If you buy used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops, your clothes are bound to (eventually) become unusable. Whether you are a two-person household or six, you probably have a pile of clothes that even someone in Somalia would not want to wear in normal circumstances.
Planning to donate these “prized” possession to Goodwill or the Salvation Army? Think twice – you don’t want to draw undue wrath (often silently, you won’t even be able to tell by looking at their faces) from the people who collect your donations.
If you are planning to be lazy and simply put old clothes in the trash, wait a bit and read through the rest of this post. There are tons of ways to reuse and repurpose old clothes to pinch every penny out of the purchase price. Sometimes you can make a little profit, too.
My dad is a retired steel worker with good artistic skills. He is very talented at making appliqués. See the two representative pictures of the appliqué work he creates out of used clothes (it’s an authentic Indian art). Now that he’s getting a few orders, he sources his clothes from local tailors.
Many Uses for Your Used Clothes
Make patches. Add colorful patches to your jeans. Add an extra pocket to the inside of your coat.
Make gloves for yard work. You don’t ever need to buy your garden gloves. Simply cut the sleeves off your sweatshirts. Old socks also have high potential as gloves during their last stages of life.
Use as cleaning cloths. You must have heard it a thousand times already; every frugal writer writes about this. So, treat this as a reminder!
Be a home fashion designer. Make fabric accessories. Make headbands, hair ties, bracelets, necklaces or belts. You can be super innovative and build a little pouch, or a bunch of little pouches and use as Christmas gifts. Oh yes, Christmas is just around the corner!
Sit on it. Yes, sit on it. Amazed? Don’t you sit on beanbags? Replace beans with old clothes – simple!
Make shopping bags. Go green, get rid of plastic, and adapt your old shirts or skirts as brand new reusable shopping bags.
Quilt your way. If you love sewing, try your hand at quilting. Old bed covers and sheets are perfect raw materials for this particular work of art.
If they are soft, they make good soft toys. Soft clothing, especially your old linens and silks, makes an excellent ingredient for soft toy stuffing. There’s a small charitable center in Miami where I donate some of the soft clothes in return for a free soft toy.
Book Cover. You can immortalize the jeans you wore on your first date by making it the cover of your scrapbook or journal.
Make pillows and cushions. You and your dog both love nice, fluffy cushions. Whether it’s on the floor or behind your back on the sofa, used clothes are very frugal and practical ingredients for cushions.
Shock absorber. If moving is in the cards and you have a pile to clear before you move, hold off! You can used the clothes to make shock absorbing cushions around the fragile items.
Make ropes. Cut small strips, then tie them together to make a nice rope. These could be very useful for your garden and garage, where tying things up helps get things straightened (plants) or organized (bunch of papers).
Dust off your car. No matter how often your car is cleaned, wipe it with a white cloth – it’s bound to be black by time you are done with only one side of the car. When you have too many used clothes to throw away, stop using the car wash and use your clothes, one or two pieces per day, to clean up the car.
Make winter accessories. Old sweaters can be a good source for new scarves, hats and mittens.
Make your pet beautiful. This Christmas, make your puppy a fashionable yuppie! You can cut, trim, or burn old clothes to fit your little pet. Your pet would love the odor of your body from the ‘new dress’. (Seriously, their nostril sense is many times more powerful than ours).
At last, a little trick, which I have seen people doing: Put the clothes near the trash bin, but not directly inside it. Leave it overnight and there’s a high chance the clothes will vanish before dawn. Your clothes would have found their destiny on their own!
Did I say that these are the greenest ways of dealing with your old clothes? Do every little bit possible to help Mother Nature lose its glory a little slower than it is losing today.
|If you like what you made out of used clothes, make it a hobby or a small side business, just as my dad did. This is where making a profit out of used clothes comes into play|