If you're like me, you may feel a bit bad when the clothes get worn out and you are in the position of having to throw them away. I look at all that fabric and think that there has got to be something environmentally better to do. I also feel bad about that financial investment going out in the garbage, even when I have gotten my money's worth out of the clothing. While donating clothes to the local community outreach program or sending them off to the thrift store is an option, it really isn't cool to send them completely worn out stuff. And, let's be honest, there are only so many rags you can use for cleaning. (I recommend using worn cotton t-shirts for your cleaning rags.)
So, what do you do with it? There's a lot of really great things you can do with recycled fabric. One of them is to make a rag rug with it. If you use t-shirt material, it comes out really great for in the bathroom. If you use denim, it is super effective for in a high traffic area of your house. We did this in my parent's house when I was growing up. In the end, we had a really interesting looking rug that stood up to years of use long after the clothes were no longer useful. (If you are someone who does latch hook rug making, you have yourself an instant source of scraps!)
You can also cut up the old clothes into uniformly shaped and sized pieces. This you can sew together into a patchwork item. You can get a quilt top out of a bunch of old shirts pretty quickly. Use an old flat sheet for the bottom layer and an old blanket for your batting. Patchwork denim makes an amazing bag that you can carry a good amount of stuff in, provided you make your seams nice and strong and use a good, heavy weight thread for your stitching. You can also use those pieces to patch other clothing. (I will confess, I have cut off the good sections of the kid's worn out old pants to use to patch the knees in their newer clothes.)
Old clothing can also be used to make things for your home aside from that rag rug or patchwork everything. With a box and an old pillow, you can use a t-shirt to make a hiding spot for your pet. You can make rag dolls for the children in your life. You can also make puppets. Obviously, you can make clothes for dolls or the puppets out of pieces of your old clothes. You can cut out the logos from old t-shirts and make a display for your wall with a little ingenuity, a staple gun, and old picture frames. If you cut the leg off of an old pair of pants, you can stuff it with fabric from old clothes and stitch the ends shut. Boom! You now have something to block drafts from blowing in around door frames. Sleeves of long sleeved old shirts can make smaller ones for on the sill of your windows.
Old clothes don't just need to get thrown away. You can use a little creativity and make lots of useful things out of them. Expanding the life of your clothes can take on a whole new meaning with projects like these.