Did you clean out your wardrobe and find that you have old clothes that can’t be donated? You don’t have to throw those clothes away; there are quite some things you can use them for. For example, you can turn them into rags or an art project to express your creativity. There are many brilliant ideas you can work with!
When Are Your Clothes Old?
Not every piece of clothing in your wardrobe is old, but if you’ve some old clothes in there, how do you identify them? What are old clothes?
Old clothes are clothes you no longer wear for one reason or the other. They add to the number of clothes in your wardrobe, with no real value. Some can be donated if they’re still in good condition, while some can’t.
A brand-new shirt or pair of trousers doesn’t count as old clothes, as well as the not-new but timeless, regular wears in your wardrobe. So, what counts as old clothes?
No real value
Experts advise that you purge your wardrobe every 6 months so that you’ll identify the functional clothes from the ones with no real value. If you allow it, some clothes can sit for years in your wardrobe.
You see them every time you open your closet, but it never occurs to you to wear them. If those clothes can’t be donated, throw them in the bin you’ve marked for old clothes.
Any clothing item beyond repair is old. Let’s say you have a lovely, formal gown with a huge wood stain you’ve been trying to get rid of, but to no avail. It’s can’t be donated as it isn’t in good condition and you wouldn’t wear it either. Such a gown is old.
It’s not unusual to join the fashion frenzy and buy the clothes in vogue, only to wear them a couple of times and find that they won’t last beyond that season. You might even spend a fortune buying these trendy clothes, but now that their season is over, you’re stuck with them.
You can’t wear them nor give them out(who would want to wear outdated clothes, by the way?). So, you’re left with no option but to add them to your old clothes.
[su_note]It’s essential to note that not all old clothes can’t be donated. If you’re giving something out, it’s only right it’s in good condition as much as possible. If your old clothes don’t meet that mark, never put them up for donation.[/su_note]
4 Signs That Your Old Clothes Can’t Be Donated
Now that you know what old clothes are and how to identify them in your wardrobe, you should remember that not all are fit for donation. Below are some signs that your old clothes can’t be donated and should serve other purposes instead.
There are some awful smells you can’t just get rid of no matter how many times you wash the affected clothes. You won’t even wear such at all, especially if you’re very sensitive to smell. Such types of clothes aren’t fit for donation. Since you can’t wear them, no other person can.
Imagine someone giving you a box containing some of their clothes, and upon opening the box, you find that the clothes are spotted. There’s no way to cover the stain, and if you wear them, you will look like a fool. You would feel disrespected, right? That’s how another person would feel too if you gave them your old clothes in similar condition. In fact, charity organizations won’t accept such clothes from you.
Usually, clothes aren’t made to last forever. The durability period varies, but over time, the quality of a clothing item reduces as you wear and wash it.
If your old clothes are barely hanging together or they look ready to fall apart any moment, they’re not fit for donation. You wouldn’t want anyone to go through the disgrace that comes with a piece of clothing shredding to pieces immediately they move, all in the name of wearing donated clothes.
Clothes are only as fine as long as they retain their original color. By the time they start to lose it, their usefulness is decreasing. The same goes for clothes whom other clothes have bled on. For instance, a white shirt that has marks of blue, red, and green due to color bleeding from other clothes isn’t good for donation. What it’s fit for is to be turned into an art project or a material for practicing some do-it-yourself fashion skills.
[su_note]Basically, always follow the rule of thumb when donating clothes; if you’d rather not wear it, don’t give it out.[/su_note]
6 Things To Do With Your Old Clothes That Can’t Be Donated
Looking for what to do with your old clothes now that you find they can’t be donated? Below are some things you can do with them.
Bags are ever so handy, either a shopping bag, tote bag, etc. You can turn your old clothes into bags! For instance, your old shirts can be tweaked a little and turned into tote bags you can match with other wearable garments. You can make as many as possible and use them to make bold fashion statements.
You can also take your old clothes to an animal shelter. Animals need clothes for beddings, to keep warm, etc. If fellow humans can’t wear your old clothes, animals don’t mind. They would do all sorts with them and might even end up damaging them. But who cares? They’re old clothes, after all.
If you’ve always loved to work with your hands or have kids you want to keep busy; your old clothes can help. You can find time to make different creative things from them. There are lots of online tutorials you can watch to that effect. If kids are involved, such a DIY project helps develop their cognitive skills and keeps them from distracting you.
Here is a video on DIY projects with old clothes:
Have you ever been in dire need of a kitchen rag, and you realize you’ve none? Now that you’ve old clothes that can’t be donated, you don’t have to be in need anymore. You can turn your old clothes into as many rags as you need. If you need some fabrics for any chore in the house, they also come in handy too.
If your old clothes are made from natural fibers, you can compost them. Bury the heap in the ground in your garden, and it’ll decay since it’s biodegradable. Bear in mind that synthetic fibers such as nylon, acetate, etc., are non-biodegradable. The compost will be beneficial if you grow plants where it’s located.
This is for those who love rewards. Some companies recycle clothes and give tips to people who bring those clothes. The rewards may be discounts on their products, cash, etc. You can take your old clothes to these companies as well.
Want To Be Able To Donate Your Old Clothes? Here Is What To Look Out For When Buying Clothes
While there are many good things you can do with old clothes that can’t be donated, it can be painful to find that you can’t donate your old clothes, especially if you love to give. But that can be changed. Ensure you buy high-quality clothes so that you can donate them when they no longer fit or you get tired of wearing them. Below are some ways to identify high-quality clothes.
The rule of thumb is that see-through clothes don’t last because they tear and fade quickly. When buying clothes, you should hold them up and check if you can see the outline of your palms. If you can, such clothes will become old and unfit for donation.
While unfinished hems are regarded as fashion, their presence doesn’t help your clothes. They make your clothes look untidy, and in a short time, you’ll find the fibers coming off. Go for clothes with finished hems; those are the ones you can give out after wearing them.
Clothes made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, etc., are suitable for your skin and durable. They’re breathable, so your skin won’t be suffocated. However, they are expensive, which explains why synthetic fabrics are more common. If you can afford them and would love to donate them sometime in the future, buy them.
Buying nameless clothes can be risky. If you want value for your money, go for clothes that come from reputable brands. These brands have built equity with the quality of their products, so you can be sure that whatever you buy from them is nothing but the best.
Finally, buy clothes that have a warranty. A warranty shows that the manufacturer trusts in the ability of their products to hold up for long. After all, it’s unlikely that anyone would place a warranty on a product that will fall apart in 4 weeks.
Besides buying the best when you go clothes shopping, you also need to maintain the clothes you buy if you look forward to donating them someday. As such, buy clothes with sufficient information on their care labels and follow every instruction.
If you don’t maintain your clothes, they’ll become useless even before you get tired of wearing them. Always consider sustainability in your actions.
If you’ve been trashing your old clothes that aren’t fit for donation because you don’t know what to do with them, it’s high time you stopped. From using them as rags to materials for do-it-yourself practices to giving them to an animal shelter, there are many uses for your old clothes. Find the one that suits you, do it and see how useful your old clothes can be!
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.