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Closet Sorting with Cornell Thrift


Katherine McPherson

Cornell Thrift is an amazing organization on campus that I only wish I had learned about earlier in my time at Cornell. Their mission is to “reduce campus-wide waste and improve student welfare through the redistribution of reusable personal items.” This project was inspired by the “free-piles” that build up in university co-op housing and the annual Dump n Run sale.

This semester, I have organized the closets in Willard Straight and Becker House every week with one other APO brother. Cornell Thrift’s motto of “free to give, free to take” means that sometimes these closets are bursting with clothing, and sometimes they are almost empty. It just depends on whether giving or taking was more popular that week!

Through organizing these closets every week, I’ve seen that some of the clothes donated to this cause are truly amazing finds! While not everything is my style (read: the hot pink fuzzy sweater I found last week) and some things don’t quite belong there (read: the POST shirt I found yesterday, which broke my POST leader heart), there is truly something for everyone in these closets!

I’ve also found that this service project is a great way to get to know another brother really well! The project was just upgraded from 1 to 2 brothers, which means that you are working closely with one other person, and have the chance to have a genuine one-on-one conversation, which is sometimes challenging with other larger-scale service events.

Recently, I found out that not only do these “free to give, free to take” spaces serve as an exchange site for clothing, but Cornell Thrift also hosts periodic mending workshops. These workshops act to educate the Cornell community on how you can refurbish old clothing instead of throwing it away, which is another great way that the organization helps to reduce widespread waste on campus!

Overall, 10/10: would highly recommend to any interested brother.