Decluttering Diaries: What to Do with Old T-Shirts

Even when you make a commitment to living with less, stuff can slowly invade and overwhelm your life.

That’s why I view the act of decluttering as an ongoing process, because material possessions tend to accumulate when you’re not looking. Plus there are areas in your life where you have too much, but time and habit have made you blind to them. That’s how I felt a few weeks ago when I opened one of my drawers and found it stuffed to the gills full of t-shirts I wasn’t wearing.


Not my closet, but I wish it were…

Free T-Shirts: They’ll Cost You

Even though t-shirts are the workhorse of my wardrobe–I wear them for lounging, for chores, for working out, and occasionally for running errands–there can come a point when you simply have too many. Between all of the free t-shirts I’d accumulated in college, during my running days, for volunteer events, and in between, I counted twenty-two.

As part of downsizing my life, I purposely use a small secretary desk to store my folded clothes because it helps me to limit the amount of clothes I own. So when I saw that my t-shirts were taking up a full drawer and then some, I knew it was time to get rid of them.

The usual options presented themselves: the t-shirts that were still in good condition could be sent to a local charity. Because I was sentimentally attached to a few of them (first day and last day of undergrad, races I’d run, groups I was part of and remember fondly), I started thinking about ways I could repurpose some of them. Others–including a few that had lived long past their usefulness–were bound for the landfill, unless I could find a way to reuse them.

How I’m Repurposing My T-Shirts

The web is littered with things you can do with old t-shirt fabric: turn them into other items of clothing, or make jewelry with them. But I don’t need more clothes or jewelry. I do need a rug for my bedroom. And an idea was born: turning my t-shirts into a rug would not only meet a practical need, it would also reduce my short-term impact on the environment, allow me to save money since I wouldn’t have to buy a rug, and offer another opportunity for me to express my creativity.

There were a couple of DIY t-shirt rug options I found: this one, that uses strips of the fabrics knotted into a grid; and this one, turning the fabric into yarn and crocheting it into a round rug. Since I want this to be a low- or no-cost project, I’m opting for the crocheted option since I already have the perfect needle for it.

It will be a few weeks yet before I can tackle this project, since I’ll be traveling for a couple of weeks and won’t have a chance to turn my attention to it until I get back. However, I’m already looking forward to taking what was becoming a nuisance and using it to fill a need. In the meantime, consider following me on Instagram here and here if you’d like to see pictures from my travels.



  1. De cluttering, minimalism, a capsule wardrobe (whatever you call it) is completely an ongoing process I totally agree ~ it’s hard but so fun and rewarding!

    I love the idea or repurposing clothing, cushions covers are a good standby. Great ideas! Xx x xx

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