January 25, 2011

These Shoes are Made For Walking....So Why Are They In The Back Of My Closet?

Gear and Outdoor clothing are frequently on the brains of many of my friends. Whether they work in the Outdoor Industry or are outdoor enthusiasts (or both) I know they're always excited to see what's new and what to add to their collections. At this time of year winter gear is still being purchased and the spring and summer wishlists are being made. Many of us don't "need" new gear or clothing. It's hard to justify items and sometimes we accumulate so much that it sits in the queue.

This was recently the case with me and trail shoes. I had four pair. Now, no, it's not a lot but it's more than what I truly need. I have two pairs that get worn frequently and two that were waiting to be used. The shelved pairs are both great shoes, I just thought I would wait until the current shoes are done then move on to the next. Then I had a friend in need.

A friend was going on an vacation that included hiking and spending time in the great outdoors. While my friend is active and energetic she is not what she would describe as an outdoorsy lady. Knowing how expensive good trail shoes can be, especially if you never know if you'll use them post trip, I offered her a pair of mine.

After the trip she told me she loved them. If she had tried to do the trip in tennis shoes she wouldn't have been comfortable. She told me she wants to try to get outdoors more locally and with the right shoes she would. I almost cried when she told me this. I remember, as a late bloomer it wasn't so far ago, when I first branched out into the outdoors. I didn't know about appropriate clothing for climate variances or what the ten essentials were. I had no one to show me the ropes or lend me gear. I just worked through trial and error.

So the shoes are hers. They're doing so much more good on her feet then they were sitting in my closet.

Now I have to ask, how much gear or clothing or musical instruments or art supplies or any other stuff have you accumulated that just waits to be used? I know we think "I spent so much on it though!" or "It will fit again someday" or "I know I haven't touched that guitar in three years but some day I will". Chances are if it's been hanging out more than a year or more than what is seasonally appropriate without being used, you're not going to use it. Someone can. Someone will.

Consider taking stock of what you have and aren't using. Do you know someone who would benefit? Ask them if they want it. Maybe you know a non-profit that could use it like a women's shelter or outdoors organization. Maybe you'll just take it to your local non-profit supporting thrift store and be done with it. Bottom line, give it up and you'll feel good knowing that it has a much better use of being used than it ever did in your closet. Just maybe in the process you'll be opening up a world of opportunity to someone who didn't know where to start.

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