Now that spring is finally here we’re pretty sure you’re done with all your spring cleaning. The maids have been called, the cars have been detailed and your closet has been given a once over. If not don’t worry—we haven’t started either. We know the closet can be one of the hardest spots to tackle. You can’t hire someone to do it, or delegate it to the nanny, lest they throw out that LBD you wore to your sister’s wedding or that sweater that looked killer on you in college. Unfortunately, it’s a beast you have to fight all on your own. And how do you know what to toss, keep or donate? And where exactly should you donate? Thankfully we called upon the ladies at Fashion Project to help us figure out what the heck we’re doing when it comes to cleaning out our closet and how to donate to a cause we truly care about.
First things first. Before you can donate you have to clean out that closet. Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk, co-founders of Fashion Project suggest you start with a clean slate. “Take everything out of your closet,” they advise. “We mean it: EVERYTHING. It’s easy to ‘accidentally overlook’ items crammed into hidden corners of your closet, but when you’re forced to individually reconsider each item, you’ll make wiser decisions.” Once your closet is empty it’s time to be brutal. “Ask yourself—does it fit? Have I worn it at least once this year? Will I realistically ever wear it again? Does this fit my current style aesthetic? Is it damaged beyond repair? Would I buy this if I saw it in stores right now? Do I feel good wearing this?” Go though each piece and see how you truly feel about it. If you’ve worn it in the past year, it’s a favorite piece or it has sentimental value (hey, we’re only human) then back in the closet it goes. Anything permanently damaged belongs in the trash. If it’s a well-loved pair of Chanel heels that are gorgeous, but absolutely kill your toes—maybe it’s time to let them go. We suggest donating them to Fashion Project.
Launched in 2012, Fashion Project is an online donation program that allows women to choose the charity that their gently-used clothing will benefit. Both fans of thrift and vintage shopping, founders Palmer and Rizk stumbled upon a designer jacket one day priced at a couple dollars, but they knew the charity could maximize that donation if the piece was priced closer to its actual value. Working from this idea, they started Fashion Project, where they “can raise up to 100% more for charity than an average thrift store that isn’t equipped to accurately price or sell luxury merchandise.”
Unlike most donation programs, where you drop off your clothes and forget about them, Fashion Project takes your used designer pieces and sells them online to other luxury-loving fashion mavens. (They have a very specific list of which brands they will accept, so be sure to double check it before sending them your used duds.) Then 55 percent of the proceeds are donated to a charity of your choice which means you can pick what matters most to you and know your contribution is going to really help those in need. They only work with 501(c)(3)s non-profits and have raised $650,805 to date.
To get started, request a pre-paid box, print out a pre-paid mailing label or request a white glove pick-up (for those very expensive items), and donate all those pieces that were once just taking up space in your closet. After you’ve said your goodbye to that Marc Jacobs dress you know will never fit again, you can follow it online to see how much it sold for and even get a tax deduction (and probably some good karma) in return. After the piece has been sold, Fashion Project donates the newly accrued funds to the charity of your choice, be it something worldwide like the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, or something in your own backyard like The Los Angeles Orphanage Guild. For those who want to do even more, Fashion Project will work with you personally to organize fashion parties, drop-days and more to get you, your friends and your community more involved in charitable giving.