If you’ve made it through your closet clean out (does it look anything like Georgia O’Keeffe’s closet above….mine does in my dreams), now what to do with all of that stuff?
First, a couple of organizational tools.
- If you have clothing for different seasons, stow what you aren’t wearing now in plastic bins. Note: No white cottons in bins, it yellows, those are best left in your closet.
- Eventually you should invest in matching hangers. I prefer wood ones (from Bed, Bath and Beyond or Container Store). They take up more room than the velvety ones, but they look nicer. (I also understand apartment living means making the most of your space, so velvet ones if you need.)
- Ditch the shoe boxes, they take up too much space and you should always be able to see what you have (out of sight, out of mind). Buy shoe cubbies or the like from the Container Store. Save extra heel covers etc in one place so you can find them, as well as dust bags (you don’t need to keep them all, but enough so you can use them when you travel. Recycle the extras–see below.)
- Coordinate the clothes in your closet by type and color….all button-down shirts, white to blue to stripes….all pants. You get the idea. It’s much easier to find things that way. Put them back where they belong when you’re done.
- And on that note, designate a “place” for everything. Then, every time you use that thing, put it back in its designated place. A sense or order is important. Get in the habit of spending five minutes a day doing this. It’s worth it.
Ok, now for the getting everything out of the house, because chances are, you made a mess. (It’s always a mess before it gets better.)
- Anything of value, you should send to resale. Remember, if it’s clothing, you won’t get anything close to what you paid for it. Get ok with that, because it might shock you when you see the return on those “investments”; this is also why going forward with fewer, better things makes so much sense. Accessories tend to do a lot better. So for the designer stuff: The Real Real, Vestiaire Collective (which is based in Europe), Resee (based in Paris, also good to shop), Fashionphile, Decades in LA, INA in NYC. There are new resale places constantly popping up. I have mostly sold things on TRR because it’s convenient, their audience is huge and pieces sell quickly. That said, if you have stellar designer pieces try Resee or Decades, places that understand their value. For more moderate items, there is ThredUP. There is also Poshmark and DePop (more of my daughter’s thing), but you have to be willing to do all the leg work yourself.
- Donate, donate, donate. Instead of sending my medium-range items to ThredUP, I donate them. Use Goodwill, your local church or not-for-profit organization. DO NOT donate yucky things–meaning basically anything you wouldn’t wear because it’s really old, stained, stretched out etc. They will throw it out. Landfill.
- So….what to do with all of the stuff you can’t resell or donate? Recycle it! I keep a TerraCycle box in my laundry room and use it as a catch all for those single socks, stained t-shirts, old gym clothes, underwear….even sheets, and those annoying cotton shopping bags we’re all accumulating. (Read the long list of what they take, it might inspire you to get rid of other things in your home.) When the box is full, use the shipping label attached, drop it off at UPS or Fedex and off it goes. This is not free. You must buy the box (it includes the return shipping label). It is more than you think you might want to spend (it starts at $123 for a small box, which fits a lot). You used to be able to drop off recycle items at H&M for free (and receive a 10% discount coupon for doing so, which I would pass on to the person behind me in line), but unfortunately they have discontinued it, other places have done the same. Which means, it’s your choice, pay-up or landfill. It’s worth it. Also, Terra Cycle has recycle boxes for everything you can possibly imagine if you want to go down that rabbit hole. And, for running shoes, check your local running store to see if they take old shoes for recycling (mine does).
Make a trip to the Container Store, make an appointment with TRR, order your TerraCycle box, and enjoy your newly edited wardrobe! Also, please share any other ideas in comments should you have, love it when you do!