Uses For Old T-Shirts

One of the first and easiest steps in decluttering is to go through your clothes and get rid of anything you don’t need anymore. Of course items that are still wearable can be donated to allow someone else to get use out of them, but what about all those old t-shirts that are stained and have holes in them? I like to keep one or two just as work shirts. When I have some painting to do or have to repair the fence and need to dig a hole. Otherwise, these items can leave my drawer in order to make space for other, more useful items. Don’t just toss them in the trash though. You can cut up cotton t-shirts to use for all sorts of things. Here are some ideas for what you can use your old t-shirts for instead of throwing them away.

shirt rags declutter recycle reuse


This is the first and most obvious use for old t-shirts. You can never have too many rags around for a multitude of purposes. From cleaning spills in the kitchen to wiping your hands in the garage, old t-shirts make great rags. Cut them into a variety of sizes for any situation. Place some in the bathroom, some in the kitchen, some in the garage and some in the laundry room so you never find yourself frantically searching for a rag when you need one. Also, you can use these in place of paper towels to cut down on cost and waste.

shirt sling bandage first aid


An old t-shirt is perfect for many different types of medical supplies. Cut the t-shirt into long strips and use it as a bandage, tourniquet or for tying a splint to a broken limb. Cut larger pieces to use to stop bleeding or clean wounds. You can cut a larger triangle to keep in your first aid kit to use as a sling. You can even cut small bits to use as back up adhesive strips in case you run out. Just put a little cotton piece on the cut and hold in place with tape. Make sure the pieces you are going to keep in your first aid kit are clean and don’t use any parts of old shirts that may have hard substances on them. If you have an old shirt with dried paint or plaster on it, avoid using those pieces for first aid.

shirt reuse recycle headband


Just because you can’t wear it as a t-shirt, doesn’t mean you can’t wear it as something else. You can use old t-shirt material to make scarves, headbands or jewelry. You can cut the fabric into the shape you need to make a thin scarf or you can cut strips and make a headband using knots and weaves. This Website has a huge amount of ideas you can use to make all sorts of wearable accessories like bracelets, earrings and belts. You can use an old t-shirt to make a carry bag or to make a skirt! The possibilities are endless.

shirt dog toy reuse recycle


If your dog is anything like mine, it loves to chew on anything. I find myself in a constant race to keep chew toys available for my dog or else she will start chewing up the furniture. If you have some old t-shirts you are planning to get rid of during your decluttering process, don’t toss them, turn them into chew toys. Cut the t-shirt into strips then braid it and tie it to turn it into to the perfect dog toy. Great for chewing, fetch or tug of war and the best part, it will smell like you which the dog will love. Barkpost has some simple instructions over on their site you can check out. The other thing you can make with old t-shirts is a cat cave. You can get a simple pattern for this pet bed that is crocheted out of strips of old t-shirt on Etsy.

rug shirt reuse recycle


Just because you are trying to declutter your home, doesn’t mean you can’t still have needs. There is a trend now days to get rid of carpet and restore or install hardwood floors. This is great for decluttering because you can effectively get rid of your bulky vacuum cleaner, but it could add the need for an area rug here and there. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can use the old t-shirts you were going to get rid of to weave yourself a new area rug. There are great instructions on how to weave a rug on Wonder Forest. If you’re looking for more of a shag carpet look, you can check out how to make that style rug here.

wick shirt candle reuse recycle declutter


When it comes to an emergency, some of the most important things you will need are medical supplies and light. We have covered medical supplies above, but what about light. You can use cotton from an old t-shirt to make some emergency candles. Just cut thin strips and roll it up tight and you will have something to use as a wick in what ever types of emergency light you are making. You can also wrap a piece of cotton shirt around a toothpick and stab it into an old candle that may have lost its wick to get more use out of it.

If your goal is to declutter, don’t think that means you have to remove all of your unneeded items from your home. If it can be reused or recycled to serve another purpose, that’s great! It will cut down on waste and could keep you from needing to buy items like paper towels, dog toys and maybe even an area rug!

If you have any more suggestions for what an old t-shirt can be recycled into, leave it in the comments!


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