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How to Recycle Clothes for Money

June 7, 2024

The best ways to recycle clothes for money? The cost of living crisis is difficult to manage. Everything is suddenly more expensive. But you still want to hold on to your values and treat yourself, too. It’s still important to look after the environment and it’s still important to give yourself self-care.

 

How best to do this? A seasonal clean out your closet is an important ritual. It helps you to feel less weighed down by your belongings. And then you can donate what you are not wearing to the salvation army or thrift stores. That’s a four-in-one benefit – you have more space in your wardrobe, the charity shop gets a nice piece of clothing, the person who buys it avoids fast fashion, and you feel good to give things away.

 

An alternative is to sell your things. It’s an equally valid method – you are having a clear out, and making a bit of cash, or, depending on the shop, you’ll get gift cards or store credit. You can do this by listing your clothing online yourself, via a few different platforms. This needs a few different skills and commitments.

To Recycle Clothes For Money By Selling Online

 

First you need to set up an account. Then photograph the clothes you wish to sell. You can buy a shop dummy to display them to their best advantage. Do make sure to wash, and iron or steam everything, because all the little wrinkles show up a lot on camera. You can also ask a friend to model, or if the fit you well, you can model and ask the friend to rake the photos! Alternatively, you can photograph them flat or on a hanger.

 

Now you need to write a good description of the clothes. Include what kind of material it is, how old, and accurate size measurements. Be absolutely honest about any rips, stains, buttons falling off, bust zips etc.

 

When people write to you with questions, be sure to answer them as quickly as possible, and make sure to be friendly. Once you have sold the item, pack it nicely and post it off as soon as you can. If they ask for a postage estimate, have that handy. There may be extra taxes for them to pay if you are shipping between countries, for example the United States and England.

 

You really want the people who buy from you to have a lovely experience, to give you good feedback, and to shop from you again.

 

So to do this, the skills you need are: good customer service, good modelling, good photography, quick responses, good packing and presentation, and the ability and patience to take parcels to the post office. This can be all be pretty fun!

 

Alternatively:

80 1 dollar bills in a homemade banknote strap

80 1 dollar bills in a homemade banknote strap.
BrayLockBoy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To Recycle Clothes For Money By Selling to a Shop

If your clothing is good quality, it’s worth taking some photos to email to a vintage store and ask if they are interested, or pop in. Sometimes they will buy from you. Sometimes they take things on consignment and give you a percentage of the money of it sells. It’s such a good way to recycle clothes and “clothes the loop”.

 

If your clothing is not good quality, there are places that will buy used clothing by the kilo. Or purchase of 100 or more at a time, no matter the condition. They use this post consumer waste for textile recycling using recycling programs and it ends up as housing insulation. You can also drop things off in a charity bin or department store.

recycle clothes for money - United states Twenty dollar bills

Twenty dollar bills.
Merzperson at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Save Money by Making Clothes Like New

If you have a favourite item and feel sad that you are going to throw it away, see if it can be fixed first! Some brands, like North Face, have repair programs. Or you can do it yourself. It’s really so easy to sew on buttons, fix zips, and sew up minor rips and tears. If you think the repair will show, what not make it a feature?

 

Embroider over the top, add patchwork and appliqué. If you get really good at it (or are really good at it in the first place) you can take in repair work for other people. Some skilled seamstresses charge a huge amount for this, which people are happy to pay. Or you can find pieces in charity shops and embellish them, then sell them online.

 

There are craftspeople who scour charity shops for old duvet covers, tablecloths and bedspreads and then cut them up to make pretty dresses with. This is such a sweet way to take old embroidery and lacework which nobody appreciates any more, and give it a new lease of life. Sometimes it feels like it is a shame to cut into an old item. But if you don’t use tablecloths, what else will you do with it?

Other ideas

You can also refresh old or vintage clothes by altering them to make them more fashionable. Make a midi skirt into a knee length skirt, make a t-shirt into a vest, make jeans into shorts. Get creative :) . Especially if it is an item you were going to throw away or donate, there is no harm in making a whole new post consumer item out of it and avoid fast fashion, basically for free!

 

You can find lots of ideas for how to do this online. Perhaps the easiest to start with is with making jeans into shorts. First, decide the length. Capri, knee length, hot pants? And then decide if you want to make a neat turn up or leave raw edges. If you want to make a turn up, leave an extra couple of inches. Put the jeans on, and get a friend to make a little snip in the fabric about an inch longer than you think you want them. Then take them off and cut them straight across when they are flat. Either make your turn ups, or take a needle and shred the bottom. Easy!

DISCOVER MORE 20TH CENTURY FASHION FOR FREE

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