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Jeruba's avatar

Can't keep them, can't throw them away: old shoes--?

Asked by Jeruba (50645points) March 22nd, 2016

Nicely grained pumps, in several colors, that I’ll never wear again. Actually I never wore them all that much when I was still wearing heels. But now I’m not risking my aging ankles or knees on a little bit of frivolous vanity. I wear flats to the opera.

Not good enough to sell: they’re old, out of style, and the insoles are no longer snug.

But they’re good quality, solid, decent, and adequately handsome. How can I just dump them in the trash?

Women who have to go to shelters and use resources that take clothing donations are not looking for heels to wear to banquets and the theatre, any more than they need the champagne glasses and pink linen tablecloths and napkins that I’ve seen there. They need warm hooded jackets and sturdy shoes, practical things, not fancy dress.

I have unearthed at least seven pairs (along with a pair of gold sneakers that I will certainly keep!). What shall I do with them?

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45 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would give them to a charity or shelter. You don’t know what women are looking for there; maybe they want heels to feel good or to wear to an interview.

Now – my dilemma; what to do with worn out sheets?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I agree with @janbb. Give them to the shelter anyway. Let them decide whether or not they’re useful.

Drag queens love hand-me-downs. I doubt yours are large enough, though. Still, you could call a gay club.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe I teen daughter of a struggling mom could use a pair for her home coming or prom?

Jeruba's avatar

@janbb, how about an animal shelter? They use soft, clean towels as bedding. Maybe sheets too. When we brought our old cat’s body home (that’s a long, sad story), he was gently wrapped in a soft pink towel, a kindness that I won’t forget.

You also never know when you might suddenly need a ghost costume.

@Hawaii_Jake, I’m afraid they’re not. I love the idea, but they’re women’s sizes 6½ and 7.

@JLeslie, I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe…

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Have you heard of the website Craigslist? If you look in their section of items for sale, they have a place to list free things. That’s another option.

The link is to the site for Hawaii, but if you look on the right, there are links for a site that will be closer to you.

JLeslie's avatar

Freecycle.com is another website. The problem with both is you have to deal with meeting up with the person interested. If you can find a place to donate them it’s probably easier, but you won’t know the home they go to.

jca's avatar

In my opinion, it’s not worth dealing with having someone come to your house at an appointed time to pick up old shoes. Seems like a lot of effort for something that you are trying to make as painless as possible for yourself.

I’d donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army or to a thrift shop, maybe one that benefits one of your favorite charities.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for all suggestions. I guess I have to agree that I don’t really know what someone might be looking for.

@Hawaii_Jake, @JLeslie, I know about both. I don’t like signing up for things online, though. I like your point, too, @jca. I’d almost rather pack a box and take it downtown to a park where homeless folks congregate. I can see someone wanting the shirts and jackets and tees, but not the shiny purple pumps.

I think about the homes that books go to, but shoes, not so much.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah, I wouldn’t have people coming to my house for free old shoes; just bring the bags to a charity. Maybe some high-steppin’ dogs or cats at an animal shelter would like your heels and my sheets!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Women in shelters may need to go to an interview or to work or to an official appointment that calls for heels or smart shoes. I’d give them to a charity shop or sell them on eBay if they’re really nice. People will buy them if they’re quite unworn.

dxs's avatar

Do you know any family or friends who would want them?
I’m sure those dumpster things would accept them. Usually there’s a separate one for shoes.

@janbb You could also use them for renovation. At the hotel I used to work at, when we had no good sheets, the owner would use them to cover everything (floor, tables, beds, tv, etc.) while he did work on a room.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Goodwill will accept and put them to good use. You will be surprised at the shoes for sale at very reasonable prices there.
Look for one in your area. The Thrift Shopper has a link that lists the shops in your area – with reviews!
Type in your zip code and go for a visit.

Jak's avatar

Or… is there a local theatre? Props. Also, little girls playing dress up, though I don’t know if day care centers would take shoes… kind of a bummer. I hope you can find someone who can get some use out of them. Maybe call your local United way. They may have some program that outfits women to go to job interviews…

CWOTUS's avatar

I would have thought that @Hawaii_Jake would (or might) suggest theater groups for their costumers and props? High schools (or colleges) with drama groups, perhaps?

I see now that I was beaten to the answer by @Jak. That’s what I get for not reading whole threads.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Theatres do not often want modern items. They want period pieces.

Jeruba's avatar

…and isn’t it a bit more likely that someone doing costumes, even for a high school production, is going to go to Goodwill and pick out what they want, rather than rummaging through a big old box or bag of mostly useless donations? Another reason just to take them to Goodwill. I wouldn’t have thought of that, though, without these suggestions.

@Jak, do little girls still play dress-up? I hope so. My mother used to keep a trunkfull of old clothes for that purpose, and we played with them until they fell apart (and even beyond). If I had grandchildren, I’d definitely keep dress-up clothes around.

jerv's avatar

Seattle has several gifting communities, a few of them on Facebook. They have the advantage of knowing your gift will go to someone who wants/needs it; a guarantee you don’t get from charities or (especially) thrift shops. And unlike Craigslist, they aren’t just strangers looking for free stuff; it’s a community. You don’t even really have to have a designated time; many leave stuff on the porch.

Does your area have anything like that?

And no, I don’t buy that “don’t like posting online” bit. Look who you’re asking and it should be obvious why I find that totally bogus. I mean, it took you more time and effort to post this thread ONLINE than it would’ve to just throw the things up on Facebook or something.

Jak's avatar

@Jeruba fixin’ to find out. My granddaughter will be joining us in April. ;-)

jca's avatar

@jerv: What do you mean “I don’t buy that ‘don’t like posting online.’” I think the point (or at least my point) was not the time it takes to post, but the time and effort (and possible risk) of making an appointment with someone for them to come to your house to pick up the items. Or am I misunderstanding you?

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv Yes, it’s the safety issue and the time taken to organize a pick up.

janbb's avatar

^^ Agree. That’s how I interpreted what @Jeruba said. I have an extraneous table saw sitting in my basement for the same reason: I don’t want random strangers coming into my house while I’m alone.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I gift a lot of stuff like that to young adult children of friends. I figure it’s a mitzvah. Sometimes, I sell really cheap to them if the item is very expensive.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie A table saw is massive. Someone has to dismantle it and take it away. It’s not something you just give away.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve given away massive things. I sold my John Deer driving mower cheap to a son of a friend and threw in about $500 worth of wood and a love seat when he came to pick it up. I know what a table saw is. Another friend I gave her daughter a table and 4 chairs.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, ok. Good thought then – maybe a high school woodshop would want it then.

Cupcake's avatar

I wouldn’t count out a shelter. Women without secure housing want to feel “normal” and “beautiful”. I would think they would be a precious gift to a woman with few possessions. Like perfume. Or a beautiful picture to hang on the wall.

You could always call a shelter and ask.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb That should be tax deductible. Great idea. My parents gave an old car to my high school. We had an auto mechanics curriculum there.

dxs's avatar

I’ve been on Craigslist for so long, and never once had a problem with sketchy people. Most people on Craigslist are there just to get shit done—sell stuff, buy stuff, rent stuff. (I can’t speak for the personal ads, though.) If it’s such a scare for you, meet at a library or something and problem solved.

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry I’m late to this question.

Simple answer is to donate the shoes to your favorite thrift store. I agree with @LuckyGuy that Goodwill is a good choice because they’re experts at putting used items to use. Reuse or recycle.

On a side note, when I sold things on eBay years ago, I once went through my closet and picked out 12 pairs of (perfectly good but) hopelessly outdated jeans and listed them. They brought about $120! I was amazed. Seems that there were a lot of people out there trying to replace a favorite pair of jeans that were no longer fashionable.

The moral of my story is that one person’s trash really is another one’s treasure.
If you donate the shoes to an experienced thrift outlet, and there’s a market, they will find it.

jerv's avatar

@jca @JLeslie It’s blatantly obvious that you two have no clue what I am actually talking about, and I’m not sure how to explain it to you so I’ll leave a few links here to try.

Buy nothing project
Buy Nothing Project’s Facebook page
Gifting economies

Now, if you live someplace where you can’t leave a bin on the porch or something, I understand how you might have to make an appointment. Since I live someplace where I can be 99.98% certain that my car will still be parked outside in the morning without anything missing from it, I can just leave a bag on the porch with someone’s name on it and reasonably expect the intended recipient to get the item(s) even if I’m not home. Some people use a large, plastic tote on their porch for pickups because rain. (Big surprise; Seattle sometimes gets rain!)

As for safety, most such groups are not much different from Fluther, so unless you think we jellies are all violent thugs who would do nasty things to you if we knew where you lived or something, you’re probably fine. They are called “gifting communities” for a reason.

Jeruba's avatar

@jerv, I didn’t say I don’t like posting online. Obviously I do. I said “I don’t like signing up for things online.” I don’t like registering for things where I have to give my name and address and associate them with an e-mail account. For instance, I don’t register at free news sites even though I’d like to read their news. I don’t donate to causes online or sign petitions. This has to do with privacy, not time.

Having strangers come to my house to pick things up is the least of it. It’s things like Google’s data farms that give me the shudders.

Anyway, strangers pick things up in my neighborhood all the time. Until a couple of years ago we had no more of a problem than anywhere else, but beginning recently you just about have to catch a parcel as it lands if you don’t want it to be stolen by transients. Neighbors have seen bicycle riders in hoodies follow delivery trucks and scoop up what they drop off. I’ve even had outgoing envelopes (containing checks for bills) stolen right out of my mail slot. Having a relatively responsible stranger pick up something I agreed to give away would be a nice change.

jca's avatar

@jerv: In my case, the neighborhood is very safe. I can (and have) leave things outside forever and nothing gets taken and I have no doubt that my neighborhood is safe. For me, it’s more a matter of not wanting people to know anything about me or my home, even if they don’t come inside it. I’m sure the gifting communities are wonderful places full of beautiful people, but not everyone is what they seem on the internet (except on Fluther, of course).

jerv's avatar

If you have a drivers license, bank account, phone, internet service, lease, or have set foot on American soil, it’s already too late. However, @Jeruba, the theft problems you’ve had in your area the last couple of years are a valid concern.

@jca Not everyone is what they seem in your neighborhood either. The internet hasn’t really changed the fundamental quality of people, only the ways we interact with each other. Then again, “web of trust” also means a bit. I mean, if there are people you trust who can vouch for someone, wouldn’t you be more willing to trust them than you would just some random person who has no character witnesses?

jca's avatar

@jerv: Dropping shoes off at another location like a thrift shop seems to me easier than having someone come to my house. That’s all. It’s just the way I feel. I know I’m not the only person in the world who prefers not to have strangers coming around, no matter what people are like on the internet and no matter what other trust issues there may be in the world. If you don’t agree, that’s fine, but it’s how I choose to do things.

jerv's avatar

@jca C’est la vie. Personally, I don’t care much for strangers either, but I don’t consider people I actually know to be “strangers” either. But if it’s worth driving a few miles instead of setting at home, that’s your prerogative, just as it’s mine to think that that makes no real sense.

jca's avatar

@jerv: Great!! Then we’ll have to agree to disagree!!

jerv's avatar

@jca Sounds good to me.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, according to my contact with the homeless community, clothes are the easiest things to get and the most likely to be left behind, discarded as trash, when someone moves on (changes camps, goes to jail, gets run out). Once they get soaked and are left in a heap somewhere, probably molding in the dirt, no one is desperate enough to put them on.

But I know there are plenty of women who aren’t technically homeless and still need help. I guess the right thing to do is add the shoes to my next donation box and let the distribution center decide.

Thank you, @all, for your thoughts and advice.
 

@jerv, yes, I know. I was fretting about data collection and privacy as long ago as 1975, when I refused to fill out product questionnaires or respond to phone surveys even when some benefit was involved. I spent some time thinking about how to keep my (then unborn) children out of the system. But they were footprinted at birth and had social security numbers by age 2. It was impossible. I still cling to the notion that I can exert a tiny bit of control by not throwing more data into the hoppers than I am forced to, but I know it’s just a comforting delusion.

CWOTUS's avatar

Now there’s a thought: Find a local Women’s Shelter and just give them the pile. I’m sure they’ll find a user or users. (A lot of women who have had to avail themselves of those shelters have escaped there with not much more than the clothes on their backs in the first place. And a lot of them have kids, who could at least use your old clothes as toys to play house or dress-up or whatever.)

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think giving them to a women’s shelter is a really good idea. As I mentioned up there, women may need clothes/shoes for interviews etc. Those in shelters may have been forced to seek refuge quickly and have taken very little with them. Shoes are expensive to replace.

jca's avatar

I work about 300 feet from a family homeless shelter and I currently have some clothes that I’m going to donate.

I also have a whole bag full of good towels that I’m going to bring to an animal shelter.

ibstubro's avatar

Chances are great that the women taking refuge in shelters are receiving a clothing voucher that they can redeem at the local thrift store.

I was in the Salvation Army today when a woman brought in a clothing voucher for $40. They said something about her having grandkids to care for, too. It was a huge pile.

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba There are ways, but the way you’re trying actually draws more attention than a neon sign. Information theory is pretty intriguing, and sometimes counter-intuitive.

Jeruba's avatar

@jerv, I draw attention by not signing up for an online newspaper and not answering phone surveys? How? And whose?

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba You still exist in public records, so it’s not like you’re invisible to data-miners. But if you were being looked at by someone more determined and intelligent than a robo-marketer, the number of holes in your life history would invite some added scrutiny whereas doing something more like a “false front” would be more likely to just be passed over as “uninteresting”. Misdirection is better than either hiding or saying “Hey, look at me!”.

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