National Recycle Week: 6 ways to make best use of your unwanted clothes

26th Sep 17 | Beauty

How to sell, swap or customise your old clothes.


Answer this question honestly: what proportion of your wardrobe do you actually wear regularly?

Chances are there are a lot of clothes lying around your house that you haven’t touched in years. The idea of a wardrobe spring clean may be dull at best but what better time to deal with your unwanted clothes than National Recycle Week?

Here are our top tips for reusing or recycling your old clothes. And just think, afterwards you’ll have a whole lot of space freed up in case you want to shop again…

1. Sell them

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eBay is no longer the only place on the web where you can sell your stuff. Of course, it’s a solid option, but there are now so many more platforms to help you make money from your unwanted clothes.

Depop has become increasingly popular in recent years, largely thanks to its user-friendly mobile app, making buying and selling possible with just a few clicks.

Sure, you still have to go to the post office to send off all your old swag, but that’s a small price to pay for clearing out some cupboard space and making some extra cash.

2. Give them to charity

If you feel like doing your bit for charity (or you just find selling clothes online too daunting a prospect to attempt), you can always give them to your local charity shop.

You can find your local Oxfam or donation point here. Almost all charity shops – from the Salvation Army to Cancer Research – take donations too.

There are also loads of clothing and shoe banks dotted around the country to make it as easy as possible for you to drop off unwanted items.

3. Swap with your friends

There’s probably a lot of perfectly nice clothes in your wardrobe, but you’re just not into them any more. This is understandable, as fast fashion means that everyone’s style changes frequently.

However, this doesn’t mean that your clothes are rendered unusable. In fact, your friends might be loving your old clothes more than you, and vice versa. So invited a few of your mates over and have a big swapping session.

Pro tip: crack open some wine and you’ve got yourself a party.

If you’re not particularly keen on your friends’ style, never fear. On sites like Vinted you can sell your clothes for a small commission, but you can also swap with other users with no cost at all.

4. Dabble in Freecycle

You might be familiar with using Freecycle to pick up a dresser or get rid of some old chairs, but did you know that you can use it for clothes as well?

Freecycle is a network of people where you can regift your old items, with the aim of preventing stuff from going into landfills. You can connect with local Freecycle members here, and you can sign up and advertise your own clothes (or anything else you don’t want anymore) to people in your area.

5. Get out your needle and thread

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So far we’ve only spoken about how to get rid of your old clothes, but this doesn’t have to be the end for your preloved items.

Sure, some of your duds might be looking a bit worse for wear, but what about giving them a bit of a facelift? You don’t need to be a deft hand at darning to make your clothes look a bit better. If you’ve got the odd rip or dropped hem, a few quick stitches will fix it right up.

6. Do some repurposing

If you feel a little bit more comfortable in the DIY department you could give your old clothes a new look with a spot of customisation. This could be as simple as attaching some badges onto your denim jacket, or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you could turn an old t-shirt into a crop top.

As they say: waste not, want not.

© Press Association 2017