Posted on Oct 16, 2014
SGT Timothy Stroud
It's nearing the end of the year and even in Texas, the weather is getting cooler. That means that a lot of people are rotating their wardrobes and cleaning out their closets for charity. I hope you are amongst those who think of others and have started making a pile of clothes to donate in your community. However, let's look at some guidelines first, shall we?

In the picture below, you'll see Robert Duvall's screen-worn ''hero'' wardrobe from drama ''The Road.'' Duvall plays ''Old Man'' in this tale of a man and his son doing anything they can to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. This dirty and tattered item is a grey Tallia suit jacket and is not far from the same condition that I found in some donated items to a Veteran Service Organization in Houston, Texas.

That's right - you read that correctly. Someone donated several items like THIS tattered jacket to give to a veteran. As an aside, a lot of veterans simply don't have many civilian clothes since they wore one of several uniforms while serving in our military. That's why organizations like Career Gear and Dress for Success are trying to get the word out to people like YOU.

Imagine if you only had ONE suit in your closet and that is the suit you wore to your mother's funeral. How confident would you be to wear that piece of clothing to your first corporate interview? Kind of makes you swallow hard and be thankful, doesn't it? It's okay, don't be too hard on yourself. I was taught to give things to people who need them too. Only, my mom taught me that I could only give away something that was still in good condition. In our house, we didn't give away junk.

Here are a few tips on how to clean out your closet, feel great about doing something for someone else, and (gasp) organize in the process:

Clean off your bed and floor of your bedroom - you'll need the room
Turn on some music that motivates you - yes, the head-bobbing kind
Mentally prepare yourself that you are going to empty out your entire closet - yes, that means the boxes, shoes, hangers, and cobwebs
Start laying out clothes in sections - shirts, jackets, shoes, suits, etc. The key is to START and the piles will naturally form very quickly
Empty out the entire closet and grab your cleaning supplies. Start with the shelves and wipe those down as well as the walls. Vacuum and replace that light bulb.
Breathe. Now the fun begins.
You've already decided that you're NOT going to donate your favorite outfits right? Narrow those down to your top five. Pick one of those to donate and that will start your donation pile. (Karma.)
Any piece of clothing that you have NOT worn in the last year will probably go into that pile too.
Space your clothing as you hang it up and group them either by color or how often you wear things. (One friend of mine starts wearing suits at one end and works his way to the other end.) This also minimizes wear and tear on your clothing.
You should have some good items to donate at this point. However, you are not done yet. Walk in front of a mirror with the clothes and look at them. Would YOU wear this item if someone gave it to YOU? If so, it gets donated. If not, it's time to make a judgement call.
Pick a local Veteran Service Organization to donate your clothes to and then go purchase one new outfit or item. Don't go crazy - just replace a suit with a suit or a shirt with a shirt.

If you were donating your TIME, would someone say that you did worthwhile work or would they say that your time was worthless? If you're going to donate anything, make sure it is valuable and you'll reap the rewards of giving back.
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Responses: 1
CW5 Desk Officer
Edited >1 y ago
SGT Timothy Stroud, thanks for that info and for those pointers. I Googled suits for vets and found lots of ways/places to donate clothes.

Here's the Google search:

I see that Gary Sinise's foundation is working a program to provide suits to veterans. He is a hero in my book, for all the support and work he does for the military and veterans. He was a fairly frequent visitor to the Pentagon during my six years there. Here's a link to his foundation:

And here's some info about the suit giveaway he's sponsoring:,-veterans-and-disabled-services/news/gary-sinise-foundation-donating-free-suits-to-qual.aspx
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