Recently I had coffee with a friend who was affected by the January 2011 Brisbane floods. I listened and I got the really personal experience of situations I have written about in my eProgram ‘Wardrobe Full, Nothing to Wear’.
While she and many others were grateful for all the help they received, some ‘giving’ created problems for the ‘receivers’ and it’s delicate stuff. Receiving is not always pleasure. Sometimes it is pain.
So here’s three things to consider before you donate your unwanted clothes to another person or a charity so that you give where it will do the most good and be most appreciated.
Offer not Give
This is painful. We all feel that we are donating/giving from our hearts. We know that there are others less fortunate or poorer than us and we want to help. It makes us feel good to give and we want them to feel grateful for our generosity. Rejection is not part of our plan.
Now ‘walk a mile in the other person’s shoes’. That gift may be totally useless to them – not their style, size, colour or fit their current lifestyle situation. But they often take it so as not to upset or offend you.
Change your wording and perception. You are not ‘giving’. You are ‘offering’. And offers can be accepted or rejected. Think in ‘their shoes’ not yours. Your gift may be more appropriate somewhere else.
Ask What They Truly Want
There is the story of Juliette Wright who started http://www.givit.org.au because she found that what she was offering (designer baby clothes) was not what the charities desperately needed. So she started the website so that charities could ask for items that would support and make their clients’ lives more enjoyable and productive.
So before you offer your unwanted clothes and accessories to someone, ask what they truly want. The answer may surprise you because it’s usually not what you were thinking of giving. The pleasure is that you may be able to find and give the appropriate item. The pain is that you may have to find a different place to donate your unwanted items.
How Else Can I Donate?
Swapping is one option. You can organise your own or sign up for professional swap meets. There is still no guarantee that someone else will want what you are offering. You can search for specific charities that want what you have to offer or you can sell them. It can be a pleasurable game of ‘who wants what I offer’. Don’t stop at the first rejection. You can sign up for http://www.freecycle.org which is a donation site for your local area. You list the items and they may or may not be snapped up.
Donate without Rejection: Put it anonymously in a charity bin and leave it for them to sort out. Be realistic. Some items are ready for your rubbish bin. Put them there and don’t leave it for for charity to throw it out.
By all means give from your heart. Just do it consciously. One day you may be the person who’d rather say ‘no’ than receive.
I leave you with this quote by Suze Orman in her book ‘Woman & Money, Australian Edition’, Hay House Publishers, 2009 – ‘Generosity is when you give the right thing to the right person at the right time – and it benefits both of you.’