Let us just start by saying that T-shirts are awesome. They are one of the few pieces of all-purpose clothing that can be worn year-round and with just about anything else in your closet. T-shirts are so versatile that they have become a staple of the American closet. But what happens to those T-shirts when we are done with them?
What you do with T-shirts you no longer wear? How about all those super sleek LatinX T-shirts you purchased from New York City-based Plurawl? Or how about that collection of sports related T-shirts paying homage to all your favorite teams? There will come a point when you either cannot wear the shirts or just don’t want to. Take your pick. Either way, decisions will have to be made.
Donate Them to a Cause
Millions of abandoned T-shirts are donated to charitable causes every year. A small minority of them end up in secondhand and thrift stores. But most wind up being sent overseas where they are either sold in developed countries, given away to the poor and needy, or disposed of in landfills.
There is no way to know what will happen with your T-shirts should you choose to donate them. And quite frankly, tracking them would be nearly impossible. So any decision to donate would mean accepting the risk that your donations may ultimately be thrown away anyhow.
You do not have to get rid of T-shirts you no longer wear. You can re-purpose them, extending their lives until you have no other choice but to send them to the trash. The good news is that your repurposing possibilities are almost endless.
Because T-shirts are incredibly soft and generally made from cotton or a poly-cotton blend, they are excellent as cleaning rags. Take your typical plain, white T-shirt. It is perfect for cleaning glass. A little bit of window cleaner and an old T-shirt can make every window in your home sparkle.
Cut up T-shirts are ideal for checking the oil in your car or removing a few days of accumulated bug guts. You can use T-shirt pieces to clean the bathroom, dry the dishes, or wipe down your golf clubs when the course is especially messy.
If you want to re-purpose your T-shirts in a way that appears to be a bit more classy, you can try upcycling them. A case in point is a New York artist who transforms old T-shirts into pieces of woven fabric that might become artwork, upholstery, or just about anything else the artist can think of.
If you choose this route, just remember one thing: there is nothing inherently superior about upcycling. When compared to repurposing, it is really just a semantic issue. Don’t get all hoity-toity over the fact that your old T-shirts have become art pieces while someone else’s are being used to wash and wax cars.
Reuse Them Yourself
There’s one more thing to think about before this post closes: actually reusing those old T-shirts yourself. For example, you may have a selection of T-shirts you no longer wear because they are not fashionable. Fine. But you do have household chores that have to be done, right?
Wear an old T-shirt when you mop the floor or change the oil in the car. No one will care. And if whatever chore you are doing results in stains, rips, etc., so what? You are never going to wear that T-shirt in public again anyway. At least now you have a legitimate reason to throw it in the trash rather than sending it overseas.