I am very very new to all of this, but one of the things I need to do is cleaning out my closet. I have plenty of clothes, handbags, etc that will serve as great rags for around the house or donations to the local Salvation Army store, but there are a few things I'm at a loss with. What do you do with old socks - ones with worn out heels and holes in them? Is there a good way to re-use that I am overlooking, or a way to recycle them somewhere? I would love to hear any creative ideas that people may have. Also, what about shoes? I know that many sports stores take in old running shoes, but I have some dress shoes that are definitely not give-away quality, even to the salvation army. Is there a way to recycle shoes that have been ripped and torn beyond repair? What about old underwear - the stuff that has lost all its elasticity? Does everyone just throw those away?
Thanks for answering, and sorry if the answer to all of these is somewhere on the website - I've been reading a bunch, but haven't read the whole blog yet!
Hi Alaine - What a coincidence as I posted a similar question on shoes the same day you posted here. I posted on the zero waste closet entry - just discovered the forum today. I wrote to Naturalizer and am waiting to hear back from them. I have a few pairs of work shoes that are incredibly worn out and are definitely not donation worthy. I will let you know if I hear back.
I use older socks for dusting rags, washing the car, the pets, super nasty jobs so I dont grime up my "good" rags and towels. Also, there are all kinds of crafts and things you can do with your kids online. There is one website where you can take old rags/pieces of clothing/socks and make kid's flip flops for around the house! How amazing is that?! Those are just some of my suggestions for your reuse!
There are some programs for athletic shoes (I live in the Boulder area, but I'll assume this is for anyone?):
Nike Town Denver, Denver Pavilion
500 16th St.
Denver, CO 80202
http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/ All brands of athletic shoes are collected at the store above and processed into a grind that is used in athletic courts, tracks, fields and playground surfaces. Visit website for additional drop-off locations.
One World Running
PO Box 2223
Boulder, CO 80306
303-473-1314 (Mike Sandrock)
Collects running shoes in very good condition for distribution to runners in Cameroon and other countries. Running shoes unsuitable for shipment abroad are donated, through Eco-Cycle, to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. Running shoes may be dropped off at Boulder Running Company (2775 Pearl, Boulder), Fleet Feet Sports (2624 Broadway, Boulder) or the Boulder Daily Camera, 1048 Pearl St., Boulder, c/o Mike Sandrock in the sports department.
As for socks and underwear...GOOD question. I've been thinking the same thing. Growing up, my mom used dad's old underwear and mine/my sister's cloth diapers for dust rags. :) Why not socks, too?
My Mom and I cut old or orphan socks in half and use them as rags. They clean really well, as the inside of the socks usually is rough enough so you can scrub with them. I used to get weird looks when cleaning with the cut up socks, but I think they are wonderful. Good question about the old underwear!! I have no idea, but let us know if you find a use for them.
We used to do the same with cotton socks. They're also great just to slip on your hand and clean or dust that way, especially for kids. Also best way ever for polishing silver or brass (using appropriate polishing product of course). DH uses a mix with some synthetics, so not sure they'd be as effective.
I would assume anything that's 100% cotton is biodegradable, so as a final option, if you do your own compost, you could just toss in *clean*, shredded, old undies (minus the elastic, etc). Crows, maybe other birds, would love cloth shreddings, too. Might also work as weed retardant around plants -obviously hide with mulch or put where no one would care ;-))
This may be helpful for folks who wear out tennis shoes/sport sandals frequently.
I have a friend who swears by Keens. Her pair is four years old, she wears them all the time, puts them in the washer when they're dirty, and I can vouch for the fact that they still look brand new, and even the tread still looks good. So I'm testing that theory with a new pair of my own. I'm going to wear them as long as I can. They will get worn for a 20-minute dog walk twice a day, and all weekend. (I'm even going to try them with gray socks in winter, but depending on how cold it is, I may have to give up on that idea). I love the fact that these serve as sandals and tennis shoes, and that the footbed is not cloth covered, since footbeds in my shoes have a tendency to peel. I also like the rubber toes, because although they are not the most attractive, they shouldn't peel downward like the toes of many other shoes tend to do, and they cover the parts that tend to get scuffed. (Now my only other summer shoes are a pair of black dressy sandals and a pair of navy sandals.)
Here's how they look today, at 1 month. (I'll update this post periodically.)
Of course, this only works if you are actually wearing out the shoes and not outgrowing them. Can't help with that problem...
Does anyone else have a particular brand of shoes that has held up admirably well over time? Can you post pics and tell us how old they are?
My favorite long lasting shoes are Chaco sandals. They sell them at REI and similar sporty outdoor stores. I got my first pair used at an REI garage sale in high school. I wore them regularly for 8 years and only gave them away (last week actually, to a friend) because I realized the size smaller fit me a little better and I had only been keeping that pair as back up (for a number of years now). The straps were a bit worn at the adjustment points, though usable, but Chaco has a great warranty and will repair or replace the straps and soles (though I've heard it's expensive, I've not had to do that yet). I bought my second pair in 2007 at another REI garage sale for $5 (they normally retail for $70 +). I have been wearing those regularly since (most days June-September in rough conditions, indulding hiking, rafting, etc.) and they are doing great. The beauty is that you can jsut scrub them down with a scrub brush and castile soap or toss them in the wash machine and they are good as new. If you don't wash them every once in a while they will get stinky. They are fairly casual but if you get the right color, you can dress them up, I actually wore mine for my wedding day because I knew they would be the most comfortable thing I could wear. They have great arch support (feels weird at first if you aren't used to it, but seems to work well for a variety of feet). They also have very adjustable straps. You can get them with a toe strap or not, and they also have flip flop versions. http://www.chacos.com/US/en
A wonderful organization that sends old athletic shoes to countries in need is http://soles4souls.org/ There are numerous stores that act as distribution points. I've made it a tradition for my birthday that I tell my friends to bring a bag of their old shoes (and their friends, neighbors, etc) for me to donate. The first time I did this I had over 60 pairs.
i love my favorite long lasting black shoes and high heel pink sandals this sandals my dad give me as a gift that cause i love this sandals.
[url=http://www.contenthoop.com/tips-logo-design/8196/] TIPS FOR LOGO DESIGN[/URL]
About old socks:
With the thin ones you can make really easy fragrant sachets. Just cut up the part above the heel, sew the cut part shut and voila! You have a sachet! fill in with lavender and tie it.
With the fluffy ones, you can make a cool soap-sponge. Cut the part above the heel, sew the cut end shut, then turn inside out (fluffy side out). In this little sachet insert your soap or soap slivers. Sew shut and hang it in the shower.
Don't forget to recycle (textile recycle) the leftovers.