Last Updated on August 16, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas
Old military uniforms can be repurposed or preserved. Options include donating to museums, veterans’ organizations, or theater groups. Uniforms can also be upcycled into bags, pillows, or quilts. Ensure insignias and badges are removed or properly handled to respect regulations.
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What To Do With Old Military Uniforms
Disposing of is one of the easiest ways to rid your closet of unwanted garments, including old military uniforms. You can put them in the trash, but ensure that you remove any names and logos on them.
Ensure that you rip or cut the uniform to prevent any reuse, or you may also burn it to avoid the possibility of stolen valor. You can also inquire with the local base if it has some shredding programs for old military uniforms.
You might want to use your old uniforms later, and for this purpose, you can keep them intact and place them on display in a shadow box alongside their awards. You can also repurpose the uniform to craft a wide array of projects, such as turning them into bags, wreaths, or aprons for holidays.
If your service rules allow it, you may put the uniform to active use, such as wearing them when carrying out household tasks. You can also use the attire when hunting, cleaning the attic when going for mudding, or even paintballing.
You can decide to donate your old military uniform rather than trashing it but remove any names or emblems. A convenient place to give out your uniform is at a military thrift store or one close to a base.
It may also be good to donate your uniform to organizations that help veterans like Sword and Plough or your local Airman’s Attic. You can also donate them to local museums or school drama departments. Other organizations that accept old military uniforms include;
1. Museum of America G.I – but keep ribbons, patches, and badges when donating.
2. Bands for Arms – they make bracelets with pieces of Service members’ uniforms.
3. Sword & Plough – they recycle the uniform and incorporate the fabric into tote bags. The uniforms are donated to Goodwill and Thread-cycle program for recycling into clothes, insulation, and soundproofing.
Giving To A Relative
If you have several uniforms and none of the above methods seem appropriate for you, then giving a relative one or two of the uniforms is a good option. Your relatives may appreciate having this attire as a reminder of your service. You may also find it reasonable to store them up and show your children or future generation.
Keeping Some For Certain Events
If you are a retiree from the military, you may want to keep one or two of your old uniforms to wear during certain events. As a retired military officer, you will be allowed to wear your uniform for weddings, memorial services, official functions, military parades, funerals, and balls. You can also wear them for meetings of the military association or ceremonies where the military will participate.
When wearing the uniforms for any of the above events, ensure that you have the logo and the uniform corresponding to your rank at your time of retirement. You should also adhere to the military’s grooming standards when you put on the outfit.
Can You Wear An Old Army Jacket?
It is okay to wear an old army jacket as long as it does not have badges you did not earn. If you are not a veteran, don’t claim to be one or allege a rank you didn’t attain if you are a soldier. The jacket you wear should also not make you look like you served in a unit that you were never part of.
How Can I Donate My Old Military Uniforms?
If you decide to donate your old military uniform, it is necessary to ensure that the attire will benefit others. You need to take time to sort out the outfit and look at the options in your area. You may give them out to;
1. DoD (Department Of Defense)
You can visit the DoD to confirm if your uniforms adhere to the Disposition policy for the United States Military Combat uniforms. The policy was issued by the Department of Defense in 2008 to address uniforms that need to be reutilized and which ones to destroy.
DoD takes the uniforms that look new and repurposes them, such as those with built-in technology and infrared patches. The department aims at maintaining the safety of any information that the uniform may contain.
Ensure that you follow the directives of the policy for any uniforms that you have.
2. Give To Other Soldiers
If you have left the active service and are willing to donate your uniform, you can give it to other soldiers in your branch. Look for a friend who is your size that may want to use this outfit. You can also look for online Exchanges and register for a free account where you can post them for armed forces to claim.
The Military Uniform Exchange is a global online combination of thrift stores and base classified ads and serves U.S. military personnel. You can look through the ads and see if you have what is needed or post your ad for your uniform for free.
3. Fundraisers And Charitable Causes
Combat Paper Project is a charitable organization that works with veterans to convert old uniforms into pulp, paper, and artwork. The process helps veterans express their feelings about war, life, and the military, thus acting as healing. The organization holds workshops across the country, and it receives donations for uniforms to be used by participants who do not have some.
Bands4Courage is another charitable organization that uses donated uniforms to make bracelets. A veteran and a military mother founded the organization, and the proceeds are used to help military groups.
4. Groups In Town
You can check with American Legion posts or local Veterans of Foreign wars and see if they take donations. Some branches display uniforms in their lobby from different eras, while others may have led to fundraising efforts that use them.
Some school and college drama departments use old uniforms for their production. You can call the institution’s art department to check if they can take your donations for use as costumes.
There are many ways to handle your old military uniforms after retirement or when you leave the service. Choose what is agreeable to you from the various ways listed above and get the desired satisfaction.
Emma is a graduate of Domestic Science or Family and Consumer Sciences (Home Economics) from the University of Wisconsin. She has 7 years of experience Working with the strategic section of BestBuy and now writing full-time for Homeeon.
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