Q: What do you do with the clothes that didn’t make the cut?
A: When I cleaned out my closet for my first capsule wardrobe in 2013, I faced a pile of over 100 pieces to get rid of. Yiiiikes.
Quick detour: My life was changed after reading the book More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger a couple months ago. The message in a nutshell? Use your excess to meet needs around you.
When I started it, I expected Jeff’s tone to be harsh and judgmental. But it so wasn’t. His tone was hopeful and purposeful and relatable. It quickly became one of my top 3 books, and his message became a mantra: Use your excess, use your excess.
So back to my huge pile of clothes: Most of the pieces were in great shape. Some of them even had the tags still on. But they didn’t fit my body or my life–I never wore them and they were being wasted.
Instead of hanging out in guilt and negative self-talk that would get me nowhere (“All that money! How could I let myself DO that?!”), I decided it was time to learn from it*, move on, and use my excess to meet a need + to bless someone around me.
I had a lot of fun coming up with ways to do that. If you’ve taken on the Unfancy Challenge, and you’re trying to figure out what to do with your excess clothes, here are my 3 favorite ideas:
- If there’s a specific piece you know one of your friends will LOVE, drop by their house and surprise them with it + a cup of coffee. And maybe have a conversation about excess in your life and how you can use it to meet a need around you.
- If you’re savvy on eBay, sell your clothes and give the money to a cause you’re passionate about. Here are two that I love: The Fred Rogers Foundation + H.O.P.E. (Not so savvy on eBay? Try selling your clothes on Instagram or at a resale shop like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange.)
- This is so cool. Clothes4Souls works twofold. They give your clothes directly to people in need AND they create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. As in, your donated clothes are given to a person so they can set up shop and sell them for a profit + grow a business + end the cycle of poverty. Whoa. You can even bring your friends, family, and community together and host a Clothing Drive.
In More or Less, Jeff writes, “Maybe we could find purpose behind why we have been given so much. Our goal from the beginning was not to feel guilt, but rather to feel grateful for our excess and then begin to bless friends around us out of our abundance. We don’t believe personal wealth is wrong; rather, it is an opportunity that we hope will result in a lifestyle of greater generosity. This generous lifestyle will bring joy and freedom in a society dedicated to the pursuit of gaining more for me.”
Generous lifestyle = joy and freedom. I can get down with that.
*Speaking of learning from it, next week’s Q&A will tackle shopping smart so as to never again repeat the guilt-inducing pile of clothes to get rid of.
Kelly Mitchem says
I mostly donate my old clothes to the Goodwill or friends, the Clothes4Souls is awesome! I am so glad you shared that!
This is a great post! I’m actually giving the clothes that are in good shape (which is most of them, some even had tags still attached) to charity. Your blog gave me the final push that I needed to finally go through my dresser and clear things out. I don’t think it’s quite capsule wardrobe sized yet, although maybe I should go through and count all of the items that I kept to see. I also purchased a few new pieces for spring and seeing how you style pieces in different ways made me think differently as I shopped. I actually put a few things back and didn’t buy them. :) So thank you for your wonderful blog!
Hi Crystal! Thanks so much for your sweet words! I’m excited for you! xoxo Caroline
I’m SO excited about getting started on this. I think it will be so great for me and am really looking forward to it! I loved your idea of clothes4souls! I googled them and it’s looking like they changed to soles4souls and that they only accept shoes now? Is that the case or am I simply looking in the wrong place? I’d LOVE to be able to send my huge pile to them! If they just do shoes now, do you know of a place similar?
Thanks so so much for your inspiration!