Tuesday, October 13, 2015

By the seat of my (husband's) pants

Because . . .  patching a hole in the seat of the jeans is faster than buying a new pair.

(Cheaper, too, of course).   The seat ripped out right before a trip that my husband took to New York, and I got the pants fixed and back onto his body in time for the train, with nary a trip to a store needed.

But a butt fix is faster only if the jeans are still mostly good --- that is, only provided the jeans aren't so old and threadbare that I'm not committing myself to continually sewing patches on top of patches.  Alas, my husband's jeans are getting to the dangerously threadbare stage.  Eventually, I'll declare them defunct, remove the solid parts for patching future jeans, and toss the rest.  (I still haven't found a local place that recycles rags -- our local Goodwill says they toss them in the trash).

Oh, but ripped jeans can be one of the most comfortable pairs of pants to wear, can't they?   My sister, who lives in California, tells me she realized she needed to go shopping for new jeans finally when a fire evacuation caused her to pack up and leave her house for a few days, and she realized while packing that every single pair of jeans she had was ripped.  Comfy, but torn.

So, for  now, I patch his jeans -- the seat, the knees.  The end of the jeans is imminent, so this is merely a stitch in time that buys more time. 


  1. do you have USAgain boxes? They claim they will recycle rags if you label them in a bag.

    We keep a bag going of rag stuff and drop them off at a thrift store in the big city in hour away when we happen to be in that area. I hate throwing away cloth stuff. I also cut up a lot for rags.

    Also, I somehow never thought of saving denim to patch other jeans (d'oh). I've bought jean patches. Will totally be doing your method in the future.

    1. Keeping torn, stained, and otherwise unwearable old clothes out of the landfill is a good idea. But it’s not as though USAgain is the only company accepting dilapidated duds. The Salvation Army, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul, among others, do so as well, although apparently some donors of such items have been turned away by these organizations. The reason for this, according to one blogger, is that the “message is slowly trickling down to the storefronts from the organizations’ regional offices to accept all dry, odorless textiles. Sometimes it takes a while for the message to reach everyone on the front lines.”

      Recycling clothes is great, and Americans need to do even more of it. But I feel compelled to warn you about the “USAgain” company, mentioned above.

      USAgain and other out-of-town used clothes collectors are widely reported to be causing reusable clothing donations to dwindle at local charities. This raises the concern that there aren’t enough decent donated duds to support all the groups collecting them, despite USAgain’s assurances to the contrary.

      USAgain has drawn a storm of criticism for even more disturbing reasons. Media reports going back a decade suggest that the for-profit company, to quote Seattle’s KIRO 7 News, “... routinely pretended to be a charity so business owners wouldn't ask for rent on the bin space.”

      Worse, Danish prosecutors tie USAgain to an alleged cult called the Tvind Teachers Group. Five leaders of this group are Interpol fugitives wanted in their native Denmark in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-fraud and embezzlement scheme.

      The Teachers Group (TG), the controlling body of the broader Tvind organization, is a political cult based on communist ideology. TG leaders control their followers to an alarming degree, according to ex-members. Not nice folks. Sound like folks you want to support?

      Google search these reports:

      Millions In Clothing Donations Diverted From Charity kirotv

      Local Mayor Wants Red Bins Out Usagain in Seattle YouTube

      [When the above reports aired in 2009, USAgain’s bins were of a red & white design, not their current green & white appearance. More info is in the ‘Pt. 2’ video’s description box. Click ‘Show more’ while on that page.]

      If, instead, the yellow bins of “Planet Aid” are in your area, be advised that Danish authorities have also linked that organization to the Tvind Teachers Group. A report on Planet Aid:

      “Kindness into Cash” - exposé of used clothes company Planet Aid - pt. 1

      Research before donating, and support legitimate, local charities. Thanks for the chance to express my opinions.

    2. Wow, what comprehensive comments and feedback! Thank you both!

      The local Goodwill in my area told me that they throw away rags. Whether they're *supposed* to do this, I don't know, but that's what they told me and I'm just going to believe them. I haven't asked our local Salvation Army, nor a slightly more distant (but larger) Goodwill.

      And the USAgain and Planet Aid bins started popping up in our area four or five years ago, along with much of the controversy that WD Larsen describes. I haven't been able to ask them (yet) what happens to rags I might deposit . . . so I haven't yet deposited any rags.

      All of which reminds me that when I acquire things, I should not only think about whether I want them in my house for a while, but also on how I'm responsibly going to get them out of my house. Sigh.

    3. Thanks for the reply. Glad to be of help. As for the rags: if the local outlet of a national nonprofit clothing collector is telling you they don't take the tattered oldies, call its national HQ, and ask someone there whether the organization accepts them. Given what I said in the first paragraph of my main comment here, it may be the case that the local store just hasn't got it clear yet that they are to accept all dry, odorless textiles. It's certainly worth a try.

  2. I'm pretty sure there's enough used clothes in the US to go around if everyone committed to donating them. There's a lot of used clothes out there! I know the place we give our rags to bundles them and sells them to a company that does industrial rags for cleanup of some sort. The place we give our stuff to actually isn't even a charity -- it's a thrift store, but they apparently don't donate enough to be counted a charity. But I like shopping there and know they do the rag thing, so I keep donating.

    I do know there's some controversy over any sort of clothes donations. Some are concerned that clothes donated to developing nations will tank local textile industries. While I don't mean to downplay concerns, I think the right decision depends on your values. For me, keeping stuff out of the landfill is my primary concern, so I donate to anyone who says that they will happily take rags and give them a new life (and seems to do so). Most places that don't want rags will tell you not to give them rags.

    1. 1) “I'm pretty sure there's enough used clothes in the US to go around if everyone committed to donating them...”

      Penn, I’ve researched this subject for several years. It depends on whether you're talking about used clothes that are still wearable, as opposed to the ripped, stained and otherwise unwearable items useful only for true recycling. You refer to both interchangeably, as if they were the same. They are not. Even the EPA says so.

      Used clothing in good condition is a lucrative commodity, but its supply is finite. Hundreds of media reports say that when for-profit and nonprofit outsiders like USAgain and Planet Aid place their bins in a town, wearable clothing donations dwindle at local charities. So it’s likely there aren’t enough decent duds to support all the groups collecting them, despite assurances to the contrary.

      It's therefore likely that the tens million tons of clothes that do go to a landfill are the tattered oldies, and again, I agree that this is a huge problem. But it's best to bag up one's 'non-wearables’ separately and take them preferably to a nonprofit like St. Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army, which sells the stuff by the ton to help needy folks locally. Give them to a for-profit company like USAgain or a shady nonprofit like Planet Aid, though, and you just help some guy to gas up his yacht.

      2) “…I keep donating”

      How can you donate to a for-profit company? Many thrift stores are for-profit. Same deal with the bins.

      3) “Most places that don't want rags will tell you not to give them rags.”

      Please see my the first paragraph of my main comment here.

      4) “ …there's some controversy over any sort of clothes donations.”

      “Some controversy”? Try calling it the “Clothing Bin Wars.” For evidence, just go to my YouTube channel, researchB4Udonate. The newsfeed includes many reports covering the mayhem these bins are causing in North America, Europe and Australia. The broader theme of my channel is charity fraud.

      5) “Some are concerned that clothes donated to developing nations will tank local textile industries.”

      Newsflash: nearly all of the clothes shipped to the Third World countries are *sold* — not given away — to poor people. And the concern of some (no, not you) is indeed warranted, as the flood of cheap Western apparel into Africa has devastated that continent’s native textile industries.