A little off topic on the business front, but something I thought may be convenient to those who happen to read it – the recycling of clothing.
To be honest I hadn’t thought about recycling my clothes when I was younger at all, it wasn’t until I was already a university student that I wondered what my mother had ever done with all of those extra clothes my sisters and I always had that we had grown out of. So – mothers, newly independent young adults and curious ones alike; reflect upon this list.
I’m one of six children in my immediate family, with three older siblings, a twin sister and a younger sibling, as well as nieces, nephews and more cousins than I’ve even met. Hand-me-down clothes in a family of this size is not an unusual thing, and despite what my school mates seemed to think of it I didn’t mind at all. So long as the clothes are still in decent condition and a reasonable size they do the job, particularly for children who are just going to go out and mess them up anyway.
You could go to the shop and pay for a bag of rags. Or you could cut up that ripped shirt you were about to throw out – now really, which sounds like more sense? Dusters, floor cloths, window cleaners; everything the house when I was growing up was actually just pieces of old clothes that had been ripped up. (A favourite of my mother’s was my father’s absolutely horrible Hawaiian print shirts.)
My sister got into sewing recently. But before she was willing to invest her money into purchasing materials for it she tried out a few things with old clothes. I have a shopping bag she made me out of an old owl t-shirt, it’s a favourite of mine. And her daughter loves to help – no skin off our back if she plays with some ripped old clothes, and it keeps her busy for a while. Two birds with one stone, right? You can even make hand-puppets out of them with younger children, they’re sure to love it.
Ripped cloths are easy. If you’ve ripped the sleeve of a shirt try making it sleeveless. If you’re ripped or worn away the knees of your jeans (kids do it a lot) just cut them into shorts. Patching old clothes, fixing broken zips, replacing lost buttons, re-stitching torn seams; these are the kinds of things I was able to do by the time I was 16, yet I was surprised by the number of people who couldn’t do this and would simply throw out clothes that had these basic problems.
Create something entirely new! I’ve seen a lot of people weaving strips of old clothing to make bathroom mats and rugs, my sister makes beautiful patchwork throws and blankets, you can create cushions for your pets, covers for books – just about anything. When I turn ripped jeans into shorts I use the legs to create hammocks for my two rats, and rope toys (cute them into strips and plait them together) for my dog.
If you have any more methods of recycling clothes or comments and questions regarding those I shared, go ahead and comment. I’d love to hear from you. Of course; clothes banks and charity shops are always an option if you don’t want to recycle your clothes yourself.