Green Cleaning: 37 Reuses For Old Clothes

Green Cleaning: 37 Reuses For Old Clothes

I'm finding that I've got a lot of winter clothes that are too worn-out to keep, and Spring Cleaning is approaching. But I always found the idea of throwing clothes away -- even worn-out clothes -- kind of sad. Spring is supposed to be about, you know, life and birth and re-birth.

With that in mind, I've compiled a hefty list of reuses for old clothes.

Say you lost a mitten. Or there's a hole in one. Or your dog ate one. Planet Green offers ways to give your mittens new lives as drawstring bags, dusters and hoodie pockets -- which is saving two articles of clothing for the price of one!

And then there's this clever idea:

Get a drill, a punch or an awl and a nylon cord. Drill a hole in the bottom of your ice scraper. Thread the cord through. Attach the cord to the mitten. The scraper is now attached to the mitten. You will never find yourself without a mitten when you need one.

Bust a belt over the holidays? No problem. Planet Green also has five uses for old belts, including the very utilitarian organizer belt:

Slide some S-hooks into the belt holes and glue a strong magnet to a portion of the back of the belt, then attach it to a wall or the bottom edge of a whiteboard or a bulletin board with screws for an industrial look. Use small, powerful magnets to secure messages and notes to the front and hang keys, scarves or other small items from the hooks.

The other uses are much more artsy, so read up.

Wikihow suggests 13 ideas for all kinds of worn-out clothes -- make a quilt, a dog bed, use cut-up blouses as wrapping for green gifts. It's all pretty creative. My favorite? Dressing up a gift of cheap wine:

Take old silk or rayon shirts and cut a square of fabric approximately twelve inches by twelve inches. Place a wine bottle in the center. Fold the bottom corner up. Roll the bottle in the fabric, tie the top with ribbon to secure, and insert dried flowers or gift tag in the pocket the folded corner has created. You now have a last-minute hostess gift (and people might not notice the wine inside is just two-buck Chuck).

Everybody loses socks in the wash, so why not find new uses for the orphaned remaining socks -- or even for a sock with a hole worn in the toe or heel? Dusters, puppets, packaging -- Planet Green also recommends using socks as shoe-savers:

I know you're used to the socks being on the inside of your shoes, but they can work on the outside too. Cover shoes when storing them or stuffing them into your suitcase. The sock covers will keep shoes from becoming dusty or your other packed items from becoming dirty.

And best of all, you can make a hacky sack out of an old sock:

1. Get sock.

2. Cut sock in half.
3. Get rice or pinto beans or other biodegradable, loose-fill item.
4. Fill bottom half of sock with beans or whatever.
5. Sew sock closed.
6. You now have a hacky sack.
What to do with the remainder? You can make a wrist warmer or a drink cozy out of it.

Not that I'm speaking from personal experience, but sometimes somebody absent-mindedly puts a sweater in the wash and it comes out as a different size. What do to? Make mittens!

And what to do when the mittens wear out? See above!

Ah, the staples. Everybody has these pieces of clothing, and honestly everybody's heard of most of these reuses -- shorts, skirt, etc. But here's a really clever one that's still good for winter use. I have a perfect candidates for it:

Old Shirt Use #2: Rice Bag Warmer. Cut off the sleeve of an old flannel shirt, fill with long grain white rice and sew up the ends. This will make a nice rice warmer for your back after a hard day's work, or your feet on a cold winter night. Just heat in the microwave for a few minutes.

7. OK, Give Up And Recycle Your Old Clothes

And look. Maybe you're rushed. Maybe you're not that crafty. Or maybe you just get more psychic satisfaction from getting things out of your house. If that's the case, be sure to recycle your clothes.

But instead of throwing it into the dumpster, there are a few companies out there that will recycle their product once you are done wearing it. Some of these items get turned into new clothing while some of them will get turned into playground equipment.

Popular in the Community