Have you heard of Good Garbage? It’s a “Creative Re-use Center” in the Portland neighborhood. What that means is they accept donations for all kinds of materials- everything from toilet paper tubes and egg cartons to bottle caps and fabric scraps. (Here’s the list of what she will and won’t accept.) She uses these materials to do craft projects for kids and adults alike, both in her shop and out in the community. In addition, she will be opening her store to educators in the fall so they can get classroom materials for free.
I recently interviewed Lynn, the owner, for the LouFamFun podcast. I wasn’t sure what her business was all about, but it sounded interesting. After interviewing her, I knew I had to get down there and check it out. My kids eat, sleep, and breathe arts and crafts, so this place sounded perfect for us.
The store is currently only open Saturdays from 10-3, though she also offers birthday parties, craft nights, workshops, and appointments. We happened in on a Saturday afternoon a little after noon. Lynn showed us to the back of the store, where there were tables and chairs and multiple shelving units full of materials. The best part was that the only rule is that she doesn’t want kids to feel like they can’t make a mess. This is definitely our kind of place.
My kids ended up each doing two crafts. One craft was turning a tin can into a robot. The kids dug through baskets and bags of bottle caps, buttons, game pieces, plastic utensils, rubber spacers, pipe cleaners, and punched out paper pieces to make their unique creations. Then they used CD cases to create “mail art” with various materials. They were ecstatic they got to use the hot glue gun, which is something that is off limits at home.
There was a group of women at the table next to us who were turning plastic shopping bags into yarn and crocheting them into sleeping mats for the homeless. My kids enjoyed hearing about their project and watching the process of crocheting.
My kids crafted for two hours straight, and we had to coax them out with the promise that we would return soon. We’re going to start keeping a “Good Garbage” box next to the recycling bin where we will put all our toilet paper tubes, yogurt cups, tissue boxes, and anything else we think might benefit this business. Then when the box is full we will take it to donate and have another craft day.
There is also a retail store where you can buy everything from wine corks for your Pinterest projects to old sewing patterns. I found a package of cocktail napkins with a map of Rome. You just don’t know what you will find.
The free crafting area is by donation, so I offered $5 per kid. I based that figure on the workshop she’d had the previous night for the same price. It’s a very affordable, unique, and environmentally friendly experience for the whole family.
Listen to our Louisville.am podcast with Good Garbage here:
By guest contributor: Maggie
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