What to do with clothes that cannot be donated | the ReFab Diaries

When you have holey old clothing too damaged to donate to a thrift store, it may seem like the only available option is to throw it in the trash. In fact, the average American throws away 80lbs of clothing a year! Rather than sending damaged textiles to a landfill, here's a list of ideas for what to do with clothes that cannot be donated.

What To Do With Clothes That Cannot Be Donated


Add To Crafting Projects

Are you sad to say goodbye to a childhood shirt? If there is a logo or image or even just a piece of old clothing that you’d like to remember, consider cutting and framing your fabric as a memento. You can also use old clothing to re-dye, cut, and transform into your next great art masterpiece.

Fabric scraps can become an integral part of your next art or crafting project. There’s an endless number of crafting projects you can make from frabric scraps to minimize waste and maximize your inner creative artist.

Give To Animal Shelters

Animal shelters are always looking for donations and supplies of any kind. Many shelters will gladly accept clothing—even if it’s torn or in poor condition—to repurpose into blankets, cleaning supplies, or even beds. You can also choose to transform your older shirts into blankets before donating to a shelter, but textiles will be accepted regardless. Your favorite high school sweatshirt or sweater could help keep an animal warm while they wait for their forever home. 



Make Cleaning Rags

If you don’t know what to do with clothes that cannot be donated, the simplest solution is to cut your fabric into rags. Regardless of the type of fabric or quality, any clothing will quickly transform into a sufficient rag for cleaning. Whether you use your new rag for cleaning pet paws before they step inside or for dusting, these cutouts of clothing are a simple way to reduce fabric waste.

Try Gardening

Small pieces of fabrics are perfect for potted plants. Simply cut your old clothing into pieces and place the cloth at the bottom of a pot before adding in dirt and potting mix. The cloth at the bottom of the pot will absorb excess water and help keep plants nourished. Less water will be wasted at the bottom of plant’s pots and your plants will be healthier than ever before.


Try Refashioning

Taking a couple of different pieces of clothing and refashioning them into something new is fun! If you've been on this blog before, you've seen some of my tutorials. I'm especially fond of taking trashed old kids shirts and turning the into color-blocked shirts of tunics (like the one above). For a round-up of everything related to refashioning on the blog, hop here

Even the oldest clothing and fabric can be transformed and repurposed into new treasure. Whether you use your collection of sweaters or old school uniforms to test your creativity or lend a helping hand, preventing fabric waste will promote a more sustainable lifestyle. 


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