In today’s world of disposable items and fast fashion, it’s more important than ever to recycle and reuse what we can to minimise the overall impact on our environment.
An estimated 336,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing in the UK gets thrown away every year. The good news is that there are lots of simple ways to keep all old/unwanted clothes in use, and out of the bin!
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If you’re a parent, you more than likely have a storage box full of clothes that your little one has outgrown. It can be tricky to know what to do with them, and sometimes hard to part with them. Take a look at our list below of potential ways of dealing with clothes no longer fit for purpose.
Donate the clothes to a local charity shop. This way the clothes are kept out of a landfill and can provide a real bargain for someone else’s child. As young children grow out of their clothing so quickly, charity shops are the ideal place to pick up clothing on the cheap with the added benefit of supporting local charities at the same time.
With websites like eBay, Vinted, and Facebook Marketplace, the buying, and selling of second-hand clothing are on the up. People are more eco-conscious than ever so they want to do their part.
Local car-boot sales are also another option of where you can sell them. You could take your children along, involve them in pricing their clothes, and demonstrate how things can be recycled and reloved.
Not only is the life of the clothes extended, but these are also excellent ways to make some extra money for yourself or your little ones’ money box as well as offering a great learning experience.
Family and friends
Know someone who is pregnant or has children younger than yours? If the clothes are still in good condition but no longer fit your child, you could consider passing them down to a younger family member or friend. This can save them money and resources, as well as create a sense of connection and community.
Even if the clothes are too worn or damaged to be donated, sold, or passed down, you can still always recycle them. Many cities and towns have textile recycling programs that can repurpose old clothes into new products, such as rags or insulation. Contact your local council to find out about schemes in your area.
Local supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, and car parks often have clothing and textiles-specific recycling banks where you can deposit bagged items of clothing. Visit Recycle Now to find your nearest clothing bank.
Some high street retailers such as Primark and M&S also offer clothing donation banks in-store. These are sometimes called ‘bring back schemes’.
Consider organising a clothing swap with other parents in your community. This is a great way to give your kids’ old clothes a new home, and it can also be a fun social activity. Contact your local baby and toddler groups and see if you can organise a clothes swap with them. Take your unwanted clothes along to offer out to other parents in the community while simultaneously finding secondhand gems for your own children.
Look for organisations that collect used clothes and repurpose them into new products. Some organisations turn old garments into blankets or stuffed animals for children in need. If you are handy with a sewing machine, you could try repurposing the outgrown clothes yourself. For example, you could turn old jeans into a bag or a pair of shorts into a skirt.
You could even compile your favourite items of outgrown clothing over the years and eventually have them turned into a special quilt for your little one. This can be a personal and creative way to extend the life of the clothing.
If the clothes are still in good condition but you no longer have a use for them, you could consider donating them to a local community center. These organisations often have programs that can put the clothes to good use for local people in need. It’s a great way to give back to your community.
Community Facebook groups
Your local community will more than likely have Facebook groups for mothers and babies as well as for items being offered for free. You can list your unwanted clothing for free, or for a small donation to your child’s money box.
If you request that the person wanting the bundle collects, it really couldn’t be an easier way to hand off the outgrown bits you no longer need.
Although they may no longer fit, as a parent you may find certain items of your child’s clothing hold special and fond memories for you. For these personal pieces that you just don’t want to part with, why not start a memory box for your little one?
As well as clothes such as the outfit they came home from the hospital in, you can gradually build it up with other special keepsakes. Over time, the result will be a box of beautiful memories your child can cherish once grown.
Animal rescue centers often use old clothes, towels, and other old fabrics and textiles for the animals they have in their care. They use them to make beds and blankets, to clean, and to help the rescue center feel more like home for the animals.
Why not consider donating your super soft, old children’s sweatshirts and t-shirts to help a fluffy friend in need?
Overall, there are many options for eco-conscious parents to dispose of outgrown kids’ clothes responsibly. By donating, selling, passing down, or recycling the clothes, you can help reduce waste and ensure that the clothing is used to its fullest potential.