Clothes Minded

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We are actually going to go back into the closet to MAD this Thursday. There is a great need. You are part of the solution. Want to bet there is something you do not know about clothing and shoes? It is time to Make A Difference. Can you kill three birds with one stone?

Has your weight changed in the last year? If you put on a fashion show today with all the clothes in your closet and dressers, how many items would not fit you? Whether our weights change due to the onslaught of swimsuit season or the holiday spread, we all have something in our closets which does not fit.

Oh, it does all fit? When was the last time you wore it? If you have not worn something in more than one year, it is clutter. Yes, clutter.

1.5 Billion Pairs of Shoes

In American closets alone, there are more than a billion and a half pairs of shoes which have never been worn or been worn less than three times. Shoes are one of the most expensive portions of a wardrobe.

20 Billion Pounds of Textiles & Clothing

Inedible Pollutants

Every year, more than 68 pounds per person of clothing and textiles are thrown away. Although it is not edible, birds around landfills ingest it. When textiles, like sheets, towels and clothing, rot, they produce CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Each discarded million pounds of textiles produces 6.6 million pounds of air pollution. This is the equivalent of 115 cars, over their lifetime on the road.

300 Million Children

Children are the most frequent consumers of shoes because their feet are still growing. Shoes protect feet from harm and disease. 300 million children worldwide have either never owned or do not own a pair of shoes which fit them properly.

35 Million Poor People

People living below the poverty line have little or no resources to devote to clothing and shoes. Many will wear shoes which do not fit, causing foot, leg and back pain and damage which requires medical intervention.

3 Million Homeless People

Without a closet, washing facilities and adequate resources to replace clothing, homeless people rely on shelters and charitable organizations to exchange their soiled clothing with clean clothing. These are men, women and children. Homelessness does not age discriminate. Did you put on clean clothing this morning?

50%

Half of the homeless women and children are refugees of domestic violence. When they leave, they take only the clothes they are wearing.

38%

Worldwide, approximately 38% of homeless people will freeze to death due to inadequate shelter and lack of clothing, coats and blankets.

365,500 US homes will burn this year.

The last thing anyone thinks about when fleeing a burning home is packing a bag. These families represent 1.6 million people who have no clothing beyond what they are wearing. They are not included in the statistics for homeless persons.

Make A Difference

1. Go through your closet.

A. Remove all clothing and shoes you have never worn, have not worn in more than one year or do not fit you, either too big or too small.

B. Check and clean all clothing. Do not donate torn, dirty, stained or useless clothing. Do not discard it. Set it aside.

C. Look for all of the following:

  • Coats
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Bed linens
  • Towels (kitchen and bath)
  • Napkins
  • Handbags
  • Luggage
  • Umbrellas
  • Briefcases
  • Accessories (scarves, jewelry, hats)

2. Package the items.ย 

Put items together according to size or type and label the boxes or bags. Separate shoes and accessories from household textiles.

3. Choose an organization.

While many organizations are great places to donate, do not choose those who sell the donated items to the needy. Choose one which gives the items to those in need. Choose based on the items you have to give. The following Google searches can help you find an organization.

If you are not using Google Chrome or want more localized results, use the following search terms in your favorite search engine:

  • Used shoes school children charity (add location)
  • Used clothing donations homeless charity (add location)
  • Donations clothing fir victims (add location)
  • Clothing donations charity domestic violence victims (add location)

4. Box the items unfit for wear.

Keep these items from landfills by recycling them. Again, you have choices where to donate:

  • Sewing group for veterans, the elderly, premature babies or the impoverished
  • Planet Aid
  • Local textile recycling center
  • Charity who recycles textiles to generate funds for distribution

Sewing groups turn used fabrics into new clothes, blankets and other useful items for those who cannot afford them.

5. Host a clothing drive.

Get your friends, colleagues, teammates, neighbors or congregants (worship, politics, hobbies) to come together to donate particular items, seasonal items or textiles in general. Need some ideas?

  • New socks and underwear (great back to school idea)
  • Coats for (children, homeless, elderly)
  • Business suits and dresses (Help someone get a job.)
  • Shoes
  • Bath, bed and kitchen linens

6. Volunteer.

Even if ย you cannot de-clutter your closets or donate new items, you can donate your time to help organizations pick up, sort, fold, deliver or recycle textiles.

7. Buy.

Buy Today!!

75% off seasonal items

If you have nothing of your own to give or you want to supplement what you have with other needed items, shop for new textiles to donate.

Seasonal sales on clothing and linens do not cost much, but make the difference in people’s lives.

A suit or bridesmaid’s dress can dress an underprivileged child for a prom. A new coat can mean the difference between being warm and freezing to death for a homeless person. A package of new socks or underwear to a child living in a domestic violence shelter is a gift of dignity.

8. Deliver.

While some organizations will come retrieve your donation, it comes at a cost. Rather than spending the time of a volunteer and expending the charity’s needed resources on fuel, drop your items off.

Hand something to a homeless person. See yourself make a difference in real time.

You can MAD.

Donating clothing and textiles makes a significant difference in lives. It kills three birds with one stone.

The suit or dress you never wear could help someone be dressed properly for a job interview. Last year’s coat can keep someone warm. The blankets in the guest bedroom closet can keep someone from freezing to death. A new outfit and shoes to a school child helps foster confidence, which helps academic performance.

Keeping your textiles out of a landfill keeps greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere for cleaner air for everyone.

Making room in your closet relieves the stress caused by clutter.

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Is there something in your closet you can donate? Will you make a difference by donating textiles or time? Have you donated to a homeless or domestic violence shelter? Did you know throwing away textiles affected the air as well as the environment? Will you make a commitment to MAD?

It is your turn to MAD.

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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32 Comments

  1. When my wife wants to buy a new pair of shoes that don’t fit into the “staples” that she could wear regularly I use the Cost Per Wear (CPW) argument and she usually agrees.
    Bearman recently posted..Super Man CartoonMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      Apparently, we are going to have to have a new shoe post. I use the CPW argument and still manage to buy a pair of shoes around every three weeks. Then again, I have been known to change shoes thrice in a day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And I have to know…is a pair of trainers a staple? *shudder*

      Reply
  2. Wow… numbers like that… I can’t even get my mind around them… really makes you stop and think.

    I’ve pretty much stayed the same bean-pole size since I was in high school, Red. Someday my neck will be bigger than my head and I’ll be benching a Buick. Really. Gonna happen. Honest.

    I’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes since 1998! Those things were BUILT! Although I might be a bit disappointed if I can’t get at least TWO decades out of them.
    ๐Ÿ˜‰
    spilledinkguy recently posted..Translucent GreenMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      I have shoes that were made three decades before I was born. I have no issue with the ones we have forever and keep wearing! The numbers are astounding and dismal. Makes you think…and share. I would hate to be the only one who knows this sort of thing. Good to see you today, SIG!

      Reply
  3. Here in the UK there are recyclable bins for almost everything, even at supermarkets where there is one for shoes, clothes, bottles, tins, you name it and there is a bin made for it ๐Ÿ™‚

    When I have any surplus clothing, or anything that I do not use anymore then I drop it in into the local charity shops and we have lots of those around here I can tell you, however the poor homeless, on the street type of homeless I don’t know if these efforts are targeted for them.

    There is the Salvation Army and soup kitchens and the like that do offer help to the needy so that is something I guess but still it is a drop in the ocean as to what really could be offered to them, it is all about wealth and the greed of it, there should be nobody walking the streets feeling lost, cold and hungry. It is a sin of mankind to allow this to happen but unfortunately it happens all too often ๐Ÿ™

    Have a lovely evening Red and thank you for offering such a brilliant posting ๐Ÿ™‚

    Androgoth XXx

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      I hope the Salvation Army gives better results in the UK than it does in the US. I stopped supporting anything they did over 15 years ago. I have been very careful to support those agencies which only give, not sell, give to the needy. It seems the larger they get the more they need to spend on their “administration”. Amazing how when they began no one drew a salary. Ugh.

      Meanwhile, recycling efforts for textiles is becoming more announced. I would hope nothing cloth would ever find its way to a landfill.

      Hope you are having a wonderful night.
      Red.

      Reply
      • Yes I know what you mean about the administration, whatever happened to the original concept of looking after the poor and needy? ๐Ÿ™

        I think an earlier cup of
        coffee will be a nice idea ๐Ÿ™‚

        Have fun now Red ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Androgoth XXx

        Reply
  4. We have some great programs in Dallas and Ft Worth that are very specific. I go through my closets three times a year and still manage pretty sizable donations. Mine look pretty close to your recommendations. With no kids in the house anymore I focus on two primary groups:

    Domestic Violence Shelter
    First Job Interview and Job Dressing

    Both are part of women’s shelter and support groups here in the DFW area and over the past 4 years have lost approximately 50% of their public funding so rely even more heavily on donations.
    valentinelogar recently posted..Victim Impact EvolutionMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      So many people undervalue the necessity of people to need work clothing. Great you have a shelter in your area to share.

      Reply
  5. HI RED…….!
    AWESOMEST POST EVER ….
    LOVE THIS …….
    IN MAKING PEOPLE SUPER AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR WORLD –
    YOU CAUSE A BEAUTIFUL RIPPLE EFFECT …
    I GIVE MONTHLY TO THE CANADIAN DIABETES
    ASSOCIATION
    THERE IS A RED …. YES RED ๐Ÿ™‚ HUGE HUGE ALMOST KIND OF MAILBOX THING – THAT THEY COME TO PICK UP – EVERY WEEK …..JUST OUTSIDE MY BUILDING …
    DIABETES IS SCARY – AND LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF OTHER CONDITIONS
    I HAVE DROPPED A LOT OF WEIGHT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS BECAUSE OF STRESS AND LIFE. ! SO ….. YES ………….
    HERE IS A LINK TO THEM IF THERE ARE SOME OTHER CANADIANS AROUND YOUR SITE …
    http://www.diabetes.ca/get-involved/supporting-us/clothesline/
    GIVING IS LIVING ๐Ÿ™‚
    LOVE TO YOU RED XOXOXOXOXO
    AWESOME POST –XO
    CAT
    Cat Forsley recently posted..Inside The Heart Cat Forsley ยฉMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      There are quite a few Canadians who haunt the posts around here. Diabetes is an everyday event for us. Just this past year, Poppa had one of his toes amputated secondary to diabetes complications after a minor foot wound. Fortunately, he did not lose most of his foot, as the doctors had first suspected he would.

      So glad you have a cause close to you for donations! Spread the word, Cat. It is the only way some people become aware. <3 {HUGZ} xxx

      Reply
      • YIKES ……:(
        WISHING POPPA THE BEST …….
        YEP THERE ARE SO MANY COMPLICATIONS FROM DIABETES ,,,,,
        THE MAILBOX RED DONATIONS BOX IS ALWAYS FULL AT THE END OF THE WEEK – AND THERE IS ALSO A PLACE CALLED “VALU VILLAGE ” WHERE YOU CAN BRING IN YOUR CLOTHES AND ALMOST DO A TRADE …..
        HERE IS THE LINK TO THAT …….
        AND YOU CAN FIND THE BEST STUFF THERE — IF YOU LIKE VINTAGE STUFF…..:)
        http://www.valuevillage.com/
        HAVE A GREAT NIGHT RED ……..
        LOTS OF HUGGS XOXOXOXO
        C
        Cat Forsley recently posted..Inside The Heart Cat Forsley ยฉMy Profile

        Reply
  6. A very thought provoking AND thoughtful post. One definitely worth considering that costs so little yet has meaningful benefits. I’ll file this under good deeds and smart living.

    Hope all is well in your world!
    Phil recently posted..Be Back Soon!My Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      Good to see you out and about, Phil. Hope you are catching up on rest and leaving the job at least in the driveway. This is an easy one for most all of us. I can guarantee there is a place where you could drop clothes between your house and the airport.

      Things are getting much better, thank you!

      Reply
      • Work is finally winding down a bit, although I now find that I need to catch up on my gardening. No rest for the weary, although I do love having fresh veggies and herbs all summer long.

        So much reading on here to catch up with as well. See ya around!

        Reply
        • Red

           /  May 17, 2012

          I am with you. I am ready for the rain to slack off so I can finish the planting. Hate it could not all be rained in, instead of watered in. *sigh* But it will all taste so good!

          Reply
  7. Thanks for this great and informative post, Red…I usually give to Goodwill, but I love your #3, great point! I just did some spring cleaning, but will MAD with some more! Take care! L
    LScott recently posted..Time to FlyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauren. We are discussing Good Will in another forum. They are one who only sells clothing (like Salvation Army). There are loads of other places who actually give the clothes away. It is far better, and shelters always always always need clothes.

      Reply
  8. Clearly I am not doing my part in buying or throwing away stuff. I don’t buy that much, and when I get rid of it, there’s not usually too much life left in it.
    Binky recently posted..Extra Healthy WeightMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 17, 2012

      That is the perfect time to recycle it. Recycling keeps things like pillows, carpet, insulation and other things less expensive.

      Reply
  9. I give stuff away routinely to Oxfam as the shop is run by my friend ‘Trish and her daughter Cheryl.

    Unfortunately by finding Jesus I alienated Cheryl, so these days we don’t talk much…

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.
    prenin recently posted..Wednesday โ€“ The editing continuesโ€ฆMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 18, 2012

      Religion can mess up really good friendships when both sides do not keep an open mind and one or the other tries to convert the other. Glad you have someplace to regularly give, Pren. {HUGZ} Red.

      Reply
  10. For housekeeping and handyman chores, unwearable cotton-blend or wool-blend clothing can substitute for paper towels and save a few trees, a few dollars and reduce pollution as well.

    Used dryer sheets make great dust cloths or to wipe out a laundry basket, or any other dry-cleanup job where you’d like something to stick to the cloth. However, be aware that many dogs love the taste and the dryer sheets will make for interesting lawn cleanup if you let them get into them.

    Unfortunately, my own shoes are considered toxic waste and listed by the EPA as a level 1 air pollutant and greenhouse gas producer, so I am stuck with wearing them until they decompose naturally.
    MJ Logan recently posted..The WalkMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  May 18, 2012

      ROFL! I have children with the same shoe problem. We have a crematory service for most of them… We may have to have a dryer sheet post. I am against them. May need to lay out all the reasons why, and give all the simple solutions for NOT using them.

      Reply

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