Give something away on July 15

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One of my favorite pastimes is to go, what I call, thrifting. I love spending a couple of hours on a day off treasure hunting at a thrift shop.

Though I don’t always find something I will treasure for life, almost always I find something unique or that has value to me. Rarely do I go home empty handed.

But along with a love for thrifting comes the need to occasionally re-organize and declutter.

National Give Something Away Day is July 15. I have already begun the task of cleaning out my closet of fall and winter clothes to give away, and I’ll be moving on to the spring and summer clothes soon.

But celebrating National Give Something Away Day doesn’t have to involve taking a large garbage bag full of clothes to the thrift store. The day can be marked with simple, kind gestures — giving your co-worker the paperback copy of a book you love but read years ago, gifting some baby clothes that your child has grown out of to an expecting mother or preparing a homecooked meal for a neighbor and letting them keep the serving dish that has been stored in your kitchen cupboard and rarely used.

These small gestures can go a long way toward brightening somebody’s day.

Of course, there are more charitable ways to celebrate National Give Something Away Day as well. Years ago, I had a friend from college who was moving out of the country for a while, so she threw a naked ladies party. No, it is not the type of party its name implies. In fact, quite the opposite. Probably a better name for it would be friends’ clothing swap, but I guess the words “naked ladies” grabs more attention.

My friend invited her friends of all different shapes and sizes to her apartment for a Saturday night get-together. She gave us plenty of notice in advance of the party because she asked all of us to go through our closets and set aside the gently-used clothing we no longer wore or wanted. The one rule was you couldn’t take home anything that you brought.

Once everyone arrived, all the clothes we brought were put in a few big piles on the floor in the middle of the living room. There was quite the variety of clothing, and a lot of it. Everything from pajama shirts to professional attire — I even got the dress I wore to my college graduation from that party.

We spent a few hours going through everybody’s things, munching on finger-food snacks, taking turns trying clothes on in my friend’s bedroom and getting others’ opinions on how we looked. After we had finished making our selections of what to take home, we put on one of our new outfits and walked to a local bar for an after-party drink.

The party itself was a lot of fun, but the best part about it was the charitable aspect. The weekend following the party, my friend donated all the unclaimed clothes to a local women’s shelter.

Donating to charities — no matter if it be in the form of volunteering time, giving monetarily, giving new or gently-used items to someone in need or attending a fundraiser event — simply feels good.

And, if like me, you decide to go the route of giving away a bunch of clothing on National Give Something Away Day, you can always re-up your closet on Aug. 17, which is National Thrift Shop Day.

Thrift shops, Denver, Christy Steadman

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