Newcorn: Clean closet and donate clothes you never wear

By Claudia NewcornDecember 27, 2012 

I went shopping in my closet yesterday for a good cause.

Shelf by shelf, I pulled out all my clothes, inspecting them and asking myself the tough question -- am I ever going to wear this again?

My poor closet was bulging, clothing jammed and crammed, wrinkling, even disappearing, only to be discovered by accident.

Then one day, as I dusted off a blouse yet again, I realized it was time to take a new approach to my closet. It can be summed up as "sort and donate," and it personifies the spirit of giving in a most rewarding way.

Each year around this time, I become intent on my annual project, knowing that there are items that will do far more good in the hands of the many wonderful charities rather than gathering dust in my closet. Local organizations such as Goodwill, Modesto Gospel Mission and The Salvation Army all take the donations and use them to help the needy in our communities.

Some helpful tips for how to do this most effectively.

Be in a critical mood. You're far less apt to rationalize about keeping things for yet another year.

Try things on. It can be a shock to see that what looked good on the hanger no longer looks good on you, whether because your hair color has changed or your butt has sagged. Seeing the truth serves as a powerful goad to ditch things.

Do it in daylight or harsh light. When you look at things in the same light in which most people will see you wearing the clothes, you may discover it doesn't look all that good.

Be brutal. Do you really need 15 pairs of black shoes? Eight pairs of boots? You know the answer -- and there are people out there who need one pair of boots with winter upon us.

Once you've culled, bag and deliver your donation.

Newcorn is an author and freelance writer living in Modesto. Send questions or comments to

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