Do you have a rag bag?

You know how I am decluttering?

Well, I approach it with a haphazard, occasional moments of furious action, kinda of way. Interspersed with periods of inactivity. Long periods of inactivity. But I am decluttering.

Anyway, what to do with clothes that are not good enough to donate? You know charities spend vast sums disposing of people’s rubbish. Crap people donate because they don’t want to pay the disposal fees but kid themselves (actually they probably don’t kid themselves, that’s why they donate after hours) they are donating for “the poor”.

So we all have clothes that are worn out, stained, holey, beyond repair. Maybe just tired. But still not worth lumbering charities with.

I could just throw them in the bin.

But my long buried greenie-within shouts out that that is not right.

So those that are cotton or cotton-blend I put in my rag bag.

Before you call me on simply transferring my pile of clutter from one room to the next, hear me out.

I repurpose the cloth. Often replacing single-use items that are bought specifically to be used and thrown away.

I cut up torn sheets, and T-shirt material, to be used as kitchen wipes. Some last a little while as a kitchen cloth, replacing Chux-style wipes. Others squares replace kitchen paper and are used once for manky jobs and disposed of immediately. OK, they end up in the bin and landfill finally anyway but I’ve cut out the single-use item and extended the use of the cloth. I can’t remember the last time I bought Chux wipes.

Today’s cut up pile from two T-shirts and a nightie:


Other old clothes I use around the house for cleaning windows, dusting and polishing furniture.

I leave some in my car to wipe down windows and mirrors wet from dew in winter or for wiping up spills when out and about.

Some I give to Mr S for bike repairs. A messy business, apparently. But maybe that’s just my man. (Push bike not motor variety.)

Thrifty and green. Many things you can do to be green can save you money. It works the other way too – be thrifty and you may be looking after the environment.

Do you have a rag bag? And do you repurpose the fabric from old, beyond donation, clothes?

My clean cloth pile: a mix of bought micro-fibre and old towels and clothes:



11 thoughts on “Do you have a rag bag?

  1. Yes I have a rag bag – it’s a peg basket that hangs in the laundry. I cut up the BF’s boxers, tossing the yucky/manky bits. And if I use a cloth to wipe up something on the floor, I might often throw it out, rather than wash it, and continue to have SO many rags!! I use my home made hankies (out of an op shop sheet or two) to dust, and to wipe up spills at work, but never got to having them in the car (when I had one to my sole use). I did just throw out a pair of yoga pants that don’t stay up when I run. But cause they are a blend of man made stuffs, they ended up in landfill. Makes me sad, but they truly not salable!

  2. Yes, I have a ragbag, not quite as organised as yours though. Like you, I hate the thought of throwing stuff away to become landfill so I feel better if I re-use as cleaning cloths first. As my hobby is patchwork I also cut off the best bits of fabric ( if it’s 100% cotton! eg from shirts) that go into my patchwork stash. Waste not, want not!

    • Oh Linda, mine isn’t organised. I squashed them all down for the photo (and shush, but I have another one under the laundry sink). I think your use in quilting is so much more green and a more useful, long-lasting repurposing.

  3. It’s been a long time since I last decluttered . . need to work on that. I have cut up t shirts before (we ran out though) and it makes me feel better to use the fabric a little longer before finally tossing it. I’ve heard there are some places that recycle fabrics and I’ve been meaning to google that to see if they’re nearby and they take synthetic or blended fabrics.

    • I don’t think I’ll ever run out of rags. We have lots of cotton with two T-shirt wearing boys, one of whom wears them until they are rags. And Mr S and I only sleep on 100% cotton sheets. Then there’s track pants. I did look up textile recycling in my neck of the woods. Not really helpful for domestic quantities. Turned up a blank, except found they don’t want denim as it isn’t absorbent. Still, there was no place for domestic quantities.

  4. Yup, sure do! Like you mentioned, I mostly use them for cleaning, and will occasionally throw them out if washing them would cause more harm than good (e.g. shoe polish, bits of broken glass).

  5. I do have a rag bag but it’s out of control, becoming a rag cupboard. I don’t have a solution yet.

    My son’s lovely (male) teacher last week taught them all to sew buttons on patches of material (not one 10 year old in the class knew how.) Maybe I’ll make up a class set of button-patches and donate them to class teachers at school!

    • Caught between our need for decluttering and our need to thriftily re-purpose things, aren’t we? (My rags get out of control too. Comes from having children.)

      Love this button-sewing class lesson! My sons won’t bother, while they have a darling mother. Actually, they’d willingly go button-less rather than sew!

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