I have a vast collection of clothing that I love but do not wear nearly enough (or ever), and after paying a visit to a friend with an enviably organized closet, I decided it was time to let some of it go to better homes. With my LA trip just a week away — I really wanted to come back to less clutter — I went through my wardrobe and started pulling things out for a closet sale with IZZE, at our Brooklyn Brigade studio. I cleaned out my closet and brought the merchandise, and they stocked our fridge (and freshly DIYed flower-covered ice bucket) with sparkling beverages for our guests.
I’m a longtime IZZE lover (grapefruit is my favorite), and while discussing future collaboration ideas — we have something fun coming up for local readers — we came up with the idea of having a closet sale and sharing tips for cleaning out your closet.
It’s easy to look at a dress on a hanger and think to yourself, “I can’t get rid of that. I love it!” — I mean, it’s not like we normally go and buy ourselves clothing that we don’t like. Personally, this is what works for me, when deciding what to get rid of and what to hold onto:
- Do an initial closet sweep, and pull out everything that you definitely don’t want. Put that in a separate pile/box/bag.
- Go back through and take out the maybes. Hang them on a separate clothing rack or make a neat pile on your bed.
- Sort them out into keep or sell/donate/swap, now that you have the maybes all together. The goal is to put most or all of them in the latter category, so ask yourself these questions: When was the last time I wore this? When is the next time I’ll wear it? Why don’t I ever reach for it? What do I not like about it? Answering these questions will help determine their fate. But if you’re still unsure…
- Try them on. Sometimes, I’ll look at a dress on a hanger and wonder why I don’t wear it, because it’s so cute — and then I try it on and instantly remember the reason. Maybe it needs to be altered in some way, or it has an awkward fit…or maybe I don’t like the way the fabric bunches when I walk, or how the sleeves are cut, or it just plain doesn’t fit. Trying them on is a great reminder of why you don’t wear it. If it’s merely a simple alteration — a quick hem, a nip at the waist, etc — take that to be fixed today (or do it yourself) or you might not ever do it, period. Otherwise, let it go to someone who’ll give it more use. I gave up these three dresses (all ones I love) for different reasons: the rainbow one was a little too snug and the sleeves needed to be altered, the orange one is sleeveless and I almost never reach for something without sleeves, and the pink was a few sizes too large. I bought the red shoes in my size, but they were too big and I never remembered to return them. I tried wearing them with inserts, but how often am I going to wear a pair of too-large shoes, when I have racks of ones that fit me? So try them on, do a dance, twirl around, sit in it, raise your arms, see how it moves when you walk. Remind yourself why it isn’t your perfect fit. Drink some sparkling juice with a cute straw, if you happen to have a freshly stocked fridge full of them. Coincidentally, I did (wink, wink).
- Go back through the closet and repeat the trying-on process with anything you haven’t worn in awhile. Once everything is pared down, organize it by style, color, sleeve/hem length, making it easier to find whatever you’re looking for. This way, nothing gets overlooked.
Now, it’s time to decide what to do with your clothes. As I said, I teamed up with IZZE to have a closet sale for my readers to shop, but there are lots of other options for you:
- Drop them off at a buy/sell/exchange store (Beacon’s, Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, etc) and let them sort through and take what they want (and then make the rounds at the other resale shops) – they’ll usually give you cash or a larger amount in store credit.
- Sell online. Depop, Poshmark, and Whurl (which is the best for vintage) are all great options, or you can try eBay or The RealReal (consignment) for higher end items.
- Host a clothing swap with your friends. Each person brings their castaways and goes home with something new! The rest can be sold to a buy/sell/exchange resale shop or donated.
- Donate to a local charity. Smaller organizations are often in greater need of specific items, so call around or check online to see what they’re looking for and where their drop off locations are located. Professional attire can help a woman in her search for employment, so consider donating to Dress For Success or a local women’s shelter.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the closet sale. It was so nice to meet you all and get to chat with you in a more intimate setting! And thank you to IZZE for providing our guests with their sparkling beverages, and for motivating me to pare down my wardrobe (and share it with my readers).