You’re feeling tired but hugely satisfied after a successful decluttering session in the closet. You look down in triumph at the aftermath of your battle: four massive trash bags stuffed full of cast-offs that you’re ready to donate. Hopefully, you’re celebrating with the visual reward of all that extra space, and looking forward to getting dressed more easily tomorrow, now that you no longer have to contend with gnarled hangers.
Ecstatic from vanquishing the clutter, you drag the bags out to the car so that you can drop off your donation.
Not so fast! There’s a crucial task that you must do before you leave.
Are you the type of person who comes home and hurriedly hangs up your coat in the closet, or the type who fastidiously checks all pockets for essential items before you hang it up? On a recent bout down the podcast/youtube rabbit hole, I laughed when someone remarked that they purposefully leave $10 bills in their jackets so that they can be pleasantly surprised next year when they pull it out again. Your future self might thank you. Here’s the only issue with that strategy: if you are not detail-oriented, you might eventually donate that coat without checking the pockets. Maybe $10 won’t break the bank, but there might be something much more valuable lurking inside. Either way, it’s best to check pockets and bag compartments as you go rather than have to do that task after the cast-offs are already in a big pile.
I’m a thorough organizer, and it has definitely paid off over the years. When working with a client, I generally check clothes pockets and purse compartments (unless the client informs me that they never leave anything in them, so it would be a waste of time to double-check). On virtual sessions, clients often hear me reminding them to “Check the pockets!” as they walk off-camera to dump the item into the donate bag. Most of the time, I find Kleenex, loose change, gum wrappers, and ancient cough drops ensconced in sticky papers. Sometimes, though, we find items that clients had lost hope for long ago. It can be pretty exciting. Additionally, it’s courteous to empty pockets and purses before you donate, so nonprofit employees don’t have to do it for you.
So before you drive those bags to your local nonprofit, be sure that you’ve checked the pockets and compartments first. You might gain even more than a new workable closet. If I can’t convince you of this task’s worthiness, maybe $42,000 will: https://kfor.com/news/local/norman-goodwill-employee-finds-42000-in-donated-sweater/.
Author: Judith Dold
Musings from yours truly about all things organizing.