Upcycling Old Clothes: A Quick Guide

Upcycling is the act of recycling something without ever letting it go. You’re essentially giving something a new life in a different form, which saves you from chucking it away and means you extract more value from your possessions. There may be no area in which you have more to recycle than your wardrobe, where there are likely hordes of clothes that haven’t been worn in years. In this quick guide, we’ll offer some advice on upcycling your old clothes into something new, exciting and valuable. 

Quirky Changes

Perhaps the oldest upcycling method of all is getting that scrappy old pair of jeans or pants and cutting off the legs to make shorts. There are dozens of other ways in which you can make small adjustments to your existing clothes to give them a whole new life in your wardrobe. Off-white T-shirt destined for the bin? Buy some dye online and give it a new lease of life. Belt too small for your waist? Pick up a screwdriver and punch a new hole in the leather. There’s always a fix to your redundant clothes: you just have to think creatively about how to go about changing them.


There are other clothes that you’re probably loathe to get rid of for sentimental reasons. These include your old school uniform, which you wore for so many years in a formative stage of life, and those t-shirts you bought overseas that no longer fit, but remind you of a wonderful vacation. Happily, there’s now a creative way to recycle these t-shirts: having them stitched into a blanket. Just visit Myt-shirtblanket.com to learn how to send them off, receiving back in the past a quilt of memories that you can cuddle on those cold winter nights.


If you have some more expensive clothes in your closet that you don’t want to get rid of because they cost you so much, you should seriously consider visiting a tailor. Tailors can work wonders on clothes you have long since given up on wearing again – extending the waist or the length of trousers, and making jackets more roomy and comfortable. They’ll do the same for dresses and shirts – anything that you want to keep and adjust, they’ll have a go. Some of your clothes might not be able to be tailored, but you’ll never know if you don’t take them in to be looked at.

Swap Shops

Okay, this is pushing the boundaries of upcycling a little, but an article on how to deal with old clothes cannot conclude without mentioning swap shops. You’ll find that there are more and more of these initiatives popping up all over town – where people take their unwanted clothes, hang them up or lay them down, and begin looking through those of others. Your clothes might be just what someone else is looking for – and you’ll always be able to find items there that suit your current size and taste, too.

Make the most of your existing wardrobe by following the four tips shared here – giving your wardrobe a new lease on life this winter. 

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