They keep encouraging us to reduce, reuse and recycle in order to keep the planet clean and to make sure we don’t consume more resources than we ought to. It really is staggering, the amount we sent to the landfill every year. If we can cut down on even a little bit, this will help. There’s only so much surface area on the planet, after all, and who wants to see the whole lot taken up by rubbish dumps if it isn’t used for growing food?
Let’s take T-shirts as an example. We all wear these comfortable cotton garments and they’re cheap. Some of them are even stylish. However, they do become unfashionable and/or worn out, or else we discover that we don’t fit them any more, thanks to an expanding waistline. Now what are you going to do?
We’ll assume for the rest of this article that the T-shirt in question is in pretty poor condition. If it is in good condition and you’re getting rid of it because you don’t like it or because you don’t fit it, then Option One is the best option: send the T-shirt down to the nearest charity shop. Make sure you give it a good wash first. Options Two to Nine are suitable for tatty old things – or for T-shirts with logos, phrases or images you loathe printed across the front that don’t deserve to be seen in public again (and, believe me, there are some pretty offensive T-shirts out there!).
- Cut off the sound bits of material that are less threadbare and use them for patchwork or some other craft activity.
- If the graphic on the shirt is really nice and is in good nick, cut it off carefully and appliqué it onto a new T-shirt or create fabric art around it. This writer has managed to get a picture of a horse from a little girl’s favourite T-shirt onto two other shirts with some careful cutting and unpicking.
- Cut it up and use it in the garage for wiping the dipstick when you check the oil in your car. Cotton is nice and absorbent and does a great job at this. You can use it several times before the material gets too soggy to use, unlike loo paper.
- Cut it up and use it as a cleaning rag – cotton absorbs spills like anything and can handle being washed in very hot water to kill germs.
- Cut it up and use it as a facial wipe for removing makeup. Don’t spend oodles on paper tissues that you can only use once. Save money and reduce waste by using soft cotton squares cut from a T-shirt. They look nicer, too.
- Cut long, fat strips and use them as curling rags. If you have long, straight hair, try this old trick for setting curls: wind strands of your damp hair around the rags and then tie the rag tight and leave overnight. Looks odd but it works.
- Keep the tatty T-shirt in the naughty knickers drawers. There’s something very erotic about having a lover literally tear your clothes off, and you can do this with old clothes. Then use the ripped remainder for some other purpose.
- Use scraps and strips of T-shirts to stuff old socks to make draught excluders and keep your home a bit warmer in winter.
- If you get a leaking shower door, you can use a raggy t-shirt to insulate the bottom of the door and stop these annoying puddles bothering you.