6 things to do with your old clothes, shoes and soft furnishing
23rd January 2018
I love clearing out my wardrobe. In fact, I love it a bit too much. I’ll quite happily get rid of half of my clothes in one swoop and then leave myself with nothing to wear!
I start by taking everything out of my wardrobe, and then slowly work through my pile of clothes figuring out what I want to keep. I have to admit, I do use Marie Kondo’s method of taking each item and asking if it sparks joy, which actually works a treat. I also try everything on because there’s no point in holding on to clothes that no longer fit.
Then once I’ve touched and tried on every item of clothing, I’m using left with a huge pile of unwanted clothes.
Years ago I would have just put them straight in the bin, but I quickly realised that this wasn’t a very ethical approach to take. That’s when I started researching alternative ways to deal with my old clothes.
Today I thought I would share some ideas and suggestions for what to do with old clothing, as well as shoes and soft furnishing (such as bedding, curtains, cushion covers etc.), that you no longer want.
1 | Swap them
In an attempt to be more sustainable, many retailers now offer incentives, such as money off coupons, for you to recycle your clothes in their stores. So you’re essentially swapping for clothes for vouchers.
For example, you can take a bag of clothes to H&M, and in return they will give you a £5 voucher to spend in store. Marks & Spencer, Levi’s and The North Face have similar schemes in place.
(You might want to double check that these shops are still offering the incentives before you go all the way over to the shops with a big bag of clothes!)
The good thing about this is that many of the companies running schemes like this are happy for you to bring in clothes from any brand, not just their own, and that you can recycle clothes even if they are damaged.
2 | Sell them
If your old clothes and shoes are still in a good condition, and they still have some value, you might want to sell them online using websites like eBay or apps like Depop, or even sell them in person at a car boot sale.
Personally, I’ve never sold any of my old clothes just because nothing I own is worth the time and effort it takes to sell! But if I were to get rid of my Ray Ban sunglasses for example (LOL, like that would ever happen!) I would probably sell them.
3 | Donate them
Maybe your old clothes and shoes are in a good condition but you know they aren’t worth anything, or you just aren’t interested in making money from them. If this is the case, you could donate your clothes to a charity.
There are various ways you can donate your old clothes. The first and best way is taking your clothes to a local charity shop, or to a shelter is they are taking in new donations.
Another is putting your clothes in a clothing bank. These can usually be found in supermarket car parks. This is a good way to donate your clothes but I have heard horror stories of clothing banks being set on fire, or of people climbing inside them to steal clothes to sell on for a profit. Yep, some people are vile.
Sometimes you might receive donation bags from charities in the post, where you fill up the bag and leave it on your doorstep on the collection date. These are okay, however there have been problems in the past with scammers posting these bags through your front door for charities that don’t even exist.
If you do choose to use this method of recycling clothes, do your research about the charity you are donating to. Check the charity number to make sure it’s a legitimate charity, and not just one someone has made up.
When you donate clothes to charity, ensure that they are in a good condition and that they are clean. The main objective is to sell these clothes on, but if they aren’t in a good condition they will be recycled.
4 | Repair them
I’m quite handy with a needle and thread, and I own a small sewing machine, so I often repair my clothes and bedding when they get damaged but still have life in them. Especially if it’s something I love and can’t bare to part with.
For more specialist items, or shoes, you will probably want to take them to a professional to be mended. Of course, it might not be worth the cost of getting them repaired, but if it’s something expensive, or something you really truly love, then this might be a good option.
5 | Re-purpose them
Just because an item of clothing has served it’s initial purpose doesn’t mean it’s life is over just yet. A quick search on Pinterest will throw up hundreds of ideas for re-purposing old clothes and shoes.
Here are a few ideas of my own:
- Keep old bedding as it can be used as dust sheets when redecorating your house. It will save buying them from a DIY store.
- Keep old clothing scraps to use as test material when using a sewing machine. Especially if you’re a newbie with a sewing machine!
- Decorate an old pair of shoes and then put them on display, much like the comic book shoes I used to make.
- Make a cushion cover out of a old jumper.
6 | Recycle them
If your clothing, shoes or sort furnishings cannot be donate, sold, repaired or re-purposed, you should recycle them.
Again, your local supermarket might have bins for recycling clothes in, or you can just visit your local recycling centre.
I hope you have found this post useful. Let me know in the comments what you do with your old clothes, shoes and soft furnishing.