Don’t just toss it. What to do with your old underwear
Like looking at old pictures, digging into the back of your underwear drawer can be a bit of a mixed bag. You might see some things that make you feel nostalgic — oh, there’s the novelty pair you got in Vegas! — and others that make you cringe. Yikes, remember when that sports bra actually had functioning elastic? Cleaning out your drawer of drawers feels crazy liberating, and it’s just one little way you can take care of yourself. But don’t just drop your panties in the trash, where they’ll begin a long journey to an overcrowded landfill. Here are 4 ways you can give those babies a new life.
Why you should NOT throw them in the trash
According to recent estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, 84% of unwanted textiles end up in landfills. Estimates also suggest that each person throws out 80 pounds of clothing per year, so it’s easy to see how these old clothes can create an environmental problem. When these textiles begin to decompose, they give off the greenhouse gas methane, not to mention that lugging them to the dump costs your city precious money ($20.6 million for New York City). There are better things to do with your old undies than just trashing them.
1. Donate ‘Em
Yes, seriously! Goodwill and Salvation Army accept donations of old underwear, even if it’s been worn. You just need to make sure it’s clean (because ew, gross if it’s not), and doesn’t have holes. Large organizations like these are well-equipped to handle pieces that are too past-it to sell for re-use: they will bale them up and sell them to a clothing recycler, and use the income to fund the rest of the good work they do. Additionally, gently used bras can be donated to these charities as well as women’s shelters and other organizations that work with women in need.
2. Scrub a Dub
Once your underwear drawer is freshly organized, take all your old panties and get to work scrubbing the rest of your home. Cut off the elastic, and treat them like you would any rag — you can dust and scrub everything from your kitchen counters to the garage floor with these soft-but-strong oldies.
3. Get Your Craft On
Display all those bright colors, pretty patterns and cute characters that attracted you to your underwear in the first place. Cut the elastic off old panties, and use the fabric to patch jeans. Sew squares of the fabric together to make a patchwork pattern that you can turn into a throw pillow cover, or craft finger puppets or doll clothes for a kid.
Want to make a titillating gift for that special someone? Use the fabric of your sexiest used underwear to cover a photo frame, then slide in a photo of the two of you together. Only your partner will know the significance of this naughty-but-nice gift.
4. Stuff Them
Shake off the memory of the middle school rumor mill; you can use old underwear to stuff anything that needs a little extra volume. Shove them into throw pillow cases, or use them to bulk up listless stuffed animals. If you have a dog or cat, make a quick and cozy bed that smells like you. Just fold an old blanket in half, sew all but one side closed, stuff the inside with your used underwear, and sew the last side closed. Long after you’ve finished with those garments, your faithful friend can enjoy them.
So go on – give those old panties a second life!