What To Do With Old Clothes
We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Everyone knows the struggle of having too many clothes in their closet — especially when you feel like you have nothing to wear because you’ve lost track of the pieces you wear most of the time. When your closets and drawers begin to clutter up, you may wonder what to do with old clothes you don’t wear anymore.
Sometimes, sentimentality can prevent you from wanting to part with your clothes, even if you don’t wear them. Whether you want to rid yourself of unwanted garments for good or preserve them in a meaningful way, these tips will help you find a way to make room in your home for the clothes you wear.
1. Sell Them
If you just want these clothes out of your life, consider selling them to a secondhand store or through an online service, such as Depop or Poshmark. Be fair with how you price your clothing items — remember that secondhand items shouldn’t cost a new buyer as much money as you paid for them when you first bought them.
You should also ensure that any clothes you plan to sell are in good condition, without holes, stains or other blemishes. If they have issues, try to repair them yourself or look for another option.
2. Give Them to Family
Large families often look for hand-me-downs to give other children. This practice remains the same as those children grow up. Think about your family or friend circle with clothing needs. Has your child outgrown something that you can pass on to a younger niece or nephew? Maybe you want to rekindle an old tradition with one of your siblings and give them something of yours?
Have your loved ones look at what you want to get rid of. They may find something they like and offer to take it off your hands! Giving your clothes to family and friends is the easiest way to get something off your hands — while knowing that the sentimentality lives on with another family member.
3. Donate Them
If all else fails, consider donating your old clothes locally. Check with local homeless shelters and animal shelters for their needs. You may be able to give clothes in good condition to homeless shelters, while older, more worn clothes could keep shelter animals warm in the winter. If you keep a list of the items you donated to a charity, you may earn a deduction on your federal taxes.
4. DIY Them
Creative types who don’t know what to do with old clothes that they don’t want to part with may choose to DIY them into something new. If you have an old t-shirt, you may try to reimagine it into a tank or crop top. As long as you have your imagination, you can turn any old piece of clothing into something new — and set the trend for reviving vintage items along the way!
5. Quilt Them
If you don’t have the skills to recreate clothing with your old garments, consider cutting them out and assembling them into a quilt. Anybody can learn how to quilt, and while it may take days or weeks to finish, it could leave you with a product you love.
Turning your fabric scraps into a quilt is a great way to keep the shirts you love but don’t wear anymore. Quilts can be excellent display pieces or keep your guests warm in the winter. Whatever the case, they’ll take up less storage space than they would as full shirts.
6. Recycle Them
Maybe you want to breathe fresh life into your garments in another way. You could transform soft fabrics into baby blankets or stuffed animals and gift them to loved ones with infants or even to your children.
If you want to make a green statement, turn your old clothes into fashionable, reusable bags that can prevent litter on land and in the sea from one-use shopping bags. You can also cut your garments and use them as rags to mop up spills and messes in a creative way — which is also much greener than using paper towels or other disposable materials.
7. Compost Them
Composting is great for plants and crops grown out of your home because you can reduce your use of chemical fertilizers through scraps found around the house. Organic materials, such as cotton, linen, wool and silk, are great for composting, but make sure they aren’t mixed with synthetic fabrics like polyester. Avoid using clothes heavily altered with dyes or paint for your composts, and getting rid of zippers and buttons can ensure that everything in your scrap fabric breaks down the way it should.
Know What to Do With Old Clothes Before You Buy Them
You should plan out the life of a clothing item before you buy it. What kind of material is it made of, and what will you do with it once you tire of wearing it? Knowing how long you’ll wear something can help you determine if you need to make the purchase. When you plan, you have a greater possibility of avoiding clutter.
One of the best ways to measure which clothes you wear often is to start the year with all of your hangers turned the same way. Once you wear something, put it back in the closet with the hanger turned the other way. At the end of the year, know what to do with old clothes you don’t wear anymore — whether that’s giving them a loved one, recycling them as a reusable bag, or letting them decompose in your plants.