Simplyfing Clothing

This is the second in our Quick Tips series for Simple September… you can catch up with the first post on Meal Planning here x

There are two more posts planned over the next two weeks, but today we are thinking about how to simplfy our clothes – both kids and adults. We have been having a major sort out at Frugal HQ as part of our Simple September, and clothes has been a bit part of our process, getting rid of things we no longer want, need, fit etc. Here’s how we manage CLOTHES…

We spend very little on clothing – and with all things in our family this is for two reasons

  1. To save money

  2. To save the world!

By getting most of our clothes second hand we are giving clothes another few years of wear before they are no longer able to be used as clothes. This keeps them out of landfill for a while longer, and potentially allows them to be turned into other things (more on this below).

It also saves us heaps of money. We are lucky to be offered lots of clothes from friends and via our local free recycling group – when we do need to buy clothes we always check out our many local charity shops, failing that we look on second hand sites online. We have some traditions like new pjs for Christmas Eve, t-shirts for Fathers Day and we seem to have an endless requirement for dressing up costumes!


We often ask family to get the kids new clothes for birthdays. The kids are growing so quickly and are mainly playing and getting dirty that new clothes seem very wasteful anyway…

The clothing industry is one of the worst polluters of our planet, and some of the business practices are so shocking I didn’t believe them at first… we have interesting interviews with Rachel from Style Yourself Sustainable, Lianne from Enchanted Rebels and Jo from Where Does it Come From? on this topic if you’d like to learn more.

As adults there are even more choices to reduce your impact from fast fashion:

  • Use an agency – this way you can update a work wardrobe regularly without buying lots of clothes you may only wear once or twice.
  • Buy Vintage –  using great quality clothing already created is a great sustainable option. If you are a follower of fashion then it’s likely there is a vintage item already in existence that fits the look you are going for.
  • Make Your Own – There are so many ways you can learn a new skill, find a class follow a video tutorial (many for free) to create your own pieces of clothing. You can pick up a sewing machine second hand very easily and often very cheaply, or you may even have a friend or relative with one in the loft they don’t use to practice with.
  • Upcycle What You Have – often we have clothes we love, but they don’t fit or have a stain or rip in. There are lots of ways to alter, fix or patch clothes so you can continue wearing them for longer. Look up sashiko stitching, see if there is an alteration service at your local dry cleaners or similar, buy an iron on patch or make the rip a feature!
  • Re-Purpose It for Love – sometimes our clothes have an added sentimental meaning, and that’s a nice thing to keep. However, keeping it in the wardrobe might not be the best place, or give it the reverence it deserves.

Maybe you could make:

  • cushion
  • patchwork
  • frame it
  • memory bear

We have a section all about patchwork in our Eco Friendly Autumn book, this is a great time to start as you sort through summer clothes…



  • Repurpose It for Work – some items are just old and have no special place in your heart, so gift them on if they are still wearable, or if not you can send them as rags to a local charity shop or use them at home or work as:
    • Cut up t-shirts make great cleaning cloths
    • Old and odd socks are great for dusting and cleaning windows (put them on your hands!)
    • Cotton can be cut up for patchwork (see below) or making other items
    • Old jeans make awesome bags, pencil cases, hats, aprons, pockets…
    • Old jumpers make slippers, mittens, scarves,


If you are close to Nottingham Claire is also running some workshops on the basics and you would be very welcome! Events are listed on our Facebook Page x


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