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In 2010, the average US household spent, on average, $1700 on clothing and footwear. This is a considerable 3.5% of average annual expenditure. It's a lot of money, and perhaps it would be fine, if we were wearing it.
A recent UK survey found that around 30% of clothing in wardrobes in the UK has not been worn in over a year, and that the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion.
Now, assuming that we're as bad as the Brits, a quick calculation tells me that means in the US we have – wait for it – over $704 billion worth of clothing just left hanging in our collective wardrobes.
Seems sensationalist, I'll admit, but it's enough to make any cash-conscious individual start to squirm uncomfortably.
It's a huge waste, and extremely bad value. So what should you do with all of those unwanted outfits? Well, to try and regain some value from clothing that's unworn, old, or just doesn't fit, you could try upcycling it to turn it into something of worth. Not only will it put to good use the clothes that you're wasting, it might actually save you money by making something you otherwise would have paid for.
So with that in mind, here are three thrifty uses for old t-shirts and clothing that will help you squeeze every cent out of your hard earned dollars.
T-shirt Shag Rug
T-shirt shag rugs are extremely easy to make and look great. This version uses rug canvas for a professional finish, but to save even more cash you could also use a large old t-shirt as the base of your rug.
You will need:
There are a variety of different ways to make rugs using old clothing, some with quite effective results, but the above method is simple and, in my opinion, particularly charming.
We all know how bad plastic bags are for the environment, so this next item is great for saving money and the planet. You can cut your slits vertically or horizontally to make a beautiful, breathable bag, perfect for fresh produce.
You will need:
This is just one of several ways to make a handy t-shirt tote, there are even some no-sew varieties out there for those who are a little needle-phobic. But however you make it, your tote will be useful and stylish, as well as pocket and eco-friendly.
Patchwork Pet Bed
Pet accessories can be extremely expensive, especially when your pet is more likely to want to snuggle up on your sofa rather than on a dog/cat bed. So why not turn your old sweaters into a patchwork pet bed and save your pennies for something special?
You Will Need:
This tutorial comes with pictures to help out, if you find the process a little difficult. But stick with it! The effort of patchworking really does pay off when you see the fantastic final effect.
So that's it, three effective ways to make the most out of the clothes getting neglected at the back of your closet. And even if this doesn't sound like you, and you wear all your clothes to death, why not get creative and extend the life of your tees when they become a bit tattered? Your bank balance will most certainly thank you for it.
Leann Farmer is a social media and customer experience manager at BlueCotton, a custom t-shirt design company. When not thinking up memorable and witty sayings to print on apparel, you can find her pinning away on Pinterest and thinking about creative uses for all the old t-shirts she's accumulated.
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