If you're like the most of us raised in a Western spoiled world, every once in a while you'll take a moment to notice that your bedroom is filled with clothes that you a) never wear, b) can't get rid of for sentimental reasons, or c) didn't realize you owned in the first place. While donating these clothes to a charitable institution is always a worthy option, here are 6 ways in which you can reuse these neglected or forgotten items that are cluttering up your personal space and, therefore, your life.
1) Make a t-shirt quilt
The most difficult items of clothing to get rid of are t-shirts - particularly those t-shirts that are attached to specific era or significant moment in a person's life. A great way to preserve these t-shirts in a useful way is to cut out the logos/t-shirt images into large squares and sew them into a quilt. This method will not only allow you to consolidate important moments of your life that you have held onto in t-shirt form (think of it as a warm scrapbook), but it allows you to flex your creative muscle. And hey, you get an eclectic, multi-colored quilt out of the deal. And who doesn't want an eclectic, multi-colored quilt?
2) Rags & dusters
Many clothing items can be cut into strips and given new life as rags and dusters. Why spend extra money on rags and dusters, when you have a closet full of potential cleaning material just waiting to be reborn?
3) Sew into bags and purses
These days it is trendy to spend ungodly sums of money on pretentious designer bags and purses, but you can help to buck this trend by re-using your old clothing as material for your own bags and purses - the designer being you. If you'd rather leave the stylish purse designing to the professionals, you can consider transforming old clothing into reusable grocery bags - just make sure the stitching and material you use is durable enough to handle your heavier groceries.
4) Sew into place mats
Who wants to spend money on place mats? Seems like a waste of money and material, right? Well, utilizing material that you've culled from old clothing and creating your own place mats is a great way to work with what you already have, and as a bonus, only requires a modicum of sewing ability.
5) Use as a replacement for bubble wrap or packing popcorn
It's a shame that countless tons of material is used each year for simple things, such as protecting items being shipped or moved. Next time you ship an item or move residences, instead of spending money on bubble wrap or packing popcorn, consider using old clothing (old socks, for instance, work nicely) as insulation for the fragile items you are packing up.
6) Create toys and crafts for kids
By using your old clothing material to create dolls, costumes or puppets with your children, you can encourage creative production, instill a respect for recycling, and bond with your kids all at once. And hey, even if you don't have any children handy, there is no rule forbidding adults to spend a little time in Imagination Land.
The next time you find yourself lamenting the mountain of unused clothing that you have accumulated over the years, don't fret - simply begin planning your next artistic masterpiece!
Ivy Newport is the president and product strategist at Every Little Bit, an online retail store featuring eco-friendly products for your every day needs. http://www.everylittlebitgreen.com
Photo Credit: J. Durham
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