Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homeworks: Sort your clothes for charity and yourself

In light of the winter we’ve been having, I compiled a list of 50 things to do on a snow day. Many of the suggestions were drawn from my own experiences, having attended university in the prairie province of Saskatchewan. One of the items on the list was clean out your closet. If you haven't worn it in a year, toss it in a bag for charity. 

Getty Images.
How many of us have overstuffed closets or trunks filled with garments that are seldom worn but still in great shape? These are the kind of items needed by the Salvation Army Thrift Shops, Turning Point and other charitable organizations committed to providing the less fortunate in our society with the means to live comfortably. 

Remember that suit you bought but don’t wear anymore? Charities need items such as this for their clients who might be going to a job interview. A sharp looking suit or new pair of shoes can make all the difference in the world, in terms of confidence and self-esteem. And those jeans and hoodies that no longer fit your son, they too would go a long way in making a child feel better about himself.

"Twenty percent of U.S. children live in poverty and one in 10 has needed to borrow or receive a donated winter coat for their child," said Bobbie Thomas, a style editor and author who has teamed up with Glad Products Co. to share tips on maximizing the purging process to benefit those who need it most. "It's so important to give back through charities like One Warm Coat, a national nonprofit that provides free coats to people in need. Winter fashion may change from year to year, but giving back never goes out of style."
One of the style tips passed along by Thomas is the need to find new items that you will wear.
"Gather inspirational images from magazines and catalogs, and collect them in a folder or create an easy-to-find desktop file filled with photos from surfing the web," said Thomas. "This will help you develop your own spring style, giving you a fresh perspective on what you should keep in your closet, what you should store or donate."

Study the fashionable images and make a list of items that stand out, or basics that seem to show up repeatedly, such as leather boots or a black jacket.

"You may already have similar items in your closet. If not, this list will keep you on track through the season," Thomas said.

Also important is to have enough time to complete the task. "Plan to clean your closet in shifts, and zone in on one area or category," said Thomas. "For example, focus on one drawer or just your dresses since they are easiest to slip on and off. Organize by color and length. You'll want your wardrobe to welcome you the way a beautifully merchandised department store does."

Cleaning out the closet is not just a job. It's a form of therapy. Now that you've organized the clothes you own, and the list of items you need to buy, the stress of worrying about it is gone. Oh, and that feeling of guilt for not wearing items that were given to you is done, too. Then there's the satisfaction of what it will mean to others.

"The reward of feeling freshly organized is fantastic," Thomas said. "But you'll feel even better knowing that your unused (or gently used) items are helping others in need."
Need incentive? Go to TheBagBank.com to find out how you can receive free Glad ForceFlex trash bags to donate your unwanted clothing and accessories now through May 30.
For ideas on where to donate items, visit macombresources.info/Clothing.doc.

Send your comments or home and garden tips to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com

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