With the current downsizing and minimizing trend, many of us are looking in our closets and wondering if we need all the clothing we own. For various reasons we’ve accumulated a few more items than we truly need. I’ve been going through all my clothing and making two piles. One pile is only for items that I absolutely love and wear. The other pile is for items in the following categories – Don’t fit. Don’t want. Don’t like. Don’t wear.
So, the first pile gets lovingly returned to my closet because every piece brings me joy — like my Soul Flowers t-shirts. But the second pile needs a little different attention. Here is a list of destinations I’ve identified for my surplus clothing:
1. Rags – Some items just need to go into the rag pile – old wash clothes and towels make especially good rags. But sometimes a stained t-shirt or an old sock is soft enough to dust a table or wash a countertop. Anything that is ripped or torn is a possible candidate for the rag pile.
2. Donate – I always keep a box in the corner of my closet that’s specifically for items I will donate. It reminds me that there are people who may gain much joy from items I no longer want or need. I recently gave all my corporate suits to a young woman who was starting out in the business world. She didn’t have the funds to buy any suits and we were the same size. Win win!
3. Repurpose – Make jeans into handbags, long sleeve shirts into short sleeve shirts. Use your crafty senses to remake an item into something you will use and love. I saw a tutorial online for making t-shirts into shopping bags. And also someone who uses old rubber boots as planters in the garden. Great ideas!
4. Redesign – You can always add a little pizzazz. Choose nicer buttons, add trim, dye to a different color or tie-dye. I like adding lace to plain tops to make them look fresh and new. And I often make crew neck sweatshirts into v-neck sweatshirts with a few snips of my scissors.
5. Make Yarn or Rope – Some t-shirts can be cut up to make chunky yarn for crocheting, knitting or weaving. And other fabrics can be cut up and twisted to make rope. You can even braid these to make rugs. I have this on my to-do list.
6. Gift – This is one of my favorite things to do. Since I sew and crochet many of my clothing items, I don’t always want to give them away haphazardly or toss them. I have a few friends that appreciate getting clothing items that I made and I know they’ll cherish them as much as I did.
7. Reimagine – Why did you buy that piece of clothing in the first place? Is there something about it you still love? Maybe you just need to put it in the front of your closet instead of the back. Maybe you can think of a different way to wear it. Spark your imagination and see what comes up.
8. Burn – There is nice symbolism in burning clothing if you want or need to say good-bye to a memory. Or you may simply want some kindling for your fire. Either way, it is an eco-friendly way to discard clothing. (Please always be mindful with fire and use caution!)
9. Sell – Make some extra cash. You can sell nice items at a consignment store or on ebay.
10. Swap – We used to do a scarf swap at our office. Everyone would bring in scarves they no longer wore and we put them all out on a big table. Then we would pick the ones that we liked better. Whatever was left was given to a local charity.
11. Quilt – I once saw a beautiful quilt made with the fabrics from clothing items belonging to each family member. Every square in the quilt told a story and it was a living memory. It touched my heart.
12. Toss – And everything else that doesn’t find a home can just get tossed. This is my last resort when nothing else works. I prefer to put as little into the landfill as possible.
So, what do you do with your surplus clothing? Any ideas you’d like to share with ways to reuse clothing that you’re no longer wearing?
Lot of hugs as you tidy your closet,
Katrina’s spouse wore the Embroidered Garden Organic Cotton Tunic Top
LeiahJanuary 24, 2017 at 6:36 pm (6 years ago)
Yes, great ideas here! Always donating and giving away hand-me-downs.
I’m also a big fan of dyeing things. Whenever I get sick of something, I just dye it black 🙂
Another good idea for old graphic tees is to cut out the graphic and sew it to the back of a hoody or jacket. Or use the graphics to make a t-shirt quilt. I’ve done both!
KatrinaJanuary 26, 2017 at 9:22 pm (6 years ago)
Great ideas! Thanks, Leiah.
valerie irvingJanuary 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm (6 years ago)
I actually saw someone make a quilt out of t-shirts. Then there’s me, with the dreaded stains that won’t come out. I bring out my fabric markers & extend the life of my favorite t-shirts. The ideas are only limited by one’s imagination!
KatrinaJanuary 26, 2017 at 9:22 pm (6 years ago)
True, Valerie! We are only limited by our imagination.
LisaJanuary 25, 2017 at 9:12 am (6 years ago)
Great tips! Any fleece or wool items and nylons (and hair, fur, dryer lint, etc.) can also be donated to Matter of Trust’s Clean Wave program. They use these items create hair mats and booms to clean contaminated waterways since they soak up oil so well.
KatrinaJanuary 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm (6 years ago)
I never heard of that, Lisa. Great info on Matter of Trust’s Clean Wave program. Thank you!
HeatherJanuary 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm (6 years ago)
Our homeschool group would do a clothing swap. It was all free. You bring what you don’t want, take what you like and donate the rest. Was so great for kids clothes!
KatrinaJanuary 26, 2017 at 9:24 pm (6 years ago)
Swapping is fun. Thanks, Heather!