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Recycle Kid’s Outgrown Clothes Into Play Pillows

Ever catch your child running around in a way too tight shirt that you know they dug out of the “too small” bin in the basement?  They promptly tell you that the shirt fits just fine even though their belly is sticking out, and they can bearly fit their arms into the sleeves.  You know those favorite shirts that they just can’t seem to get enough of!  Here is a way that I have discovered to make those favorite shirts last just a little bit longer.  Instead of packing them away or donating the kid’s favorite outgrown clothes I love to make them into little pillows that they can use for play.  They are perfect for dolly cribs or for their favorite stuffed animals to use in their beds.  They get to see their favorite shirt everyday and play with it too.

Every mom knows the struggle when it comes to kid’s clothes.  The dreaded “try this on so I can see if it still fits” session while changing out the dressers for the season is always a task.  Clothes are outgrown or ruined quickly, and it seems that you always run out of everything at once.  All of  a sudden they have no jeans and have out grown all of their shoes in the same day.  My system has been perfecting itself over the last 5 years, and I now have it down to a science.  The hubby wants to keep everything, but I, on the other hand, have adopted a “use it or loose it” attitude when it comes to the kid’s stuff.  There are a few very special items that I keep, but in an attempt to not let their things takeover our home… outgrown stuff must go!

I keep an empty bin in each bedroom hidden away.  When I try a piece of clothing on the kids that no longer fits, or is torn or stained beyond salvage, I immediately toss it into the bin.  That way it doesn’t get cleaned and put back into their dresser for a repeated “oh this is too small” moment.  Once the bin in their rooms are full then it goes down stairs into the plastic bin abyss where it is folded, sorted and placed in a labeled tote.  Then each season I take the bins to consignment, garage sales, or a donation center.  Of course, this always happens when my kids are milling around playing, and they always seem to notice when I have carefully tucked away their very favorite shirt, and they instantly pull it back out of the tote.  They proclaim that they love it and off it goes.  I again wash fold and try to stick it in the totes again, with the same end result.  If they can’t find it they will ask repeatedly where it went because, well… you know…they love it so much!  Over the years I have come up with a plan for those favorite shirts that thrills my kids and saves me the trouble of trying to sneak it out of our house.

Instead of getting rid of their favorite shirts I now turn them into little play pillows for the kids to use however they would like.  I simply do the best I can to cut out the graphic that makes the shirt so special to them so I can turn it into a little pillow.  Luckily, most of the graphics have been front and center on the shirt, so I just cut the front and back of the shirt out together, which gives me the front and back of the pillow that I will be making.

It is a simple sewing project.  I place the graphic to the inside and sew the two cut pieces of t-shirt together leaving a small opening to stuff it.  One small bag of fluff makes a few little pillows.  Then I turn the pillow right side out, stuff it and do an invisible seam to close it up.  The kids love being handed their old shirt in a new form… a pillow. They aren’t always shaped perfctly, but the kids love them just the same.

My daughter usually tucks her baby dolls into their cradles at night with her pillows and my son loves to keep his in his bed for his favorite turtle to sleep on.  I have to admit it is pretty cute to see them tucking in their favortie little friends with their very own pillows and thrills me to see how much they love using them.  Quite honestly, I think I love to see their favorite little shirts turned pillows around the house, maybe even more than they do!  I think of all of the fun we had together that year, how many hundreds of times I washed and folded that shirt, and how they always picked it out for special occasions.  For me it is the perfect cobination of sentimental but practical!  For the kid’s it is just plain fun, and a great way to turn an old shirt into a new pillow!