Sustainability

What to Do With Used Clothing—4 Sustainable Ideas

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It was your favorite summer dress, but the pattern is so five summers ago. Or maybe you moved to a warmer climate but can’t bear to toss that comfy down jacket in the trash. Great news! You don’t have to part on bad terms with your used clothing.

 

In fact, there are plenty of sustainable options for recycling and upcycling clothing that will make you feel good all over—probably more now than ever before. Plus, you can even make thrifty and crafty decisions that could leave your bank account with a little extra padding. So, before you say farewell, take a look at our favorite things to do with used clothing.

1. How to Recycle Clothing

One of the easiest ways to make sure your used clothes get into the right hands is through thrift stores and local dropboxes. These locations are often backed by volunteers who will get your used clothes where they’re needed most. A quick Google search will key you in on their nearby locations, and once you’re there, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get this good deed done. If dropboxes aren’t available where you live, you might want to reach out to your local recycling facility and ask about textile recycling in your area.

2. Best Ways to Reuse or Repurpose Clothing

If you’d rather keep your used clothing in-house and in-use, it’s time to put on your creative hat and repurpose your used clothes.

  • Sew up neck and arm holes to turn old tee-shirts into pillowcases
  • Tear up already torn clothes to create patches to make a quilt
  • Stitch up the torso opening on a sleeveless tank top to create a tote bag
  • Old button-up business shirts make great pillowcases for throws
  • Fold and sew old jeans into long strips to create draft stoppers for your doors
  • Cut out the designs from graphic tees and frame them for your wall

If you come up with any great designs, consider sharing them with others by upcycling (taking pieces from different clothing items and crafting new items) your clothes to sell online and create your own fashion.

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3. Sell your used clothes on sites like Poshmark, Depop or thredUP

If you have designer clothes, unique tastes or a trendy wardrobe, you might want to look into reselling apps like Poshmark or Depop. These popular apps are essentially online thrift shops, but instead of selling your typical used clothing that nobody wants, Poshmark and Depop dabble in mid- to higher end clothing—including some famous designers.

 

On the other hand, thredUp is more of an online consignment shop meant for thrifty buying and selling. They do most of the work for you, sending you a prepaid bag to fill, taking pictures of your clothes and listing your items—they’ll even consign them for you if your clothes are out of season.

4. Keep new clothes from becoming used clothes

Finally, there’s the most sustainable option of all—taking care of your new clothes so they last longer. To begin, consider buying higher quality clothes. They may cost a bit more at first, but if you’re just replacing cheap clothes over and over again, the added cost for a one-time quality buy could actually save you money in the long run.

 

Next, take good care of your clothing. This doesn’t mean only wear it on Sundays or to graduations, but rather washing it properly using quality detergent such as Persil® ProClean®, followed by a fabric softener like Snuggle® SuperCare™ which will help your clothes looking newer longer.

 

Be sure to explore the rest of the Ask Team Clean site and find more sustainability ideas here.