End of life of my clothes:  Commitment to managing my waste

Do you ever think about what happens to our clothes after we are “done” with them? Let’s be honest: most of us either do not consider this or choose to turn a blind eye. 

Besides being one of the most polluting, fashion industry generates a lot of waste as most of our clothes end up in landfills. While as (conscious) consumers we are only indirectly responsible for the former, we are fully responsible for the latter. To do better, besides thinking about impact of every purchase before, we need to be accountable for what happens at the end. 

Our options for a ”dignified end of life” of our clothes are anything but letting them end up in the trash and subsequently in landfills! Swapping, gifting, donating and upcycling are great options for decent pieces. I would save recycling for the most ‘pathological cases’ when all the other are exhausted. 

Recently I faced such a case. The result of my  periodical wardrobe clearing up, was a bag of used clothes, no good to be given away. I remembered this rag rug project, I had archived it in my ”to do one day” ideas pool. The pieces of puzzle connected and I decided to make projects using the scraps carpet concept.

After I had started these scraps projects, I thought that I should better invest my time in something less laborious and more productive. It took a while even to just cut the clothes in pieces. Still, I decided to complete them as a mere exercise of my waste managing commitment. I thought that putting effort and energy in this would make me think twice before buying something new. I wanted it to remind me that I will have to take care of it in a decent manner after I no longer need it. 

Commit to managing you waste: your old clothes included! In the RESOURCES section below, I’ve linked a few articles on the impact of our wardrobes and options you have for giving them a new life or a dignified end. If you are willing to take things in your hands in form of DIY, check out the DIY IDEAS section for inspiration and do recycle yourself.

Make produces bags following the tutorial from Delia creates

Make a rag rug or rag stool cushions like I did in this project.

Make a weave stripes and give some texture and fresh look to a jersey shirt. To do it follow the tutorial by Laura from Trash To Couture.

Make a completely new fabric with interesting pattern and texture. To do so you can find instructions in these tutorials: at Just Jude Designs and at Buttons and Paint.

Make party snack cups using fabric stiffener (starch). Instructions at DIYs.com page. I find it is a great idea to make from fabric tissues when making a party as it avoids using other single use items like paper cups. I will try to make it myself and do the the cups project seen above.

Make fabric twine following instructions at My Poppet. There is also a video how to do it. I loved the projects that Cintia made with this twine. You can do her completely recycled planter or use it for a different project. I absolutely loved Cintia’s amazing chair make over.  

Make a continuous yarn that can be used for crochet or many other DIY projects. There are many videos and tutorials that show how to do it

Use your handmade recycle yarn for a project. Crochet, macrame, weaving… I loved Laura’s market bag that she features here on her Trash to Couture web

Make cool hangers by covering plastic or metal hangers from dry cleaning. This example is from Remodelista (article written by Justine Hand).

If you’d like to browse for more inspiration, I’ve saved all these links and I’ll keep adding some more on my Pinterest page in End of Life of our clothes: DIY IDEAS album. 

For some facts check out the following articles:

Article about Facts about fashion from Sustainable Fahsion Matterz:


Article about Facts about fashion from Good On You:

6 Fake ‘Facts’ about the Fashion Industry

For advice on how to do better I would recommend the tips from Redress:

You can find those in their new book Dress [with] Sense:


For more advice on Zero Waste wardrobe check out the article by Lauren from Trash is for tossers. I find the latter one especially useful when it comes to finding places for responsible clothes disposing. 

Zero Waste Wardrobe: A Guide To Secondhand Shopping

How To Recycle Old Clothing (Even Ratty Ass Old Underwear)

DIY IDEAS section photos via corresponding web pages. Each photo is linked to article where found.

rest of the photos by Mili