Saying goodbye to your clothes

 I Hereby Grant You Permission

Need more permission to get rid of clothes that you no longer wear, but that you paid good money for?  I’m going to say something that you might not believe right away. Get your coffee, sit down right here, and give me a chance to persuade you. Here it is:

 

There is NO SHAME in getting rid of perfectly good clothes and shoes that you simply don’t wear. In fact, donating them means that someone else will LOVE to have them. You will have made that person’s day.

 

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See all those cute skirts? Those used to be mine. I stopped wearing them so much, because they seemed to have shrunk (what? hush).  Do you have clothes and shoes that you are not wearing?  We all do.  Sometimes you try them on, and then you decide not to wear them. Maybe they don’t fit quite right. Or the color kind of makes you look ill. Or they make you look [fill in the blank] and you don’t like looking [fill in the blank].

 

But . . .

I hear what you’re saying.  It’s true that you spent good money on them.  You bought them for a reason, and either they were expensive, or you got them at a killer sale price, right?  Money was invested.  (Ever notice how reproachful George Washington looks on that dollar bill? It’s only a dollar, George. Chill.)

 

money

 

But I want you to think about it a different way.  That money that you spent?  The money is gone.

 

And here’s the thing.  That money is gone, no matter whether the clothes stay in your closet or not.

 

 

 

Keeping those clothes, when you will never wear them, doesn’t do anything to bring that money back.  Think about this:  will you save any of that money you spent, if you keep those clothes that you don’t wear? Will you save any money if you keep them one more year?  What if you hang onto them for five more years? Will you feel like you got your money’s worth then?

 

No.

 

Instead, those clothes make you keep on paying a cost.  You pay with drawers that are too packed full.  You pay with a closet that is overstuffed.  You pay with frustration and wasted time in the morning trying to find something to wear.  The truth is that you keep paying for those clothes, over and over again.

 

 

clothes in drawer

 

Light bulb moment:

And, here’s another thing to think about. If you keep those clothes and shoes, then not only are YOU not wearing them, but NOBODY ELSE can, either.

 

Everyone Loves a Good Bullet List

Clothes never worn – what happens when you keep them

  • your money has already been spent on them
  • you have a crowded, cluttered, frustrating closet
  • you waste too much time in the morning trying to find the things you CAN wear
  • and, nobody, you or anyone else, is wearing and enjoying those clothes

 

Clothes never worn – what happens when they are donated

  • your money has already been spent on them
  • you now have more space in your closet for the clothes you love
  • you save time in the morning getting dressed and ready to go
  • and now, other people can happily wear them

 

The only consequence that remains the same with the two scenarios is the money.  All of the other consequences are quite different.  Something to think about, the next time you struggle with getting dressed in the morning.

 

Can I help you get your closet cleaned out? Contact me!

 

 

I have updated this post to include great local places to donate your clothing:

Sell or Donate?

My clients ask me if it is worth the time and effort to try to sell their unwanted clothing, instead of donating it.  Almost always, the answer is no.   People will usually only pay pennies on the dollar for most of your clothing. It takes a lot of time and energy to create and manage a garage sale. It also takes a lot of time to create and manage online posts, and then to ship packages. Are you sure that you will make enough money to make all that time and energy worth it?

 

Donating is easy, clean, and FAST! It makes you feel good about helping others. Here are some ideas of deserving places for your unwanted clothing and accessories:

 

Local to Austin:

Dress For Success  will happily accept your professional business clothing and accessories.  They help women thrive by providing professional attire and career development tools.

 

SafeAustin.org helps survivors of domestic violence and child abuse. They always need adult and children’s clothing, baby supplies, and other items for the women and children they shelter.  Here is their Safe Place Wish List for things they need right now, with directions to their donation warehouse.

 

The Settlement Home for Children  provides a safe and healing environment on-campus for individuals with histories of trauma, abuse, and neglect.  They raise money for the kids under their care by holding an Annual Charity Garage & Estate Sale  where they sell your donations of gently used clothing, furniture, art, books, and household items.  Here is their Settlement Home Wish List.

 

Not in Austin?  Check Here:

I love shopping local, and donating local, and I hope you do too.  To find other local charities and non-profits in your city or region, check out The Stuff Stop, a nation-wide searchable database of places to donate almost anything you can think of.

 

Tax deductions!

Remember that you can take a tax deduction on Schedule A for the clothing you donate, as a charitable contribution. Even if it is just a few dollars per item, it will add up over the course of the year.  Make it easy on yourself by keeping a basket in your closet (and in your kid’s closet!), to toss in that donate-able clothing.

 

6 Comments

  • Jamie Steele

    What a great list of resources. I also got a good chuckle. I really loved your point of how we pay for our closet with a lack of space, frustration, and time.

    Reply
    • A Jones For Organizing

      Thanks Jamie!

      Reply
  • Janet Barclay

    I need to do this soon, because right now I’m in love with less than half of my tops. I’m afraid that if I get rid of a bunch, I’ll have to go out and spend a lot of money to replace them, but truthfully, one or two new ones would probably fill the gap – and I know I’d feel a lot better!

    Reply
    • A Jones For Organizing

      Sometimes, when I go through my own clothes and I’m worried about getting rid of too many things, I will tuck the “maybe keep” items away in a dresser drawer. Then a few months later, I revisit them. As I tell my organizing clients, it’s like going shopping in your own closet, to come across them again!

      I have also created a new rule for myself, when trying on clothes in a store. I pretend that I’ve already bought the item and I’m trying it on in my closet at home. If I think that there will be any reason in the future that I’ll put it on and decide not to wear it (any reason at all), then I can’t purchase it. That has helped to prevent myself from buying things that I sort of liked, but didn’t completely love.

      Reply
  • Olive Wagar

    Great list of resources, Carol. One strategy I use, whether buying at thrift stores or retail stores, is that I must take the time to try it on–no more just guessing if it will actually fit! That has greatly reduced the amount of mistakes in my closet.

    Reply
    • A Jones For Organizing

      Good tip, Olive!

      Reply

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