7 Creative Ways to Reuse Old Clothes

Give your tired garments a refresh with these ideas.

<p>Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images</p>

Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

After a closet declutter, there’s always a pile of clothes that you just don’t know what to do with. It’s always a good idea to donate what you can to those in need, but for some reason or another, you’ll have some stragglers you just can’t get rid of, like stained or worn-out garments.

Instead of throwing them in the trash, consider upcycling them. It’s a great, cost-efficient way to give new life to old pieces, and you’re not contributing to more textile waste—according to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 18,000,000 pounds of clothes and shoes wound up in landfills in 2018! Help the planet—and your wallet—with these seven ways to reuse old clothes.

Related: Have a Bunch of Old Pillows? Here Are 7 Things You Can Do With Them

Cut Jeans Into Shorts and Hair Accessories

If you’ve officially moved past skinnies (congrats!), you can cut your denim into shorts and use the extra fabric to make hair accessories like simple headbands or ties. Luckily, the distressed look is hot right now, so there’s no need for perfection—embrace the frayed, slightly jagged edges.

Dye Blouses, Dresses, and Skirts

Light-colored clothing items may get dingy over time, especially if you’re not sorting them in the laundry. Consider dying them to make those pieces presentable again—RIT Dye is an affordable, trusted brand that’s popular in the crafting community, and it’s available at many big box retailers like Walmart.

Rip T-Shirts Into Cleaning Rags

Old t-shirts can look quite shabby, but they’re usually incredibly soft because they’re old, making them perfect for wiping delicate surfaces. Cotton shirts are best for this application.

Transform T-Shirts Into Bags

Maybe you have enough cleaning rags but you still want to do something with those old t-shirts—pick your favorites and turn them into bags. Just cut a wider neck hole and the sleeves so it’s shaped like a tank top (the “straps” will be the handles) and sew up the bottom of the shirt. Hate sewing? You can snip away at the bottom, creating little tassels, then tie them up. DIY Blogger Happiest Camper has an excellent step-by-step guide.

Make Clothing Into a Quilt or Pillows

If you have any garments with sentimental value, you can take those items and make them into a quilt or pillow. These are often called memory quilts or memory pillows, and while you can make them yourself if you’re crafty, there are plenty of Etsy shops that will do the work for you. Just ship them your clothes!

Turn Socks Into Heating Pads

Repurpose your knee-high socks by turning them into handmade heating pads for achy muscles and joints. Just stuff them with uncooked rice, put a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you’d like, and knot or sew the open end shut. To use, just pop it in the microwave for about a minute and place a cloth between the heating pad and your skin. (Never apply heat directly.)

Convert Sweaters Into Cozy Scarves

Stretched-out knit sweaters can morph into cozy scarves—it just requires cutting the bottom half of the sweater and a little bit of hemming if you really want to perfect it. Crafting blogger Swoodson Says has a no-sew tutorial that requires only three supplies.

Related: A Guide to Donating Almost Anything Lying Around Your House

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