The hard part of refreshing your closet – getting rid of your clothing – is over; now you have to complete the tedious part (deciding what to do with the clothing you get rid of) and the fun part (replacing some items with the ones you really want). Below, each part of the process is broken down into steps – see where you should donate or recycle, where you should sell, and how you should approach shopping for new items.
First, figure out what should be sold, versus what should be donated:
Clothing to sell can include brand new clothing (obviously), as well as anything in good condition (no missing threads, no marks or stains) – generally, if it looks almost-new after a wash or iron, you could sell it. Keep in mind the brand name, also – most consignment shops will accept items from Target or Forever21, but most people would be hard-pressed to buy something used from Wal-Mart for more than $5 online. Of course, if you aren’t looking for monetary compensation (because selling clothing takes a substantial amount of effort), you can donate or recycle everything instead!
Clothing to donate could involve almost anything that can’t be sold: if it’s severely stained or used, hanging by a thread, or underwear – recycle it instead! And don’t skip this step – the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing per year. If you are thinking of putting so much as ripped pantyhose in the trash, stick it in a separate bag for recycling instead.
Once you’ve sorted what to sell, donate, or recycle: figure out where to sell, donate, and recycle.
Selling: Depending on the amount of effort you’d like to exert, you can try selling clothing online or to a consignment shop. Consignment shops are generally an easy, one-stop solution, but the money usually isn’t as good. Keep in mind places such as Plato’s Closet look for seasonal items, and only take clothing in great condition. If you have a few items that are of a decent brand name, good condition, and don’t want to spend the time uploading photos online, consignment shops are a good idea.
Try: any local consignment shop in your area (such as Ashby in Richmond, or Plato’s Closet). You can also try an online consignment shop like ThredUp – but keep in mind, with this program, you send in your clothing and they deduct a shipping cost from whatever amount they decide to offer you. Additionally, clothing must be “like new,” and you won’t get the clothing they don’t want without spending extra money.
Alternatively, you can sell your clothes online – it’s a bit more effort, but worth they payoff if you’re looking for some extra cash. Wherever you sell, make sure to follow these general guidelines: average items should be in good or great condition, but brand-name or vintage items could be worn, or maybe even marked – just be honest about the condition when you’re selling. People will buy a pen-stained Marc Jacobs bag for $40, but probably not a pen-stained crossbody from Forever21.
Try: Ebay is classic and easy to use, but you are responsible for getting into contact with the seller and getting the items to them. Poshmark is also easy to use; upload a photo of the item, and Poshmark will pay for the shipping once somebody makes an offer. However, they do take a small portion of the money. For ultimate ease, try using Facebook – the marketplace feature connects you with people in the area, or you could try posting to a neighborhood or school page.
Donating: Is very simple, and benefits your community! Drop your clothing to any donation center in the area – Goodwill and the Salvation Army are both good options, and have tons of locations around the country. Alternatively, you could drop them at a homeless shelter in your area – which ensures they will be directly helping those in need, rather than being resold at a low cost.
And finally, recycling is a lot easier than you think it is – and hugely important. To make sure your textiles aren’t wasted and dropped in a landfill, head to earth911.com to find a recycling center closest to your house. Or, you can try H&M, which provides a 15% discount when you recycle clothing at their store. Remember, clothing to recycle is stuff you wouldn’t want somebody else to wear – it can even be scraps of fabric. Just DON’T THROW IT AWAY!
Lastly – you’ve gotten rid of the clothing you don’t want, and might even have some extra cash from selling your items. It’s time to examine your closet over the next couple of weeks and think:
What am I missing when I get dressed in the morning?
What items do I have that I can only pair with one thing, or nothing?
What items do I consistently reach for (for comfort, ease, or style), that I should maybe have more of?
What does my personal style look like, and does my clothing reflect that accurately?
More often than not, these questions alone can help you to evaluate what you need. The biggest two reasons people feel the need to refresh their closet are not having enough items that work together, or not dressing in the clothing they really want.
Examine the items you have and build off of that – do you wear the same pair of jeans every time you wear jeans? Maybe you should buy another pair in a different wash. Maybe you have a few awesome skirts you always pair with the same white top. Or, maybe you get dressed in the morning and struggle to find an appropriate work outfit that you haven’t worn in the past week. All of these are things to keep in mind, and figure out a FEW items that will help bring your closet together. And please, forget the one-for-one rule: if you get a new piece of clothing for every piece you donate, you’ll end up in the same mess next year.
And if you’re trying to revamp your style: what items do you love, and reflect your personality the best? Instead of trying to get a new look within one shopping spree, build off of the items you have and love – and reflect that style in each new item you buy. You’d be surprised what two tops, a pair of pants, and a new dress can do to make you feel fresh.
And there you have it – a step-by-step process for revamping your wardrobe. Of course, you can always check out Mod&Soul for some new items when you’re ready to shop!