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Manage Your Mess Monday: Old T-Shirt Edition

My daughter with her new twin sized t-shirt blanket.

Last Sunday I was doing laundry and I was putting some clothing in my youngest daughter's room. Whenever she grows out of a t-shirt, I throw it up to the top shelf of her closet as a keepsake to deal with later (if it's from a special event or activity). When I looked up last Sunday, the shelf was overflowing with shirts and spilling all over the place. As I went through the shirts to see what needed to stay, I realized we had a lot of good memories from her aquatics activities and thought I would pull them all out. She often arrives to the pool early in the morning when it's still cold and a blanket would really be a useful way to put those old t-shirts into action. A few years ago, I enlisted my mom to make a quilt with my husband's t-shirts. It's a beautiful keepsake and I knew I didn't want to ask her to help me out again so this time I went online to see what other options I could find. There are a lot of choices out there in internet-land and I had to really think about my goals for this project. I decided my main goals were to find a place to make a blanket that would be cozy (#1 priority) and could get grubby (close #2) and could be easily washed (#3). I didn't want any extensive quilting or fuzzy edges. While I think those kind of blankets are beautiful, I needed something easy and fast, as swim season is upon us right now. I was not thinking ahead with this project so I also was looking for a quick turnaround time.

I ended up landing on Project Repat. I love their story and mission. I read through their website and they explained how back in the 1980s, almost all of the t-shirts were made in the USA. Since then, many textile jobs have moved overseas. Project Repat is working to not only recycle old t-shirts, they are trying to bring jobs back to the USA. Repatriate actually means "to return to the country of origin." I watched all their videos online and each quilt provides a few hours work for someone in our country who is earning a fair and living wage, gets full benefits and pain vacation and holidays AND the cost of the blanket was amazing because they have such an efficient model in place. And they send the leftover scraps to a facility that recycles them into new products. It's a win win all around. Great price. Providing work for someone in the USA. I'm sold.

So how did it turn out? That Sunday night I got the t-shirts ready. They have a handy guide online to tell you how many to send in and how to do it all, depending on the size blanket you order. They make it really easy! I mailed the package on Monday, June 17th and because I don't live too far from their Massachusetts facility, it arrived there the next day. Today is June 24th, exactly one week from when the t-shirts left my house and I already have the blanket in hand. Now, one disclaimer, I paid the additional $24.99 to have the blanket rushed within two weeks back. That does explain how it was so fast BUT I had a coupon for 15% off the blanket, which you can have to when you go to the website and sign up or you can just use the code REPATFRIEND.

So what are you waiting for? When I got the blanket in the mail, it came with a little pamphlet talking about their company. It says, "Embrace the stories of your life" and "A t-shirt quilt is a new form of scrapbooking." I just love that! As someone who is serious about scrapbooking, memory keeping, photo organizing....any way to keep your memories alive is a good thing in my book! Organizing your memories doesn't always have to include pictures. Right now, my husband and daughter are watching today's World Cup women's soccer USA VS Spain game and my daughter is snuggled up on the couch with her new blanket. I couldn't be happier with the choice to use Project Repat!

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