What to do with old clothes you can't donate

What to do with old clothes you can't donate

The festive season is already a distant memory. In its fun, busy and overindulgent wake, you might have ended up with a few new items in your wardrobe. Here at Boody we support the slow fashion movement and lifestyle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have haven’t been bought some new clothing for Christmas if you celebrate it (hopefully all Boody, of course!).

With new clothes comes the need for more space in your wardrobe. Or, perhaps you simply want to scale your closet down to a nice collection of essentials that you’ll actually wear. So, in order not to contribute to our culture of waste, what can you do with your old clothes?

Well, an obvious option is to donate the clothing you’re not wearing so much (if at all) any more. But, with the general rule of thumb being to only donate to charity if you would give the item to a friend or family member, what do you do when the clothing is simply not fit to be passed on? 

Perhaps the piece of clothing is ripped, faded or stained. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what to do with your old undies and socks which obviously can’t be donated (remember, we should be turning out our old socks and undies more often than you think).

Here’s what to do with old clothes you can’t donate.

1. Consider repairing them

Consider repairing them

Hold on a second… Before you even think about what to do with that old t-shirt or pair of jeans you wouldn’t consider ever wearing again, are you sure they are beyond repair? Try different stain removers and washing techniques to get rid of stubborn stains. Test out your sewing skills or take your torn clothes to a seamstress to make adjustments or add patches.

2. Get creative

Get creative

If your clothing is definitely beyond repair, why not get creative with it? Perhaps there’s a print or design on your shirt or dress that you’re particularly fond of – why not cut out the fabric and frame it? Or perhaps you could sew an assortment of fabrics together from various old clothing to create an eclectic blanket. It would make a thoughtful gift, too!

3. Give them to a fabric recycler

Give them to a fabric recycler

Another option to dispose of unwanted clothing is to donate them to a textile recycler. There are many charitable recycling organisations that specialise in clothing recycling – you can find the nearest one to you. Many organisations will most probably only be interested in commercial amounts of fabrics, but it’s worth giving it a shot. Find your nearest donation bin!

4. Upcycle the fabric yourself

Upcycle the fabric yourself

As touched on earlier, there are plenty of creative things you can do to upcycle your old unwanted clothing. Here are some more: turn them into old rags for cleaning, sew them to cushion covers, use them for pet bedding, donate them to a mechanic for them to use as rags or to an animal shelter. It doesn’t matter if the clothing is in poor condition, someone or something will always find a use for an old rag.

How to cut down on clothing waste

Obviously it’s great that there is a range of ways to dispose of old clothing and textiles that are not in good condition. Whether you reuse or recycle them, take them to a collection bin or contact the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations, there are many ways you can ensure your old clothing avoids the landfill. 

That said, the best method of all is to change your shopping habits in the first place. From opting for natural fibres that are compostable to choosing slow fashion always, here are some handy ways to cut down on clothing waste.

1. Choose natural fibres

Choose natural fibres

One of the best ways to cut down on clothing waste in the first place is to ensure you pick items made of natural materials. This is because once you are done with the item (if you ever are!) you can try composting it. Although it requires a lot of patience, the environmental benefits of composting old clothing are not to be underestimated. Here’s a guide to composting fabrics.

2. Swap and share clothing

Swap and share clothing

Sharing is caring, right? If you’re someone that gets bored of your own clothes quickly, why not share or swap your clothing with close friends and family members? Not only is this better for the planet, but it’s better for your bank balance too. Double win!

3. Build a capsule wardrobe

Build a capsule wardrobe

An essential component of cutting down on clothing waste is building a capsule wardrobe of timeless essentials. From basic tops for him and her to socks and undies for him and her, a capsule wardrobe will keep you covered and minimise unnecessary purchases.

4. Join the slow fashion movement

Join the slow fashion movement

Continuing on from the last point, it’s vital to ditch fast fashion once and for all and become part of the slow fashion movement. By aligning with ethical and sustainable brands such as Boody, you’ll actively be doing great things for the planet and for yourself. Start cutting down clothing waste today by becoming part of the ever-growing slow fashion movement!

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