With winter coming to an end, spring breeze has begun to flow and the weather is starting to warm up. The blue sweater that makes the eyes pop, the one that was bought to bring a little colour to the dead soul of the winter, is not going to be of any use now. It is high time one started thinking of ways to pack up their winter clothes to be kept out of sight till next winter. For people who have enough storage space in their house, there is no headache about what to keep and what not. But lacking enough storage space, which is quite normal for most of the people, one should start thinking about how to manage these winter clothes efficiently.
A meticulous approach here would be to get three cartons and labelling them as 'Yes', 'No' and 'Maybe'. The clothes that are absolutely loved and definitely can be worn again, are meant to be in the 'Yes' box. The ones that have become quite old and seem out of fashion, should be cast aside for the 'No' box. The 'Maybe' box should comprise clothes that are confusing; the ones that were not worn that much and have a low chance of being worn in the future.
The 'Yes' box
Now, after deciding on what to keep, one should also know how to preserve them. First of all, making sure the clothes are clean is an absolute necessity. Damages like missing buttons, clothing with minor rips or stains should be repaired.
After washing, dry cleaning and repairing the winter items, bins and boxes lying around in the house can be used to store them up. Heavy coats need to be hanged inside the wardrobe so that they do not get wrinkled. Folding the sweaters and jackets will make it easier to keep them neatly inside plastic bins or unused suitcases. These storage boxes can be kept on top of cupboards or underneath the bed where they do not mess with the aesthetics of one's home.
The 'No' box
Instead of letting the surplus clothes sit and rot, one can donate them to people in need for a worthy cause. In Bangladesh, one in every five people lives below the poverty line. So, it is not hard to find people in the streets who would receive the generous charity. The clothes can be distributed among the people who work relentlessly to make ends meet, i.e., maid, driver or gardener. If someone is setting a journey to the village, then some of those unused clothes can be packed to donate them among the villagers in need. One can also volunteer to collect winters clothing from the neighbourhood by setting up a donation box at the parking lot or by the guard's room. This will give an opportunity for those who are willing to donate but not motivated enough to go and find out the underprivileged people by themselves.
In some countries, there are charity organisations that focus on collecting items for donation from home to home. 'Wrap Up London' in London, 'Barnabus' in Manchester, 'Goodwill' in Pittsburgh, 'Myrona' in Stockholm, 'The Friary' in Nottingham are some of the notable ones. There are similar organisations in Bangladesh as well like 'Jaago', 'Maapsi', 'Born to smile', 'Power to bloom', 'Children's Heaven' that collect donations for such causes.
The 'Maybe' box
Most of the pieces from this box should be kept for storage provided that one has enough space to store them. But, for greater good, it should be considered giving some of those clothes to a person in need. The smile that is going to be brought to someone's face when they receive a warm piece of cloth would be priceless.
Although winter does not last in our country for long, storing up clothes properly will help them outlast many winters. And instead of holding onto items that are no longer in need, initiatives should be taken to set them aside for a greater cause keeping in mind that a little empathy can go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the people.
The writer is an MBBS student at Dhaka Medical College.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org