Doesn’t it feel so liberating to toss or donate a bunch of stuff all at once? How about 132 pieces of clothing?
A few weeks ago, we went through our closets, drawers and shoe racks to pick out clothing that either doesn’t fit (and hopefully never will again) or we haven’t worn in the last 2 or more years.
For me, that included many shirts and pants from my (even) heavier days. I kept shirts and pants that were up to 2 sizes too big. I don’t know why I kept these clothes. Perhaps I was afraid I would gain 20 more pounds and need to get an all new wardrobe.
For Stacie, well, she kept things from back in high school. She takes care of her clothes, but honestly, so much of it is out of style and hasn’t been worn for years. Both of our clothes racks were pressed for space, and we just felt it was time to unburden ourselves with these relics of the past.
Here’s a brief rundown of the highlights of our donation:
- 13 dress shirts (the “shirt and tie” type)
- 21 polo shirts
- 2 suit coats
- 7 dress pants
- 9 pairs of shoes
- 15 ties (oh goodness, you should have seen some of the ugliness I wore around my neck!)
- 14 sweaters (I can’t see a difference on the shelves. She loves her sweaters!)
- 9 casual blouses
- 10 pair of new socks
- 1 pair of shoes (aww, c’mon. Are you serious! Just a single pair?!?)
Stacie did inform me that this past weekend, while her friends were helping her pick out something to wear for our night out at Dave & Busters, they were commenting on even more of her clothes being a bit “dated”. Looks like we’ll have another set of clothes to go to Goodwill.
I’ve also accepted that most of my casual button-up shirts are still too big, and that I’ll need to go shopping for some replacements before giving these up.
What can you learn from this?
I should mention that when we donated, I took detailed photos of all the items (some of them posted in this article). I also classified and cataloged each item in a spreadsheet (e.g. dress shirts, shorts, casual shoes). Unfortunately, most charity agencies won’t take the time to match your donation with your item list, so they also won’t sign any forms you print out for tax purposes. They do issue receipts, and at our Goodwill, they just sign it without reading, so I wrote “132 items of clothing. Value $707”.
How did I value the clothing? I did a search online of common donation values, and took the lower end of the scale (usually). You seriously don’t want to bloat your values. Just make sure you can justify your valuations if you’re audited. If you wouldn’t pay close to that amount at a thrift store, then you need to lower your values.
How long should you keep clothes? Well, till they’re out of style (sorry, Jams aren’t coming back anytime soon) or there’s no way you would fit in them without some major shrinkage or expanding. You can keep saying “I’ll go get that altered”, but if you haven’t done so in 2 or more years, it’s probably not going to happen.
Is this an opportunity to go on a spending spree for more clothes? Absolutely not! Buy a piece of clothing when you need it, not simply to replace something you didn’t wear. If you gave away a suit that doesn’t fit, then wait until you need a suit again to buy one.
One last piece of advice: Sometimes you just have to go at it full-force to get it done. I’ve been pulling out some shirts and pants here and there for the last few months and putting them in a different closet, but it took a single day of both Stacie and I going through our closets and drawers to rid ourselves of the past.