Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tis better to give than to recieve

When I was about 6, my favorite outfit was a pair of yellow corduroy stirrups and a pink and yellow striped sweater. I would have worn it everyday if my mother let me and even when it was obvious that I had outgrown the pants (they rose way past my ankles and I used two pairs of slouched socks to cover my exposed legs) I would not give them up. Fed up with her daughter wearing highwaters, my mother informed me that my beloved pants would be going to the daughter of a good family friend. 

And I threw such a fit. How could she, didn't she know that those garments were a part of me? That they and I were one? Once I calmed down enough to listen to reason, she said that the clothes were only meant to be with me temporarily and it was now time for me to say good-bye. As the head of a Christian household, she asked "how can you expect to receive blessings when your hands are closed and unwilling to bless others?" Ouch. So it was with a very heavy and reluctant heart that I said good-bye to my fabric friends and gave them to a girl that I knew wouldn't love them as much as I did. Little bitch.

Now that I have a few more years under my belt, it has become much easier to say good-bye to things in closet. My mother's words still ring in my ears and I am more than happy to pass on the blessings that I have received. I often set aside items that I think will look good on my friends and surprise them with gifts when they visit. Interestingly enough, my wardrobe improves whenever I get rid of things and pass them on. I guess the act of reduction allows the remaining items to stand out more. There have been countless times where I totally forgot about an item until I cleaned out my closet/ suitcase/ drawer and it magically appeared. 

Additionally, I have been the fortunate recipient of my friends' purges. Much of my current wardrobe comes from my best friend whom I love dearly. She always has a garbage bag full of clothes at her house, waiting to be donated to the local charity. When she picked me up from the airport during a trip home and informed me that such a bag was in the trunk of her car, I literally stripped in the middle of the street and gleefully ravaged it. 

Above is just a few of the items I've been really fortunate to get from my friends. Unbeknownst to my girls, their items came when I needed them most and could hardly afford food much less new gloves or warm sweaters. And being on the receiving end of such love pushes me to be even more generous. I've given away leather jackets, boots, designers shoes, and even electronics, all in the name of paying it forward. 

So if you're looking to purge your closets and help out a few strangers, there are a number of options. The most obvious one is a charity shop. I however, use them as a last resort as I would like my clothes to be free to those who need them most. Instead, when I am in Copenhagen, I use the clothing drop in Christiania. Located a few steps away from Moonfisher, people can take and leave whatever they like. Another option is Facebook. There are numerous groups dedicated to facilitating free exchanges between people living in the same area. This one is for Copenhagen while this one is for people living in Munich. To find similar ones in your area, just do a search for "free your stuff" plus your city. Craigslist is always an option, but if the items you're looking to unload are from your home country and hard to find in you present location, I suggest an expat board like Toy Town Germany.  

Remember, the goal is the help others out while also unburdening yourself of unnecessary items. So be nice and refrain from donating garbage. If the pants, shirt, or coat is beyond repair, throw it away. Follow the golden rule of donation; give onto others as you would like others to give onto you. 


  1. Yeah, I have a whole bunch I have to give away to the Salvation Army (Leger des Heiles) here in Holland. They never seem to have anything really good which is why I want to donate to them.

    I must say that your friends are giving away some really good stuff!

  2. Yeah, I'm really, really lucky to have such stylish AND generous friends. And I understand what you mean about wanting to give when you know the place in need of quality items. When I saw the clothing drop in Christiania was totally empty one winter, I cleaned out my closet and donated a lot of warm clothes since I knew they would be taken quickly.