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How to Upcycle Your Worn-Out Shirts


Let’s set the scene for a second. You’ve decided to finally go through your closet and sort through all of your clothes, picking through t-shirts for bands you no longer listen to and t-shirts that haven’t fit for months or maybe even years.

This leaves you with a potentially staggering pile of t-shirts you need to figure out what to do with. Donating them or selling them online are often the immediate go-tos. But there are other options!

Recycling and repurposing old t-shirts are great moves for when you’ve done the full closet clean-out. According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, almost 95% of all used clothing and textiles are able to be reused or recycled in some way. As a brand that believes in sustainability, Fresh Clean Tees is all for giving t-shirts new life.

So, once you have a t-shirt subscription set up with Fresh Clean Tees (to refill your closet with extremely fresh threads), you can get to work on new ways to reuse all those old t-shirts that’ve had a good life. Here’s a few to get you started!

Get to cutting up.

One super easy way to repurpose old t-shirts is to turn them into reusable rags. Cut those faded, torn, or thrashed t-shirts into any size you like with scissors or a box cutter. Cut diagonally or horizontally as needed and you’ll have a number of reusable rags that you can use for just about anything.

Not sure how to use ‘em?


- House cleaning

- Car maintenance

- Dusting

- Pet cleanup

- Any kind of work that creates a mess, such as cooking, dining, crafting, etc.

Upcycle to accessorize.

You can totally upcycle old t-shirts into a different kind of clothing entirely by repurposing them into wearable accessories. These kinds of accessories can range from bracelets to infinity scarves. This can be a fun way to give new life to your old fave t-shirts (that no longer fit you), even as you upgrade to your new fave super-soft tees.

I think a great option is an easy-breezy headband. This can be great for everyday wear, working out, or when you’re focused on a DIY project and want to keep your hair out of your face. Don’t worry, if you’re like me (with no sewing ability at all), there are tons of no-sew tutorials out there!

Embrace your crafty side.

The last idea I have for you is to get a little bit crafty. [Technically, repurposing your old shirts into wearable items is also crafty, but bear with me.] Old t-shirts can make for great items that you can reuse all around your home, even as decor.

Those old t-shirts can become things like:

- Rugs

- Quilts

- Tote bags

- Pot holders

- Dog toys

Many of these projects can be made simply by cutting up your old t-shirts into strips and weaving or braiding them together.

Another crafty standout for reusing your old t-shirts is to create some plant holders that can hang in your home or backyard. You can go all in with one old t-shirt for a cohesive look or mix and match t-shirts to develop colorful patterns. Plant holders offer a great way to rearrange some of your plants and keep your favorite t-shirts around in a totally new way. A warning for making plant holders, though, is you’re going to be tying lots of knots, so maybe break out some fancy ones if you're feeling it!

Of course, once you’re done repurposing your old t-shirts, give your wardrobe new life with t-shirt packs or some new polo shirts or short sleeve henleys.

— Paige Lyman

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