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Cleaning Out Your Closets: Make Your Favorites Someone Else’s Favorites

by LaToya Gilbert
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I recently found time to clean out my closet. Clothes and shoes were taking over every inch of space on the hanging racks and floors, and beginning to spill out…it was time. As I started to comb through the items, I kept passing over items, that I knew I hadn’t worn recently, but reminisced on the stories from the piece, so I put it back in it’s place. I quickly realized that this was not going to support me in taming my closet monster.

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Nina Malyna

So I decided. I love these items. Someone else could love them too…and probably use them more than me. So I began a new sort: keep, share, trash. The keep pile included all of the items that still fit, that I’ve worn in the last year, and are staples in my wardrobe. The share pile included the pieces that I’ll finally let go of…I’m really not getting into them anymore, pieces that still have tags on them, and pieces I haven’t worn in a year. The trash pile…well, the old college t-shirts with holes probably just should have gone a long time ago.

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Yastremska

As I moved through the items with this new strategy, I began to see the share pile grow. As the pile grew, so did my desire to share. It felt really good to see that pile take over the space on my bed. Before I knew it, my entire bed was filled, and there were boxes and boxes of shoes, ready to go.

So I went to my kitchen to get trash bags to pack up the items. I began to load them up. When I finished, there were 4 large black trash bags ready to go. As I stepped back to admire my progress, I started to feel a little disappointed. All of my favorite pieces were now sitting in trash bags, looking like trash. I quickly began to remove the items from the bags.

Once the items were back on the bed, I began to think even further. I needed to make sure these items were handled with care. If I were on the receiving end of these items I would love to know that the person who donated them, had shared them with love. I quickly made sure every item was clean, folded, and ready for the rack.

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Nerify

This made me even more excited to share the items with others. Now these items were ready to go! This time, instead of packing them up in trash bags, I packed them in plastic containers, the kind that I would store my own clothes in. I stepped back again…THIS was definitely more satisfying. I was now ready to take these items for donation.

So the next step was deciding where to donate. I automatically thought about the he local thrift stores. However, there are many organizations that are looking for donations: Salvation Army, Purple Heart, CHKD, etc. Who would best benefit from the items from my collection? I had women’s suits, dresses, dress pants, skirts, heels, and shirts. I remembered that Dress Barn has a “Suits for Success” partnership (www.dressforsuccess.org).

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Mangostock

So I pulled the suits out to take them there for donation. This program provides a 30% discount to the person donating items. This was even better…just in case I needed to replace one of those items that I mentioned previously, that I would never get into again. The other items went to the Disabled Veterans. I decided that the remaining items could be used for civilian work transition, etc.

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/zimmytws

My project was finally complete, and all of my items had a brand new home. I had tamed my closet monster, and shared some of my favorite items with people who could use them. And it didn’t hurt that I would also have an item to add for tax deduction. Yes, your donations can be tax deductible!

It is almost time for “Spring cleaning.” As you think about cleaning out your own home, think about how you can share your items with others. Think about these question as you begin to sort:


  1. What are you donating?
  2. What are you holding on to, that could be included in the donation?
  3. What condition are the items in that you are donating?
  4. How are you presenting the items you are donating?
  5. Who are you donating to?


You can generally donate most things in your home: clothes, electronics, dishes, furniture, etc. The things that have benefited you, can ultimately benefit someone else too. Clean up, clean out, and donate!