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Don’t Toss those Outgrown And Worn Out Clothes!

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We all know what shape the economy is in, and that shape calls for us to be more responsible. We must be better stewards of our disposable income and what we have. None of us – no matter what our financial state – can really afford to be wasteful these days. And let’s face it—we are all guilty of being wasteful.

One way everyone can be less wasteful is to utilize outgrown and worn out clothes in a number of different and pretty darn creative ways, if I do say so myself!

But saving money isn’t the only benefit of re-fashioning or passing on your outgrown and worn out clothing. You can use any of the following to actually add to your family’s income. Several of the projects and ideas given below have the potential to put extra cash in your pocket.  Check out sites like,,,,, and others. Social networking (Facebook and Twitter) can serve as a sales and marketing tool as can creating your own website using the templates on sites such as and

But while you are busy reaching across the World Wide Web to market and sell your goodies, don’t forget local venues like local craft stores, arts and crafts fairs, and boutiques.

Pass Them On

Okay, so this one isn’t what you would call creative, it is a tried-and-true one… pass on outgrown clothes down to younger siblings, cousins, or friends in need. And don’t be afraid or too proud to ask someone whose children are older to do the same for you.

Launder the outgrown clothing, make sure all buttons are in place, hems are hemmed, and zippers zip, and take them to a resale shop. Consider selecting a shop that pays outright rather than on commission; this will allow you to use the money you earn for clothing in their current size or for other family needs. Most resale stores that specialize in children’s clothing will reject clothing that is torn, stained, faded, and/or missing buttons, etc. That is why laundering and mending is of the utmost importance if you wish to get the most you possibly can for them. These stores also tend to shy away from discount store brands except when it comes to denim and outerwear.

Rediscover the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Donating outgrown clothing to a charity or shelter not only gives you the satisfaction of helping others, but it also allows you to take the retail value of the donation as a tax deduction. NOTE: Please don’t donate clothing you wouldn’t put on your child (due to its condition) if they could still fit into it. Dropping your outgrown clothing into collection boxes for Goodwill, Salvation Army, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Red Cross, or other worthwhile organizations allows you to take a tax deduction, as well.

Host a clothing swap with other moms. Here’s how it works: invite several moms to bring ten to twelve items of clothing that are in great condition to your home. The kids will most likely need to come, too, to try their new duds on. Working together, children and moms take turns selecting new clothing in their size. NOTE: It is important to invite moms who have children of different ages/sizes so everyone can benefit. You might also want to have a favorite kid’s movie for the children to watch why you and the other moms “shop.”

Alter and Repurpose

If long-sleeved shirts still fit through the shoulders and chest, but the sleeves are simply too short, cut them off to the proper short-sleeve length, hem them up and get a bit more wear out of them.

Jeans that are too short, but still fit in the waist can be cut off and worn as shorts. For girls’ jeans that have become too short, consider adding a two or three-inch ribbon or fabric cuff at the bottom. This will add some length while still keeping them stylish.

Jeans that are too small or worn out can also be fashioned into purses, pillows, book covers, place mats, and a number of other fun items. Here are some great ideas for things you can do with old jeans.

T-shirts that are stretched out and not really wearable in public can be used as paint shirts, night shirts or for playing in the dirt/mud.

One of the most popular t-shirt projects is to use them to make a quilt. Collect your child’s favorite t-shirts and make a quilt out of them. There are countless patterns and ideas for t-shirt quilts available on line. One you might like can be seen here.

For that matter, you can cut squares from any of your children’s cotton or cotton/poly clothing to make a patchwork quilt. You can use any quilt pattern you wish to use. If you aren’t up to making a quilt, use the patches to make potholders, place mats, or wall hangings.

Turn your daughter’s skirts into child-size aprons for her to wear while the two of you are cooking together in the kitchen. You can also use your daughter’s worn-out clothing to make clothes for her dolls.

Turn your worn out clothes into costumes or dress-up clothes for your little ones to play with. Throw in a few pieces of cheap jewelry for even more fun. You can make scarecrows out of old worn out clothes. You can design and create miniature carolers to decorate your porch for the Christmas season.

If your son or daughter’s holiday outfit gets stained or torn, use the fabric to back small decorative muslin or flannel pillows you embroider holiday greetings on. Used to embellish colorful cardstock, shapes cut from print and plaid fabric of worn out clothing can be used to design your own one-of-a-kind greeting cards.


Old sweaters or soft cotton t-shirts can be cut into squares and used for dishrags, cleaning rags, or to buff the car. NOTE: You will need to finish the edge of sweaters to keep them from unraveling. This can be done by simply turning the edges over and stitching.

Cutting down on waste, being generous, creative and stretching your family’s budget—that is what being thrifty is all about.

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