If one of your resolutions is to clean out your closet, but like most resolutions, it's hard to get started, then perhaps this idea might inspire you.
Identify a not-for-profit organization to receive your closet donations. My choice in Toronto is Dress Your Best, which helps new and underprivileged Canadians find attire for starting out in the workplace. But, perhaps your choice is a women's shelter or Goodwill or other organization that you connect with. Identify their needs and collection/delivery process.
Challenge your friends and colleagues to clean up their closets too! Ask them to bring their ready to wear items along to your home and turn it into a social event. A little wine, a few snacks and an opportunity to exchange unwanted items with one another before the remainder is packed up ready for your chosen charity.
Deliver or arrange delivery of the clothing. Some organizations collect and some receive deliveries. Everyone at the clothing exchange can either donate a small amount for courier or volunteer to make a delivery.
Reflect on a win win win situation. You and your friends not only had a fun afternoon or evening out, but now have clutter-free closets, and possibly, a few new pieces for free! And, most importantly, a worthy organization and its clients will benefit from your group donation.
Before you plan your event, here are a few tips to help make it a success:
1. Review what your chosen charity requires and how it likes to receive donations. Not surprisingly, the typical request is for clean, ready-to-wear items.
2. Give your invitees at least a couple of weeks notice of the event, advise them whether clothing should be bagged or on hangers. Add closet clean-out tips. Feel free to use these guidelines:
a. Divide everything in your closet (including accessories, footwear, seasonal and sportswear) into the following piles -
i) things I wear all the time,
ii) things I no longer wear,
iii) things I would wear if i had something to coordinate with them.
Be honest. If something no longer fits, doesn't suit your lifestyle, isn't in style and isn't a classic that may come into vogue again in 3-4 years, it has to go. As do items that are wornout (they are most likely not even suitable for your charity and must be disposed of - what's lurking in the back of that underwear drawer?)
b. Return all the frequently worn and items you would like to find something to coordinate with to your closet (without the clutter, it will now be easier to figure new ways to coordinate your pieces to make new outfits and/or make a list of a few new things you might need to purchase to make your closet fully functional.)
3. Try to have three rooms available for your event - space for socializing (your usual sitting room, family room or kitchen), space to deposit and display clothing (a sitting room or bedroom - all the better if you can borrow a few clothing racks) and a "fitting room" (probably a bedroom with a full length mirror.)
4. Have fun and feel good about helping those in need, and about your newly coordinated, clutter-free closet.
Btw: You can run the event very successfully simply as a clothing drive (no-need for the swapping among participants.) I did this recently at my home, and here I am getting ready to load my car for the drop off.
Two SUV trips loaded to the roof!
If you have hosted a similar event, do share your stories and tips in the comments below. Here's to a happy new closet!