Best ways to recycle old clothing

best ways to recycle old clothing (1)

Let’s Recycle Old Clothing

You know, it’s funny that most of us, when we think of waste, don’t even consider old clothing as a waste. Old clothing adds way more pollution in the air than we can ever imagine.

Here is the fact for you, according to vox magazine
“The average American throws away 70 pounds of old clothing every year, which is roughly the equivalent of 191 T-shirts per person”.

Growing up- I always noticed that my mother never wasted any of our clothing. She loved to sew and was, and still is, a very creative woman. She is constantly finding ways to recycle old clothing. My childhood was not that advanced, and there was not much awareness about “going green”, but there was less mess as well. I am not that old if you are trying to figure out my age…lol, I am still a young chick.

Mom’s Hacks

I took a lot of traits from my mother, and recycling old clothing is one of them. I am so blessed that she is my mother.  She taught me how to live life the way I am living now. She shaped me up and people who know me or meet me soon figure out about my personality. Well, today’s post is not about me though. It’s about how to recycle old clothing in some amazing ways.
So let’s start learning how my mother recycles our old clothing.

How to recycle your old clothing (1)



Recycle your old clothing into something new. Make your kid’s clothing of your old ones! When Zahra rushed to wear the top in the picture below yesterday, she gave me an idea for this post.

zahra wearing a recycle old clothing shirt
Here is one of my old skirts turned into my daughter’s dress, and it’s perfect for the season. Thanks to my mother!

BTW, Zahra broke one of my candlestand pot holders next to her on accident in the picture above.

how to recycle old clothing
Zahra demanded, “remove all my pictures without headscarves”. So guys next time she will preapprove her pictures. We already made a pinky promise…lol

Girls clothing:

Ever since I moved to the USA, I have purchased clothing on clearance as I have a few charge cards for my favorite stores and I get alerted when there is something on sale, and that’s how I get our clothes. I get tired of wearing old clothes for too long, and as we all know, they get out of style as well.
My lovely mother lives with us and any time my husband and I get rid of old clothes out of our closet, it goes to my mom’s sewing corner where she reshapes them and uses them for my kid’s clothing. It feels so nice when she recycles old clothing with her sewing skills and just turned them into something new. I think that’s pretty smart of her.

dress made out of old clothing
The old accent pillows turned into Zoho’s beautiful dress. In this picture she was sick but she didn’t forget to grab her matching shoes and flower!!

Here is another one that was my outfit my mother made for me 13 years ago, and now it’s Zahra’s beautiful Pakistani style dress.  This is one of the greatest examples of ” Recycle old clothes to create a new style”.

how to recycle old clothing into something new
When my mother made this outfit for me 13 years ago, I had no idea that there would be a little girl named Zahra who is going to wear this one day.

T-shirts: Older t-shirts can be resized accordingly to your kids as well. Most of my husband’s old tee-shirts are Zahid’s now.

Grocery bags: Old curtains or pillowcases can be used for reusable grocery bags.

Rags: We use old sweaters for rags, and they work nicely. Look around your old clothing to make your pretty and long lasting rags.

a boys tea shirt made out of old clothing
His dad’s shirt turned into his favorite Star Wars shirt.

2-Hand-me-downs Old Clothing:

Kids clothing you can easily hand-me-downs. In our house, Zahra’s old clothing goes to Zoha, and from Zoha it goes to one of my nieces, and at the end, it goes to donation. As kids grow very fast out of them, so does their clothing so they don’t wear out fast.


If you are not handy like my mother is (I am not that handy either), then donate your old clothes. First, find someone in your friend’s circle or you can always put an add on Craigslist. I once put an ad to sell Zoha’s tons of old clothes, but someone was very needy and I just gave away two full boxes of clothing for free. I felt so peaceful. If you don’t know anyone, then you can donate them to any thrift store.

4-Recycle Old Clothing For Cash:

You also can sell and turn all your old clothing into some money to put into your savings or buy more stylish clothing…lol
IF you prefer not to ship and would sell local, your best bet is put them on consignment stores although those stores don’t pay you well. I would recommend Craigslist.

Related: How to sell on Craigslist like a pro.

Related: A Little Girl With Her American Girl Doll.

Otherwise, ThreadUp, eBay, and Amazon are also great sites to sell, but you have to ship your product, which is not that difficult. I have sold several times on eBay. The buyer mostly pays for the shipping expenses. I tell you, it feels so nice to get rid of old clothes and get your space back!
Garage sales are also a good way to sell your old clothing. You don’t make tons of money, but that’s not your purpose anyway. My scarves go bad fast and I give them to my girls, so I am always in need of scarves. In the summer, someone was selling scarves from Macy’s for a dollar each. I bought all ten. It was the win-win situation for both of us. The seller, and the buyer.

Zoha wearing recycled clothing
This skirt we purchased from a garage sale and my mother just turned into a dress for Zoha

5-Recycle Old Clothes Online Or Near Me:

Some of the old clothing, such as underwear and bras, are very hard to donate or sell. Especially if they are not even in good shape. For those, you can use one of the several recycling programs. Find out what local company you have.
Here are some of the sites I know to take all types of old clothes,

The Bra Recyclers. You can just mail them if you don’t have any station closer to where you live.
Soles 4 Souls. They’re a famous national shoe recycling program.
Glasses: Any Lens Crafters store would take that from you for their gift of sight program.
TerraCycle Fabrics and Clothing Zero Waste Box. That’s the best one. You can ship them whatever you want to recycle. It’s a bit of a hassle to ship them, but once we learn to be responsible to live green, everything makes sense.
Artifact creative recycle. If you live in Portland, you can drop your clothing there.
Shwop. is the other local place where you can swap or donate. It’s kind of a cool strategy.

6-Buy Old Clothes:

You can also help to reduce waste by buying used clothing for yourself as well. I know as women always want to buy more so the best way is just go to any thrift store and buy slightly used clothing. It’s nice to be a part of the green system. We mostly buy from Goodwill, Savers, or Salvation Army.


How to recycle old clothing


I hope I was able to help with these tips and resources with some of my ways to recycle your old clothes so you can go green and reduce waste.

I would like to know what do you do with your old clothing?

36 thoughts on “Best ways to recycle old clothing”

  1. Your mom is so wonderful, she has made those dresses beautifully! I recently enrolled in sewing classes, I hope to be great just like her. A good way for recycling ??

  2. I’m the youngest of 3, and so I get hand-me-downs from my sister AND brother. Sometimes it’s nice because even though my sister is 17 and almost 18, we have the same size shoes. Actually, her shoes are a bit small for me! Anyway, I can wear my siblings’ clothing which is a huge help to my parents.

  3. These are great ideas!! Your models are adorable. 🙂 We take most of our old clothes to the Goodwill, but some of them gets recycled. We turn old t-shirts into rags and the other halves of missing socks are great for dusting furniture. I have also seen old t-shirts turned into scarves! I have to try this! Great post!! Thank you for sharing these tips!

    1. Thank you Michelle, I will pass your compliments to my models…hahahaha. Yes it’s nice to recycle. I am really into it and had my husband accept the trend as well. He was little over when I said no more to paper towels.

  4. Lovely post Bushra! Packed with lots of great tips. I’m a big believer in donation. I give all my old clothes, shoes, etc to Goodwill. I don’t really throw anything out anymore like I used to. Unfortunately I’m not very handy at all, but my mom is and she’s made her own skirts and things for years. Your kids look like they’re having a lot of fun in these photos…so cute!

  5. Excellent post! I am from Pakistan too so I know we don’t throw our cloths lol. Which is great . That’s so great you mom can sew. You and your mom are so creative . My younger son wore all of my older cloths and still wears them . It’s less waste and when they are no longer wearable they do to recycle ♻️ .

  6. I love the new upcycled creations! So cute 🙂 I’ll bet it is fun to have your daughter wear something you used to wear when you were younger. We saved some of my old baby clothes but not any of my kid clothing. I was wishing we had some of my old Christmas dresses my mom had sewn because my oldest daughter is tall like me and is quickly outgrowing the kids clothing section. I do not like how revealing the “juniors” section clothing is and think it is inappropriate for an 11 year old (not to mention the teenagers too) I might have to re-make some of my clothing for her to fit into and it is really a fun way to both save money and show your fashion sense 🙂

  7. Bushra you’re so clever and have such a good heart. You inspire me to be a bit more creative with my clothing and ruthless when I want to clear out my closet and donate to charity. Your mother has a wonderful talent to be able to redesign and shape clothing, such a lovely idea. 70 pounds of clothing a year is ridiculous. I’ll certainly be more aware next year after knowing these numbers. Thank you for the tips and inspiration as always x

  8. All our ‘old’ clothing, Bushra, go to the charity op shops in our area. I also buy some of my clothing from these stores; there’s always a good bargain or two!
    Your mum sounds a treasure, and a whizz at sewing. 🙂

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