The Freedom of Owning Less: Thoughts on Donating 31 Outfits to Jenny’s Cause

If you have been following my Facebook page, you know that in July I decided to embark on a self portrait challenge with a twist: I took a self portrait every day and the outfit I wore for the photo was to be donated to a local charity/organization. The idea behind the project was to make me create something daily and also help me let go of some clothes/shoes I no longer need/wear.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to accumulate clothes easily. I love clearance sales and resale shops, and I often buy outfits with photos in mind. However, little by little they tend to add up in my closet, and although I regularly gift/donate some pieces I decided it was time for some more major closet clean up.

I have  aching for dresses. Part of my closet before/after donating the 31 outfits. The photo below shows all clothes I donated today.

I have a thing for dresses. Part of my closet (actually wardrobe – so European, I know ;-))  before/after donating the 31 outfits. The photo below shows all clothes I donated today. I still have plenty more left to wear.

Clutter in my home often creates clutter in my brain. This year I have been traveling more, and being on the road made me realize that the less clothes I own, the easier packing will be. Inspired by Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Lifestyle and minimalist wardrobe, I have been loving picking an outfit daily for a month, photographing it, and setting it aside for donation. Thanks to my friend Michelle Anne with MK Designs Photography / Fine Art and Portrait I found the perfect charity to donate all outfits to. Jenny’s Closet, a local non-profit organization that has been started by Theresa Jones, a custodian at Washington Middle School. They provide clothes, shoes, hygiene items, school supplies and more to children and teens in need.

The second part of my wardrobe before/after donating the outfits. I don't own very many pairs of pants and tops, yet I have more than I can wear.

The second part of my wardrobe before/after donating the outfits. I don’t own very many pairs of pants and tops, yet I have more than I can wear.

What struck me while taking all outfits to be donated out of my closet, is that I have accumulated all these clothes in the last 5 years I have been in the USA. Back in 2010, all my possessions fit in a suitcase. First I bought a winter coat, then a pair of jeans (to fit in the Midwest), and the rest followed. When you find a nice sweater for $5 on clearance, you buy it…

It's astonishing to me how many clothes I have accumulated for the last 5 years in the USA ... What is more, I have donated plenty more during the years...

It’s astonishing to me how many clothes I have accumulated for the last 5 years in the USA … What is more, I have donated plenty during the years… Most of the shoes came from Bulgaria, they are real leather and much better quality. Yet, I can only wear so many of them.

I don’t collect much stuff. I do hoard photos but it’s part of my job – it never fails that people lose them and ask me to retrieve old files. Looking at my closet, though, I think I have a little bit of clothes addiction. Taking everything out and giving it to people who need it more, felt extremely liberating this morning. The extra space in my closet makes me happy. And, no, I don’t have the urge to go shopping to fill it up. I have the intention to free up more space!

"The clothes don't make the man. It's the man that makes the clothes." As women, we are made to derive a big part of our identity from what we wear. But our clothes are not who we are, and it's not what, but how we wear it.

“The clothes don’t make the man. It’s the man that makes the clothes.” As women, we are made to derive a big part of our identity from what we wear. But our clothes are not who we are, and it’s not so much what, but how we wear it that matters.

It was such a joy today to meet Theresa Jones and hand her all the outfits and shoes! I believe what she is doing is wonderful and I am honored and glad to help with her cause. She could use more pants and tops for the upcoming school year, as well as toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and other hygiene products. If you want to contribute, you can call her at 636.629.4274 or simply drop off your donation at the Washington Middle School for Jenny’s Closet.

Sweet Theresa with a pile of clothes by her side.

Sweet Theresa with a pile of no-longer-mine clothes by her side.

Was it hard to part with some of these items in my closet? Yes, they are all very nice clothes and some of them I have worn and loved a lot. But letting them go felt so much better than keeping them, especially when knowing that they are going to somebody who needs them more.

“Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable, you will never be able to truly change at all because you will be forever in control of things you can’t give up.”

~Andy Law

"The magic of letting go happens when you feel light, whenever that may be."

“The magic of letting go happens when you feel light, whenever that may be.” Happy to part with these items from my closet and let them have a new life with somebody else.

Inspired to simply your closet? You can start with just a few items and make a difference. Feeling bold? Click here. 😉

Feel free to share your comments, ideas and suggestions below!

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This entry was published on August 5, 2015 at 12:51 am. It’s filed under This and That and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Freedom of Owning Less: Thoughts on Donating 31 Outfits to Jenny’s Cause

  1. Pingback: 2015 In Review: Where Have I Been, Where Am I Going | Slava Bowman Photography

  2. Pingback: Hawaii… Why? | Slava Bowman Photography

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