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4 Things to Do with Old T-Shirts (Instead of Tossing Them)

Vintage T-shirts folded and laid out on a table.
Warrasade EGIE-MU/Shutterstock

If you’re trying to minimize waste there are lots of things you can do with your old t-shirts to get some more life out of them. Here are some crafty T-shirt projects for all experience levels.

Sell Them! 

If you’re not crafty, but you have some cool T-shirts that still have some life in them, consider selling what you have. There are plenty of online outlets for selling clothing, including the big names like eBay and Etsy. Not all T-shirts will be a hit, but people love concert tees and vintage T-shirts. Why not let your old clothing make you some money?

Use Them As Rags 

If your T-shirts have seen all of the life they can stand (maybe the shirt is ripped or has some big holes), save them for rags. You never know when you’ll have a spill, and old T-shirts are better to sacrifice than a nice kitchen or bathroom towel.

If you already have all of the rags you need, find out if any of your local thrift stores take clothing for rags. Be sure to wash them before you donate them.

Turn Them Into Reusable Bags

There are endless tutorials online to help you turn old T-shirts into unique reusable shopping bags and totes. All you need is a t-shirt, scissors, a sewing machine (or some great hand sewing skills), and some thread.

Here’s an excellent tutorial that shows you just how easy it is to create something eco-friendly out of your old tees:

If you don’t have any sewing skills and no sewing machine, don’t fret! There are ways to make these clever t-shirt bags without sewing:

Make a Pillow or Blanket

It doesn’t take much skill, just a T-shirt and some sewing abilities, to make a pillow out of an old tee. Cut the tee into the shape of the pillow you want (can be rectangular, square, round, triangle, etc.), pin the front and back together (inside out), and start sewing. Don’t stitch all the way around, leave a little gap to stuff in the pillow stuffing. Turn the fabric the right way, stuff it, and stitch the final part together. Now you have a pillow.

It takes a little more talent to make a T-shirt quilt, however. This tutorial may help:

If you don’t have the sewing experience to make a T-shirt quilt, but you already have the T-shirts on hand you’d like to turn into a blanket, this may be a good time to enlist the help of a friend or relative.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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