5 Ways To Repurpose Old Clothes
Written by the amazing Rhea of @helpingtheenvironment
Hi there! I think we’ve all been in this situation before: having a bunch of old clothes in your closet and not knowing what to do with them. That’s why today I want to show you how to make use of old clothes instead of throwing them away.
Now, why is it so important to be resourceful with the clothes we already have? Well, more often than not, western fast fashion companies exploit workers in developing countries, who are willing to work for lower wages and in unsafe factories. These workers lack workplace protection, are oftentimes abused by employers and work extremely long shifts.
From an environmental standpoint, fast fashion also spells disaster. According to Oxfam, it would take 13 years to drink the water needed to make one t-shirt and a pair of jeans! A single cotton t-shirt uses up to 2,700 litres of water during production. And just the UK alone sends 11 million items of clothing to landfill every week.
Get your old clothes ready!
This means that only by repurposing our old fast fashion clothes can we make up for the labor and emissions that went into their production! Throwing them away would furthermore add to the waste problem we already have. So, without further ado, here are five ways to repurpose old clothes and give them new life!
5 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes: Crop Tops
- old shirt, scissors, optionally a sewing kit
Especially in summer, short clothes are a life-saver for hot weather. You can make your own crop tops out of old shirts or blouses!
First, put the shirt on and use a pen to mark a line along which you want to cut.
Make sure you straighten it out before cutting, and use appropriate scissors!
Alternative crop top idea
Another awesome idea is to cut a shirt or blouse into a crop top that you can tie into a knot at the front! Instead of cutting a straight line, you leave two triangles of cloth along the front, which can then be tied.
For some pieces of clothing, I would recommend to hem them afterwards in order to prevent the edges fraying, but it isn’t always necessary.
5 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes: Hair Ties
- old socks, scissors
Cut off a few stripes at the opening of a sock! Socks have the right size for hair ties and you can choose ones with nice colors and patterns.
Considering hair ties often go missing the moment we buy them, they’re pretty expensive.
5 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes: Denim Shorts
- old jeans, scissors, optionally a sewing kit
Old jeans that don’t fit that well can easily be made into cute shorts by simply cutting them. Raw denim edges are a trend right now, but if you don’t want your shorts to fray too much, you can do a basic stitch along the edge. Alternatively, you can simply cuff your shorts, which also looks pretty cool.
5 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes: Kitchen Towels
- any old clothes, scissors
This one isn’t an outfit idea, but still useful. Any old piece of clothing can be made into a reusable kitchen towel very easily by simply cutting it into equal-sized squares. This way, you’re also reducing your kitchen waste!
5 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes: Makeup Wipes
- old clothes, scissors
Another easy way to repurpose old clothes is to cut them into equal-size round pieces and use them as makeup wipes. It’s especially ecofriendly because
disposable wipes take very long to biodegrade, and this is a quick reusable alternative.
My name is Rhea and I live in Germany. A few years ago I started taking an interest in the environment and ways to protect it. Since then I’ve changed my lifestyle in a lot of ways, for example by becoming vegetarian and eliminating a lot of plastic from my life. That’s why I started an Instagram account in 2018, sharing ways to help Earth, information about climate change and tips to reduce waste. If you’re interested in sustainability, why don’t you check it out? @helpingtheenvironment.