Old clothes

Is it time you cleared out your wardrobe? Are there clothes sitting in there that you haven’t worn for years? Or have you worn your clothes so much, that you really need to replace them now. Maybe you have already cleared out your wardrobe, but are not quite sure what to do with those old clothes yet.
If your clothes are in good condition there are lots of options to choose from. You could hold a clothes swapping party, or go along to one such as those organised by Swishing.  Swishing is a great new way to swap clothes with others online – you send your clothes in and then gain credits to ‘purchase’ more clothes. There is a delivery fee to pay and a minimum charge of 50p an item, but it is still likely to be cheaper than the shops! 
Friends and family may be able provide a happy new home for your clothes (see my article on Clothes Swapping/ Sharing). Giving them to charity is another good option, as you are helping those items to be reused and helping to raise money for a good cause. Be cautious when using bag collection schemes however, which aren’t always quite what they seem, as highlighted by Charity Bags. If you don’t want to give them away, hold on to them – if your weight fluctuates they may come in useful later down the line.
If you are handy with a sewing machine and you have lost weight, you may be able to take the clothes down a size or two. You could also shorten sleeves/ legs to turn winter clothes into summer clothes (especially handy with clothes for babies and children which have been handed down, where one child was born in the winter and another in summer). Old clothes are a great source of fabric for an unlimited number of sewing projects. A simple sewing project could involve repurposing your clothes – for example it could be fairly easy to turn an old top into a reusable shopping bag or the top part of your jeans into a handbag. 
If your clothes have seen better days, you could mend them. If they are coming apart at the seams, it can be fairly easy to sew them back together. If they have holes in them, depending on where they are, you could sew something over the holes and make a feature of them. I have always wanted to have a go at making a rag rug – it is one of those projects on my to do list. You could chop them up and use as cleaning rags, but test the fabric out first to see whether it will be any good for cleaning with.
Keep buttons, zips and any embellishments for homemade projects and for replacing ones that have broken – even if you aren’t good at sewing, they could be used to decorate greetings cards or other handmade items. Wrap up presents with your old clothes – the ‘wrapping paper’ can then be used again and again. Another option could be saving them for use as scraps, which can contribute towards colourful patchworks or collages (especially good for kids art projects).

Sustainable gift wrap course

There are many, many things that you could use your old clothes for and I haven’t covered them all here.  If you have any further ideas I would love to hear from you!

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  1. If clothes are in good condition i generally give them to charity. I sometimes repair clothes I like that have fallen apart a bit (which sometimes includes adding decorative patches). I also customise clothes, I used the lacy tops from some ripped stockings and sewed them onto the top of some long gloves to make some very dressy gloves, the rest of the stockings I cut up and used to stuff a draught excluder (which was made mostly from fabric from a ripped kimono). I've also used the same kimono fabric to make lavender bags, a camera case and sandwich bags.

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