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Give New Life to Old Clothes in These 8 Quirky Ways

Give New Life to Old Clothes in These 8 Quirky Ways

Every closet and dresser holds worn and forgotten clothes. They take up space and produce cobwebs in your mind. What if you found interesting ways to use those old clothes? It would not only clear out the cobwebs, but would also make you feel like a very clever recycler. The number one obvious use of old clothes is to hand them down to younger siblings or contribute them to thrift stores and shelters. It shrinks your family’s clothing budget, helps those in need, and reduces the world’s energy footprint. However, sometimes old clothes are too worn to be worn. Sometimes they have too much sentimental value to let go of them. Admit it! You keep some of those T-shirts at the bottoms of your drawers because every time you look at them you think about someone or something in your life that was fun or special. When old clothes can’t be passed along, consider these quirky ways to keep them in your life:

1. Turn shirts and pants into pillows

This is a cool way to get those special clothes out of the drawer or off the hanger and put them where you see them every day to spark special memories. Cut square or rectangular pieces from the clothing strategically, and cover an old, ugly pillow. Or simply sew a covering from your shirts and pants, then stuff it with fiberfill or old, unmatched socks. You can also tear your not-so-special old clothes into strips and use them for stuffing. Preserve the most interesting parts of clothing items for the face of the pillow: T-shirt designs, zipper and button plackets, or decorated pockets. If the clothing is not big enough to cover the pillow size you want, patch pieces together.

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2. Seal shirts into hanging holders

Have you seen those fabric diaper holders that drop from a hanger? You can make your own hanging storage by simply sewing up the bottom of a shirt and hanging it on a hanger. Place items inside to store them for use later. If you use a shirt with buttons or a zipper, you’ll have easy access to whatever you put inside. Use it for diapers, towels, fabric for sewing, newspapers and more. You can even use your hanging storage to collect other old clothing you plan to recycle into useful things. Simply unbutton or unzip the front to browse what’s inside. If you do this with T-shirts, you’ll have a handy opening at the top, but the solid front of the shirt will securely contain small things, such as wadded up plastic grocery bags, recyclable cans and plastic soda bottles, bottle tops, or other clothes you eventually take to the Goodwill. If you need bigger shirt-storage to hold more, add a rectangular piece of fabric to the bottom, which also allows you to stack items horizontally.

3. Cut patches or rip strips to make fabric crafts

Some old clothing isn’t nice enough to keep hanging around, but it provides a useful resource. Clothes, after all, are made from fabric—and old clothes can provide a crafter’s smorgasbord. Cut pieces to make patchwork crafts, including quilts, hot pads, curtains and chair covers. Or rip the fabric into narrow strips, then use a large hook or needles to crochet or knit into hats, scarves and rugs. Rag crafts are perfect for old clothes without memorable features that would make them suitable for pillows, but with unique colors that spark memories. Thicker strips can be used to make casings for hockey sticks, fishing rods and other long, thin artifacts. Twist casings made from stretchy fabrics into colorful headwraps. The possibilities are endless!

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4. Turn fabric riches to rags

Worn old clothes often make the best cleaning rags, because sizing has been completely washed out and the fibers are soft and absorbent. T-shirts make awesome head rags for people with curly hair when over-absorbent towels cause excess drying and make hair fuzzy. Old flannel shirts are the best for polishing glass, dress shoes and high-sheen metal, such as the chrome on your car.

5. Quirky quilted memories

It’s likely you are keeping an old pair of jeans or an 80s shirt or dress because it’s one-of-a-kind, and you know you’ll never see it again. Take it out of the dark and turn it into a family heirloom quilt that will bring you pleasure for the rest of your life. Cut pieces from the clothing that include special, memorable features, such as blinged-out jeans pockets, button plackets with funky buttons, or even worn patches on knees. If the fabric has worn all the way through, you can back the patch with a random piece of fabric before sewing it into a quilt. Quilting from old clothing works great when you use items of the same kind. For example, make a family quilt from one or two pairs of worn-out jeans from each person in the family. Consider embroidering each person’s name on the pants they wore!

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6. Give it up to packing

After some time, items of clothing that once held memories lose their appeal. The memories fade, or later events turn the positive memories into negative ones. Perhaps it’s time to give those pieces a second life in an even darker spot than your drawers: memory boxes in the attic. Old clothing wadded up into soft, squishy balls of fabric make awesome packing for delicate mementoes. Use natural fabrics without chemicals that might harm your heirlooms.

7. It’s a strain to keep it

Select one shirt with a loose weave to use as a strainer in the kitchen. Simply cut a square of the fabric and place it over a bowl or jar to strain tiny particles out of liquids. On jars, use a rubber band to hold the fabric in place; before securing, poke the fabric down into the mouth of the jar to create a small well to hold the debris you strain out. If you want to strain liquids into larger vessels, such as bowls or pans, sew the fabric into a small bag. Hold it over the bowl or pan and pour the liquid into the mouth of the bag.

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8. Hand it down to pets

When it’s really cold outside, even pets need a little extra help keeping warm. Use infant and children’s T-shirts and coats as-is on your pet’s upper body. Turn sleepers and pajamas into pet jumpers for all four feet. Don’t forget to cut a hole for your friend’s tail. If you don’t want to dress up your cats and dogs, use old clothing as winter-time bedding to keep them toasty. In fact, consider sewing up a big old shirt at the bottom, tucking the arms inside and loosely filling the inside of the resulting bag with other clothing. Lay it down flat, and invite Fido or Sylvester to cuddle up. What other uses can you think of? Part of the fun of reusing and recycling is coming up with uses of your own to fit your unique life. Don’t let those old clothes linger in the dank, dark corners of your home any longer. Pull them out, and rip, stitch or wad them into handy new uses!

Featured photo credit: Girl Writing in her Moleskin Diary/Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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