Resolution: Thin Your Closet, Fatten Your Wallet

There you are, fresh out of the shower, standing in front of the disaster that is your bloated closet. You try to make sense of what to wear. You dig, and scrounge, and pull out wrinkled garments. Where is that god forsaken blazer, anyway? Frustration sets in, and it becomes painfully clear what has to be done: you must clean and organize your closet.

If you’re like me, you’re going to be faced with certain inevitable dilemmas. First: you don’t want to spend what precious little free time you have sorting through piles of old clothes. Second, you might have a hard time parting with certain pieces. You might go so far as to think, “maybe those Hammer pants will make a come-back” (well, they actually did in the form of those eyesore Harem pants).

And then there’s the most classic of thoughts: you might still think that maybe you will once-and-for-all lose or gain enough weight to fit into those acid washed jeans again. Then, you might finally be able to pair them with that animal print vest my grandmother gave you on Christmas of 1984. Ha! You better pull your twisted mind together before the producers of “Hoarders” get a hold of you!

I’m thinking that what you and I both need to get this process in motion are some incentives – some FINANCIAL incentives. There are a number of on-line and storefront retailers that buy, sell and trade men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories directly from the public. Meaning you can earn cold, hard cash by selling your unwanted apparel through the following venues:

Storefront Retailers:

Buffalo Exchange:

Buyers will evaluate your unwanted fashions to determine if they can be resold. You earn on-the-spot store credit or cash (your choice) for the items they choose to purchase. Don’t shed any tears over the items that don’t make it past the buyers counter, however. Items not selected for resale can be left at the store for pick up by local and national charity agencies, such as the Humane Society & the Coats for Cubs drive. Stores are located across the country in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.  For exact locations check their website.

Beacon’s Closet:

A New York-based clothing exchange store, Beacon’s Closet selectively buys and sells your recycled fashions. You earn 35% cash exchange or 55% store credit immediately for the items they price to resell in their stores or on their website at a later date. Keep in mind that they tend to select items that are considered “ultramodern” and “vintage”.

As with Buffalo Exchange, you don’t have to worry about items not being selected: you can leave them behind to be donated to charity (they currently work with Dominick’s Mobile Industry, which distributes clothing to churches and individuals in need).

Online Retailers:

You can set up your own booth and price your own items at, an on-line marketplace for reselling clothes. Creating a booth is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Just add items to your booth, create a seller account, and click “OK”. You’re set to sell. You can even import active listings from your eBay and Craistlist accounts. For instructions on how to set up an account, click here.

Want to earn cash and support a social cause at the same time? Then post your items on the invitation only marketplace, where 10% of all transaction fees go to charity.

Just Give A Little!

Maybe we don’t need money to motivate us after all. Perhaps the opportunity to give back to our communities is all we need as an incentive to streamline our closet. There are a number of non-profit organizations that accept clothing donations for distribution to those in need. I recommend:

Dress for Success:

Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that provides business attire to disadvantaged women in order to assist them with finding jobs and achieving economic independence. They have more than 105 affiliates across the world. To find out where to donate your professional attire, click here.

Housing Works:

Housing Works provides legal assistance, medical services, job training and social support services to nearly 2,500 HIV-positive New Yorkers annually. Donated clothes, jewelry, accessories, shoes, housewares, and books are resold to raise money for needed resources, such as hot meals for an HIV-positive mother and her children. To find out how to donate items, click here.


Keep or Toss? The Golden Rules:

Now you know where to unload. But, how do you narrow down WHAT to unload? Here are some guidelines to help provide moral support as you bid adieu to fashion road-kill:

  1. If you haven’t worn it in two years, you probably won’t ever wear it again!
  2. If it doesn’t fit, make space for items that do. Why torture yourself?
  3. It may fit, but if it doesn’t flatter, send it packing!
  4. Keep it real: If you only wear pants, toss out those skirts!
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  • If anyone is interested you can also donate clothing to the “Butch Clothing Drive” in January @ ginger’s in bk. The dykes oon bike-cycles is working on this project with Queers for economic justice. QEJ works towards keeping homeless queer women in safe spaces. We’re working with them to provide “butch” clothing to the women so they feel comfortable going on job interviews.

    You’ll be able to get info our our facebook pge or theirs!/pages/Queers-For-Economic-Justice/18201778500?v=info




  • What a great writer…..her articles are the truth….I have a closet full of that stuff.

  • I am excited to clean out “our” apartment and make some money! 🙂 But, I will never dispose of my over-sized-never-to-be-worn-again Madonna t-shirts! 😉

    Seriously though, Dress for Success is amazing and they have helped many of our LGBTQ clients in the Bronx. Definitely worth donating to!

  • Or you can use this one simple rule to evaluate what stays in your closet:

    Nothing Less Than Fabulous!

  • Juanita,

    Thank you so much for including Bonanza! We are looking forward to welcoming the DapperQ community.

    Have a great New Year!


  • Thank you for the 411 I am so ready to make room in my walk-in closet and now make money too. Yeah i walk in to step in and step over the abundance of tee shirts khaki’s and just sweaters. Hum… Maybe I won’t need the “California Closet” This was GREAT!

  • Perfect timing for the new year!!! Heck I’m about one shopping spree from an episode of horders and thanks you sooo much, for all the great places to unload this stuff… Please keep the great articals comming!!!

  • Great article! Will definitely apply these principles in my everyday life. God knows I need to sort out my closet :-). Thanks Juanita!

  • LOL@ Harem pants, I secretly love harem pants. Maybe it’s because I am a belly dancer….?

  • Thanks for writing this. I must admit I was a little apprehensive to part with my suede shirt collection, or my collection of sports jerseys but I guess for a good cause. Besides after a certain age you can’t go back to that stuff it’s just not right. Keep it coming Juanita I like your style.

  • You are so right…it is time to re-evaluate the clothing inventory! It also is great timing with the new year and all. Your possible solutions are very handy too. Thank you for the nudge!

  • Great article. I face this dilemma everyday. My closet is wayyyy too small and I have wayyyy to many clothes. I look forward to your next article <3 Kiss your mom for me!!

  • Great Info. I know a lot of folks are not aware of the money exchnge or charitable orgs.

    Way to Go!! Keep it coming.

  • Sighhhhh….cleaning my closet; the bane of my existence. However, thanks to Ms Juanita, I’m realizing the endless benefits..amongst them turning my crawl in back into a walk in, helping a worthy cause, AND making a lil cash. Thanks again and keep the valuable info coming!!!!

  • Hi Juanita, Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll be getting on the closet cleaning before the months end. I have been holding onto pre pregnancy clothes for 13 months now, hoping that I’d get the pounds off and get back in them. Well, I’ve lost 22lb so I can guarantee they are coming off however, I can’t say with confidence that it will happen before the stuff goes out of style. Anyways, thanks and also for the awesome tips on selling the used items!

  • Juanita my closet talks to me in a very soft tone and tells me “come in, come in.” For years I’ve refused to walk in the darkness. You know the closet is a very scary place. After reading your article, I’ve decided to grow some very small balls, walk into the darkness and help someone in need, some light. Thanks for pushing me in Juanita. Great information.

  • This is great idea since this christmas and new years left me broke! i am going to look into that!!!

  • This is the best idea to empty out my closet. I will definately look into these places.. The holidays have made me poor too…

    Thanks for sharing this info..

  • oh my god i cant believe how many times i have been in that same damn situation… i will definitely look into the places you listed i need to get rid of half of my clothes!!

    thank you so much

  • this is the best idea i’ve heard in months. it is a win win for everyone
    i never know where to give the stuff you just had to get that still has tags on it.
    thank you , thank you,.. thank you

  • Absolutely Agree! This is my year to keep my wallet fat and keep and use all that’s in my closet. Thanks!

  • Guilty. I am so guilty, and that will be one big project indeed….though I got rid of pretty much most of those clothes that don’t fit. Now I gotta get rid of the t shirts two sizes smaller than I, that sometimes just barely s t r e t c h, cuz they don’t make ’em in my size…..

    I’d like to keep that queer site in mind, cuz alot of those business outfits for needy women programs are so feminine that a struggling Butch wouldn’t want any of those items!

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