If you have old clothes that are barely usable, donating them is out of the question. It might be tempting to throw them away, but, that should be considered the last resort. Throwing away old clothes only contributes to the garbage problem, especially if they’re made from synthetic fabrics that do not easily degrade.

The good news is that there are many clever things you can do with old clothes—be it shirts, jumpers, jeans and even socks. So, if you have clothes that you can’t donate to sites like Easy Donation Pickup because they are too tattered and worn, then check out the ideas below:

1. Turn Old Clothes into Tote Bags 

You can make tote bags from old T-shirts and flannels! Tote bags are a great environmentally-friendly alternative to using paper or plastic bags when you’re out buying groceries or shopping. Well-sewn tote bags will last for a very long time. And you can create unique tote bags that match your style and other outfits.

t-shirt tote bag from old clothesSource: Mommypotamus

Want to try something a little fancier? How about a macrame bag made from t-shirts?!

macrame shirtSource: Trash to Couture

2. Create Sweater Socks

Here’s a loverly idea for sweater weather, create sweater socks! These use the arms of cozy sweaters.

old clothes turned sweater socks Source: Momtastic

3. Donate Old Clothes To The Animal Shelter 

Your clothes might not be useful anymore for humans, but they can still be useful for cats or dogs in animal shelters. You can donate them to be used as blankets, towels, and sheets that can certainly help keep animals warm and cozy. The shelter will surely appreciate the donation since rescues usually need thick fabrics to feel comfortable and safe.

cozy pets Source: DIY to Donate

4. Create Cushion Covers

Upcycle old clothing into cushion covers. This isn’t complicated as you simply need to cut and sew the clothes into smaller parts and add a zipper. If you can, try using different types of fabrics like denim, to get unique cushions. 

denim cushions Source: Denim Cushions

upcycled cushion Source: Vicky Myers Creations

5. Give Them To Fabric Recyclers

Textile and fabric recyclers will be more than happy to take old clothing off your hands. So, you might want to start looking for fabric and textile recyclers in your area that are in need of more fabrics. 

6. Start A Compost Using Natural Fabrics 

Generally, when ‘compost’ is mentioned, it would be immediately associated with biodegradable waste such as food scraps, fruit peels, and the like. But you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s possible to compost clothes made out of natural fabric. 

Take note that the clothes you must add to compost should be made from natural fabrics. This includes silk, linen, wool, cork, bamboo, linen, jute, cashmere, and cotton. These materials will break down and eventually biodegrade. But clothes made from wool and bamboo would take longer to compost. So, make sure to keep this in mind.

If you’re planning to start a compost using fabric, you have to keep the following things in mind:

  • Make sure to add only all-natural clothes to your compost. This means you shouldn’t include any synthetic material such as spandex and polyester.
  • Before adding clothes to the compost, make sure to take out everything that isn’t biodegradable such as tags, buttons, and zippers. 
  • Don’t add too many fabrics to your compost file. 
  • Maintain a proper balance in your compost pile by adding garden cuttings and veggie peelings alongside the old clothes. 
  • Cut old clothes into smaller pieces to promote faster breakdown. 

7. Make a Patchwork Jacket

Patchwork is a great way to salvage small pieces of fabric that are otherwise not useable. We love the look of this gorgeous patchwork jacket!

old clothes turned patchwork Source: Elle

8. Turn Old Clothes Into Cleaning Rags 

Those old and tattered clothes might not be wearable anymore, but that doesn’t mean their material is completely useless. Your home may still be in need of more cleaning rags or dish cloth, so why not convert those old clothes into useful rags? 

You can easily achieve this by cutting your old clothes into small squares using a pair of shears. It’s best to choose clothes that are made from a more absorbent material such as cotton. And if you want a larger rag, you can sew or knit together various clothes to create the size you desire.

9. Make A Pocket Handkerchief Or Scarf 

Last but not least, you can create a pocket handkerchief or scarf using your old clothes. Again, you only have to cut squares out of the old fabric to create fashionable and attractive scarves or handkerchiefs. If you have old clothes with pretty designs and colors, you can bring those back to life by turning them into scarves and handkerchiefs. 

upcycle a scarf Source: Hunnybeeandme


Donating is probably the most common way of disposing of your old clothing. However, this presupposes that the old clothes you have are still decent and functional enough to be worn. If they’re too tattered and damaged to be reused by others, it might be time to explore other options. 

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