ByJoanna Lacey

May 19, 2021
Donation box filled with old sweaters

I love sweaters and wear them year-round — even in the summer. They keep me warm in air-conditioned buildings and on chilly evenings out. But a lot of my old sweaters got stretched out of shape because I used to think they should be stored on hangars. As a result, one of my favorite sweaters is almost long enough to be a dress!

I still wear my long, shapeless sweater around the house. It’s perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book. Or I’ll pull it on when I take out the garbage or get the mail. When I do the dishes or cook, I can secure the stretched-out sleeves out of the way with cuffs I’ve cut off from old socks.

If I no longer like a sweater or the way it fits, I’ll pass it along so someone else can wear it. It’s easy to donate clothes, shoes, accessories, and household textiles that are in reusable condition to USAgain by placing the items in my local drop box. USAgain plants a tree for every full drop box so I really like donating to them.

When they’re beyond repair, old sweaters are a great material for all kinds of craft projects. When leg warmers were popular, I made a pair out of stretched-out sweater sleeves. I wore them as boot toppers and they kept me nice and warm. Crafters can turn them into throw pillows, wrist warmers, vests, and more. Pinterest has all kinds of ideas for interesting crafts ideas using old sweaters.

We have so many options to extend the useful life of our clothing. And even for garments that aren’t in usable condition, there are usually recycling options so we can keep them out of the landfill.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.