Includes denim jeans.
Since denim clothing is pretty durable, most likely the items still have life in them and can still be used by you or someone else. Otherwise, most reuses are craft ideas (although practical, too) and require sewing skills. Worst case, donating jeans regardless of condition still stands a good chance of them being recycled.
There are many more things you can make besides what is listed here, but many of them are just variations and you can find instructions by doing a simple Google search, or by applying your own creativity if you are artistically inclined.
Do you really need a new pair of jeans? C’mon. Really? …
If they’re too worn out (in an embarrassing way, not a fashionable way), keep a pair or two around for dirty jobs like painting, gardening, mechanic work, house work, or cleaning. These tasks are often found in community service, so these pants would be your “volunteer pants” P ).
Hand-me-downs. If they’re in an acceptable condition, give them to someone else who they fit and might want them.
Donate them to a thrift store. This may still be beneficial if the items aren’t in “sell-able” condition. (See note in the Recycle section.)
Make a pocket magnet to hold notes ‘n crap on your fridge.
If you can and are willing to sew…
- Extend the life of one pair of jeans by patching holes using scraps from another pair of old jeans. Fashion consequences are yours to consider.
- Make a large purse or tote bag. Bonus: built-in pockets!
- Make a laundry bag. Bonus: built-in pockets! Comes in handy if you’re like me and go to the laundry room in your jammies and need something to carry your keys and change.
- Make a dinky pocket purse. Here’s a version that’s more girly with lacy trim. The girlier version’s instructions say to assemble with hot glue, which doesn’t seem very durable. Then again, judging by looks, durability may not be a priority…
- Make a pocket purse that’s more utilitarian. If I ever made a pocket purse from jeans, I’d make this one.
- Make a quilt. Here’s a gallery of examples. Looks like previous quilting experience would be handy.
- Convert jeans into a skirt. Okay, now we’re really reaching.
- Make a denim organizer. Looks nice, but instructions call for an additional yard of denim. Booo-urns. On the up side, many of the projects above use the “butt” part of jeans. This project can use up the leftover bottoms of the legs.
- Make hot packs, a pillow/pillowcase, apron, wine bag, and other crap
Ask your local thrift shop what they do with unsold clothing. Many stores sell the stuff to fabric recyclers, so the stores still benefit. It varies from store to store, so be sure to ask your local store whether it’s worth their trouble to accept clothing that doesn’t stand a good chance of being sold (from excessive wear, stains, plain fugliness, etc.). For example, when asked via e-mail if reselling unsold fabric to recyclers is something commonly done by Goodwill branches, a customer service representative replied “Because each of our 207 member organizations operates independently based on the needs of the communities it serves, programs and services vary from location to location.”
- 12 Lessons on Recycling Denim – Twelve “lessons” from Washington State University Extension for a youth development program, mostly projects for reusing denim like those listed above, but also includes a couple “lessons” on evaluating and extending the life of those jeans. All lessons are PDF files.
- No related posts