Clever things to do with those old clothes in the attic

Clever things to do with those old clothes in the attic

 From creating new outfits, toys and cushions, to getting crafty with the grandkids, here’s how to reuse, recycle and renew those items you thought you’d never need again.

From creating new outfits, toys and cushions, to getting crafty with the grandkids, here’s how to reuse, recycle and renew those items you thought you’d never need again.

Whether it’s because they have sentimental value, no longer fit, or you simply haven’t had the time to sort through them, we all have at least one box or bag of clothes in the attic that’s been there for years – possibly even decades!

If you’re not planning to wear them again, it’s tempting to just throw away old sweaters, jeans, T-shirts and boots. However, with a little bit of imagination and handiwork, those old clothes can be used and transformed: as material for DIY, craft, sewing and interior design projects; as a way to help others; or as the basis for fun activities with your grandchildren.

Of course, clothes that have been stored for a long time can be musty or discoloured, so wash them first with a good detergent, such as Ariel Washing Liquid with a Touch of Febreze, which will remove stains, brighten colours and leave the fabric smelling fresh and clean.

Here are some great crafty ideas to get you started…


Stretchy cotton T-shirt fabric is incredibly versatile. Cut it into strips to make plaited bracelets, hairbands and belts for the grandkids; or have a go at making plaited macramé plant holders or rag rugs to decorate your home.

Another great idea is to cut the arms off and sew the bottom hems together to make a reusable shopping bag – this works particularly well if it’s adorned with your favourite band from your youth, for example.

If your T-shirt is too faded or full of holes, cut it up to make dusting cloths, or use it to stuff a cushion or soft toy (see the sweater ideas below).


Old hats can be great fun! Spend an afternoon decorating them with your grandchildren, gluing on buttons, ribbons, pompoms, sequins, feathers, flowers or brightly-coloured paper. Keep one or two for a snowman or scarecrow, and give the others to a local school, nursery or playgroup, where they can be used for dressing up.


If an old knitted sweater has sentimental value or an attractive pattern, why not turn it into a cushion or decorative pillow? One of the simplest ways is to cut off the arms and sew the armholes and bottom hems shut before filling it with stuffing or a cushion pad and sewing up the neck.

You can make a cosy hot water bottle cover in a similar way, leaving the neck of the sweater open to slip the bottle inside. If you’re experienced at sewing, you can also turn the arms of sweaters into boot liners, hats, soft toys, mittens, fingerless gloves, legwarmers or even a mini sweater to keep small pets like guinea pigs warm in winter!


While they may no longer be of use to you, old coats are incredibly useful to others. Donate them to a charity shop, refugee organisation or homeless shelter, where they will be gratefully received.


Old socks have so many uses. Place one over your hand and use it to dust window blinds or polish shoes; pop socks over your windscreen wipers on frosty nights to stop them from freezing; use them to protect golf clubs or store golf balls; or fill them with catnip or more old rolled-up socks and knot the ends to make a fun toy for the cat or dog.

Your grandchildren will love getting creative with old socks, too – try cutting them up to make outfits for dolls or teddy bears; or sew them into sock puppets (there are some easy tutorials on the internet). It’s a great activity to do when your grandkids are staying over.

Skirts and dresses

The thinner fabric taken from dresses and skirts is perfect for sewing projects. You could turn a favourite but too-short dress into a new top for yourself or a smaller dress for a grandchild; or cut several items into squares to create a keepsake patchwork throw or blanket.


Lucky enough to have old jeans that still fit? If they have holes or rips, cut them off above the knee to turn them into shorts.

Even if you can no longer squeeze into them, you can turn the hard-wearing denim into something new. You could cut a couple of pairs into squares and sew them together for a picnic blanket; cut off a leg, stuff it with dried beans and sew up the ends to make a draught excluder; or use pieces to make knee or elbow patches for your grandchildren’s clothes.


Even old boots can have a second life! Fill them with soil and plant flowers in them – they will look quirky and fun lined up along a wall or windowsill.

What do you do with your old clothes and accessories? We’d love to hear your creative ideas in the comments section below.

And check out Ariel for great tips on always keeping your clothes in their best shape.

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lavender bags

Leebee 14/06/2018

You can repurpose an old pretty dress and make it into lavender bags and have something useful at the end of it.


Coco 27/04/2018

Very Nice

Very Nice

dfdf 27/04/2018


love to craft

Fabulous 11/04/2018

I craft for charity so most things get recycled into a second life, old clothes can make fabric brooches or cushions, I mostly knit for my cause but also make craft old into new, old canvas shoes can be painted and decorated if they have no holes, We throw away far to much these days.

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