redress, wardrobe redress

Redress, Donate or Recycle

I hope to find a use for every single scrap of clothing and office supplies, but it’s a little unrealistic. An item that frustrates and annoys me may be the perfect thing for someone else.

Find a new use for an old thing: Redress!

In the case of the office, studio, or wardrobe, try to think outside of the box and look at things in a whole new light. Sure you grew out of that shirt years ago, but could you remake it into something fresh? Could you use that thing-a-ma-jig as a fun and functional coat hook? Try to find a way it can fill a need in your home or studio that it may not have been originally designed for.


{photo by Karen Liao – awesome contributor and CL online editor}

Cut two shirts and stitch them together for a new one. A skirt can become a shirt. Cardboard can become drawer dividers. Foam core can become fabric panels. The options are endless…unfortunately even I get stumped.

If you are coming up empty on ideas, move on to the next.

Give someone else a chance: Donate!

Just because you can’t find a use doesn’t mean someone else won’t see it as the perfect thing for their home, studio, or wardrobe. We mostly think of the Salvation Army, but there are many other great charities that resell everything from clothing to office supplies. Check the yellow pages and pick the one you like the most or best suits what you have to donate.


{photo from wikicommons – I have a soft spot for The Salvation Army because of things like helping after the floods here in Iowa.}

If your clothing is in good shape, you can consign it for a little spare cash. It’s not a ton of money mind you, but it could be used to pick up some “new to you” threads at the same shop or a thrift store.

And and are great resources for passing your things on to others.

I keep a trash bag in the hall closet to put anything destined for the thrift store in it. When it gets full, about once every two weeks, I drop it off.  I pair it up with the trip to the recycling center and the library which are all on the same side of town.

Too beat up or just not the right type of thing to make a donation? Move right on.

Give it new Life: Recycle!

Sometimes you have loved an item so much that it’s completely unusable and would end up in the trash even at the Salvation Army. Old clothing can recycled into rags, pot holders, and dishrags. Weaving rag rugs is a great way to use up old cut up clothing.


{photo by Zaf on WikiCommons}

Paper, cardboard, bottles, jars, and just about anything else can be taken to your local recycling center. If you have curbside pick up, (envious!) all the better. Make sure all your bottles are rinsed and dried. Sort your drop off by type to make the whole process smooth.

We have a great program here in Ames called Cycles. They ride to your office/home/studio and pick up on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule. They are in such high demand that the owner has a waiting list (including me). He’s getting more work than he can hire people for. This is pretty amazing considering it’s a paid recycling service in an economic downturn. Maybe we are all on the upswing. Maybe people are starting to give a crap about the environment. Hopefully both!

Find your local recycling options on Earth911. They have many great recycling tips and articles. Take a look around their site for more info on what your trash gets recycled into.


How do you redress, donate, and recycle? What works best for your home/office?

Best wishes!

Kristin Roach


4 thoughts on “Redress, Donate or Recycle

  1. Sorry for the promotional tone of this comment – I am a genuine long time reader! – but I wanted to point you at our website “How can I recycle this?” ( in case we've answered any of those redress things you've got stumped on.

    We've asked “how can I reuse or recycle this?” about over 800 (common & not so common) items and had nearly 14,000 reuse suggestions in reply – crafty & practical ideas alike.

    Inspired by the wonderful ideas from the Recycle This community, I do a lot of reusing, redressing & upcycling – on my desk in front of me now, I have plant labels for my seedlings made from old drink cans & plastic bottles, a cute milk jug with a broken handle & a decorated coffee can as pen & pencil pots, pads made from scrap paper, business cards/comp slips made from security envelopes, a shopping bag made from a pillowcase, coasters made from an old cardboard box… Nothing particularly groundbreaking but a lot of stuff saved from landfill, and a lot of stuff I've not had to buy new.

  2. It sounds like a really great site, thanks for sharing it. I understand it feels weird promoting your own site sometimes, but it completely fits the topic of today's post, so no worries. I'm excited to go take a look and dig around in the archive to see what's been done with what :)

  3. In Ames, Cycles Recycling is recyclable pickup service. They come on bicycles so they don't burn fossil fuels. It is quite an incentive to cut down on trash produced when a person chooses to only has pickup service once monthly and then only have recyclables picked up.

  4. In Ames, Cycles Recycling is recyclable pickup service. They come on bicycles so they don't burn fossil fuels. It is quite an incentive to cut down on trash produced when a person chooses to only has pickup service once monthly and then only have recyclables picked up.

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