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5 Ways to Give Old Clothes New Purpose

By: KATELYN YIN


Photo: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash

Cleaning out your room this winter break? Looking for a new project to undertake? As you go through your next closet purge, here are 5 ideas on how to give your old clothes new purpose.


Every year, the average consumer throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year. Globally, we produce 13 million tons of textile waste each year, 95% of which could be reused or recycled. So how can you help to reduce this waste?

1. Selling

If you’re looking to make some extra spending money or adopt a new side hustle, selling your gently used clothes is a great way to give pieces a new life! There is a wide variety of apps and sites that make selling clothes accessible and simple to do. Depending on your platform of choice, you can sell online directly or mail in your items to be listed. Some of these options include:




Photo: Poshmark


2. Donating

Photo: Mike Garten, Good Housekeeping

Another great option is donating your clothes—there are a vast number of organizations who are committed to helping those in the surrounding communities. Check out some of these organizations’ missions and see how you can get involved:

  • Goodwill Industries International - has a plan to collaborate with like-minded partners to ensure everyone has the skills and support needed to earn a good job, advance in a sustainable career and provide for their family. Read more about making a donation.

  • Dress for Success - a global not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Find their donation guidelines here.

  • Planet Aid - a nonprofit organization that collects and recycles used textiles to protect the environment and support sustainable development in impoverished communities around the world. Find a donation bin near you.

  • One Warm Coat - with a mission to provide free coats to people in need, One Warm Coat is a national nonprofit that works to create awareness of the vital need for warm coats across the country. Learn how you can get involved.

  • Salvation Army - is an international movement that exists to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however they can. When you donate, your goods are sold at their thrift stores and the proceeds are used to fund the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers.

  • Vietnam Veterans of America - aims to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. Find your nearest donation drop-off location or schedule a pick-up here. You can also schedule through their PickUp Please program, which will collect your donations within as little as 24 hours.

3. Upcycling

Head to Pinterest or Youtube to explore all the unique and creative ways to upcycle your old clothing! Test out your

quarantine embroidery and tie dye skills with these fun tee shirt DIYs or add new (no-sew!) flare to an old pair of jeans.

Photo: Paper & Stitch

4. Cleaning

Are your T-shirts and socks on their last leg? Before tossing them, try repurposing them as dust rags the next time you give your room a good clean.

5. Recycling Old Clothes for Discounts

Looking to revamp your wardrobe and purchase some new pieces? Check to see if your favorite stores have discount exchange programs! Oftentimes, stores will honor discounts on new purchases each time you donate clothing. Here are some places you can exchange during your next shopping spree:


Photo: Worn Wear

  • Bring back used, good-condition Patagonia items to receive up to a $100 credit value for each item that you return. Check out the Recycling Information details and click here to find specific Trade In Values. You can also shop their recycled and re-crafted items in their Worn Wear collection.

  • The North Face

  • Get $10 off your next purchase of $100 when you donate old clothing and footwear via their Clothes the Loop Program. The North Face partnered with a non-profit called Soles4Souls, whose mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing

  • Eileen Fisher

  • Drop off your Eileen Fisher pieces at any of their retail locations or mail them directly to one of their recycling centers. You receive $5 in Renew Rewards for each item brought back as part of their Eileen Fisher Renew initiative.

  • Madewell


Photos: Madewell

  • Madewell partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program to turn old jeans into housing insulation for communities in need. Bring any pair of old jeans into a Madewell store and they’ll give you $20 off new ones.

  • Levi’s

  • Another partner of Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green, recycle your unwanted denim at any Levi’s location to receive a 20% discount off a single item.


Let us know in the comments below if you try out any of these ideas! Hope you're having a safe and healthy winter break, happy holidays from FORM!


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