What To Do With Old Backpacks

Got some old backpacks lying around and not sure what to do with them? Look no further! In this article, you’ll discover some creative and practical ways to repurpose your old backpacks. From turning them into stylish planters to transforming them into storage solutions, there’s a world of possibilities waiting for you. So, dust off those forgotten backpacks and let’s get inspired!


Local charities

When you have an old backpack that you no longer use, consider donating it to a local charity. Many charities accept used backpacks to give to those in need. These backpacks can provide essential items and a sense of security to individuals experiencing homelessness or hardship. By donating your old backpack, you can make a difference in someone’s life and contribute to your local community.

Homeless shelters

Homeless shelters are another great option for donating your old backpack. These shelters often provide temporary housing and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. By donating your backpack to a homeless shelter, you can help individuals carry their belongings with ease and provide them with a reliable and durable way to transport their essentials. Your donation can bring comfort and convenience to those who need it most.

Schools or educational programs

Schools and educational programs can benefit greatly from donations of old backpacks. Many children come from low-income families and may not have access to a new backpack each year. By donating your old backpack, you can help a student start the school year off on the right foot and ensure they have a reliable way to carry their books and supplies. Reach out to local schools or educational programs in your area to see if they accept backpack donations.

Youth organizations

Youth organizations such as after-school programs or summer camps often rely on donations to provide resources and support to their participants. Donating your old backpack to a youth organization can help children and teenagers who may not have access to their own backpacks. These organizations can then distribute the backpacks to those who need them, allowing young individuals to feel prepared and confident in their daily activities.

Animal shelters

Yes, even animal shelters can benefit from old backpack donations! Animal shelters often have a need for sturdy backpacks to transport supplies, medication, and other essentials for the animals in their care. Additionally, some shelters use backpacks as temporary carriers for small animals during veterinary visits or adoption events. Your old backpack can be repurposed to provide practical assistance to these organizations and contribute to the well-being of the animals they serve.


Use as storage

If you have limited storage space in your home, utilizing your old backpacks as storage can be a great solution. They are perfect for storing small items like socks, accessories, or crafting supplies. You can hang the backpack on a hook or place it on a shelf, keeping your items organized and easily accessible. This repurposing idea is not only practical but also adds a touch of uniqueness to your storage solutions.

Create a pet bed

Don’t let your old backpacks go to waste when they can become a cozy spot for your furry friends. Stuff the backpack with soft bedding or blankets, and voila! You have a comfortable pet bed. This is especially useful for small pets like cats or small dogs who enjoy curling up in cozy spaces. Your pet will appreciate having a designated and comfortable bed of their own, and you’ll feel good about giving your old backpack a new purpose.

Make a gardening tool carrier

If you enjoy spending time in your garden, repurposing an old backpack as a gardening tool carrier can be incredibly convenient. Simply place your gardening tools inside the backpack, and you’ll have everything you need in one easily accessible place. The backpack’s compartments and pockets can help keep your tools organized, ensuring that you don’t misplace any important gardening essentials. With your backpack-turned-tool-carrier, you’ll be ready to tackle any gardening task that comes your way.

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Turn it into a tote bag

Old backpacks can be transformed into trendy tote bags with just a little bit of creativity and sewing skills. Cut off the straps and reinforce the bottom of the backpack to create a flat base. Then, sew the top closed and attach new handles made of fabric or sturdy ribbon. Depending on the backpack’s size and design, you can create a versatile tote bag that can be used for shopping, carrying books, or even as a stylish accessory for a casual outing.

Use as a car organizer

Keeping your car tidy and organized can be a challenge, but repurposing your old backpack as a car organizer can make a world of difference. Hang the backpack on the back of a car seat or place it on the floor, and use its various compartments to store items such as tissues, water bottles, snacks, or entertainment for passengers. Having a designated space for these items will help keep your car clutter-free and ensure that everything you need is within arm’s reach during your travels.


Online marketplaces

If your old backpack is still in good condition and you’re looking to make some extra cash, consider selling it on online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Take clear photos of the backpack, provide a detailed description, and set a reasonable price. Potential buyers who are in need of a backpack may find your listing and be willing to purchase it. Selling your old backpack not only allows you to declutter your space but also provides someone else with a useful item at an affordable price.

Garage sales or flea markets

Participating in a garage sale or flea market can be a fun way to sell your old backpacks. Set up a table or booth, display your backpacks attractively, and price them accordingly. Potential buyers who are browsing the sale or market might come across your backpacks and be interested in purchasing them. Make sure to provide clear signage and descriptions, and be prepared to negotiate prices if necessary. Who knows, you might just make a few extra dollars while finding new homes for your old backpacks.

Consignment stores

Consignment stores offer a convenient way to sell your old backpacks while avoiding the hassle of online listings or hosting your own sale. Simply bring your backpacks to a local consignment store, and they will display and sell them on your behalf. If your backpacks are in good condition, you have a chance to earn a portion of the sale price once they are sold. This option provides a win-win situation as you can declutter your space and potentially make some money without putting in much effort.

School or community events

School or community events like fundraisers, festivals, or fairs can be fantastic opportunities to sell your old backpacks. Set up a booth or table at the event and showcase your backpacks. Since these events attract a diverse crowd, you may find individuals who are in need of a backpack or simply looking for a good deal. Participating in these events not only gives you a chance to sell your old backpacks but also allows you to connect with your community and support local initiatives.


Give it to a friend or family member

If you have a friend or family member who is in need of a new backpack or simply admires your style, why not gift them your old backpack? It’s a thoughtful and practical way to show your love and appreciation. Before giving it away, make sure the backpack is still in good condition and fits the recipient’s preferences and needs. They will surely appreciate the gesture and benefit from having a new backpack without the expense.

Donate to a neighbor in need

Get to know your neighbors and their circumstances. If you come across a neighbor who could use a backpack, consider donating your old one to them. Whether it’s a student, a parent, or someone who is struggling financially, your donation can make a positive impact on their life. By giving your old backpack to a neighbor in need, you strengthen the sense of community and show that support and kindness can come from the people around us.

Secret Santa or gift exchange

During the holiday season or at special events like office parties or community gatherings, gift exchanges are a common tradition. If you participate in a Secret Santa or gift exchange and have an old backpack sitting around, it can be a fun and unexpected gift. Fill the backpack with small presents or treats, and watch as the recipient unwraps their unique and practical gift. This approach adds an element of surprise and creativity to the gift-giving experience.


Use as a gym or sports bag

Old backpacks can be repurposed as gym or sports bags, allowing you to keep your workout essentials organized and easily transportable. The various compartments and pockets of a backpack provide ample space for storing water bottles, towels, workout clothes, and other necessary items. Simply pack your backpack with everything you need and head off to the gym, sports practice, or outdoor activities. Not only is reusing your old backpack environmentally friendly, but it also saves you from having to invest in a new gym bag.

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Keep as an emergency kit

Having an emergency kit readily available is crucial for being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Keep your old backpack as an emergency kit by filling it with essential items such as first aid supplies, non-perishable food, water bottles, a flashlight, batteries, and a portable phone charger. By reusing your backpack for this purpose, you ensure that you have a designated place for all your emergency items, making it easier to grab and go in times of need.

Store seasonal clothing or items

Seasonal clothing and items often take up valuable closet space, especially when they are not being used. Instead of letting them clutter your wardrobe, repurpose your old backpacks as storage for these seasonal items. Clean and fold your clothing or pack away your seasonal decorations, and place them inside the backpack for safekeeping. Label the backpacks accordingly, and store them in a closet or under the bed until they are needed again. This practical reuse idea helps keep your home organized and maximizes storage space.

Use for outdoor activities or camping

Outdoor activities and camping trips often require specialized gear and equipment, which can be easily stored and transported in a backpack. Reusing your old backpack for these purposes saves you from purchasing dedicated outdoor or camping bags. Whether you’re going hiking, fishing, or simply enjoying a picnic in the park, your old backpack can carry everything you need, including water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and more. Give your backpack a new adventure-filled life by taking it outdoors with you.

Keep as a backup bag

There’s no harm in having an extra bag on hand for unexpected needs or situations. Instead of discarding your old backpack, keep it as a backup bag for those times when you need additional storage or transportation capacity. Whether it’s for a spontaneous shopping trip, an impromptu weekend getaway, or a sudden need for packing essentials, your backup bag will always come in handy. By reusing your old backpack as a backup bag, you ensure that you’re prepared for any situation that may arise.


Check local recycling programs

When your old backpack is no longer usable or suitable for donation or repurposing, recycling is the next best option. Check with your local recycling programs to see if they accept textile items like backpacks for recycling. Many municipalities offer drop-off locations or curbside pick-up services for textile recycling. By recycling your backpack, its materials can be repurposed to create new products or used as raw materials for other industries, diverting waste from landfills and reducing environmental impact.

Contact backpack manufacturers

Some backpack manufacturers have recycling programs in place to ensure the responsible disposal and recycling of their products. Reach out to the brand of your old backpack to inquire about any recycling initiatives they may have. They may provide instructions on how to properly recycle their backpacks or offer mailing options for returning the product. By contacting backpack manufacturers, you contribute to their efforts in minimizing waste and promoting sustainability within the industry.

Look for textile recycling centers

Apart from local recycling programs and backpack manufacturers, there may be textile recycling centers in your area that specifically handle the recycling of fabrics and textiles. These centers have the expertise and infrastructure to efficiently process textile items, including backpacks. Research local textile recycling centers near you and inquire about their recycling processes and requirements. By utilizing textile recycling centers, you ensure that your old backpack is disposed of responsibly and its materials are given the opportunity for new life.


Create a pillow or cushion

If you’re feeling crafty, an old backpack can be repurposed into a unique pillow or cushion. Cut away any straps or unnecessary parts of the backpack, leaving only the fabric. Fill the fabric with soft stuffing or even old t-shirts to create a comfortable pillow or cushion. You can sew the edges closed or use fabric glue to secure them. This craft project not only repurposes your old backpack but also adds a touch of personalization to your home decor.

Make a backpack purse or wallet

Turn your old backpack into a stylish backpack purse or a compact wallet that you can use daily. Cut away the unnecessary parts of the backpack, leaving the main compartment and enough fabric to create a strap or handle. Sew the edges, add a zipper or closures, and attach a strap made from fabric or a chain. Voila! You have a versatile and fashionable accessory that not only keeps your belongings organized but also showcases your creativity.

Design a decorative wall hanging

If you’re looking for a unique piece of wall decor, repurposing your old backpack into a decorative wall hanging can add an interesting touch to any room. Cut out interesting patterns or shapes from the backpack fabric, such as flowers, animals, or abstract designs. Arrange and sew these fabric pieces onto a larger piece of fabric or a canvas, and consider adding additional embellishments like buttons or beads for extra flair. Hang your decorative wall hanging to add color and texture to your space.

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Transform into a laptop sleeve

Give your old backpack a new lease on life as a protective laptop sleeve. Measure and cut the backpack fabric to fit your laptop’s dimensions, leaving room for a closure or opening. Sew the edges, add a zipper or Velcro, and ensure the sleeve is adequately padded to protect your laptop from bumps and scratches. This craft project allows you to repurpose your old backpack while providing a practical and stylish solution for carrying and safeguarding your laptop.

Craft a pen or pencil holder

Old backpacks with multiple pockets can be transformed into convenient pen or pencil holders. Cut out a rectangular or square section of the backpack fabric, ensuring it is wide enough to hold your writing utensils. Fold the fabric in half, sew the edges, leaving one end open, and flip it right side out. Fill the holder with your pens or pencils, then stitch the open end closed. You can even personalize it further by adding a decorative patch or embroidery. This craft project is not only easy but also helps keep your writing utensils organized and easily accessible.


Exchange with friends or classmates

If your friends or classmates have old backpacks that they no longer use, suggest a backpack exchange. This way, everyone can trade their old backpacks for something different without spending any money. This simple trade allows each person to have a new-to-them backpack while reducing waste and promoting sustainability. It’s a win-win situation that can also foster a sense of community and shared resources among your social circle.

Join a backpack swap group

Online communities, social media groups, or local organizations often organize backpack swap events or groups. These platforms allow individuals to connect with others who are interested in swapping their old backpacks for something different. Joining a backpack swap group can give you access to a wider variety of backpack options and potentially help you find a backpack that better suits your preferences or needs. Exploring these swap opportunities provides a sustainable alternative to purchasing new backpacks.

Participate in online trading platforms

Utilize online trading platforms such as Freecycle, Bunz, or BarterQuest to find individuals who are interested in trading their old backpacks. These platforms often have specific sections or categories dedicated to trading or swapping items. Post your old backpack and indicate what you’re interested in trading for. Browse through other listings to find individuals who may have what you’re looking for. Engaging in online trading platforms expands your reach and allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who prioritize repurposing and trading rather than purchasing new.

Donate for Repairs

Find a local repair shop or service

If your old backpack is still in good condition but has minor issues such as a broken zipper or torn strap, consider donating it to a local repair shop or service. These professionals have the skills and equipment to repair and fix backpacks, restoring them to their original functionality. By donating your backpack for repairs, you help support local businesses and ensure that the backpack finds a new owner who will appreciate its renewed usefulness.

Contact backpack manufacturers for repair programs

Certain backpack manufacturers offer repair programs for their products as part of their commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction. Reach out to the brand of your old backpack to inquire if they have any repair programs available. Through these programs, the manufacturer may be able to repair your backpack or guide you to authorized centers that specialize in their products. By utilizing repair programs, you extend the life of your backpack and promote responsible consumption and waste reduction.


Check local waste management guidelines

If your old backpack is beyond repair, repurposing, or donation, proper disposal becomes necessary. Check your local waste management guidelines to understand the appropriate method for disposing of textiles. Some areas may have specific rules or recommendations for textile disposal, such as bagging the backpack separately or including it in your regular trash collection. Familiarize yourself with these guidelines to ensure that you dispose of your backpack responsibly and in accordance with local regulations.

Dispose of in a responsible manner

When disposing of your old backpack, it’s essential to do so in a responsible manner. Make sure to remove any personal items or belongings from the backpack before disposing of it. If the backpack is made from non-recyclable materials, such as certain types of plastic, it may need to be thrown away in regular trash. However, double-check your local waste management guidelines to determine if there are any specific requirements for disposing of backpacks or textile items.

Consider composting for natural materials

If your old backpack is made from natural materials such as cotton or hemp, and it cannot be repurposed or recycled, consider composting it. Cotton and hemp are biodegradable and can break down naturally when composted. However, be sure to remove any non-biodegradable components, such as zippers or metal buckles, before composting the backpack. Consult composting guidelines in your area to ensure compliance and proper handling of the backpack during the composting process.

In conclusion, when faced with old backpacks, there are numerous options to consider beyond simply discarding them. Donation, repurposing, selling, gifting, reusing, recycling, crafting, trading, donating for repairs, and responsible disposal are all viable choices for giving your old backpacks a new purpose. Whether it’s helping those in need, reducing waste, or exercising your creativity, each option offers its unique benefits. So, the next time you find yourself with an old backpack, remember the various possibilities at your disposal and make a positive impact on both your community and the environment.


Mila Brooks

My goal for Go Girl Bags is to provide all of my site visitors with a trusted quality experience. Going down the rabbit hole of frustration trying to find the perfect bag for all you needs is not any fun. My researched information not only about bag looks, but also quality of materials and other aesthetics you may not have thought about will help you make a better informed decision. Thank you.

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