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:
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.
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).
You can set up your own booth and price your own items at Bonanza.com, 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 I-Ella.com 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 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 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:
- If you haven’t worn it in two years, you probably won’t ever wear it again!
- If it doesn’t fit, make space for items that do. Why torture yourself?
- It may fit, but if it doesn’t flatter, send it packing!
- Keep it real: If you only wear pants, toss out those skirts!