How to Repurpose Your Old Clothes in Earth-Friendly Ways

How to Repurpose Your Old Clothes in Earth-Friendly Ways

How to Repurpose Your Old Clothes in Earth-Friendly Ways

Reusing and repurposing old clothing is a great way to reduce waste and give your wardrobe an eco-friendly refresh. As I’ve become more conscious about my impact on the environment, I’ve made an effort to get creative with the clothes I no longer wear. Here are some of my favorite tips for repurposing old clothes in earth-friendly ways:

Donate or Resell What You Can

Before repurposing, the first step is to donate or resell any gently used clothes that are still in good condition. Check if local charities or secondhand stores accept clothing donations. You can also resell quality pieces online through sites like ThredUp and Poshmark. This extends the life of clothing and keeps it out of landfills.

I regularly go through my closet and set aside items to donate. For clothes that are stained or damaged, I mend them if possible so someone else can wear them. Donating and reselling prevents waste and allows your quality clothes to be reused.

Upcycle Old Clothes into New Pieces

If an item is worn out, consider upcycling it into something new. With some creativity, you can transform old clothes into fresh fashions.

Turn Old Clothes into Accessories

Turn shirts into tote bags or hair scrunchies. Cut up jeans to make denim patches for jackets. Braid fabric strips from old clothes to make headbands or bracelets. With basic sewing skills, you can upcycle old textiles into totally new accessories.

I recently turned an oversized graphic tee into a cropped top and used the extra fabric to make a matching scrunchie. Get creative with remodeling and combining fabric pieces.

Make Old Clothes into Home Goods

Give old clothes new life by turning them into home items. Cut up soft T-shirts to make cleaning rags. Use leggings or pantyhose as plant ties in your garden. Sew a pillow cover or blanket out of old fabrics. I once made a dog bed using old sweatshirts and an old sheet.

Upcycling clothes into home goods is an eco-friendly way to get more use out of fabrics instead of discarding them. Get inspired and reuse textiles in DIY projects.

Repair, Alter, or Restyle Clothes

To refresh your wardrobe, consider ways to repair, alter, or rework clothes you already own. I often mend holes or replace buttons on favorites I’m not ready to part with. Or I’ll tailor pieces to achieve a better fit.

Change Up Your Style

You can give clothes new life by restyling them. Try cropping or cutting pieces into fresh silhouettes. Dip dye or tie dye solid colors for a patterned look. With some simple sewing, you can add embellishments like lace, beads, patches or embroidery.

I had a dress I never wore anymore because it was outdated. I cropped it into an on-trend crop top and it feels brand new! Simple alterations like hemming or adding darts can make clothes more fashionable.

Freshen Up with DIY Cleaning

Over time, clothes can fade, pick up odors, or collect stains. But don’t be too quick to get rid of them. Try natural DIY cleaning methods first.

Soak or wash items in baking soda, lemon juice, or vinegar to brighten colors and remove odors. Spot treat stains with a paste of borax and lemon juice. Handwash delicates with mild soap in cold water to freshen them up. Proper cleaning can extend the life of fabrics.

With some creativity and sewing skills, you can give your old clothes new purpose. Repurposing and altering clothes reduces waste and saves money while giving you a refreshed wardrobe.

Repair and Maintain Clothes Properly

Taking proper care of clothes is one of the best ways to maximize their lifespan and reduce waste. Here are some of my tips:

  • Wash clothes less frequently and in cold water to preserve fabrics
  • Air dry items instead of using the dryer to prevent shrinkage
  • Handwash delicates and hang dry to maintain their shape
  • Spot treat stains as soon as possible to avoid permanent marks
  • Sew loose buttons back on and fix torn seams right away
  • Fold and store clothes properly to avoid wrinkles and damage
  • Use fabric shavers to remove pilling and refresh textures

Doing repairs promptly and washing mindfully keeps clothes looking their best. I’ve been able to double the life of some favorite pieces with consistent care and mending. Proper maintenance is essential for a sustainable wardrobe.


Repurposing and upcycling old clothes takes creativity, effort and commitment. But it allows you to reduce textile waste significantly while giving your closet a fresh new look. By donating, reselling, altering and properly caring for items, you can keep clothes in use and out of landfills. An eco-friendly wardrobe takes mindfulness, but even small changes add up to make a positive impact.

I’m still learning new ways to creatively reuse and recycle old clothes. There are endless possibilities once you start looking at fabric as a resource instead of waste. With some inspiration and sewing skills, you can give wardrobe favorites new life while saving money and the planet. I encourage you to get creative with repurposing your old clothes – you may be amazed by what you can do!