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Fresh Fun Ways To Recycle Old Clothes


I grew up in a small town and watched my mother turn one thing after another into something new. She understood recycling before it became a household word.

Old towels, shirts, skirts, pants and tablecloths all went on to become great cleaning rags, fresh new pillows and quilts, or soft new bedding for my cat's bed. It was always fun to spot a striped or dotted fabric from a favored shirt turn up in the kitchen as a crisp new potholder.

It helps if you are a great sewer, but a lot of these projects work just fine with pinking shears, glue and a little imagination too.

When I saw lifehack’s suggestions for reusing old clothes it brought up a flood of great memories. They recommended sewing the bottoms of big shirts together to make hanging storage bags, which should make great closet organizers. They also suggested using porous fabrics to become kitchen strainers and other soft fabrics as good polishing rags.

As you sort through jeans, sweatshirts and shoes, many of them might have a lot of wear left making them good choices to be donated for someone in real need of everyday clothes. Having the kids help with this and follow through is a great way to make the point of what sharing and caring can do. I think it also gives most of pause, about how much we have and how we all tend to acquire more, while others have very, very little.

Costumes, Doll Clothes, Art & Memory Depots

There are other great options too. I think storing prime pieces from the past, like hats, gloves and scarves, works as great starting points for Halloween costumes, and school plays.

I also have one special bag of clothing keepsakes that I call my memory bag. Every item in it, from faded t-shirts to silky little blouses, hold special memories of where I was, what happened and why it meant so much. These are the clothes I simply cannot hand off to charity, or cut up for quilts. They were integral parts of my life with all of its amazing/sad/funny/incredible moments. And every time I pull one out of the bag it pops up a quick picture in my mind. This might work for your family too.

You may also find other uses for especially beautiful silks, wools, soft cottons or laces. They could become bits and pieces in framed collages, tiny clothes for someone’s new doll, or lovely backdrops for framed art.

Just take one more look at them and imagine where they should be. That’s great recycling.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Emily May

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