What To Do with Old Furs

animal welfare closet organization ethical fashion fur coat repurposing furrier services recycling Mar 05, 2024

There are beautiful cities all around Southern California and last week we started a big job in a city called Ojai. It’s one of those doll like communities that make you want to move all your worldly possessions and settle down there. I may not move there but I will be there a lot during the month of March. We’re integrating possessions from three homes into one. My client is intelligent, generous and has a whip smart sense of humor. It’s an honor to spend time with her.

In Ojai we started with the closets. It’s key to your sanity to find whatever you want to wear and closets produce easy to see results. I found several items I had not encountered in years … fur coats. Part of that is due to the fact you aren’t going to need a fur coat in Southern California. Part of it is a reflection of the turn to faux fur and an understanding that the creatures sacrificed for your coat are the ones who need that fur. They were born with it.

Now let me clarify my beliefs before you send me hate mail! Growing up in Brooklyn my mother had a fur coat and a mink stole. My first job out of college was as a model at a trade show. It was a lucrative gig back then and I made enough to buy my own fur. I wore my coat for a decade and I was grateful it kept my skinny ass warm. Over time I evolved in my thinking and I will no longer own or wear fur. But that’s my decision for my life and I am grateful I am not in charge of you or your choices. As I tell my students about most things: “You do you.” Now that we understand each other let’s return to my Ojai furs.

My client no longer wanted them and asked for ideal ways to remove them from her life. These were I should add exquisite pieces that could fetch a pretty penny. My client didn’t want to sell them. She wanted to do good with them. Here’s what my research uncovered should you have some furs in your life that need a new home:

  1. Turn a fur coat into a throw for your couch. You’ll need a reputable furrier and it’s going to cost a pretty penny but if you want to keep the fur for sentimental reasons it’s at the top of my list.

  2. The transition to throw can be tweaked creatively and your fur can be made into a bed for Fido or Fifi. Again you need a furrier who can not only refashion the item but check the health of the skins. Your furs need to be properly stored in the warm months. If you neglected that step, the fur may not be able to transition into a new form.

  3. Your furrier can also re-purpose a vintage style into something more modern. Even if it’s just a fur collar on your favorite jacket it’s a lovely way to honor the past especially if the fur belonged to a loved one.

  4. In large cities with cold winters you can donate any type of winter coat in good condition. I’m from Brooklyn so I have donated to New York Cares. Google will direct you to coat collection centers in the city you wish to support. PETA will also take your fur and donate it to a homeless person.

  5. Another choice is to donate the item to a local theater should they need a fur in their collection. As a former actress this choice delights me. Sometimes the theater will be associated with a charity and you can score a tax deduction. The Ebell Foundation in Los Angeles is such a group. Check them out:

  6. You can elect to sell your coat. Not sure what to charge? Let this website assist you: If your coat is a luxury item rather than an inherited or older piece and you have the provenance, try The Real Real

  7. Have your coat repurposed into multiple small items like pillows. If you have a large family who all remember grandma in her fur they will now have a piece of history. Send your gift with a note to each family recipient with a photo of the original owner and a bit of history. Stories make your gift come alive and mean more to the recipient.

  8. As an animal lover I was delighted to find groups that uses old furs to comfort wildlife animals in rescue. Check out this one to start: Their website has a ton of information about fur donation. They will accept no furs that have been stored with mothballs. Moth balls have carcinogenic ingredients and I never use them under any circumstance. They are in fact banned in the EU.

If you have donated or repurposed an old fur, I’d love to hear how you did it. Please share in the comments. We can empower each other with information. If you have some friends with unwanted furs you can inspire them to make creative choices. You might want to create a folder with Recycle/Re-purpose information so you can help someone in an instant. Just smile sweetly when they express how impressed they are with your speed and say: “I’ve been like this since I became a Zen Organizer!” TM

I promised a primer on To Do Lists this week that are linked to fulfilling your life purpose not just keeping you on track every day. It’s my gift this week to Paid Subscribers!

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