Monthly Goal Accomplished: Cleaning Out My Closets

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I have two walk in closets, both used to be overfilled with clothes.  I have been known to have closet organizers come crashing down from the weight.

Periodically I will go through them and donate what I no longer want or wear; but I always have one small problem: what if I decide one day I want to wear this again? And it goes back on a hanger into the closet.

Ugh.

A couple of months ago I went through my dresser and threw away all the junk.  You know – old underwear, tank tops that I have had for over 10 years that no longer hold their shape, socks so stained with dirt it is a wonder they ever made their way back to the drawer after being laundered.

This time I had a much better plan.

See, when you donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, they in turn hang your clothes up with a price sticker and sell them to those in need.

Some people are so in need that they cannot even afford to shop at Goodwill.  They can not simply afford the $1.50 for your donated item.

I have an aunt like that.  She hasn’t always been this way.  She has fallen on hard times over the past few years.  Her husband left her, her daughter stole all her money, she is over 60 and has no marketable skills for a job, she has had a lot of health issues.

She has lost a lot of weight.

We had plans for me to take her to lunch today.  I haven’t seen her since I took her out for her birthday in November.  Totally my bad, but I had been so physically sick for months and just unable to handle any one else’s problems.

She is a wonderful person.  She doesn’t deserve all these things that have happened to her.  But her ex-husband is a jerk (we never liked him much) and their daughter is just like him.  This is what happens to you when you are just too nice.

She never had a real job after they had children; he wouldn’t really allow her.  She would babysit from home, but she knows she can’t handle that anymore.

I knew she was probably now my size, and that I have a lot of clothes I could give her.  Nice clothes.  Clothes I would still wear if I left the house to work.  But, let’s be honest, working from home I am usually in some sort of sweat or athletic outfit.

I asked her if she wanted them.  She said she would love them!  Her old clothes don’t fit anymore and she can’t afford new ones.

So this time I went through my closet and only kept one or two items of each kind.  See, I had about twenty black suits.  I only kept about half.  I know it may seem weird to give someone who doesn’t work suits, but I always remember her liking to dress nice.

It was easy to give her my capris.  One quick swoop and they were all off the hangers.  I am very short and they never looked right on me.  She is probably about 4 or 5 inches taller than me, so they will fit her nicely.

I went through my dresses and tops and gave her what I could.  All still wearable, several with tags still on them.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, but rather I never go anywhere, and if I were to, I would likely go buy a new outfit to celebrate the event.  I know she could use and would like them more than I could.  And she would certainly get a kick out of the tags still being on them!

Jeans were tougher because I have an obsession with jeans… and I usually get them hemmed, which won’t work for her.  Plus, I was being selfish a bit.

I gave her a bunch of shorts I never wear anymore – just because.  I have accumulated clothing over the years and even at my heaviest times, the same size always fit.  I am not really a hoarder, but close to.

She has always like jewelry.  I did the best I could cleaning out my jewelry box to give her things I probably won’t wear again or things I wouldn’t mind giving her.

I had a gift card from Macy’s for returning something given to me as a gift, loaded with $47 on it, that I have had for over 6 months.  I tucked it somewhere in one of the bags.

I even brought her hangers, because I wasn’t sure if she had enough.  She didn’t.

I have an extra DVD player and I had asked her if she wanted it, but she already has one.  She was willing to borrow some DVDs to watch though, as she doesn’t have cable.

donations

I also had a Rubbermaid container (not pictured) full of books for her.  She likes to read, as do I.  I have accumulated these books over the years.  I mainly go to the library now because I can read a book in a day, but she doesn’t have a car to get to the library.  She did show me today that her new apartment (a senior center type place) has a small reading room in it where you can borrow books.  She asked if I wanted the books back or could she donate them to the reading room when she was done?  Of course she could!  I was going to suggest she use them for exchange at a used book store, I could take her sometimes, but that was even a better idea!  Passing on the joy of reading!

Plus, I like how she showed a valid interest in participating in something in her new community.

She keeps saying how everyone there is so old.  And then she would say, well she is old, too.  They just look old.  I just told her she took better care of herself over the years!

I encouraged her to participate in the activities.  She’s a bit bored, but the family does a good job of trying to include her in various things and taking her out.  She says she hates feeling like a third or fifth wheel.  I get it.  I feel the same way.

Her son comes by quite a bit as well.  He’s a really good kid.  He’s not really a kid, but he’ll always be that way to me.  And he is probably only 5 or 6 years younger than me.

I said as I left, to call me anytime.  I can take her to her doctor appointments.  We can go to lunch.  I could bring her by to go to the pool.

And I said: Go participate in the community activities!  It will be hard at first, but once you do it a few times, it will get easier.  You will make some friends.  Just do it!

She agreed.  We hugged goodbye.

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5 thoughts on “Monthly Goal Accomplished: Cleaning Out My Closets

  1. Thanks for the pingback – I absolutely adored reading your article. You’re a very kind-hearted woman 🙂 Your writing style drew me in to your story; you,ve earned a new subscriber.

  2. dailycitylife

    Hi there! Thank you for linking my post to yours! I love your story; it’s so sweet of you to take care of your aunt like that. For people who live alone, sometimes even a quick visit from others can mean a ton.

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