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Hometown Connections: Inside the 'Cathcart Closet,' where everything is free

KOMO-TV Seattle logo KOMO-TV Seattle 11/29/2021 Tyrah Majors
Hometown Connections: Inside the 'Cathcart Closet,' where everything is free
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CATHCART, Wash - Imagine a place where you can do your holiday shopping, without bringing your wallet! That’s exactly the shopping experience Jana Clark has created for her community in Cathcart, Washington.

Clark started the “Freespirited Closet” out of her home's basement. However, it’s not recognizable as a basement anymore. Instead, it looks like a small department store, complete with racks holding thousands of dresses.

The closet carries a variety of dresses for any occasion: prom, work, weddings, etc. The catch, is that the closet is a place for trying without buying. Clark doesn’t charge a thing for people to snag a dress from here. It’s her version of a thrift shop, but the price tag on all of these items is zero dollars.

“I’m too lazy to start a non-profit, so it’s a zero-profit, and I wanted to experiment with the idea of working without money,” said Clark.

However, this is more than just an experiment for Clark. She says she got the idea to start collecting dresses after people in her daughter's friend group couldn’t swing getting a prom dress.

“This is my way of doing what I can to support everybody in the community, because everybody is in need of something,” she said.

When someone is in need of an item, they message her on Facebook. The “Freespirited Closet” has racked up almost 2,000 followers online. Every group member will swap or share their lightly worn, or more sentimental items with each other.

Caption: Hometown Connections: Inside the 'Cathcart Closet,' where everything is free

“We post pictures of people all dressed up, and people enjoy seeing their dress have a new life and somebody else in it,” said Clark. “It’s fun.”

One of the closet’s customers, Chris Martin, has been shopping there for over a year. She says it’s easy for her to support someone doing a service for the community, so she continues to come back.

“She's [Jana] got the biggest heart,” said Martin. “She would do anything for anybody. She takes in so many items that she doesn’t have room for, and somehow fits them into the wardrobe.”

Jana Clark likes to think of herself as a caretaker. She says it’s not her place to judge why someone can’t go out and purchase a gown, but it is her place to make sure they have one they can feel confident in.

“Community is so much more than just money. That’s really important,” said Clark. “You can't just have money and not have community.”

All of the items in the “Freespirited Closet” are donated. After a customer leaves with an item, they can choose to keep it forever, or return it. For more information on the closet, click here.

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