While most of us are out shopping for loved ones for the holiday season, there are some people in our close communities who can’t even afford a coat that will keep them warm this winter—an unfortunate reality of the state of our economy. I know that this is a fun column about fashion but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t share this idea with you.

I am one of those people that will hold onto a dress knowing I will never fit into again, or a coat that I can hardly button because I loved it once and I can’t bring myself to part with it. The rule is that if you haven’t worn something for six months, it’s time to let it go.

As I think about the families who are in need, it makes it easier to part with these pieces. I recommend that each of you go through your closet and pick 10 items that you have not worn in six months (I’m sure some of us have even more items we could part with) to donate to a local charity.

Donate first to an organization that will actually give the items freely to families in need. While organizations that turn around and sell donated items for a profit often benefit good causes, it’s nice to think that your gently used items will go directly to those that need them most. This is the season of giving and I promise you will feel great knowing that your unwanted clothing is going to a good cause.

Some tips to help you out:

  1. Make sure that all items that you donate are gently worn and clean.
  2. Try not to get sentimental. Even if you loved the item but haven’t worn it in a while, let it go.
  3. Think about how great it will feel to get organized, and with the new space in your closet you will have plenty of room for future finds! My rule is if I buy something new, I let something old go.
  4. Encourage your family, friends & co-workers to do the same.

The holidays are about giving and thinking of those less fortunate. By doing this, you will be helping someone you don’t know have a better life, and there is no greater gift!