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.
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, because 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.)
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 an additional year? Will you feel like you got your money’s worth if you hang onto them for 5 more years?
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.
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?
I have updated this post to include great local places to donate your clothing:
Sell or Donate?
Many of 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. You will likely not make enough money to pay yourself for the time and energy you would spend creating and running a garage sale, or creating and managing online posts and then shipping packages.
Donating is easy, clean, and fast, and it makes you feel good about helping others. Besides the usual donation places, here are a few other ideas of deserving places for your unwanted clothing and accessories:
Local to Austin:
You can find a Dress For Success local to you (use the “Find your local affiliate here” link given on that page) for donating your professional business clothing and accessories. They are a wonderful global non-profit organization that provides professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
In Austin, TX, SafeAustin.org provides safety, healing, prevention and change to individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence. 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.
Also in Austin, TX, 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. If you want to donate things they need for their kids, 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.
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.