5 Ways to Make your Children’s Clothes Last Longer


What do you do with the clothes your children no longer need?

Do you give them away or pass them?

What about about the clothes that are too worn to be passed on?

I put a lot of our clothes that are beyond wearing into our textile recycling bins.

My local council takes textiles with our kerbside recycling collections.  We just pop clothes and other textiles into a carrier bag and the council take them away. They are then are sent to a recycling centre that sorts them by quality abd they are either sold on to be reused abroad or recycled into things like cushion stuffing.

But how much of that recycling can we do at home? How can we reduce the amount of waste that we leave out for the bin men and make more of the things we buy?

By reusing and re-purposing our clothing we can make it last so much longer, and keep it out of landfill too.

This blog post looks at what we can do to make our children’s clothes last longer – and not always as clothing either!

From dishcloths to compost there is so much we can do to make our textiles work harder for us.

1. Buy Less, Buy Better

I believe that by buying better quality clothes in the first place they will last so much longer.

Buying less is also the only way that we can really save the earths resources. I’ve written before on how we can save money on children’s clothes buy buying less and using what we already have.

Swapping and borrowing or buying second hand where we can are all key to reducing the amount of earth’s resources being used on fashion and clothing.

READ MORE: How to Save Money on Kids Clothes

Fast fashion – cheap clothes, easily available – often means that the clothes we buy just don’t last and so when they fall apart we pop them in the bin without a second thought.

If we buy better made clothes, they might be more expensive in the beginning, but they should last longer too. The initial outlay might be costly but it will save us money – and the planet – in the long run.

Get more from your kids clothes by buying the best quality clothes you can and they will last longer and be in a better condition to pass on to younger siblings, friends or family.

Giving away or selling on outgrown clothes keeps them out of landfill for longer and most of the Tutti Frutti Clothing collection is designed to be unisex so that they can be passed down to boys or girls too!

READ MORE: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle….and Re-sell 

2. Look After Your Clothes


caring for your clothesWe can make our clothes last longer by looking after them better.

Washing less regularly, on a colder setting and line drying do much less damage to the fibers of the clothes and make them last longer.

Before I had children, I was going to be the kind of mother with well turned out children. My children would wear the clothes I bought them without complaint and treat them with care and respect.  

I imagined our clothes would be washed, ironed and folded neatly. My children would have carefully selected outfits that were stylish and seasonal.

What went wrong?! Why is my reality so different?

9 years into motherhood and I still regularly pick piles of clothes up off the floor. Clothes are washed but rarely ironed and I often feel I am losing the battle of neatly folded clothes in drawers.

But I know this needs to change and so I have made a conscious effort to look after the things we have better.

I carefully fold clothes and am encouraging my children to take care of them too.

Every small change makes a difference.

3. Repair Clothes Often


patch jeansCheap, fast fashion is often too easy to throw out. It shrinks, gets misshapen or falls apart quickly.

It’s low price means we have no incentive to mend or care for it – we might as well throw it away and buy a new one.

After all….its cheaper to buy another one than mend the one we have isn’t it?

I am well aware that one of the reasons I have cared less about clothes in the past is that they are so cheap and easy to replace.

Holes in the knees of favourite jeans, seams popping on leggings from endless cartwheels and tears from where they get caught on ragged tree branches

If your children’s clothes get holes in do you repair them or throw them away?

Until recently I would be in the second category and would probably leave any damaged clothes out for the bin men.  My recycling bin is always overflowing. I am constantly trudging out the front door to out things int the recycling bin.

On one hand it is great that these recycling facilities are so readily available - but on the other it shows just how much stuff I buy.

It is because we buy so much, we have so much to throw away.

Fast fashion – cheap clothes, easily available – often means that the clothes we buy just don’t last and so when they fall apart we pop them in the bin without a second thought.

But we should all stop and change. We cannot go on buying and buying as resources will eventually run out.

We need to make what we buy last.

Why not give your ripped or damaged clothing a whole new lease of life with a knee patch, a mended seam or replaced zipper.

If the thought of sewing fills you with dread then there are Repair Cafés springing up all over the place that can lend a hand.

Find your nearest Repair Cafe here and learn how to save your clothes and make them last a little longer.

4. Re-purpose Your Clothes


make a duster

Sometimes clothes are just ruined beyond repair.

Holes in the knees spread and stains just can’t be hidden any more. But lets not forget that clothes are just pieces of fabric sewn together – and there are a multitude of things you can do with fabric!

Who remembers cut off jeans? You can cut of most trousers to make shorts if the holes the knees are beyond repair.

Turn your Tutti Frutti Clothing leggings into shorts by cutting them off at the desired length. Jersey doesn’t fray so there isn’t even any need to hem them. The edges might roll up a little in the wash but they would be ace for garden or messy play and are a great way to get more from your leggings when they get a little short.

If you aren’t handy with a sewing machine, can’t get to a repair café and really don’t want to make shorts? Why not turn them into household cloths or dusters? Use old t-shirts to clean the car, and keep old duvet covers for dust sheets.

There are so many easy uses for old clothing beyond just putting them in the recycling bin.

And the longer we can use them for in one or another, the better.

5. Compost Your Clothes


Compost BinsDid you know that you can compost any fabric that is a natural, biodegradeable fabric? This is anything that is 100% cotton, silk, wool, cashmere, hemp, bamboo or linen.

Do remember that anything with a man-made fiber in (polyester, elastane, nylon etc) won’t compost easily and can take up to 200 years to break down so keep them out of your compost bin!

Here are some quick rules to follow if you want to compost your waste textiles:

  • Cut the fabric into tiny squares, or rip them up. The smaller the pieces the better
  • Remove anything that won't biodegrade like zips buttons or tags
  • Add worm friends to your compost they are really efficient at processing organic waste

Composting the clothing is putting them back into the soil that they came from originally – and so fashion can truly be circular and give back!

These are just a handful of ideas of things that you can do with your old children’s clothes before you put them in the bin.

What ideas do you have to keep things out of landfill for longer?


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