Upcycling-Community. We do not exclude people at all cost.

2. Triggers

Showing a hand about to press a red button

Let’s trigger some people. When you connect a certain element, probably something related to your story to something else rather unrelated to it, a sound, an image, or a word, both can work as a trigger in the future. In Psychology, we call this an “Anchor”. So whenever we are confronted with on end of the anchor, we are also thinking about the other connected thing. One good example is the advertisement break in TV that always triggers my toilet break. However, you may use this while telling stories, like creating connections of a feeling with a certain word, one that has no existing other anchors. I do always anchor some positive and hilarious feelings with the word “clever” when telling stories. Then, whenever I use this word, my audience cannot help but to smile and laugh a bit. Try yourself here.

3. Emotions

A Grandma with a golden and heartwarming

This is my favorite part. Emotions can cause arousal which may lead us to take action and eventually share our experience with others. Imagine a cavemen discovering an amazingly pleasant thing and/or a terrifying and dangerous thing. In both cases he has an impulse to share it with his tribe to ensure well-being or even survival. Another benefit is that you can create trust when sharing the same feeling within a group of social animals – Human. Furthermore, we can distinguish between positive emotions like “awe”, “excitement”, or “amusement” and negative emotions such as “anger” or “anxiety”. We can also think about which emotions are rather activating us to take actions and which are not. Knowing this may give you an impressive advantage when telling your story. Make the title emotional, or even your whole topic. Be careful though, which emotion to enforce cause that is the tone how people will share the story afterwards. And again – I cannot say this often enough – “Do not be too positive in the complete story”. Nobody likes sugarcoating and people will not believe you. Early failure is a good start for a story which then may lead to a positive end.

4. Public

A Black and White Picture with a woman wearing a red clown nose

Did you ever realize that the value of a brand-product is related to it’s public observability? So you see a product more often in use means you are more likely to think of it as usable and fitting to your own needs. Now think about the story you would like to tell. Is it centered around something that people can later show others? Can the story be continued by others and can they then trace it back to you. You can also relate this idea to the object that you are upcycling. Can you show it to others and does it perhaps even look cool?

5. Practical Value

Multifunctional Tool

This one is easy for us. Everything we do in our upcycling community is to create practical value from old things we would otherwise throw away. When we tell our story around the process of upcycling, we have to enforce the idea of creating practical value and keep it so feasible that other people will also find it practical. Then we have created a story worth sharing because other people can benefit from it. My recommendation for you is to keep it simple after all. Make the Practical Value proposition short and spicy. Stuff like “Safe time and money with this trick” might work better than 5 pages of text with the exact elaboration.

5+1 Stories: The hidden champion

Person jumping on a sunset background - motivating

Since the ancient times, stories have always been our vessels of communication. At first transmitted orally and later brought on paper. We think in narrative concepts, not in tables. We are not machines after all. That is why we do remember good stories and forget short compressed information, no matter how insightful it might have been. Indeed, stories are littered with side information, judgments and beliefs which create connection of content and emotions so that we can remember things more easily. Please entrust this to your heart:
A story is the only meaningful way to transfer information and to spread your message with the world.
You should enrich the story with all the aspects mentioned above, like adding practical value, emphasize emotions and giving social currency a boost, but only as a part of a story.

That is it, my fellow storytellers. Go out and spread the words of your story. Also, tell me what you think in the comments below and feel free to make my face shine with a smile by hitting the like button. And as always:

“Go out and change the world.
Make old to gold in your own way!”

Your Upcycling blog

Proceed here to develop your own style in the final part of the storytelling series.

How to live an environmentally friendly life, be a trendsetter and save money

This is a guide for everyone out there who wants to know how to live an environmentally friendly and trendy life.

Have you ever wanted something but had the feeling that the whole world works against you and your efforts? Like when you’re starting a diet and your favorite café offers the most delicious muffins that you just can’t resist? Or when you need to learn for an exam at university and a really catching TV show keeps you from doing what you actually wanted?

I know many of you can relate to that. I think that we have all been in a situation at least once where we thought that fulfilling our dreams and beliefs just wasn’t worth the effort it took. How many of you have thought about living a plastic-free life after watching a horrifying documentation of plastic in oceans? Sadly, as we all know, wanting to do something and really being able to do something are two very different things.

Garbage bin in nature
Garbage Bin in Nature

Imagine living a plastic-free life. Not only does this effect the shops you go to or the products you use and buy but also your holiday plans, your eating behavior and many more domains in your life.

At a first glance, living an environmentally friendly life seems like really hard work. Take a look around you. How many products with plastic do you see? How many non-reusable products do you find? Is your dustbin full of plastic wrapper? Many people don’t realize the extent of living in a throwaway society.

Every product in a supermarket has a plastic wrapping. You just can’t avoid it.

It’s easier to drive with a car to work instead of taking the train.

“I just don’t have enough money at the moment to buy fair trade clothes.

We all use these kind of sentences in order to avoid feeling guilty. When you want to live an environmentally friendly life, you have to overcome your own laziness and the many external obstacles that make such a life that much more difficult.

However, living an environmentally friendly life isn’t all hard work when you know about the right places and smart strategies how to easily integrate it into your daily life. Upcycling plays a major role in implementing those plans.

In your daily routines, you might not be able to avoid plastic and other dangers to nature altogether. However, with Upcycling you can help the planet your way. And even if you aren’t very creative you can support local businesses that offer upcycled products. A perk is that Upcycling often offers highly creative and innovative products so that you can be a real trendsetter when owning such products.

Here are five ways of how to live an environmentally friendly life, be a trendsetter and – in same cases – even save money:

1. Phone cases made of police or garbage collector uniforms

garbage collectors
Garbage Collectors

Ever asked yourself what happens with old uniforms from street workers? Well, here you have your answer. Instead of buying a classic and really boring phone case, check out phone cases made of old uniforms. Not only are they environmentally friendly but also a really trendy eyecatcher. If your adapt at sewing, you can even do a phone case on your own this way.

2. Upcycling Hotel

old house
Old House

Living an environmentally friendly life also means supporting businesses that care for the environment and help spread the importance of being responsible toward nature. Upcycling hotels offer unique experiences for your next vacation: innovative and modern interior design, natural food and an inspiring atmosphere.

3. Environmental campaigns in clothing shops

clothing shop
Clothing Shop

There are many shops that are doing environmental campaigns. Some clothing shops will give you a discount if you bring old clothes to the shop so that they can recycle or donate them. With that you can give old clothes a new life and even save some money.

4. Upcycling Restaurants

food on a table
Food on a table

What are you looking for in a restaurant? An amazing atmosphere, a beautiful backdrop for pictures for you to share on social media and being able to try out something new? Then Upcycling restaurants may be the thing for you. Tables made of old doors, lamps and shelfs made of vegetable pallets and a special menu that only contains products that have been sorted out of supermarkets because of their optical imperfection.

5. Start being creative and share your Upcycling Projects on Social Media

social media tree
Social Media Tree

Upcycling is a huge trend on social media- That is no wonder since Upcycling combines a lot of advantages. You can save a lot of mones, e.g. in your apartment when doing the decoration by yourself, Upcycling is a fun hobby that lets you be creative, you can discover and start new trends and create unique products that no one else owns and you can share all of your accomplishments on social media, be a role model and broaden your reach.

What are your experiences with Upcycling and upcycled products? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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