What parent hasn’t sighed and wished that their child would just stop growing up already! Alas. That kids grow and get bigger is a fact of life. But what to do with all of last year’s outgrown outfits?
Growth spurts aren’t the only reason kids go through so many tees, tank tops, leggings, blouses and jumpers. There’s spaghetti sauce and grass stains and mystery spots of unknown origin. There are loose threads that curious kids can’t stop tugging on, and little-bitty tears that become unpatchably big. Whatever the cause, here are a few easy ideas for recirculating and repurposing clothes — small steps we can all take to start living more sustainably.
For clothes that kids have outgrown but are still in good condition, start with the donation that’s closest to home: hand-me-downs to younger children, whether friends or family. From crested blazers to jeans, shorts, skirts, khaki pants and more, it’s the easiest way to get extra mileage out of quality clothing and schoolwear.
There’s no shortage of charities and thrift stores to which you can donate clothes in good condition. If you are wondering what to do with old school uniforms, consider French Toast’s Give Back Box. In partnership with the Friendship House Clothing Bank, this program supports the organization’s community initiative, which in turn helps K-12 students get the schoolwear they need. It’s super easy: you simply print out a prepaid shipping label, box up your gently used donation and drop it off at a UPS store. A win-win!
Look for clothing swaps in your area. Start by perusing Facebook Marketplace or NextDoor to see what’s nearby. Swaps can offer an easy way to get rid of your old clothes.
Also, depending on what used clothing you’ve got and its condition, it may pay to take it to a resale or consignment shop. Find a local brick-and-mortar establishment, or seek out online resale shop options to unload old clothes while earning a little extra money or store credit.
You’ve removed stains, restitched tears and patched holes, but eventually even the most well-tended clothing becomes unwearable. That’s when you can get creative.
Cut the clothes into household rags, or repurpose them as smocks for home arts and crafts. You can turn usable scraps of fabric into patches, or salvage buttons and drawcords. If you have crafty skills, there are countless things you can make with old clothing, from hair scrunchies to DIY quilts and rag rugs.
As kids grow, a lot of used clothing gets left behind. There’s a lot you can do, though, to keep a good amount of it out of the trash. From donations and DIY creations to textile recycling bins, a little effort is all it takes to start changing our throwaway habits.