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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The urge to purge old clothing

Apparently people born under the Aries zodiac sign are more likely to be the kind who like to clear out unwanted stuff on a regular basis. I certainly live up to that ideal. Nothing makes me feel better than going through old books, clothes, even pieces of furniture that aren’t being used, and giving them away.
I honestly think you can’t have too many books but if I’ve read them and they aren’t really my thing, I pass them along. I fill a box for the biggest book sale in Eastern Ontario each year, in Kemptville. Proceeds go to benefit the youth centre. Any unsold books go by ship to underdeveloped countries where they are appreciated even more.
With five daughters we haven’t had much trouble finding homes for extra furniture. But anything that really doesn’t suit goes to the Hey Day garage sale to benefit Kemptville District Hospital. That’s where I bought most of the furniture for my first apartment too. Old electronics can also be donated to the youth centre, where they are sold to a recycling organization.
When it comes to clothing, I have a rule. If I haven’t worn it all season and it’s time to put it back into storage, it really should go. Likely it doesn’t fit properly, and that’s why it has been benched for months. Clothes like classic dresses and blazers that I may need for an office job someday get put in the back of the closet. Everything else – turtlenecks that choke, sweaters that ride up, jeans that ride a little too low…get thrown on the bed in a pile. Next, I sort through these discarded items to see if any of them might suit someone else. In particular: shoes I only wore once because the heels are too high for me; a jacket I can no longer close; or a dress that, in hindsight, is really too short for someone with a granddaughter. These get put in a bag for the consignment store. If they are accepted for sale, they can earn me points toward my next purchase there. More than once I have been able to pick out something “for free” because I had a stockpile of points from shoes and clothes on consignment.
Other items that didn’t cost much to begin with get put in a bag for the Sally Ann. I’m a big supporter of our local thrift shore, and I head in there whenever I need something specific but don’t want to spend too much. It’s amazing what you can find. Most of my gardening, camping and farming clothes are from there (which is basically half my wardrobe!).
If you are giving away clothes and they have holes, stains, or they are missing buttons, don’t give them to the Salvation Army. Places like the Sally Ann don’t need to be bothered with things they can’t resell. It just means they have to find another way to dispose of it. Save them the trouble and do it yourself – but don’t throw out your unwearable clothes.
You can also donate your unwanted clothing in a roadside collection bin. If the recycling operation requests “gently used” clothes, they need them for resale. They will sell them to Value Village or send them overseas to be worn again. Many of the wearable items that don’t sell in our local thrift shops after a set period of time also end up overseas on very grateful recipients.
Clothes that don’t get sold can be sent to textile recyclers. Old fabrics can be turned into industrial rags, fiber filling for upholstery, sound-proofing, home insulation and more. So feel good about cleaning out your closets – you’re not just making room for more clothes! Whatever you decide to do, though, don’t throw your unwanted clothing in the trash. Far too much clothing ends up in landfills, and when the fabrics break down they let off fumes that add to our air pollution.
I know I’m enjoying the space inside my closet right now, having satisfied the urge to purge my unwanted outfits. But, as I mentioned earlier, I’m an Aries. My husband, a Gemini, would keep every last bit of clothing he owns if he had it his way. More than once I’ve caught him retrieving a hole-y pair of slippers or a beloved stained t-shirt that I had thrown out.
Each to his own - I now have room to go shopping!!

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