Use Your Closet to Give to Charity

Creative ways to give to charity and clean your closet

Is this your closet? Then you have a problem. And it may not be the one you’re thinking of. In fact, you have several problems, all of them of a first-world nature. You are a citizen of the first-world. It is appropriate that your problems should reflect that fact. That doesn’t, however, mean that your focus cannot be expanded to include the challenges of others. While people of the third-world (developing nations) are generally not equipped to relieve first-world problems, we in the first-world are fully capable of relieving problems found in developing nations in addition to our own.

Before we tackle world peace, though, we really need to deal with that closet. First, you need a visit from the fashion police. Go to your closet before the fashion police arrive. See that outfit in the back of the closet to the right, no, over… over… Yes! That one! I’m sure it made lots of sense four years ago when you bought it. It went very well with the big hair you were certain was making a comeback. But the world moved on. Big hair didn’t make a comeback. And let’s be completely honest: You would need three helpers and a jar of Vaseline to get into it again. You are never going to wear that thing again. I know it. You know it. And now, the fashion police have been alerted. Take that out of your closet. Look at the outfit next to it. Rinse and repeat.

Having too many clothes that are out of fashion is just one of the problems with the urban closet. The bigger problem is having too many clothes to begin with. There was a time when the average woman had one dress. She wore it until it could no longer be mended. (Do we even know how to mend clothes anymore)? With our throw away mentality, if it rips or stains, it gets replaced. Now I’m not suggesting we return to those days of a single dress and one pair of shoes, heavens no! But I am calling upon responsible women to dial back the insanity. There was never a time when we needed closets this full. Almost all of us have outfits with the tags still on them. At least a small percentage of the fashions we buy will never be worn, at least, not by us. That’s a problem.

At this point, you may be wondering how solving these problems helps anyone in a developing nation. After all, No one without clean water to drink is much aided by a slightly used, well cared for Louis Vuitton handbag. Why not sell those handbags for cash? We have already established that you are never going to wear those twelve outfits you were intending to accent. Like the drawer full of jewelry you are never going to wear again, those handbags can be converted into cash.

In fact, if we think beyond cash, and beyond the next sale at Saks Fifth Avenue, your excess can be converted into things like:

  • water purification equipment
  • medical treatment in remote places
  • education for girls in places where it is traditionally denied

The excess that makes your first-world a slightly worse place to live, can make another person’s third-world immeasurably better. Once you have converted your excess into cash and closet space, contact an organization like Outreach International.

As for that closet, here are three strategies to keep it from ever getting cluttered again:

  1. Don’t buy it. Really ladies, we’ve come a long ways from Barbie being our primary role model. We have a lot more important things to do with our live besides looking pretty and fashionable. Spending too much money on clothes means we are spending way too much time on things that don’t really matter.
  2. Make room before you buy it. When you do shop for new fashions, go to your closet before going to the store. Don’t just buy a bunch of things only to wonder wear you are going to put them. Make room in your closet. See if there is anything you can get rid of. Here is a tip: there always is. Make a pact with yourself that you will never let your closet get more than three-quarters full. Make sure you always have the extra space before buying something new. Then don’t buy more than will fill your closet beyond that self-imposed limit.
  3. While you are waiting for self-discipline to kick in, you may need to buy a closet organizer. There are many good closet solutions that are designed to transform an unworkable closet into a useful space. These types of strategies are not only elegant, but they provide us with hard limits on what we can reasonably cram into the space. If you are pushing the limits of your closet organizer of choice, you might need to try a different kind of first-world solution: counseling.

[notification type=”notification_info” ]*Image Credit – Lara064/Creative Commons[/notification]

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