I dare you to take a sneak peek into any woman’s overstuffed closet.
I’ll bet you’ll be shocked and flabbergasted at what you’ll find! Amidst that overflowing arsenal of shirts, slack and shoes you’ll find that a woman’s actual wardrobe is largely unrealistic. What do I mean by unrealistic? A large portion of a woman’s closet is not comprised of what she actually wears, but what she hopes to wear…someday. Quiet as it’s kept, a woman’s closet is a mirage, an optical illusion of fabric; existing solely as a private concealment of some-day-if-I pray-hard enough-I will-fit-into- this-again outfits. Much of the clothing items found hanging on for dear life in a woman’s closet (in perfectly good shape) are too small, brand new with the tags still attached, or, worst of all, have been living in that closet for so long that, eventually, just maybe, they will become fashionable again. Well, don’t hold your breath.
Women, don’t beat yourselves up about this too badly, for you are not alone. Just take a look at your husband’s or father’s closet. How many clothing items do the men in our lives cling to for nostalgia sake? If you look into a man’s closet I’m sure you’ll find his old outgrown university sweatshirt, his old track shorts from junior year, or a faded Led Zepplin t-shirt. I mean, do they ever buy anything new? Are they holding off on buying new jeans, tshirts and sweatpants until the old ones disintegrate into dust?
And, last but not least, what about our daughters? By the time they get around to wearing this season’s hottest styles, a new clothing fad has taken the mall hostage; and they wouldn’t be caught dead in those perfectly good skinny jeans anymore.
Well, this is my call to action! It’s time for all us to do something about this clothes hoarding epidemic. Today, I encourage you to fling open your closets and drawers…and storage containers under the bed. Grab a hold of everything that doesn’t fit you, and…free yourself! I challenge you to truly take a good, long, honest look at your closet, and if you haven’t worn an item in a year, or more, its time to clear it out. Stop stockpiling clothes that you’ll probably never wear, and offer them a new life by donating them.
As an employee of Impact Thrift Stores I have seen first-hand how gently-used, donated clothing and shoes have positively changed the lives of so many people in need right here in our own communities. Impact Thrift graciously accepts gently-used clothing, as well as housewares, furniture, books and other donated items, and the net proceeds from the sales provide financial support to a variety of local charities. Impact Thrift’s financial support of these local non-profits enables their staff to spend more time doing what they do best…feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, assisting the blind, and supporting children and families in crisis.
But there’s more to it! Impact Thrift Stores in Montgomery County has always been creative about clothing recycling options. I’m sure you’d be surprised to know that even if a clothing item that you are considering for donation is ripped, has a stain, or is missing a button, Impact Thrift still encourages you to donate that item, instead of just throwing it away. You may ask why? The reason is simple. All donated clothing that is deemed unsellable in their stores is sold by the pound, and the money generated from recycling also goes to support other locally-based non-profit organizations. Once the clothing that is recycled leaves Impact Thrift Stores, it goes through a multi-tiered recycling infrastructure; which includes being donated to homeless shelters, being shipped to people in need in third world countries, or shredded to make rags, ceiling tiles and insulation materials.
Did you ever think that donated clothing had the power to do all of those wonderful things? Who knew there was a secret weapon hiding in your closet? It should make you think twice before you carelessly toss clothing into the trash.
The clothing in your closet should enhance your life in some way. Your wardrobe should be beautiful…it should motivate you…it should be useful. A beautiful dress should make you feel good about yourself! A great fitting pair of jeans should put an extra pep in your step! Overall your wardrobe should make you feel beautifully dressed and empowered. If not, then those items should not be taking up valuable real estate in your closet. Don’t keep clothes a prisoner in your closet. Liberate them by donating them. If you finally let go, you’ll realize that holding on to things- even clothing- keeps you in the past, and by donating them, you’ll not only be moving forward, but you’ll be empowering the lives of others.
By Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator, Impact Thrift Stores
Also published in the February/March 2012 issue of Montgomery County Women’s Journal