What to do with your old clothes

I love a good wardrobe clear-out, well I love the beautifully organised finale. What I don’t love is figuring out what to do with the clothes, shoes, accessories and the mountain of odd socks that are left over. And with just under 336,000 tonnes of clothing ending up in the UK landfills each year (WRAP), we don't want to be putting them in our bins. The good news is that old clothes, even those damaged and beyond repair can be recycled.

For your garments in good condition, you have a few options...


For your high quality pieces, you can sell these pieces individually yourself through online platforms like Depop, Vinted and Vestiaire.

Most resellers offer a consignment service, where they’ll either buy items from you to resell or offer you a percentage of the final sale price - this is useful if you have a lot to get rid of, and/or you don’t have the time to sell the items yourself

And for those items that may not be worth quite as much, like non-vintage and fast fashion, I’d recommend a bulk listing on a platform like eBay. Group items together in categories, like size or season, which will save you time and money when it comes to photographing and fees


A firm favourite is donating items to a charity shop, we get to clear out our wardrobes while supporting a worthy cause. If you do decide to donate, make sure the items are in usable condition, clean and ready for resale. Many charities offer a home collection service that you can book online, like The British Heart Foundation and TRAID, be sure to check what they can and can’t take before boxing up your donation


Swap an old piece for a ‘new’ piece. There’s an app for that, of course, in fact there are several, this is a round up of the best according to Country Living


This is another one for your high quality pieces, your wedding dresses/suits, the beautiful items that rarely (if ever) see the light of day. You can make a little cash while knowing that your beloved garment is bringing somebody else joy. These are the top websites to check out according to Marie Clare

And for the pieces that you’ve worn out...

Mend and see above

If it is possible, see if you can get items repaired - or check with consignment services if they will accept items in need of a little TLC (I do!)


The possibilities are endless, but here is a list with an end, and you can head to Love Your Clothes for more ideas

  • make a reusable face-mask (so 2021)

  • turn old T-shirts into tote bags, or gift bags

  • make your own fabric patches to mend your favourite pairs of jeans and jumpers

  • make your own cleaning rags

I also love the idea of up-cycling wedding dresses - you can turn them into two pieces, dye them, shorten them etc.

Animal Shelters

A personal favourite. Animal shelters use old clothes, towels, and other old fabric for the animals they have in their care. They use them to clean and help the shelter feel more like home for the animals. Get in touch with your local shelter to see what they can accept or what they need, some even take duvets and pillows for bedding


Many local councils offer clothes and textiles collections, so it’s always worth checking this out on local council websites. These collections are free to use and easy and they will be put to good use, with textiles being reused and repurposed into new items such as face masks, padding for chairs, car seats, cleaning cloths and industrial blankets. You'll often find clothing banks in large supermarket car parks, find one near you here

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