As family-oriented women, it can be a struggle to keep enough chic garments on hand to look like more than just a maid without throwing out a comparable number of just-past-chic items. We don’t want to look frumpy and out of style, but the practical sides of us–the sides that many single friends lack!–won’t let us simply discard or give away clothing that still has a lot of serviceable life, and for which we might have paid pretty good money.
Of course, some things get permanent residence in your wardrobe. A well-chosen little black dress will stay with you as long as you stay with it. But for everything else, how do you avoid waste without turning into a clothing hoarder?
First of all, consider yourself lucky to live in San Diego. It’s pretty handy to eliminate the issue of dealing with all the voluminous winter items that your friends further north are buried under (alongside all that snow that they are also buried under). Dealing with mainly a warm-weather wardrobe is a real space-saver.
But beyond that, facts are facts: Things go out (of style) before they wear out, particularly if you’re attentive to good laundry techniques. So what to do with the fallen stars of your fashion sky? Consider some choices of what to do, and what not to do, with unwanted garments.
Do: Send Them Where They’re Wanted
As dull as your life may feel sometimes, there are a lot of women out there aspiring to be as bored as you. They are in domestic violence shelters, or they are just homeless. They’ve been run down by some combination of bad decisions, bad influences, or bad luck, and they are struggling to gain the upper hand in life and reach a tenable situation.
For women who are trying to rebuild their lives, one of the most-overlooked needs is presentable clothing. They must go out for job interviews–perhaps for the first time in years, maybe the first time ever–and your castoffs are most certainly up to the standards set for them. Or maybe they simply need everyday items to wear for cleaning house, attending classes, or running after kids as a single mom.
Whatever their particular needs, they tie largely to having a decent wardrobe. And if you’ve got good items available, give some thought to donating them to a cause that can distribute them to women who need them.
Of course, the usual caveats apply: Don’t give to unproven organizations, and resist any solicitations of cash. Check around a little and make sure you’re dealing with a reputable group. The San Diego Women’s Foundation can probably advise you. And if you’re interested in a tax write-off for your donation, make sure the group is a 501(c)3 organization.
Don’t: Expect Much From Selling Them
Let’s face it: There isn’t much cash market for your everyday clothes. Even your LaDainian Tomlinson Chargers jersey is probably not worth all that much. By the time you list it on eBay, make an attempt or two at a yard sale, or risk a visit from a serial killer by advertising it on Craigslist, you will find that any old form of selling may not work.
For those stray items that were never worn and still bear tags from the retailer, you might recoup modest money. But anything else is not held in very high regard, and the price you receive will reflect that.
If you DO have items that are brand new with the tags or a famous label item in very good condition, you can try selling it on a site like ThredUp or Tradesy if eBay seems too overwhelming for you. I even recently discovered a site called Swapdom where you can trade clothes and other items.
Do: Keep Them
Wait, weren’t we avoiding hoarding? Yes, we were. And this is not hoarding. It’s storage, and there’s a big difference. Hoarding is ramshackle accumulation of things with questionable value. Storage is an organized method for securing things until some likely future use.
Everything old could become new again. Neon off-the-shoulder tanks don’t look to bounce back onto the racks from their 1986 demise, but just men’s ties vacillate from skinny to wide and back again, many of your items could make a return. Or maybe you experience a personal trend change; why not hang on to your good skinny clothes (or fat clothes) in case you need them again? Just be sure to store them properly.
Whatever you do, fight the temptation to be wasteful and make an effort to do something positive!