Simple ways to spring clean as the semester ends


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

Volunteers add lace embellishments to a pillowcase dress at the Workspace’s Little Dresses for Africa event. The Workspace hosts volunteer craft days three times a year. To date, they have sent over 500 dresses to Africa and Nicaragua.

Katlyn Campbell

With flowers blooming throughout campus, spring has officially sprung, meaning it’s now time to start spring cleaning.

Rather than throwing away school supplies, clothes, furniture and hoarding textbooks unable to be bought back, there are a few alternatives that would reduce the amount of goods that go in landfills.

The Workspace, Iowa State’s hub for arts and crafts activities, is used to repurposing products that are no longer available for their intended use.

As a part of its philanthropy at the end of March, The Workspace teamed with Sole Hope, a non-profit organization that repurposes old jeans into shoes for people in Uganda to prevent the effects of foot-related diseases, most commonly jiggers.

Volunteers for The Workspace cut foot patterns out of donated denim that are later shipped to Uganda, where they are used to craft shoes.

The Workspace has also participated in an event called Little Dresses for Africa, which focuses on making dresses from pillowcases. After cutting fabric, ironing and sewing, the dresses are sent to the orphanages of central Africa.

The Workspace also hosts an art supply swap at the end of the academic year that allows people to bring in their unwanted craft items and trade for other people’s supplies.

Letitia Kenemer, program coordinator at The Workspace, has a philosophy on repurposing anything she can and turning things into DIY projects.

“I hardly throw anything away. I really try to find good homes for things,” Kenemer said.

Another outlet for students to buy, sell and trade products is CySwap.

CySwap, a student marketplace website, focuses on being the Craigslist for Iowa State students only.

Aimed at connecting student buyers with student sellers, with a net-ID, the site offers access to goods on sale while allowing students to sell items such as textbooks, furniture, clothes, tickets and more.

“The goal of it was to have something locked down to just the Iowa State community,” Scott Fisk, Student Government director of information technology, said. “… There’s a lot of textbooks that are custom editions for Iowa State University.”

Kathryn Holmes, Student Government director of sustainability, sees CySwap as being more efficient and accessible for Iowa State students.

“[With CySwap] you’re not going to Ticket Trader, Facebook and Craigslist for all these different things,” Holmes said. “It’s a one-stop shop.”