Every year, in the days leading up to Christmas, I help my two sons go through tucked-away toy bins and rarely opened drawers, where action figures that have fallen out of favor and once-favorite clothes that are now too small go to hide.
As they begrudgingly part with these once-loved items, they're comforted that their toys and clothes will find new homes with someone who needs them.
For those of us whose age is in the double digits, out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new can be a harder concept to grasp. While you'll undoubtedly help your children donate or pass down out of use items, when is the last time you edited your own closet? And let's not even talk about your makeup bag.
'Tis the season to take a realistic look at what you wear (and don't) as well as your medicine cabinet and pass along items you don't use to someone who may need them more.
Here's how to get started …
If the shoe fits
Then by all means, wear it, but if it doesn't fit, it's time to pass it along. After going through my own wardrobe I was forced to acknowledge some bad choices. Shoes that didn't really fit (but were on sale, natch) and shoes that have never been worn because they didn't fit my style, were set aside for Soles4Souls, a Nashville shoe charity that distributes shoes, free of charge, to people in need around the world.
Several pairs of pumps in hand, I contacted Elizabeth Kirk, public relations for Soles4Souls, and asked if they really wanted pumps with 4-inch heels? She assured me that all shoes, big and small, flat and ridiculously high, are put to good use. As Kirk said, "We provide shoes to many different types of outlets, including Dress for Success and women's abuse shelters. Nothing feels better than for a single mom of four to get a nice pair of pumps for church or for a job interview." Log on to giveshoes.org for information about donating gently worn shoes.
Medicine cabinet makeover
Gently used or never used makeup and toiletries can be put to good use at your local women's shelter. That means the drugstore lipstick that looked like a totally different shade in the package or the moisturizer that made you break out can find a new home with a woman who may just love the products that didn't love you.
Gently used items can be also be swapped online at makeupalley.com, but I feel best knowing I'm passing along unused impulse buys or ill-chosen color cosmetics to someone who may treasure my toiletries.
Many women's shelters accept gently used items while others require that personal care items be sealed. If you don't know of a local women's shelter, log on to ywca.org.
Here's to starting the New Year with a clean makeup bag, a well-edited wardrobe, and a clear conscience.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.