Are you guilty of having an overstuffed closet filled with clothes? I know I am! I bet I have not worn some of them in the past year. These tips from style editor and author Bobbie Thomas are excellent guidelines for how to update your winter wardrobe for spring, and even better, how to give your old clothes new life by donating them to those in need. I am looking forward to using some of these tips as I clean out my closet!

“Twenty percent of U.S. children live in poverty and one in 10 has needed to borrow or receive a donated winter coat for their child,” said Bobbie Thomas. “So it’s important to give back through charities like One Warm Coat, a national non-profit that provides free coats to people in need. Winter fashion may change from year to year, but giving back never goes out of style.”


Bobbie suggests these tips to help you clean your closet, de-clutter and refresh your wardrobe in 2011:

Find Motivation For Your Mission – Gather inspirational images from magazines and catalogs and collect them in a folder, or create an easy to find desktop file filled with photos from surfing the web. This will help you develop your own spring style, giving you a fresh perspective on what you should keep in your closet, what you should store or donate. Include a list of most-wanted items that stand out, and basics that seem to repeat in your inspirational images. You may already have similar items in your closet, and if not, this list will keep you on track through the season.

Start With a Section – Make sure to be realistic with your time and schedule. Plan to clean your closet in shifts, and zone in on one area or category. For example, focus on one drawer or just your dresses since they are easiest to slip on and off.  After all, it’s always less overwhelming to tackle one thing at a time. Organize by color and length. You’ll want your wardrobe to welcome you the way a beautifully merchandised department store does.

Donate and Do Good – The reward of feeling freshly organized is fantastic, but you’ll feel even better knowing that your unused items are helping others in need. Although warmer days are on the way, One Warm Coat is still eager to help your old favorites find new life. Beyond coats, the organization also accepts clothing and has teamed up with Glad’s Bag Bank. Go to to find out how you can receive free Glad ForceFlex trash bags to donate your unwanted clothing and accessories.

The Bag Bank started with a balance of four million bags, many of which have been donated to partner with charities, but there are still more than 150,000 trash bags available on a first-come, first-serve basis through May 30, 2011. So now is the time to pass forward those extra blazers, button-downs, rain jackets and more.


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