Wisdom Wednesday: Recycle, Resource, Refresh, Repurpose

"Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find."  —Proverbs 12:27 NLT

Photo credit: Stacie Humpherys via Flickr with text added.

Have you ever been apprehensive about cleaning out your refrigerator because you knew you had yucky ‘science experiments’ growing inside? I have had some that were so overgrown with mold microbes, that the food was unrecognizable. Have you ever wished you had a dollar for every piece of food that was wasted? I have heard and read statistics saying Americans throw away over $500 in food per person every year. I can think of a thing or two to do with $500, can’t you?

“He who has money to throw away, let him employ workmen, and not stand by.” —Italian proverb

“Willful waste makes woeful want.” —Scottish proverb

Having an Okinawan mother, I grew up with the Japanese mindset called ‘mottainai’ which has the idea of an appreciation for food and possessions and consuming or using them as fully as possible so as not to be wasteful. Although the New Living Translation of Proverbs 12:27 ends with “but the diligent make use of everything they find,” the literal translation has more to do with valuing the things they have.

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” —Proverbs 12:27 KJV

“Though you live near a forest, do not waste your firewood.” —Chinese proverb

Hi, my name is René, and I am a recovering packrat. If you are, too, I’m sure you appreciate and even have fun with the new move to reuse, resource, refresh and repurpose things. It can help save money and Earth’s resources. After all, we are supposed to be good stewards of the resources God has given us as well as His beautiful creation.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” —Unknown

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” —Teddy Roosevelt

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” —Plato

I wish I was as creative as and really admire people who tend to think more abstractly than I and can see potential and create beautiful art or useful things with what most people would throw away. It’s one of the reasons I like Pinterest.

“A creative mind sees every pile of junk as a jigsaw puzzle.” —Steve Supple


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Neglect Destroys

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

19 responses to “Wisdom Wednesday: Recycle, Resource, Refresh, Repurpose

  • Tienny

    Glad to know someone with the same mindset 🙂


  • utesmile

    I am right into reuse, recylce as I think we need to look after our planet, God has given us, and we destroy it slowly. We need to keep it well for our children and their children. Lovely post Rene.

  • Becky

    Thanks for the gentle reminder. I’ve found that better planning on my part, eliminates the “science projects” in my refrigerator…most of the time. I still get a few from time-to-time, but I think I’m doing much better.
    Pinterest certainly has some pretty clever ideas too! 🙂 I’m not one of those clever, creative people either, but I do enjoy looking!

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes! Better planning can definitely eliminate waste. I still have those pesky ‘science projects’ once in a while, too, but for the most part, we do well with eating what we buy and grow and keeping our food costs down. Leaves more money for photography stuff, right? 😉 Thank you, Becky! 🙂

  • Randell Bell

    Yes it does seem that we live in a disposable world where things that don’t work or are obsolete are discarded for something brand new. As one who works on computers I was shocked to find out from some of the major manufacturers that their computers are by design to fail after five years, but because they are so cheap to buy now, no one considers making an old one make due. I wish it were only computers though, but in today’s society the same thing seems to be true about families, marriages, jobs, church, and relationships. If it’s broke toss it out and get a new, cheaper one. The only problem with cheaply paid is that it is likely cheaply made. Thanks for your WW Rene. 🙂

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, and so often it is cheaper to replace than to repair, and people often either don’t have the inclination or time to fix things themselves. I think, though, that harder economic times does cause many to become more frugal and resourceful. And yes, the same seems to be true in other areas of our lives as well and which the idea of Japanese mottainai covers, too. Thank you for adding insight to the subject! 🙂

  • heavenlyraindrops

    Waste not, want not. Rene. I can relate to this because of parents who both went through the depression. Since my dad was also not a wealthy man, we grew up living frugally and learning to appreciate what we had. Great principles for living. My husband’s mom was a hopeless packrat. In fact, she was known to eat moldy bread so as not to let it go to waste. I jokingly used to tell her that she must’ve been born with an iron gut! 😉

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, many of the parents of our generation went through the Great Depression and passed on some frugality. My mom also went through the war and learned to make due with what she had. Great principles, indeed! I cannot imagine eating moldy bread, although I must confess I have half considered it when I’ve had a fever. Bleh…

  • g.

    Hi Sweets,
    This Wisdom Wednesday really hit home with me. My family is in the very beginning stages of removing things from our home and simplifying our lives in the process, for the purpose of someday downsizing our home. We have also recently been recycling more than we ever have before. I have also found that simply giving things away that we will never use has a mental ‘cleansing’ effect, and also makes me feel good because I have provided something that someone else might need. (Anything I put on our front lawn disappears very quickly. It’s like magic.)
    Thank you for this very special Wisdom Wednesday!

    • Rene Yoshi

      We’re doing a bit of simplifying, and anything we leave for people to take disappears quickly as well. I agree. Giving things away can, indeed, have a mental ‘cleansing’ effect, especially when someone is really blessed by what is being given. What is that saying? “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” It’s true! It’s one of the things I enjoy about thrifting, both in obtaining things inexpensively and in donating. Thank you, g! 🙂

  • Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer

    Pinterest is GREAT for that! I’m not very crafty – give me a glue gun though and I’m good to go- but I do enjoy repurposing. Sometimes out of necessity. I remember when I was about 19 and wanted a desk for my apartment. My mom had given me a typewriter she longer used. I was a writer way back then too. 🙂

    I did not have the money even for a used desk. No money!! So I took a huge sturdy box and cut a square piece out of one side, then turned it upside down. Voila! A desk. The square hole for my chair and legs fit perfectly!

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes! Thus the quote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That reminds me of the time when my sisters and I made Barbie doll furniture out of cereal boxes, because we had no money either. We made a dresser with working drawers, a refrigerator, and an ottoman out of a cardboard ribbon spool and some fabric. Good memories! Thank you for sharing yours! 🙂

      • Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer

        Oh I love that Barbie story! When I was writing about the “desk”, I was also thinking about how I made Barbie houses out of boxes!! We are frugal girls, Rene, and proud if it, right?!

        And I had a CHEAP handheld electronic game called Merlin that was shaped like an outdoor sun lounge. Of course Barbie sun bathed! 🙂

      • Rene Yoshi

        [chuckle] Of course! And yes! We are frugal girls and proud of it! 😀

  • Dilip

    Yes we can use our minds and find innovative ways to recycle food waste at-home or help the local community in their projects.
    Thanks Rene and have a nice day 🙂

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