As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. Since the snow is about to fall, and you’re going to be stuck inside for a while, it’s the perfect time to go through your clutter and donate or repurpose your old blankets.

Blankets are very common gifts, and try as you might, it’s hard to resist the soft ones you see at stores. Before you know it, you’ve got way too many blankets all over your house!  

It’s time for you to get rid of the old to make room for the new. You’ll love these easy blanket upcycling ideas. There are also a ton of wonderful organizations that will accept your blanket donations. Let’s get to it!

What to Do With Old Blankets

You don’t have to get rid of blankets that you no longer want to keep. There are plenty of ways to repurpose them around the house instead. You’ll save money and cut down on any more waste in landfills.

Here is a list of 15 things you can do right now with your old blankets!

1. Give the Blanket to Your Pet

old blankets can be used by your pets

Your dog or cat wants to cuddle up in a blanket, too! Old blankets are perfect for pet beds or as couch covers if you don’t want pet hair all over the place. You can even tie the blanket into knots and use it as a chew toy.

2. Keep it for Craft Projects

keep an old blanket for craft projects

A gently used blanket has a place in your craft closet! You can lay it down as a tarp for painting, cut it into fabric strips for DIY projects, sew it into pajama pants, or tie it around your body as a makeshift apron. Unleash your inner creativity and get to work!

3. Cut Into a Scarf or Headband

cut an unwanted blanket into a scarf

Why spend money on a new headband or scarf? You can make one instead from an unwanted blanket. Simply cut a fabric strip in your desired size, throw it on with your outfit, and you’re done! It’s a great way to spruce up your wardrobe, and you don’t even need to know how to sew.

4. Repurpose a Blanket Into Cleaning Cloths

repurpose a blanket into cleaning cloths

Alarmingly, people in the United States use 13 billion pounds every single year! You can save a whole roll of paper towels from going to waste by cutting up an old blanket and using the scrap fabric for cleaning. Wipe down your windows, bathtub, inside of your refrigerator, and even your car!

5. Save it for Outdoor Activities

use old blankets outdoors

Whether you’re camping, going on a picnic, or heading to the beach, you’ll want to bring a few blankets along. Tattered, old, or worn out blankets are perfect for outdoor use since it will be no big deal if they get muddy or covered in grass stains.

6. Fashion a Blanket Into Blackout Curtains

turn a blanket into blackout curtains

In order to get a quality 8 hours of rest, experts recommend sleeping in a totally dark room. A sleeping mask is one solution, but to really get some shuteye, hang an old blanket over your bedroom window. It’s also a good thing to bring along if you’re staying at a hotel or someone else’s house overnight.

7. Turn the Blanket Into a Pillow

turn the blanket into a pillow

Speaking of good sleep, you can also turn a gently used blanket into a new pillow. To do so, either stuff the blanket inside of a pillowcase or wrap it around the outside of a pillow. These DIY pillows are not only awesome for your bedroom, but also look good as accents on your living room couch.

8. Dust or Sweep With a Blanket

dust or sweep the floor with an old blanket

Do you have Sherpa blankets you no longer need? You can use the fluffy fleece blankets to sweep or mop your tile or hardwood floors. Simply attach it to a Swiffer or the bottom of a broom handle. You can also make dusters if you have a lot of shelves in your home.

9. Cover a Table for a Party

use a blanket as a tablecloth

You probably don’t want to eat on top of an old blanket, but you can still use one as a tablecloth. Cover the welcome table at a wedding, the gift table at a birthday party, or the dessert table at a baby shower. Décor has never been so easy!

10. Use the Blanket to Make a Fort

use the blanket to make a fort

According to The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “play is important to healthy brain development.” Kids may be obsessed with video games and YouTube, but you should still encourage them to use their imagination! Put a few old blankets in the toy bin at home so they can use them as a play mat or to build epic forts.

11. Save it for Halloween

use blanket as a superhero cape for Halloween

Does your kid want to be a scary witch or vampire for Halloween? How about a high-flying superhero? Reuse your old blanket as a makeshift cape. Parents spend about $10 billion every year on Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations. A repurposed blanket is a thrifty way to save some cash!

12. Create Gift Bags From a Blanket

create gift bags using an old blanket

Americans spend $2.6 billion every year on wrapping paper and gift bags. Billion! Save your money by repurposing a blanket into gift bags. You can use it as wrapping paper, to create a bunch of mini gift bags, or as a giant sack like the one Santa loves to hold!

13. Use it as an Emergency Blanket

use it as an emergency blanket in the winter

During the winter, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car. This should include an ice scraper, spare gloves, a knit beanie hat, and a blanket in case your car breaks down. There’s no need to go out and buy a new blanket for the job. Just reuse an old one that you already have lying around the house.

14. Cover Your Plants in the Winter

cover your plants in the winter with a blanket

When the weather gets chilly, you need to cover your outdoor plants and flowers. Fabric is better than plastic since it adds insulation, so cover everything up with a few blankets. Weigh the blankets down using heavy rocks, and you’ll have a fresh garden come springtime!

15. Put Under Furniture When Moving

use blankets when moving

If you’re moving, you should put heavy furniture, like couches and beds, on top of an old blanket. It will be easier to move the furniture into the right room, and you won’t have to worry about damaging the floors. You can also wrap fragile items or items you don’t want scuffed up in a few blankets.

Where to Donate Old Blankets

Most of the repurposing ideas listed above involve keeping your old blankets rather than throwing them away. If storage is an issue, you can always donate them to a worthwhile case instead.

Do you have too many blankets at home? Donate the ones you no longer use to any of the following:

animal shelters graphic

Animal Shelters

There are over 3,500 animal shelters in the United States, so you can easily find one in your area. They will use your unwanted blankets to make snuggly beds for the cats, dogs, and other animals. Who knows? Maybe you’ll adopt a pet while you’re there!

homeless shelters graphic

Homeless Shelters

Unfortunately, poverty and homelessness is a growing problem in the United States. In fact, there was a 1.3% increase in the number of shelters from 2020. Every little thing you do makes a difference, including donating your old blankets to those who need them.

National Disaster Relief graphic

National Disaster Relief

Nonprofits like the Red Cross and the Furniture Bank Movement collect gently used furniture, blankets, pillows, towels, and other home goods. They then donate these items to those affected by natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

soldier graphic

Soldiers’ Angels

Soldiers’ Angels is a global nonprofit that provides aid and comfort to active military, veterans, and their families. You can donate gently used blankets to their cause by emailing inkind@soldiersangels.org. They will then give you an address where you can ship the blankets.

planet graphic

Planet Aid

It’s insane, but more than 21 million pounds of textiles end up in landfills every year. Planet Aid’s mission is to cut down on all that waste. Bring your old blankets, clothes, and other fabric pieces to one of their drives.

Goodwill graphic

Goodwill

There are more than 3,000 Goodwill stores in the United States. You can find one near you and bring in not only gently used blankets, but also clothes, home décor, books, kitchenware, and other items.

Salvation Army graphic

Salvation Army

If you thought there were a lot of Goodwill stores, there are even more Salvation Army locations! In fact, there are close to 8,000 across the United States. You can easily find one near you, and drop off all of your donations, including old blankets.

church graphic

Churches

Are you having a hard time finding a cause near you? Your local church may have an idea! Many even have free drop-off services, so you can simply bring the gently used blankets in a bag as time allows.

Can You Recycle Blankets?

can you recycle blankets

Yes, blankets are recyclable! It works the same as recycling clothes, towels, or any other piece of fabric. As long as the blanket is made from a recyclable material, it should be accepted by your local recycling station.

Of course, there are a couple exceptions. The first is blankets coated with certain types of plastic. These may or may not be recycled, depending on what material is used. Second, blankets that are ripped or stained may not be accepted. This is because they can’t be broken down and reused to make anything new.

Contact your local recycler ahead of time if you’re at all unsure about whether or not your blankets will be accepted. They will tell you right away so you don’t have to waste your time.

Final Thoughts

Even if they’re old, worn, and tattered, it can be hard to part with your favorite blankets. The good news is a little creativity and upcycling goes a long way. If you’re not attached to your blanket, donating should be your next choice. There are a ton of great options out there ranging from shelters to churches. Choose a cause that’s close to your heart.

Above all, remember that recycling should be your last choice when deciding what to do with old blankets. Repurposing and donating are much better for the planet!

References

Cvetkovska, L. (2021, May 18). 44 Shocking Animal Shelter Statistics & Sad Facts for 2021. Retrieved from, https://petpedia.co/animal-shelter-statistics/

Ibis World. (2021, August 30). Community Housing & Homeless Shelters in the US. Retrieved from, https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/community-housing-homeless-shelters-united-states

Conserve Energy Future. Are Blankets Recyclable? Retrieved from, https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/are-blankets-recyclable.php

Sciortino, D. (2017, February 23). Instead of Tossing Old Comforters, Here Are 11 Clever Ways to Reuse Them Around the House. Retrieved from, https://homehacks.co/ways-to-repurpose-old-comforters/

Expert Home Tips. (2018, October 25). 31 Terrifically Thrifty Ways to Use Your Old Bed Sheets. Retrieved from, https://experthometips.com/uses-for-old-bed-sheets

Snider, M. (2021, September 23). Americans Will Spend a Record $10 Billion on Halloween Candy, Decorations, and Pet Costumes. Retrieved from, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/09/22/halloween-costumes-2021-candy-decorations-spending-record/5816767001/

McCarthy, A. (2018, March 22). Are Our Clothes Doomed for the Landfill? Retrieved from, https://remake.world/stories/news/are-our-clothes-doomed-for-the-landfill/

Ginsburg, K. (2007 January). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Retrieved from, https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/119/1/182/70699/The-Importance-of-Play-in-Promoting-Healthy-Child

Nowroozi, G. Acosta, S. (2020, December 11). The History Behind Wrapping Paper, and How it Became a Holiday Tradition. Retrieved from, https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2020/12/11/the-history-behind-wrapping-paper-and-how-it-became-a-holiday-tradition/

Schwartz, C. (2017, January 25). The Dirty Details [and Facts] on Paper Towels and Sponges. Retrieved from, https://cottagecare.com/blog/dirty-details-facts-paper-towels-sponges/

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