21 Genius Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing

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21 Genius Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing | Textile waste is an ever growing problem. Just in the United States, so much is thrown away that it averages to about 81 pounds of textile waste per person each year.

I don’t even think I own 81 pounds of clothing so to try to wrap my head around that is crazy. But to avoid all of that waste going to landfill we should just donate it or recycle it, right? We could, yes, but what about giving that clothing a new life and looking for fun ways to repurpose old clothing?

Our clothing and linen closets are brimming with untapped fabric resources that we can use to transform into fun and exciting new things.

I’m always trying to think of fun unique gifts for birthdays and the holidays so to start making some repurposed clothing projects would be a great way to always have a zero waste gift at the ready.

Related: 101 Zero Waste Gift Ideas

I also find myself going to pick up fabric quite often for projects so this is a great way to utilize old clothing as a resource.

21 Genius Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing

21 Genius Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing

Reusable Grocery Bags 

We make and market way too many cloth tote bags to be used instead of plastic bags. Sadly, the resources that go into making so many reusable totes bags really aren’t outweighing the environmental benefits. 

In fact, in order for a reusable tote to be environmentally better than a plastic bag, it would need to be used at least 170+ times.


Trash To Couture

Cloth Produce Bags

Cloth produce bags are some of my all time favorite tools to preventing unnecessary food waste. I use them for everything from produce to bulk foods. I even get pastries from the local bakery in them.

Related: We’re Breaking Up with Plastic Bags


Headbands are a definite trendy necessity right now and would be the perfect stocking stuffer. Shoot, make some for yourself!

Related: 50 Zero Waste Stocking Stuffer Ideas


Pot Holders

Remember those pot holder making kits we used to get as kids? I made SO many pot holders that I think I remember my mom telling me that she was fully stocked and to work on making something else -LOL.

Jar Koozie

Use an old jar as a reusable coffee cup and add a homemade jar koozie to it to prevent burning your hands. 

Child Alphabet Letters

Such a fun gift and project for young kids learning their alphabets. Come to think of it, I should make some for my little guy!

Makeup Removing Rounds

Use recycled fabric to make reusable cotton rounds. Don’t you just love it when you can save money by being craft?


I think these are just adorable. They’d make great play/reading mats for children as well!

The Wonder Forest


I turned my son’s closet into a reading nook. Floor pillows would be the perfect, cozy addition!


I love aprons. That is the one thing I remember so well about my late, great-grandmother. She never started her day without one of her aprons on.

Reusable Mop Head

There’s no need to constantly buy those disposable swiffer pads when you can make your own reusables for free.

Pet Bed

I run a pet sitting business on the side and I can tell you, I will NEVER spend hard earned money on a pet bed when I can make them. Especially considering how many times I have to wash them. Ha!

Pet Toys

Rope toys are a favorite in my house amongst all of our boards. Anything that will flippity flop when shaken is a hit.


Pet Clothes

You can easily turn an old sweater sleeve into a doggy sweater. Cut some arm holes and cinch the neck a bit and boom, you just saved yourself $20 or more.

Doll Clothes

Old clothing is perfect for recreating doll clothes. My mother used to turn my dad’s old work shirts into dresses for all of my baby dolls. They were so loved.

Baby Bibs

For burp cloths and bibs, there is no reason to buy anything expensive or fancy since baby is just going to get the messy and gross.

Burp Cloths

See above.

Reusable Tissues

I use old t-shirts for blowing my nose and I have to say, I never have a chapped nose any longer. 

Related: Zero Waste Alternatives to Tissues

Zero Waste Nerd


I’d love to send my old college and high school shirts in to have a custom quilt made. I think it would be the perfect way to preserve those memories while still getting use from them. Much better than all of those shirts taking up valuable drawer space.

Fabric Bowl Covers

These are on my list to make this year for Christmas. I just love them and make it so easy to avoid unnecessary plastic cling film.

And of course, use them as rags around the house to avoid paper towels.

I’ve been using rags in my home since I was a child. I use them to clean up every kind of mess imaginable – yes – even pet messes. I soak the extra nasty ones in hot, soapy water and then toss them into my laundry.

Related: Ditching Paper Towels; Answering your Questions

What genius ideas do you have to repurpose old clothing?


4 thoughts on “21 Genius Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing

  1. Every gift is wrapped by what fabric I have on hand. With corresponding pieces to match, I’ll turn it into a reversible shopping bag, another gift bag or even a purse. The best part about these pieces is the dimensions are sizable to accommodate up to three bags of groceries. If I don’t want to go through all that, I’ll finishes the edges of a large square of lite fabric. This way I’ll fold it in to some lovely and the lightness allows the capability to create a flower or some cool knot.

  2. I cut out the back pockets from some old holey denim jeans and used them to make drink coasters! They make me smile.

  3. I’ve made Jean quilts and I always save the pockets to make hanging accessory holders. I reuse old shower curtain hooks the ones that close to hang measuring cups and spoons.

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