Do Something More

33. Brianna Call with the 'Revolving Closet' and Helping Families Clothe their Kids

October 31, 2023 Melissa Draper
Do Something More
33. Brianna Call with the 'Revolving Closet' and Helping Families Clothe their Kids
Show Notes Transcript

The 'Revolving Closet' is a community supported idea, where anyone can come to find children's clothes for their kids for free, and donate clothes as well. They are locally managed and overseen by individuals who run them out of their homes and do it all on a completely volunteer basis.

Brianna Call has been running a 'Revolving Closet' in Payson, Utah for several years after seeing a need in her own community and deciding to say 'yes.' She does it by appointment and holds all the clothes in her family's garage. Brianna's stories of some of the people she's been able to help and the need she's been able to fill are so inspiring, but I also appreciated how honest she was about the realities of running something like this and the things she has learned.

Listen to the podcast to hear more about the 'Revolving Closet' and the ways it's had a positive impact for Brianna and her community.

Links mentioned in the show:
Revolving Closet Payson Facebook
Revolving Closet Springville Facebook
Momivate Info on Revolving Closets

Follow the podcast on social media:
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Do Something More Facebook

Melissa: You are listening to the Do Something more podcast. And this is episode 33 with Brianna Call and the Revolving Closet, helping families clothe their kids. Welcome to the Do Something More Podcast, a service oriented show where we highlight the helpers who inspire us all to do something more. I'm your host, Melissa Draper. Thank you so much for being here. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. And today I am going to be talking to someone that lives in my own town of Payson and does something called the Revolving Closet. So today my guest is Brianna Call, and she's going to talk to us more about what she does with that, what it is, and the experiences that she's had. So, Brianna, welcome to the show.

Brianna: Hello. Like she said it's Brianna call. I run a revolving closet local in Payson. I've ran it for about over three years now. It's really cool. I just help people with their clothing, like clothing their kids and stuff. It's been fun to meet lots of different people and stuff.

Melissa: Yeah, that's really neat. So I would love to learn a little bit more about that. What is the background behind the revolving closet? What is that exactly? How does it work and how did you get involved with it?

Brianna: So the original revolving closet that I got introduced to is actually located in west oh, I get them mixed up. It's either West Valley or West Jordan up there. Because I live in Payson, it's like an hour away, so anything an hour away is just an hour away.

Melissa: Right.

Brianna: But I got introduced to it because I had been given a lot of clothes to try and sell to fix a car issue at the time, and I was tired of all the clothes. And so I reached out to her and asked if she wanted them. And then she was introducing me to the whole system and how it works and actually asked if I'd be interested in maybe doing one through my house because I had so many clothes at the time. I was like, I don't know. And I thought about it, but because it was an hour away, trying to get the clothes back up to her was becoming like it just wasn't happening. And so I was like, all right, I'll give it a shot. I home school my two kids, and I figured that it would give them an opportunity to have a service project to put on with their home school stuff. So we just started collecting clothes. The Revolving Closet works where people will drop off clothes that their kids have outgrown and be able to revolve or rotate and pick up clothes that their kids need in the new sizes now. So, like, if your kids outgrown like a babies especially, they outgrow that three to six months, and then they're in the six to nine months, and it's just like, so fast. And so they're able to just bring the clothes that their kids have outgrown and pick up the clothes that they need for their kids as they've grown. They don't necessarily have to bring clothes to get clothes if they're struggling. Maybe they ended up taking them to a thrift store already or something and they just found out about me. Or maybe their kid just grew too fast and they need clothes right now. They don't necessarily have to bring me clothes to pick up clothes. It's just whatever I have on hand, they are welcome to come through and look through it and pick out what they want or they need. I'm always encouraging people to take as much as they want because I also get donations about once, sometimes twice a month from kid to kid. They are a lot of clothes. So when I get those drop offs, I've got like at least ten bags of clothes that I've got to sift through and sort and put into things. So when people are just needing clothes, they are more than welcome to just reach out and come get clothes if they don't have any to rotate.

Melissa: That's great. So revolving Closets, that is an organization that's all over, right? Different people can establish their own revolving closet for their communities.

Brianna: Oh, yeah, 100%. So the group is called mom of Eight.

Melissa: Okay.

Brianna: They will help with all of the tax deductions and that kind of things for the what are we called?

Melissa: Or as a nonprofit.

Brianna: Yes, nonprofit. Thank you.

Melissa: Yeah, you're good.

Brianna: So the mom of Eight helps with all the nonprofit side, and you can sign up through them. It's simple, it's free. And then you just hold on to clothes wherever you feel like you can. A location in Springville, Utah, holds on to their clothes in a room in their house. I hold on to all the clothes. My garage is too small to fit a car, and so all of my clothes are in sealed bins in the garage. I'm not really terribly worried about animals getting into them. Sometimes people have stuff in their garage that the animals get into it. The clothes are rotated out so fast. At least once or twice a week, I am in there trying to find a size to fill a bin. That's how fast the clothes are rotating. So there's no issue in having animals get into the clothes because they are in and out. And I'm in the garage at least once a day trying to rotate something because there's so much need for all the clothing. But that's why I keep mine in the garage, because there's no space for a car. I might as well use it for something.

Melissa: Yeah, that was going to be my next question is where do you run it and hold all of those donations coming in?

Brianna: Yeah, well, and currently and I feel bad. I had a whole bunch of toys donated, and I do not take toys and so they were out in the rain. I'm like, well, nobody wanted them apparently, so they're going to go to Di. We don't take large items because we don't have space. We are running them from our homes and so it's hard to take large things and still have a functioning home.

Melissa: Right. And do you just do children's clothes?

Brianna: So the majority is children's clothes. Every once in a while I will also get a donation from Uptown Cheapscape. That is another clothing donation store around here. That's secondhand?

Melissa: Yes, I've shopped there before. It's pretty awesome.

Brianna: It is, right? So about every three to four months I get a donation from them. I only hold on to those clothes for about two weeks and then I need them to go because I don't have space. The revolving closet in springville does not hold on to any adult clothes. She does hold on to maternity. So it's different at every revolving closet. It's kind of what they can handle and what they can do. I know that there are teenagers still who need clothes and so that's why every so often I will hold on to them and I will post on my Facebook page that I have some teenager clothes. They're only going to be here so long if you need some, reach out. But I can't permanently hold on to all those sizes because you've got all the way up to XXL in adult clothing. I don't have enough space for all that. If I had space, I would do it, but I don't.

Melissa: Yeah, makes sense. And how do people come to your closet? Do you just have certain hours that you're open? Do they set up appointments? How does that all work?

Brianna: So personally for me, they set up appointments or I will do like recently we've had a lot of surgeries happen this summer in the house, so we couldn't have a lot of people in and out of the houses. Instead of setting up appointments, I would set out bags of that size and then they're welcome to take it home, look through it, bring back what they don't want or donate it to someone else they knew who needed that size. The only requirement for anybody who takes any clothes is that they don't sell them. We do a lot of work and I have a lot of volunteers who come and help me sort all the clothes and it's a lot of our free time to do it. And so I don't want people coming and taking clothes and selling them for profit after I've done all the work for it.

Melissa: Right, and that's not the purpose of what you're doing.

Brianna: Exactly. Yeah, but I also will hold usually in the summer and depending on weather towards fall and spring, I will hold open houses and I'll just take all the clothes and set them outside. That's why, weather permitting, and they're just welcome to come between whatever hours. Usually it's on a Saturday from about nine to one, sometimes two, and they're welcome to just come and find whatever they need and donate whatever they have. And it's a good portion of the time in a month that they can just come and do what they want and they don't have to set up an appointment.

Melissa: That's great. Well, it sounds like a really well run system that you have there and a great service to the community, and especially at a time like now with inflation and other things affecting families. I'm sure that there are many that are thankful to know that something like that exists in our community. So I would love to hear, have you had any great stories or experiences with the individuals that have come or in your time of doing this and offering this service?

Brianna: I've had a lot of really cool experiences recently. I have actually joined, I guess, forces with a bunch of foster care kids and we help the foster care kids get the clothes they need. They end up sometimes at houses with barely anything. Either it doesn't fit or it's too worn out to really wear it's rough. And it's really cool that I can help all the foster care kids without like I mean, I would love to be able to foster my own kids or foster kids, but I can't. So it's really cool to be able to still help them in a way that I'm able to do. It. Another really cool thing that happened actually about this week. I had a lady reach out and.

Melissa: She.

Brianna: Sad, but she ended up getting a preclampsia and was in the hospital with her first baby and she has all these clothes for the baby, thankfully, that are like three months old, but the baby is going to be a premie. So she reached out and with this yucky weather was like, I need clothes for my baby, is there anything you can get for me? And I had a group of homeschoolers come and help sort clothes and we found an entire bag of preemie and newborn baby clothes for her in the massive amounts of clothes I needed to sort through. But we were able to find her. Even someone had donated nursing milk bags and some nursing supplies that were brand new, hadn't even been opened yet. It was really cool to have all these things, just like, yes, I have them, I can help you, I will get them to you. You're welcome to have your husband come pick them up or whatever you need to do. They're at my house, I can drop them off. She's also local to Paison, so it would be not terribly hard to go and drop off at her house if she needed. Yeah, it's been really cool to have these. It's not super emergency, she had clothes, they just wouldn't fit. But it's cool to have this stuff to be able to help when people reach out, right?

Melissa: Yeah. To have someone come and to realize, hey, I have got exactly what you need right here. That's pretty awesome.

Brianna: Yeah, it's been really cool.

Melissa: So those are some great stories and to be able to fulfill those needs. But along with those, what would you say is your biggest why for running this closet? Because it does take a lot of your time. It takes up space in your home even. So what do you find are your biggest wise?

Brianna: I guess I've been where I was struggling to close my kids. It's been a blessing to my family also because I'll have clothes for my kids as well. It does take time, but it's also like the other day, for example, the other day I was like, oh, I feel bad I haven't bought clothes for my kids, like brand new clothes in forever. I should go out and buy some clothes. And I didn't realize the price of clothing. It had been almost two years since I'd bought any clothing from my personal kids and I just eye opening to see that the clothes got so much. I don't want kids to go without clothes because they can't afford a $20 t shirt. That's not fair. There's too much going on for adult or parents to even be worrying about the fact that they can't put clothes on their kids. And if it means I have to reach out to more volunteers to come help me sort, then that's what I'm going to do. Because it's just not fair for kids to have to suffer like that.

Melissa: Right. And kids like you said earlier, they go through clothing, especially in those baby and toddler stages so quickly that it can be overwhelming sometimes as a parent to try and keep up with all of that growing and changes. And then if you add in multiple kids in the mix, it's a lot.

Brianna: At times it is it is so mean. That was the one thing I could still volunteer and do and raise my help. I don't would before I had kids, I went out and helped feed the homeless and I would go up into Salt Lake and hand out those care kits all the time. But I then had kids and it was like I don't feel safe sending my kids or walking around in Salt Lake like that with my kids. So this was a way to be able to still help and still volunteer and do things for people on my time. Kind of a thing, right?

Melissa: Yeah, you've mentioned that a few times in this interview. I can tell that you have a giving heart, but I love that to be saying I can still help in a way I'm able to. And I think that is something we talk about that on the podcast. But I think it's so important to realize that many times when we want to do service or good, it is completely okay to figure out the ways that it works at each stage of life or at what we're capable of doing.

Brianna: Yeah, exactly. I agree.

Melissa: Well, other than running out of space at times, have you had any other challenges or things that you've run into that you've had to overcome or you also mentioned you have volunteers. How do you organize the help that comes as well?

Brianna: So the volunteering is just kind of by case. So I'll have like for example, I had a mom come to the open house and just help me sort as donations came in. So we constantly had all the stuff out for people to get to and that was something she could do on her time because she was going to come for the open house anyway. That helped her be able to help me. Right. Like the homeschoolers that came to help me sort, they needed a project for their co op, a service project for their co op. And so we just figured out a time that would work for them to come. And what we did with them was when I have a larger group, I have some sort and some put away. That way it's just constantly moving and it was really hard. I purposely didn't touch the kid to kid donations so that I had something for them to sort and actually put away. My garage in my driveway kind of looked like, I don't know, a disaster. But it worked out. They were there for about 2 hours and helped me sort through I think almost ten, maybe even twelve large black bags of stuff. So that was helpful. I've also had what are they called? Like young women, young men groups come and help do that for their service projects. It is always by case how I do it. Just because everybody's different and just like me, everybody's got to be able to volunteer when they can and how they can. Some challenges. One thing that is becoming a challenge and I'm actually still trying to work on is I will have passed people who have come so they know my address. I don't usually hand out my address until we have set up an appointment because it is at my home. It is a private residency. I'm not always home. I don't want people constantly just showing up to look through it like you would at a store because it is my private house. But I have had some past people who have come and they don't set appointments, they just show up and that's something I am trying to set a boundary for. I'm really bad at saying no, so when they show up I'm just like yeah, just a second now grab need to I'm working on it. It's a challenge that me and the location in Springville both have a problem and are working on trying to figure out how to solve it.

Melissa: Right. A good solution.

Brianna: Yeah. Another thing that's happened is her and I location gets confused with each other and so she'll have set up an appointment with somebody and they'll show up at my house instead of her house. One thing I've done is I've made sure that this is the pacing location and this is the time you're coming. I just repeat that you know where you're going. And that seems to help. Most of the time. It still is a thing. Every once in a while I'll have someone show up and I'll be like, wait, what?

Melissa: Right.

Brianna: Yeah. That's probably the only big challenge with it besides space. But I think I've managed that enough that we're okay.

Melissa: Right.

Brianna: If I start to become too full, if my bins are too full, obviously I don't want animals getting into bags of clothes. And so I will just post. Hey, I'm overflowing here's. Extra sizes. If you know anybody who needs them, come grab them. Otherwise they're going to di. Just because I don't want the clothes ruined. It sucks that someone's going to have to pay for them. But I don't know, I see so much clothes come in and come out that I feel like I'm helping enough people that if somebody doesn't need that size, then I don't necessarily have to hold on to it.

Melissa: Right, well, and I think that many would say that to run an organization and to do it in that organized way actually gives you the capacity to serve as many people as possible. And so even though sometimes it feels like you're restricting it's, actually allowing you to do it in a way that can help as many as you can. Yeah, well, thank you for being so open about all your experiences. I just think it's good for others to hear the ins and outs and the ups and downs of trying to run something like this and the good that you're trying to do. So along with that, I would love to hear, just as a final question, any advice or encouragement that you would give to someone who is either wanting to do a revolving closet in their own community or wanting to make a difference in simple ways like you've been inspired to do.

Brianna: That's a tough one. If you would like to open a revolving closet, know there are challenges and it does get tiring and it's okay to take a break, right?

Melissa: That's great.

Brianna: It's okay to say for this month or something like that, I'm just not doing it and it's okay. There are other ways out there for people to get the help if they need it. And if you need to take a break, take a break, it's okay. And then I guess if you see a need, I guess if you really want to help and you see a need, just brainstorm how to be able to help. It does take time, but it doesn't have to consume your life. And if you can spare an hour and you just make a meal for a family in your neighborhood or something that needs some extra help that's still doing something to help somebody else.

Melissa: Right. And I loved your example when you shared how you got involved with this. Just being willing to say yes sometimes can lead to some great opportunities.

Brianna: Oh, yeah. It was a crazy I didn't expect it to become this big thing. I thought, well, we'll try it for a year and let my kids experience a service community thing. And I just have had so many people that I can't stop.

Melissa: Yeah, well, I know that it's probably benefiting so many in our community. And do you want to just as the final thing, share? You mentioned you have a Facebook page or share where people can find you if they want to donate or just learn more about what you do?

Brianna: Yeah. So my Facebook page is just called revolving closet 84651. That's just the zip code for my house, my area. I post on there probably about once a week and then I'll also post my open houses on there. You can message me through there to set up appointments. I don't give out my address or phone number just because it becomes a lot. So if you do need anything, it's just easier for me to say this person needs for the revolving closet if it's sent through Revolving Closet.

Melissa: Right.

Brianna: I think the springville location is springville revolving closet. I should be able to find it. I don't remember her zip code. The goal of the one out in West Valley was to put a revolving closet in every zip code. So if you are interested, you are welcome to reach out and starting your own. I can help you get started with that. But yeah, if you just head over to that Facebook page, Revolving Closet 84651 and I can help you with whatever questions or things you need.

Melissa: That's great. And I will put links to that in the show notes as well as to the organization mom of Eight that these kind of work under. Well, thank you Brianna, so much for being willing to come on the podcast today and share about all of your experiences with what you've been doing with the revolving closet. Of course, that is the end of my interview with Brianna Call. And I just loved doing that interview. I loved seeing her fun personality come through and having her share about the good things she's doing and seeing the good heart that she has. And it's just great to see that she's a mom of two, as she said, homeschools her kids. And she just decided to say yes when someone brought this opportunity to her and she saw a need for it and she's carried on with it. And I just love to hear about the good that she's doing in our city and in our community. And I thought she shared a couple principles in there that I really think are universal. One thing that I remember from the interview is she talked about the great blessing it's been to be able to help foster kids and that she as an individual can't foster herself. But that's been great for her to be able to serve in that way. And I just loved that reminder that sometimes we aren't able to serve in an exact or specific way that we might think we need to, but many times there's other ways to serve that community if that cause is important to us. And I love how she shared, she's been thankful for that opportunity. And I also loved how she said she had created something for her that worked on her time. She's someone who's always served, always wanted to be involved in the community, but realized with raising kids and taking care of other responsibilities that she needed to change and tweak it a little for this season of her life. And I love that she shared that this gives her the opportunity to serve on her time and in her way and it's still very much making a difference. And then I love those final thoughts I think that are good for anyone that's running a nonprofit or you're volunteering long term with something, or you're just really into a cause that's important to you. I love how she gave that reminder that it's okay to take a break sometimes and it's okay to set boundaries. And I think that is such a good thing to remember when we're wanting to be involved in these good causes that many times taking a break, setting those boundaries keeps us from getting the burnout that comes and then that allows us to keep serving in the way that we want to and in a way that's needed. And so it's definitely okay. So anyone listening out there that needed that permission, there it is, it's okay to take a break, take a little pause, so that you can keep doing the good things that you are doing for your community, for your family, and for others. So it was a great episode, so many good things learned. And I will leave links to the organization. She mentioned her own link for her own revolving closet, but also to momovate that runs these revolving closets and kind of oversees them. So if you'd like to learn more or learn about getting involved or setting up your own revolving closet, you can go there to those links that I will share in the show notes. And I would just love to give one final call to action that if you've been listening to this podcast, if you've heard a few episodes and this has brought inspiration to your life or other good things, please consider leaving a review or rating, but especially a review. Those reviews are how the podcast gets seen by New Eyes and others that might be interested in listening to this kind of content. And they mean a lot to me as a podcaster, so consider leaving a review. I would be so thankful for that. And thank you so much for being here. I'll see you next time.

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