We round off this wonderful week of guest posts with one from Gabrielle Utton, otherwise known as The Green Gal.
When she’s not writing for children’s newspaper “First News”, Gabrielle is growing her own veg, pondering over how to give new life to tired things and learning new crafts. Put simply, she’s trying to tread a little more lightly without returning to the dark ages.
An astonishing 900,000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away in Britain’s landfill sites each year and half the clothing bought by British women last year has never been worn.
Gabrielle provides some inspirational ideas for recycling and reusing old clothes instead of dumping them in the landfill.
What do you do when an item of your clothing has come to the end of its useful life with you? It may still have plenty of wear, it’s just that you aren’t going to wear it again, for whatever reason. Or it’s been loved and cherished and worn till there’s no wear left.
Whatever the state of your clothing, there’s no reason why any of it should end up in landfill.
Unwanted clothing has a multitude of uses. Here are a few ideas to keep your threads out of the bin.
- • Make some money: if your clothes are in good nick and you think someone might be willing to pay to wear them, try selling your togs. Dress agencies take high quality, hardly worn clothing and sell it for you, usually taking a percentage of the sale price. Have a look for one on your high street. On the web eBay is a popular site to sell garments, particularly if you have more unusual items.
- • Share the wear: give someone else the chance to wear your wardrobe while supporting charity. Every high street has at least one charity shop and as long as the clothing is clean and blemish-free they should be happy to take your donation. A simple way to decide if an item could go to charity is to ask yourself if you would consider buying it. You’ll be surprised at the state of some of the donations charities receive!
- • Give it a second life: can a piece of clothing be made into something new? An old shirt can be transformed really easily into a cushion cover. The buttons act as the opening/fastening so all you have to do is measure the size and shape of your cushion, mark it out on the buttoned up inside out shirt, pin and sew all the way round. Open up the buttons, turn it the right way out, and pop in your cushion. The same method applies to a cardigan. Cut up jeans – fill the legs with smaller items of old clothing) and sew up to make a draught excluder, use the top section as a bag by sewing up the bottom and adding a zip to the waist. Wash a 100% woollen jumper on a hot wash to turn it into felt. You could even try unravelling a woollen jumper and knitting something new with the thread.
The satisfaction and sense of achievement you’ll feel when you’ve recycled an item of clothing into something new is great, I promise you!
- • When all else fails, clean with them: my mum has never bought a duster in her life. No need – any item of clothing that is beyond all help can be cut up and used as a rag to dust or polish shoes with. Keep a whole outfit in a bag in the corner of your wardrobe for the next time you decorate or carry out a job likely to make you mucky.
I’ve just touched on a few ideas here, there are loads more ways to make use of old clothes. What do you do?