29 Oct Tuesday Tip – Making What’s Old New Again!

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

In our family ministry, we reuse as much as we possibly can. Obviously, this is not anything new and it certainly isn’t our original idea. With everyone making attempts to go green, go paperless, etc., the world is focused on those three little words: reduce, reuse and recycle.

This concept can be extremely helpful when it comes to set design as well. When you can reuse things you’ve already created it saves money (who doesn’t love that?) and time (no additional trips to the hardware store!). I realize if you are a portable church it is tough to store things, but with a little creativity and maybe a few friendly volunteers who would be willing to store some stuff (larger set pieces, props, etc.) in their garage, you’d be surprised at how easily you can make what’s old – new again!

At the End of the Year – REUSE is our Favorite Word!

Our church is nearing the end of our fiscal year (and our budget) we are really trying to purchase as little as possible for the next two months. As a result, our entire backdrop for November was made from things we already had. Our insulation foam panels are getting their third coat of paint.

IMG_1689These panels were originally black for our Honesty Set.

IMG_20130414_082516Then we painted them green (overtop of the black) for our Friendship Set and have since reused these green panels for our IMG_2040Contentment Set and for our Courage Set.IMG_2899

IMG_3074This month, they will be multi-colored and there’s a good chance they’ll be painted a completely different color for next month. The colors we chose for this month’s set were all from paint that we had left over from previous sets.


I know there has to be a balance and in my personal life I am actually the opposite of a pack rat, but when it comes to my work life, well, let’s just say I’ll probably be submitted to that show about hoarders! I really do believe though, that if you are in children’s ministry, you have to become a bit of a pack rat. Obviously, you don’t want to keep buying things that you’ve just thrown out a few months back. It’s hard sometimes to figure out what to keep and what to throw away.

What to Keep

Here is my filter for what to keep:

  • Things that are unusual
  • Things that were hard to find in the first place
  • Things that we need large quantities of over and over
  • Things that are difficult to transport (large items that we need to get by asking someone with a pick up truck)
  • Things that can get expensive if you need to keep buying them over and over.

So, we hold on to all of our paint, foam core boards (even the boards that have been drawn on can act as a border for a framed picture, etc.), and as much insulation foam as we can store. I do my best to keep it all together by labeling bins, organizing shelves, and stacking!


It’s not always pretty though. You can read more about that here: Monica’s Secret Closet.

Store What You Can

If you have the ability to store things, I suggest you do! You never know when you might need 500 river rocks, 200 ping pong balls or 4 different colors of paint. And if you’re out of room in your church space, maybe you or some of your teammates can find a little extra space in your basement or garage. IMG_0236Below is a picture of a room in my basement. It’s dedicated to backdrops we want to keep, but don’t have room to store at our church. My husband loves me!