Reader Dawn submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
My son has played sports since he was 5 yrs old and between me, my husband and him, we are overrun with “spirit” shirts with his name & number. Of course, he’s switched teams over the years, and has grown, so although a cute memento, I only need to keep 1 per team for the memory box. So, what do I do with the rest? I’m hesitant to donate them because they have his name on the back. Do you have any suggestions for me?
For the cotton spirit shirts you want to toss, I recommend cutting them up and using them as rags. If they would create more rags than you could possibly use in a lifetime, ask your friends, family, and local charity if they could use some cotton rags. Someone will want them.
If the fabric is polyester, you can actually recycle it. Call or check the website for your local recycling center to see if they accept polyester. It’s expensive to recycle and not all recycling centers accept polyester, so be sure to call before you make your donation.
Regarding the shirts you plan to keep, have you thought about having them sewn into a quilt instead of leaving them in a memory box? I think you might enjoy having a quilt to take with you to your son’s sporting events that is made up of all of his previous team shirts. The other parents in the stands might also have fun looking at it and taking a stroll down memory lane. There are companies that offer this service which you can find online, quilters you can hire through Etsy, and probably even your local quilt shop knows of someone in your vicinity who would be willing to sew it for you.
If one particular shirt holds special meaning (a state championship, his very first team shirt) you might also consider putting it in a frame and hanging it in his room as artwork. Since you’re going to the trouble of keeping some of the shirts, why not celebrate them?
Also, ask yourself if you really want to keep a copy of each shirt. Would just a few highlights have the same meaning for you and your son? There isn’t a right or wrong answer to that question, just something to consider.
Thank you, Dawn, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Be sure to check the comments for even more ideas from our readers.
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