What do you do with your old clothes?
February 12, 2009 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I've had a lot of clothes over the years that I've hung on to, for no reason other than that I can't bear to throw them away. What do you do with your favorite clothes once they are too worn out to continue to function as clothing?
posted by seagull.apollo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have a copy paper box labeled "clothes, old, sentimental" whose size limits the amount I can really hold on to.

I also will take pictures of things/clothes that are sentimental but that I should really just pass on or throw away. That made it much easier.

I know some folks will make pillows or quilts but usually my old sentimental items are just too far gone for that.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2009

I take a digital picture, donate/otherwise get rid of it, and I've never missed a single thing.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 12:07 PM on February 12, 2009

I make pillow covers out of some things. I will make dog beds for a friend out of his old denim work jeans. My mom made a quilt for my brother with scraps of old clothes that had meaning. Old T-shirts with pithy quotes can be framed(they make clear plastic frames just for this but I don't have time to find and link right now). I also save some things for my daughter. My mom saved a lot of her old clothes and I loved going through them and refashioning them or just having her tell me about them.
posted by shmurley at 12:15 PM on February 12, 2009

A friend's mom made a quilt out of tee-shirts from high school/college that the friend couldn't bear to part with. Now she has a warm comfy quilt to watch TV under and space in her bureau again.
posted by anastasiav at 12:19 PM on February 12, 2009

Cut up the tshirts with logos, sew them together, and make a blanket.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:21 PM on February 12, 2009

Make rags out of them, clean my chain.
posted by fixedgear at 12:23 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I leave them hanging in the closet :)
posted by zeoslap at 12:25 PM on February 12, 2009

Take a photoe and throw it away? I don't mean to be snarky but I guess because I grew up moving every couple of years my capacity for sentimentality for clothes is limited.
posted by govtdrone at 12:26 PM on February 12, 2009

I put them in a bag and hide it in the closet. If I haven't opened it in a year, I donate it without even opening the bag.
posted by hooray at 12:26 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

They become peices-parts of future Halloween costumes. Or rags. Or stuffing.

*Sighs at the memory of that old, disentegrated, signed Yo La Tengo concert shirt that is now half in a pillow and half a moldy dishrag*
posted by elendil71 at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2009

Once, I won a neat silkscreened tee for a logo design I did. I was the first time I ever realized that I might enjoy graphic design.

The tee was nice, if tiny. Eventually, though, the shirt became dreadfully small and unwearable in polite company. I couldn't bear to throw it away, but...

It sat in my drawer for nearly 10 years. Finally, I decided to re-purpose it as a hardback book.

Here and here are some tutorials to get you started.

Now, I have a cute little book and the memories of my first winning logo design. (Plus, when I mock up designs in my notebook, the cute silkscreen inspires me. It's a win-win-win!)

I've also used old clothes with happy patterns to make stuffed creatures.
posted by ElectricBlue at 12:58 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

A bunch of my t-shirts that were never the right size, I bought stretcher bars, stretched the shirt over the frame, and stapled it on. Now I have wall-art!
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:12 PM on February 12, 2009

I turn 'em into rags. When you have a ready supply of good rags of various texture, you'll be surprised how often you use them.

The family's shoes have never looked better now that I take time once a week to give them a little buff. It doesn't take long and my wife got asked if she had 'new shoes'.
posted by unixrat at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2009

I made a wall hanging out of a patchwork sari silk skirt that I loved to death.
posted by Grrlscout at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2009

I patch them until there is almost none of the original fabric left. Usually it is a pair of pants that fit in such a way that no other pair of pants in the world would ever match them....no matter how hard I tried. Granted the patches and sewing alters the appearance of the items....but some how I always fall back in love with them when it's finished, that way I can keep them in the closet and end up only wearing them once a year! (Silly me)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:10 PM on February 12, 2009

Is this sentimental clothing -- band t-shirts, club shirts -- or just, like, Gap t-shirts? For my sentimental stuff that I'll never wear again but can't get rid of, I got a clear, plastic box and put stuff in there that I couldn't get rid of. It all had to fit in that box. Everything else I got rid of. It's okay to hold on to some sentimental things -- just don't let them take over your life. Move them out of your drawers so that you have functionality.

If it's just Gap t-shirts, turn them into dust rags or pillow stuffing.
posted by amanda at 3:45 PM on February 12, 2009

I'm a big fan of T-shirt reconstruction. I highly recommend Generation T as a good way to start (though it's a lot of clothes, there's accessories/how to make a quilt in there too).
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:53 PM on February 12, 2009

Flylady is your savior. In particular, use her 27 Fling Boogie.
posted by KRS at 3:54 PM on February 12, 2009

I was skeptical of the "take a picture technique" suggested by bottlebrushtree above, but it really works! I found that having a picture of a favourite item (old clothes, toys, mangled artwork) was equally satisfying for the purposes of reminiscince as having the item itself...but without the guilt and annoyance of storing additional clutter.

Try it with a few things that aren't SUPER important to you, and see how you feel. I really prefer it to the t-shirt blanket idea, because that takes up just as much space and isn't really something that will match most people's decor.
posted by Pomo at 4:46 PM on February 12, 2009

orange swan's Creative Recycling series of MeFi posts might be of interest to you. She's done t-shirts, nylons, jeans, neckties, sweaters, bras, shoes, socks, leather, and even coat-hangers for when you're done cleaning out the closet.
posted by carsonb at 5:06 PM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]

Just toss it. You will not miss it, promise.
posted by bradbane at 8:38 PM on February 12, 2009

If you decide to donate them, do NOT take them to the unattended drive by donation boxes you may see about in suburban US. You're simply donating them to a dude with a truck who goes to sell them by the pound for scrap. Recognized charities will make much better use of them.
posted by GPF at 7:03 AM on February 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'm a big fan of the picture idea, because it appeals to my anti-clutter and pro-nostalgia sides as one. All the clothing-as-art/rags/book covers answers were great as well, and really what I was gunning for when I posted the ask.

As for the hard as nails anti-saver award, hooray wins the prize! Nice and simple, and pretty great. Do you start the countdown as soon as you put the first shirt in the bag or what?
posted by seagull.apollo at 2:36 AM on February 14, 2009

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