[sniplet tweetright]If you’re anything like me, jeans are the one piece of clothing in your wardrobe that continuously gets replaced. They get a tear in the leg, you gain (or lose) weight, and then they just plain wear out. We could just throw them in the trash, but there’s so many more options out there to consider first. The same thing goes for that beloved t-shirt that you just can’t wear anymore or some extra fabric from old curtains, duvets, or your last sewing project.
Next time you’ve got an extra pair of jeans, tees, or fabric on your hands, see if one of these ideas can help you reuse and recycle.
#1 Give Them Away
This is probably the most common way to prevent your old jeans and fabric from ending up in the garbage, but it’s definitely not to be overlooked. Dropping off gently used clothing at a Good Will or the Salvation Army helps you reuse your items as well as help out a worthwhile charity. Of course, only items that are in good enough condition should be dropped off, as they do need to be usable by others. Visit the websites for The Salvation Army and Good Will for your local drop-off location and hours.
#2 Make a Bag
With the reusable bags becoming increasingly popular at grocery stores and retail, having more bags will definitely come in handy. Make your own grocery bag, tote, or even clutch out of extra fabric around your house. Check out this site for some great free bag patterns.
#3 Patch Them
Sometimes an old pair of jeans or a favorite clothing item could be as good as new with a patch. Use another old pair of jeans to patch up a pair, or use some crazy patterned fabric for a unique piece. If you’ve never patched a piece of clothing, you can find detailed instructions on how to patch jeans here.
#4 Use Extra Fabric as a New Lining
If you have a purse with a dirty/worn lining, or if it’s not lined at all, consider using your extra fabric to re-line your items. Or line your knitted items to give them some extra durability and warmth. This video gives a great How-To on creating a lining pattern from a current pattern.
#5 Make a Scarecrow
With Halloween right around the corner, you can easily use some extra beat-up clothing to have a fun, or scary, scarecrow. My family and I used to make a scarecrow for every member in the family and sit them on the bench outside the house. It was super easy to do (and helped us use up some extra leaves too). Do a quick Google search for Scarecrow to get you inspired :)
#6 Line Storage Boxes
Boxes, especially the plain cardboard ones, get beat-up really easily and are often very bland. Instead of hiding them, grab some old jeans and line the outside of the boxes and the lids in jeans or colorful fabric just like you would wrap a gift. Doing so increases the durability of the boxes and will hopefully prevent you from going out and buying a new one. Consider storing your seasonal clothing out of the way in a new, custom-line box. I also like to wrap a small box to keep in the bathroom for feminine stuff (out of sight but still easily accessible when needed).
#7 Make Some New Clothing or Blankets
Bags are the obvious choice for an easy sewing craft, but if you’re feeling adventurous, consider making some new clothes. Stitch fabric together to make larger sheets and make a t-shirt or some comfy pajama pants. Alternatively, you could make a quilt or a throw. The sky’s the limit for fabric items. Here are some more ideas: tea cozy, beer cozy, seat cushions, pillow-cases, throw-pillows, new upholstery for a chair, Halloween costumes, curtains, stuffed animals, puppets, and cubby-hole curtains.
#8 Use it in the Garden
Strip some old jeans or fabric into strips and use it tie back your plants. You cold also grab a sharpie marker and tie the fabric around your plants for labels. Make an apron with some extra fabric so that you won’t mess up your new clothes while in the yard or cut a piece into a triangle and you’ll have a new bandanna.
What do you do?
Any creative ideas on how to reuse or recycle your unwanted clothing and fabric?