Have an abundance of old military uniforms lying around your house, collecting dust? Whatever the reason, chances are you aren’t going to wear them anytime soon.
So that begs the question: what to do with old military uniforms? A lot, really; you can sell it, repurpose it, preserve it as a keepsake, and display it. These are just some of the cool things to do with old military uniforms.
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Things to Do With Old Military Uniforms
When thinking about what we can do with old military uniforms, one might feel unsure because of the possible legal repercussions that come along with them.
There are various rules and regulations regarding what uniforms should be returned and what is okay to donate.
For example, the Stolen Valor Act is a law that makes wearing medals for fraudulent purposes a crime. Thus, the nametag and other insignia must be removed.
However, other than wearing them, there isn’t much oversight to get rid of old military uniforms. Read on as we go into detail on the best practices to do with old military uniforms.
1. Give it back to the military
Instead of throwing the uniforms away, you can always bring them back to the military. Just do a quick search for the nearest military base number and contact them if they want the uniforms; they can help you handle the clothing.
Military uniform donations should always be the top choice when deciding what to do with old military uniforms because of their overall impact on society and the environment.
The EPA estimated that the generation of textiles in 2018 was 17 million tons. By donating military uniforms you can reduce landfill waste. Additionally, at the same time, you can help those in need.
A heartwarming story was posted by a user on Reddit who reportedly donated their old West Point uniform, which inspired an aspiring cadet to pursue their military dreams.
He left a nametag in the jacket’s inner pocket, which the aspiring cadet used to search for him and thank him. You never really know who you can help.
Where to Donate?
- Non-profit Organizations – Non-profits can either distribute or repurpose old military uniforms for those in need. They would be happy to receive your old uniforms, no matter the condition.
- Thrift Stores – Donating to your local thrift store is another viable option to donate old military uniforms. Places like Goodwill, or if you’re near a military base they will usually have uniform thrift stores too.
- Military Institutions – You can also donate to organizations like the ROTC or a medical unit where the trainees can use them for their drills and simulations.
If you are willing to devote a bit more time to research, you can find a lot more places that would be happy to take your old uniform off your hands. Theater groups, organizations that hold exhibits, etcetera.
There are a lot of places, including the internet, where you may sell your old military uniforms if you believe they are too valuable to donate and wish to make money off of them.
Obviously, the price and potential buyer will largely depend on the condition of the piece.
Where to Sell?
- C2C Platforms – Consumer-to-consumer businesses like eBay, provide you with a medium to list your old military uniforms on their site. Which allows you to sell your uniforms to a wide range of buyers.
- Surplus Stores – Surplus stores resell old military uniforms and other gear for profit. But since Goodwill military uniforms are commonplace, you won’t probably get as much.
- Private Shops or Companies – Some shops and companies repurpose old military uniforms into raw materials to turn them into other products they will sell for profit.
If you feel like selling military uniforms is a hassle, but they are too valuable to donate, you should consider preserving them as a keepsake or for display.
Generally, you should clean them, store them in a dust-free environment, and keep them away from direct sunlight and potential sources of moisture.
However, it is probably best to talk to an expert, as not all uniforms are made out of the same materials, and thus procedures can potentially greatly vary.
You might not want to wear your old uniforms again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose them to make another type of clothing piece. You can find craft ideas on Youtube, Pinterest, and other sources. Here’re some suggestions you can use:
- Make tote bags
- Create tool belt lanyards
- Make a new piece of clothing, such as a jacket, skirt, etc
- Make DIY accessories such as wallets, belts, etc
Repurposing them is a better way to dispose of your old uniforms than just throwing them out altogether.
If none of these options work for you, you can opt to destroy them. Since there isn’t much oversight regarding what to do with old uniforms, although throwing them away is not the best option, you are free to do so.
This is a common practice for former service members, as it is a great way to prevent them from being used for Stolen Valor purposes.
Either by burning them or just simply throwing them away in a trashcan, there isn’t an “improper” way to dispose of old military uniforms, and you won’t be defying any type of etiquette, unlike the national flag.
Is It Legal to Sell Military Uniforms?
It certainly is, as long as you remove all name tape and insignia. But if you are a service member, you cannot resell pieces you bought in base.
There are no laws prohibiting the sale of military uniforms, even in-use uniforms. Although certain platforms that you will use to sell them might have their independent policies, so be sure to research first.
What’s illegal, however, is to sell military medals and other decorations, according to the 18 U.S. Code § 704.
In conclusion, the Department of Defense expects former service members to be vigilant to avoid the fraudulent use of old military uniforms. Furthermore, you can check their regulations regarding military uniform disposal.
As many rules as there are, there are also many ways on what to do with old military uniforms. Choose the option that is best for you from the various ones that we’ve listed.
John Cotton is Safecallnow’s copywriter. He is an authority on research and reviews. He is responsible for locating information and guidance on riot and disturbance control equipment, training equipment, correctional products, watch house products, tactical equipment, government regulation information, and more. His work guarantees a high level of proficiency and authority.