What to do with leftover supplies from the summer

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to make your business look the part. Whatever products or services you’re selling, customers tend to expect at least some kind of commemoration of the incoming season in any store they walk into.

This doesn’t mean you have to announce Santa Claus’ imminent arrival in town every ten minutes, but make sure to feature a small percentage of seasonal decor and soundtrack in your store. Research shows that a minimal amount of seasonal music can help shoppers get in the mood. Emphasis on minimal here.

When it comes to decorations, most business owners run to the farthest corner of the shop for the box labelled Holiday Items. There’s nothing wrong with hanging mistletoe or glass orbs around your space. You can also spray loads of fake snow on shelves and make Santa peek out from behind last year’s bookkeeping files.

But what if you don’t want to see the same old red-nosed reindeer blinking from the shelves? If you’re bored out of your mind with your usual decor, but don’t want to invest a lot of funds into new holiday stuff, why don’t you try something new and original?

Instead, you can try repurposed decor. What’s that? Glad you asked.

Repurposed items

According to Investopedia, repurposing “is the use of something for a purpose other than its original intended use. Repurposing an item can be done by modifying it to fit a new use, or by using the item as is in a new way.”

Repurposing is similar to recycling in concept, but very different in execution. While recycling tends to dismantle the original object, repurposed items keep at least some of their initial appearance. In fact, depending on the objects in question and the new tasks they’re supposed to fulfill, repurposed items may even be used in their entirety.


Repurposing, or upcycling as it’s sometimes called, is a lucrative niche. Home decor, apparel, the hospitality industry, and construction are just a few fields that have witnessed the victory lap of repurposing over the past few years.

Companies like TerraCycle and Looptworks take waste material and figure out how to upcycle and reuse it for a new purpose. Less garbage AND unique jewellery made from old vinyl records? That’s a clear win-win situation for everyone.

Upcycle your reputation

On that note, it’s easy to see how repurposing summer items to decorate your winter wonderland shop window can cement your reputation as an environmentally conscious, creative business owner, and save you storage space. Not to mention the funds you would’ve spent on mistletoe & Co.

Consumers today are increasingly conscious of their environmental impact. According to a recent survey from Nielsen and Deloittehttps://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/articles/news-and-expertise/millennials-drive-sustainability-201702.html, 58% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from environmentally friendly companies.

This means that cutting costs at the expense of the environment isn’t necessary any more. In fact, it may do just as much damage to your reputation as to the environment itself.

Even if your area of business has nothing to do with the environment, you leave a footprint. Regardless of what you do, you most likely purchase some kind of supplies (that usually come with packaging), produce some kind of waste, and are therefore responsible for a small section of the environment.

However small that section is, you can elevate your profile a lot if you show your customers just how much you care about the environment. For example, go paperless with your payments, reduce your business’ waste output, work with sustainable raw materials, and upcycle your leftover supplies into something trendy and unique.

Repurposed decor

That’s all good, but how can you reuse summer things to decorate a winter wonderland? Well, that depends on your business’ image, purpose, style, and what kind of summer supplies are lying around in your store.

Let your creativity reign free. What kind of display would make people stop and look at your shop window? A sled made from a beach towel? Santa waterskiing his way between roofs? A Christmas tree decorated with wrenches, bolts, and screws? A mason-jar snow globe?

Try to think outside the box and create clever images that will put a smile on your customers’ faces.

Here are a few examples for inspiration.

A holiday wreath made from reused wine and champagne corks can be the perfect door hanger for restaurants or liquor shops.


Wooden pallets reused as various kinds of holiday decorations.

Christmas trees crafted from colored plastic bottles, rolling pins, or any other upcycled material.

Whatever your choice, reusing old things to decorate your shop will craft an image of an environmentally conscious and creative business owner with a smart sense of humor. And more often than not, that’s exactly the person customers want to work with.



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