Frugality includes reusing items. Maybe you have an abundance of T-shirts that you can't bring yourself to throw away. Some were probably free, and others might be mementos from school, vacations or sports. Instead of purging them or letting them take up precious storage space, you can reuse them in more practical ways. How have you recycled them?
Here are a few ideas:
RAGS: For T-shirts that don't hold any special sentiment, cut them up and use them as cleaning cloths. They're low lint and absorbent, which makes them great for wiping, dusting and polishing around the house. They can be cut into small squares and used and reused to wash your face or as a cloth napkin. Or use white T-shirts to stain wood. Retail cost for t-shirt rags is $15 for 10 pounds of rags.
PILLOWS: Keep the t-shirt intact, turn inside out, and sew the bottom and sleeves openings closed. Turn right side out, stuff and sew the top opening closed. Or cut the body of the t-shirt and make it into a square-shaped pillow. This is a great way to reuse your favorite T-shirts. Or use one as a no-sew pillowcase. Simply tuck your pillow into a large- to extra-large t-shirt. Retail cost for custom ordered recycled t-shirt pillow is $18 to 25.
QUILT: Cut T-shirts into squares and sew together to make a quilt. It takes about 36 T-shirts to make a queen-sized quilt using 14-inch square blocks with 1-1/2-inch sashing and 2-inch borders. Retail value for a custom-made t-shirt quilt is $500.
CLOTH DIAPERS: Visit Fern and Faerie (fernandfaerie.com/sewing_fitteds.html) for a cloth-diaper pattern and tutorial. Can't sew? No problem. Visit Cloth Diapers Made Easy (www.cloth-diapers-made-easy.com/the-no-sew-tshirt-diaper.html) for a no sew cloth diaper pattern and tutorial. Retail value for a t-shirt cloth diaper is $8.50/each.
GROCERY BAG: Use a plastic grocery bag as a pattern. Cut the sleeves off (the material that is left becomes the handles) and cut the neck opening slightly larger. Turn the t-shirt inside out and sew the bottom opening closed. The handles of your bag can be folded and stitched for extra strength. The bottom of the bag can be double stitched for strength, too. Retail cost for a recycled t-shirt grocery bag is $4 each.
YARN: Make t-shirt yarn by cutting T-shirts into strips (at least 1/4-inch wide strips) and crochet or knit rag rugs. Too large of a project? Knit dishcloths or use wider strips and braid dog tug toys. You'll want to use T-shirts that don't have side seams to make longer strips. If you don't knit or crochet, make a latch-hook rug with T-shirts strips. Visit Xoelle (xoelle.com/2009/05/t-shirt-latch-hook-rug-tutorial) for a tutorial. Retail cost for a t-shirt rug is between $30-$600 depending on size and complexity. Braided t-shirt dog tug toy retail cost is $15.
SEAT COVER: Use in your car to cover your seats. Simply slip over to protect your seats. It's great for families with kids who kick the back of the seats during the rain or snow season or pets that leave excessive fur or muddy paw prints. Retail cost for a similar terr cloth pullover seat cover is $35.
APPLIQUE: Cut out favorite designs on old T-shirts and sew them onto hoodies or sweatshirts. Retail cost for a simple custom-made applique hoodie or sweatshirt is $30 to $50.
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village ( www.frugalvillage.com ), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail email@example.com .
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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