Upcycle Your Old Clothing Instead of Throwing it Away

Are you decluttering your closet and have old clothing to get rid of? Why not upcycle it instead of tossing it? Here are some great ways to upcycle your old clothing and get more use out of it.

upcycle your old clothing

Since we’ve been cleaning out and organizing our bedrooms for the past two months, I’m sure there are clothes you have that you need to get rid of.

Do you have a bunch of clothes that no longer fit? Or are way out of style?

Or maybe you have clothes you’re hanging onto for sentimental reasons; like grandma’s shirt because it was her favorite.

Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of old clothes. For me, I hang on to a lot of clothes because I just can’t bring myself to spend so much money on a new wardrobe. Or because I keep telling myself I’ll actually fit into those jeans again one day.

Of course, some clothes aren’t donation-worthy and who knows where they’ll end up if you send them to Goodwill.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, what should I do with all these old clothes, then? Just throw them away?”

No! Upcycle your old clothing instead!

Ways to upcycle your old clothing

*Click the links to go to the page with the DIY.

Upcyled t-shirts

Make a rag wreath. Just rip the t-shirt into strips and tie them onto a metal wreath form.

rag wreath from old t-shirts

Make a rag rug. Rip the t-shirt into 1/2″ strips and tie them onto a non-slip rug pad.

Rag Bath Mat - Upcycle your old clothing

Make t-shirt pom poms. I think these are so cute! Just rip the t-shirt into strips, wrap them around cardboard, cut and tie to make pom poms!

t-shirt pom poms

Make a t-shirt pillow. This is a great way to use a t-shirt that is sentimental to you. It’s also a lot of fun for kids to make, too because it’s really easy! I still have some of my daughter’s favorite t-shirts that she wore when she was little. She would love making a pillow out of them!

t-shirt pillow - upcycle your old clothing

Make a dog’s toy. Rip a t-shirt into strips, braid the strips together, and tie off both ends.

t-shirt dog toy

Make some pretty bracelets. These are so easy to make, too. Just rip a t-shirt into strips, braid the strips together, and wrap around a metal bangle.

t-shirt bracelets - upcycle your old clothing

Upcycled jeans

Make coasters. These cute coasters would also make great gifts! They look easy to put together, too.

coasters from jeans

Make a pillow cover. This pillow cover is beautiful! For some reason, it reminds me of sitting by the beach. And it makes me want to learn to sew ASAP!

pillow cover from jeans - upcycle your old clothing

Make potholders. Protect your hands while getting those hot pans out of the oven with these cute potholders made from jean pockets!

potholders made from jeans

Make a wine bag. Can you believe these wine bags are made from pants legs? They’re so cute! And perfect for gift-giving.

wine bag

Make a planter. How cute is this planter made from old jeans? I searched and searched, but I cannot find how to make these, which is sad because I want to make some! Any suggestions? I’m thinking maybe fill the legs with dirt? Here’s the funny thing – imagine what they’ll look like when you water your plants!

planter made from old jeans

Which of these is your favorite? How do you upcycle your old clothing?

Before you go, make sure you check out these great home hacks:
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10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Lemons

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upcycle your old clothes

Thank you for sharing!
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119 thoughts on “Upcycle Your Old Clothing Instead of Throwing it Away”

  1. Love the pompoms – I’ve seen great tutorials online for how to cut a t-shirt to turn it into “a ball of wool” that you can then learn to knit with. Handy for those who want to try knitting but have no materials during lockdown – wooden spoons and a t-shirt do a good enough job for practise! πŸ™‚

  2. I LOVE all of these! Can’t even choose my favorite…definitely might have to give the hot pads a whirl..So maybe that makes those my favorite! Thanks for sharing!❀️

  3. That one with the pants is so funny but I think I would hate it because it would show the progression of my butt getting bigger over the years. I’m going to look into these other ideas because I have a drawer full of clothes I need to get rid of. I’m
    Also thinking of a rag bag like my parents do with their old clothes .

    1. Haha!! That’s true about the pants! I never thought of that. Maybe we could just use some from our childhood. πŸ˜€ Rag bags are great, too. We use old t-shirts for cleaning and staining. πŸ™‚

  4. These are great ideas Michelle. I have made bags out of t-shirts and aprons out of old blue jeans. Also memory quilts out of the t-shirts my kids collected from school activities. My sister makes memory bears. People will give her an article of clothing from a loved one who has passed away and she makes it into a stuffed teddy bear.

    1. Thank you! Bags and aprons are great ideas! I like the idea of the memory quilts, too. And I bet the memory bears are so cute! What a sweet way to honor a loved one.

    1. Thank you! I haven’t made any of these yet, but I plan to make the rag rug for my bathroom as soon as my husband goes through his old t-shirts. πŸ˜€

        1. Thank you Deborah, th.e little book in the photo I took with the bookmarks was an old vintage book my uncle gave me when I was a little girl. The bookmarks I designed are so easy to make. Happy crafting

  5. Those jeans planters are LOL, I’m sure you’ll find a way to fill them. I love all of your ideas here, the pillows are fun, easy to make and can use them in different places, and for different seasons, everything looks great!!!

    1. I thought they were so funny!! The pillows are a fun idea for kids to make, too. I like the idea of using them for different seasons! Thank you!

  6. What a collage of beautiful ideas. The rag rug, we made when I was a child. I had actually forgotten. We would sit around at evenings and nights and make huge ones for the wooden floors. The other ideas I love. The plant pants thought gives me a little squeamish vibe, lol.

  7. I absolutely love the idea of recycling your clothes into something else. Sometimes clothing just isn’t wearable anymore isn’t it? So, what better way than incorporating it into a bit of decor?!
    I had a dress that didn’t fit me anymore and the zip had bust, so I upcycled this into a skirt for my niece. Would much rather my niece get some more wear out of the clothing than it go into landfill!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  8. These are blowing my mind, Michelle, gah this is super creative! I love them all. I can’t wait to share the bookmark and bracelet one with my niece. She is going to go bananas! Thanks for sharing this, CoCo

  9. So many amazing suggestions here, I love the idea of using older clothes as cushion covers. I usually just donate mine to charity or throw them out if they’re no longer in good condition but this has given me so many great ideas x


  10. These are such cute ideas! Those bracelets take me right back to childhood! I can’t get over those jean-planters – oh my gosh ??

  11. My favs are the dog’s toy and the pillows that make you want to learn to sew. I particularly love the pillow. That’s funny though that you recently wrote about this topic because it’s been at the back of my mind lately as I’m customizing and re-organizing my home office space to help me craft a bit more in the future. Because I won’t go out shopping for fabric right now and I’ve been loving all the upcycling projects I see online, I thought I’d re-use clothes that don’t belong to my wardrobe any more in the future and turn them into things I can use for storage …somehow. Not sure yet what I’ll do and how I’ll do it but I’m equipped: I know how to sew by hand – basic – and I have a sewing machine that I have never used πŸ™‚

    1. The pillow is a really neat idea. Using an old t-shirt with a picture on it that you love would be great for this. I’m glad you found this helpful! I hope you get to make the pillow and if you do I’d love to see what you come up with. I have my grandma’s old sewing machine and it has been stored away for years. I haven’t used a sewing machine since I was in school, so I’m sure I have no idea how to use it! πŸ˜€

      1. Thanks for the tip! I’ll bear that in mind. I’ve been re-organizing my craft supply lately to encourage me to craft more in the future, so I’m going to start a craft project list so I know what to get and what to do as soon as my hands become operatable again so to speak (stuck with a bad tendinitis at the moment). I will post each of my craft projects on the blog in the future πŸ™‚ Oh that sounds so lovely that your sewing machine is your grandma’s. A little piece of something to cherish. Mine is a brand new basic one. It’s not that I need sewing but seeing others doing pretty things online just keep making me want to do my own too..I guess creativity must be contagious!

        1. Having an organized craft room definitely inspires me to craft more. If it’s cluttered I don’t want to be near it. πŸ˜€ I’m sorry to hear about the tendinitis. I hope you feel better soon. I look forward to your craft projects!

  12. These ideas are incredible Michelle. I don’t think I ever would have thought to try such a creative project.

    The rag rug is definitely one of the first to catch my eye. I’m a huge sucker for soft, super cushy rugs under my feet. I’m betting you could make that one to feel luxurious between the toes!

    The bookmarks and pillow covers are brilliant too. We are always in need of more bookmarks around this house! You really have gotten the ol’ wheels spinning for creative ideas. Thanks my friend!

    Love everything about this post. Sending my love & BIG hugs your way! ?

    1. Thank you so much! I love the rag rug idea, too. And you can make it any size you want! πŸ™‚ I know what you mean about the bookmarks. I’m always losing mine. Glad I could inspire your creativity!
      I hope you’re doing well!! Love and hugs right back!! πŸ˜€

    2. I want to try the planters. I am in the process of scrolling down all these comment to thank Michelle for sharing my photo and craft project with everyone, The bookmarks I designed are so easy to make you all are going to have a lot of fun gifts to give out with those ones.

  13. What fun ideas for repurposing clothes, Michelle! My favorite is of course, the pillows! But thank you for all the inspiration! Now I’m going to have to sort through some clothes and make something!

    1. Thank you! I love the pillow, too. It’s such a great way to display a favorite shirt or one that belonged to a loved one. Have fun crafting with old clothes!

  14. Oh my goodness! I have a big bag of clothes that I haven’t gotten around to donating yet. I may have to try some of these. I have a machine, but I need to learn how to so, too! Too cute <3

    1. I hope you find something creative to make with your clothes! I have bags sitting around, too since all the donation centers have been closed. That’s not good for me because I keep taking things out! haha!

    1. Aren’t the pompoms so pretty? I think they’re my favorite along with the rug. I’m waiting for my husband to go through his t-shirts so I can make one for my bathroom. πŸ˜€

  15. Neat Idea Sister in Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua Michelle!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED EVERYONE FIRST!! ? Praise Jesus-Yeshua Christ for Today and Everyday!!

    β€œHappiness keeps You Sweet, Trials keep You Strong, Sorrows keep You Human, Failures keeps You Humble, Success keeps You Glowing, But Only GOD keeps You Going.”!! Amen-Amein Praise Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua Hallelujah!!

    Love ? Always, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  16. I didn’t even realize it as it’s just the photo I used to refer to my site when others pin it to Pinterest. I’ll remove it and make a new Pinterest photo. Thank you for pointing it out.

    1. Thank you, I don’t even use Pinterest so that is nice to know that my photos are showing up. I don’t mind if anyone shares as long as there is a link back to my post and site whenever a photo is posted on someones site. I would appreciate it if you include this with your original post as well.I will have to be careful to mark all my photos now. That was a photo from my older post.

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