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Molly Longest / Her Campus

Think Before You Toss: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Clothes

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In America, over 59 pounds of clothing are thrown away each year, and 84 percent of this waste ends up in landfills across the country. However, there is more to our clothes than the original form in which we bought them. Over quarantine, multiple videos went viral showing DIY accessories, clothes or print designs. These videos showed how it is possible to take something old and make it new again. From these videos, it became a trend to revamp clothes and accessories. Here is a rundown of the most helpful tips: 

Take up DIY

DIY crafts for clothes have been around for a while, however, most people don’t take this route of upcycling clothes because they believe the crafts require skill. Although some do, most are relatively easy and require items someone can find around the house. One of the most common forms of DIY clothing is making a t-shirt into a crop top or jeans into shorts. This is super easy to do and it is very flexible in terms of size and length. 

There are also many ways to make broken earrings into necklaces or necklaces into anklets. Most of the time the only tool required is string and scissors. There are very easy tutorials online that are made specifically for broken jewelry or ideas for what to do with gems and pearls. 

Stamping has become a very trendy form of upcycling and is a fun and easy way to make something old into something new. Stamps can be bought or stencils can just be printed. Adding different colors or ‘pictures’ to clothing like jeans or sweatshirts adds some pop to them and allows for people to hold onto their clothes for longer. 

Mix and match 

Being able to understand color theory and what matches and doesn’t will really help keep a rotation of clothes. Not everything has to match, but if it goes with each other due to color theory then it works out. This is a good skill to have, not only for clothes but for daily life as well. However, everybody has their own sense of style, and this includes patterns. Figuring out how to put patterns together by utilizing different clothing items can make a simple old outfit something completely different and new. It’s okay to take risks!


Handwashing is recommended for a lot of clothing items, and most people ignore the advice and use washers and dryers. This makes the lifespan of the clothing a lot shorter and more likely to rip and reduce patterns. Not only is the reduction of washing and drying good for the environment, but it will also save money. Laundromats and even laundry supplies cost money that adds up each month. Clothes can actually come out cleaner with handwashing than being in a machine. Being able to focus on specific stains and areas is a lot easier when you can see what and where exactly the problem is. Having the sun dry your clothes has its own benefits as well. Sun rays can actually clean clothes even more as they are drying which keeps them more pristine than machines could. Any type of clothing can be hand-washed, and most tags on clothing recommend this. Handwashing is really simple. All you need is a few pocket-friendly tools like gloves, bins, and string for drying. 


Sewing is not only a great skill to have but is a way to keep your clothes in wearable condition for a longer period of time. Most stores sell patches that are easy to sew or iron onto any type of clothing.  Even using different types of colored string can add character to clothing. There are many different types of videos on social media sites that explain in detail exactly what to do and how to do it. 

There are many different ways to reuse clothing items and make them last longer, and while these are just a few, a simple Google search can provide what exactly the benefits are to reusing and upcycling clothing. However, the main benefit and takeaway from this idea is the environmental advantage.

Jessica is a freshman journalism student attending West Virginia University, but she's originally from Ohio. She loves to read and write in her spare time. She also enjoys hanging with friends and participating in community and club events. She loves writing for topics as history, pop culture, nature and media.
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