Home organizing and purging is a fairly common New Year's resolution, but it's downright trending this year since Marie Kondo became a household name through her Netflix series. Whether you're into the KonMari method or you love a good label maker, there are plenty of strategies and gear to help you sort your stuff.
The sticking point for me - when it comes to actually getting the non-keepers out of my house - is what to do with it all? Do you sell it? Do you give it to someone else to sell? Do you toss it in a donation dumpster? Do you trash it?
Having a clear plan for your castoffs is key to completing the organizing and simplifying process. Below are a few great options to help you feel great about freeing up your closet space.
Sell It Yourself (local BST groups, Poshmark, eBay)
Best for: Items in good to excellent condition that can be photographed and described well. Items that would be easy to ship or arrange for pick-up, depending on whether selling nationally or locally. Items that you are only willing to let go for a specific price.
Consider this: It takes time and some attention to detail to photograph and write descriptions for your items. You will also need to factor in time to collect mailing supplies and arrange for pick-up or mailing. Until an item sells, it will still be in your home.
Best for: Seasonal items in great to excellent condition with desired brand names. Items that you want out of your home, but don't need immediate payment for or that you'd be willing to donate after a contracted term expires. If you don't want to take the time to photograph and list items for sale. If there's a specific shop you like to purchase items from, you can sometimes get a higher payout if taken in credit so that is another bonus to consider.
Consider this: Consignment shops tend to be very picky about what items they will take because they know what their customers are buying and the status of their floor stock. You will typically get 50% of the selling price that is set by the shop and it can go lower as time passes. Items may be donated if left at the shop passed a contracted term and you may not get any payout.
Best for: Items in used to good condition that you want out of your home. Items that align with a specific need/organization (e.g. business suits, formal gowns, winter coats). Brands that others will not pay much for in used condition.
Consider this: Donation sites have varying practices regarding how items are distributed and it may take a long time before items make it to an individual that can use them. Items without an intended purpose or those deemed unacceptable may slow down a donation center's processing capability or sit unused taking up needed space.
Best for: Items specifically requested (e.g. jeans at Madewell/J. Crew) or items in any condition when appropriate. Items you want out of your home, but want to be sure are distributed or reused/recycled appropriately. If there's a retailer that offers a discount for recycling clothes/textiles (e.g. H&M).
Consider this: For in-store discounts you will need to take the items there in person. Some web-based retailers (e.g. thredUP) offer a charitable monetary donation for unwanted clothing rather than a credit or discount to the individual that sent the clothing. Recycling clothing (turning it into different goods) still requires more energy than it being reused as the original clothing item by another person through selling, swapping, or donating.
As someone who loves to thrift and shop secondhand I'm not at all mad about this trend toward clearing closets. I do think there are options for everything you no longer need or want and I hope in our efforts to spark joy, we aren't just overwhelming the landfills.
Take some time to list items yourself, patronize a locally-owned consignment shops, or find useful ways to have your items re-used or recycled. I hope the options above help you sort through your "get rid of" piles a bit more effectively and you can still efficiently remove the clutter from your space.
Are there any other options or organizations that you count on for passing along your unwanted wardrobe items?