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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 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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