6 Things You Can Do With Clothes That Aren’t In Good Condition To Donate

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You there, with the worn out *NYSYNC concert t-shirt from 1999! Don't throw the whole riddled, foundation stained shirt in the trash can. That's where it'll become another piece of material clogging the landfill and plaguing the Earth. You don't want that, Mother Earth doesn't want that, and *NSYNC wouldn't want that. Thankfully there are other things to do with clothes you can't donate because they're not in good enough condition to give away. There's always a solution to a problem, and a place for your favorite boy band t-shirt.

Old or unwanted clothing, it turns out, is also an environmental threat, just like plastic. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2015 landfills received up to 10.5 million tons of textiles. If your jaw has appropriately dropped and your tree hugging heart has been crushed under the weight of this number, know there are ways to prevent this!

It doesn't matter if your jeans have so many frayed holes in them that they're actually considered unfashionable. They don't have to be rejected from your local donation point and then chucked forever. There are more eco-friendly options for your dull socks and stained sweaters.

Repurpose As A Rag

If your t-shirt that became a canvas for coffee stains can't be donated as a pre-worn vintage tee, it can become a perfectly absorbant kitchen rag. Instead of tossing it in the bin, give it a second life as cloth to wipe up spills and crumbs.

Recycle Them

You may not be able to donate all your old and odd socks, but you can recycle them. You can recycle most textiles your closet doesn't have space for anymore or your socks don't have a pair for. Going through companies like American Textile Recycling Service, you can hand over your worn out clothing responsibly. You can even recycle your bras with Bra Recycling and shoes with Soles 4 Souls. Seriously, there's a sustainable solution for everything. Including your underwear.

Donate To An Animal Shelter

If there's an animal shelter in your area, you could contact them to see if they could repurpose your old textiles. If your kitchen cabinets are stocked with old t-shirts turned clean up rags, perhaps another organization could benefit from a few new rags. Call to see if your local shelter needs old clothing for additional cleaning rags or for any other particular purpose!

Turn Into An Arts + Crafts Project

Clothing textiles are excellent material for an arts and crafts project. Turn an old sock into a sock monkey. Old flannels into patches for your mom's old Levis. Just use your creativity and you can make old clothes your artistic medium.


According to Recyclebank, you can compost old clothes that you can't donate. However, this is only exclusive to cotton. Your dad's polyester suit from the '70s won't be able to be processed. According to Recyclebank, "Cotton and other natural-fiber clothing can even be composted as long as they are not blended with synthetic fibers like polyester; make sure to shred it finely and remove attachments like zippers and buttons."

Give Your Clothes To H&M

Eliminate "can't" from your vocabulary. Actually, you can donate your worn out clothing. Kind of. Clothing retailer H&M has joined the zero waste mission. According to their website you can donate textiles from any brand, in any condition and they'll take care of the rest. Depending on what condition your clothes are in, they'll become cleaning cloths or insulation in their next life. Imagine that. Your old underwear — yes, you can donate them — could become insulation!