Free to a good home: 15-year-old halter top and “mature” capris

We’ve spent the last few days frantically packing up the house to make room for Him’s parents, my parents and other family members generously planning to stay in our home to take care of our three cats while we’re gallivanting across the globe. Throughout this process, I’ve noticed Him has taken to holding up random clothing items and household objects while stating, “I’m going to throw this away.” I sense he’s testing to see if I relapse to my notorious hoarding past by begging a stay of execution for the various items, but I’m playing it cool, uttering a cheerful “Sure! Great idea!” in reply each time. It’s killing me.


Him sucks — the air out of my clothes

As a peace offering, I’ve decided to demonstrate my supreme eagerness to scale back my worldly possessions by donating to Goodwill and consigning to local thrift shops. Goodwill, which helps in the rehabilitation of those with disabilities, is a great organization, but its humble acceptance of pretty much any junk one can’t bring oneself to relegate to a dumpster sometimes morphs donating into a somewhat selfish act. That chipped vase you can’t throw away? Bury it within a wardrobe box and deposit it at Goodwill! That once-favorite blouse now spotted with Merlot? Stuff it into an old shopping bag and gift it to Goodwill! Selfish donors like me are well-aware that a discerning volunteer will likely trash our beloved vase and blouse the second they sort through our donations – but the beauty is that we’ll never know for sure. There’s always a chance that that vase and blouse somehow survived the screening process to peacefully live out the remainder of their natural lives in the possession of a motivated DIY-er with a glue gun and super-sonic Tide pen.

I admit I’ve “gifted” Goodwill with a few items that probably should have been trashed. The object that immediately comes to mind is a small wicker basket shaped like a Thanksgiving Day turkey, the container for a floral arrangement my mom bought at Publix last holiday season. It was so cute. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. Instead, I included the turkey basket in a massive box of miscellaneous bric-a-brac I shoved into an unsuspecting Goodwill attendant’s hands.  I like to think that little turkey will continue gobble-gobbling as the centerpiece of another family’s table this Thanksgiving. One can only hope.

And then there’s consignment. I’ve bought plenty of consigned clothing in my day, but I’ve never actually sold anything. So while cramming my considerable wardrobe into a corner of our closet, I assembled a copy paper box’s worth of gently used blouses and slacks. My first stop was A Star’s Closet in Jupiter’s Calle Vieja shopping center. This small shop prides itself on offering only top designer duds – cast-offs from the closets of expiring Jupiter Island and Palm Beach island dowagers. Lost in a jungle of designer names I couldn’t even pronounce, I once contracted thrift hysteria and purchased about $100 worth of clothes there, including a zebra-patterned blazer and a faded, jade-Green cocktail dress with a neckline similar to that of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Seven Year Itch” dress. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ve never worn any of it. That mini shopping spree happened so long ago that my plan was to sell the items I purchased back to A Star’s Closet and thus recover some of my losses. For good measure, I included a handful of Ann Taylor blouses and slacks that no longer fit. But all did not go according to plan.

“We’re not accepting any new consigners at this time – unless they’ve got designer labels: Prada, Gucci, Chanel…” the impeccably dressed sales associate trailed off.

“Oh. I just have Ann Taylor.”

“Yea, we don’t accept Ann Taylor,” she said. “We don’t like to carry what you can get next door at stores like T.J. Maxx.”



She said it all so sweetly that I couldn’t take offense. Instead, I mentally took down her instructions to find Plato’s Closet near the intersection of PGA Boulevard and U.S. 1 in Palm Beach Gardens.

If A Star’s Closet contains your rich grandma’s plastic-shrouded designer pant suits, Plato’s Closet contains the wrinkled and ripped wardrobe of your tween cousin. I once bought a shirt or two from the Gainesville location when I was in college.

“Your clothes are just a little too mature for our clientele,” a sales associate reported after sorting through my box. “We usually buy stuff like Abercrombie, Hollister – brands like that.”

She handed me a slip of paper listing several “mature” consignment shops within a 10-mile radius. Dejected, I collected my sad little box and exited the shop, but not before taking in the 9-inch pumps and glitter-infused denims lining the racks. Suddenly, I felt very old.

To be fair, a Plato’s sales associate had warned me over the phone about Ann Taylor likely being too professional for their clientele, but the sorter hadn’t even inquired about my midriff- baring halter top, a relic purchased from Express 15 years ago. Maybe she had detected my Ann Taylor curvy-fit capris and, disgusted, could sort no further.

I tried two other consignment shops that day, Circa Vintage and The Tequesta Stock Exchange in Tequesta, both of which were not accepting new merchandise. The sales associates didn’t even ask me what I had to offer.

Perhaps this is all karma for all the crap I’ve “gifted” to poor Goodwill throughout the years. Anyway, I have a new appreciation for the easy-going, accepting folks who work there. In fact, I think my copy paper box just might pay them a visit tomorrow…


3 Responses to Free to a good home: 15-year-old halter top and “mature” capris

  1. Jamie

    I’m so proud of you for all the effort to donate / consign – seriously! Part of my soon-to-be-finished (yay!) thesis focuses on the emotional strife of owning, well, stuff. It’s even harder when your job is to look for stuff for people – you find amazing things and, in the case of vintage and antiques, think you’ll never cross paths with something so amazing again (a recent find: 70s needlepoint Minnie Mouse pillow – bought; yesterday’s: Freddie Mercury nesting dolls – pass). However, when you think about the cycle of crap that finds its way into hands around the globe, it’s pretty amazing. I shop Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. all the time – a must stop when you travel (wink). But keeping a photo journal of all these things will certainly be easier to transport. I’d love to see a coffee table book of the myriad of amazing things you’ll see – and I know where you can find an amazingly gifted book maker (ahem).

    Wishing you both an awesomely insane time! Well, not insane – keep Matt in line, k Meg?

  2. UH

    Oh M your words rang so true. I too suffer whenever I have to part with a (slightly or perhaps more used) item. It is the memories it evokes that make it so hard for me to part with these objects. Ah well, c’ est mois. On to more important things. I wish you a wonderful and exciting trip full of wonderful unique and pleasant experiences . Be safe and enjoy the trip. I will be praying for your happiness and well being. We look forward to your regular reports. I am particularly interested in any of the special or unique meals you consume.

    With all my love and best wishes


    • him


      I can’t wait to eat my way around the world! In fact, I intend to dedicate and entire section to our gastronomic exploits.

      Love you guys!


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