For Every Thing, There’s a Season

OrganizingIn recent memory, not much has been pleasant. We have all struggled, suffered and persevered over the past 18 months or so. Gratefully, we finally seem to be coming out the other side of the worst experience — older, wiser and, for many of us, no longer the same size.

While some are better than others at keeping tabs on the comings and goings of our waistlines, instead, many of us choose — either due to busy schedules or a desire to ignore the obvious — to purchase a larger (or for the more disciplined, smaller!) garment and never bother to get rid of or store the items that no longer fit. The end result is overflowing drawers, exploding closets and often, pure inability to function in the space available.

There are two schools of thought on the matter: Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit and accept the hand you’ve been dealt, or alternatively, store the ill-fitting items with hopes of a happy reunion.

Let’s address the first, and frankly speaking, the simplest process, and that is just to purge. Gather up anything that no longer fits, is in ill repair with no reasonable expectation of resolution, or you just hate. The hardest decision, then, is where to take it, and there are an incredible number of places to do so. Here are some favorites:

OrganizingConsignment: Drop items at one of any number of shops. They will decide which items are suitable for their clientele and process them. After items sell, payment is made either in cash or store credit (which will generally earn a higher percentage). Any unsold items can be returned to you or donated, depending on store policy. At customer request, one local consignor will donate all or part of proceeds to a local charity. Please check with your favorite shop on its policies.

Local donation bins: There are several “drive and drop” boxes and bins for different charities throughout West Sound. Easy-peasy; however, there is no tax receipt available with this option.

Online resale: Mercari, eBay, Poshmark and the like are all great for those higher-end items. Payment policies for sales vary, so check thoroughly to be sure they meet your needs. Some also offer authentication services if you have a valuable item like a Coach bag or a great pair of Manolos.

Local charities: Fishline, Goodwill and many others will happily accept resellable donations. Tax receipts are available. Goodwill will also accept unwearable clean clothing, as it’s able to sell it for fiber.

Each option has its perks. Some take almost zero time and effort, while reselling, for instance, does require a time commitment to photographing, shipping and following up.

If breaking up with your most loved comfy things isn’t a good option, then making smart storage choices is important, especially for woolens, linen and the like. If heated storage is available, of course that’s the best, either in vacuum bags or plastic totes. Cardboard boxes aren’t a great choice for a few reasons, namely odors, moisture and critters.

OrganizingStored woolens should be clean prior to storage. Fold neatly, and add cedar blocks in the box or bag to help ensure a critter won’t ruin that sweater from Killarney. For fine linen items, ensure that storage is dry, dark and insect-free. Keep any paper or tissue away, as the fibers can react over time and cause discoloration.

Having people “pray date” items is a favorite technique. Visibly mark boxes or bags going into storage with the date when you put them into storage. Consider another date, perhaps 12 or 18 months in the future, which is the “pray it fits by then” day. Add that date to the box or bag as well. If that date comes and nothing has changed, it might be time to revisit option No. 1.

Organizing a clothing swap with friends, neighbors or a civic organization is also a great way to get rid of some items, freshen up a wardrobe and spend time together. Throw in a glass of wine and some finger food, and it’s almost like life has returned to normal.

There is no right or wrong way to do it, but adding some levity to what is generally not a fun task — and perhaps adding a couple of friends to the mix — can really make it a joy, as opposed to a chore. Happy purging!