A Closet Clear Out

It’s been a over a year since I’ve written about clothes and my personal style on the blog. Why? Well, it boils down to two reasons.

The first is that I’ve gained weight and didn’t want to think about my body, let alone write about what I put on it. (Since my face hasn’t changed nearly as much, this probably explains why my interest in makeup and skincare has gone up.)

The second is tangentially related. I hate opening my closet. It’s full of things that don’t fit, it’s disorganized, and there’s a bunch of stuff that I don’t wear but can’t get rid of.

After months of putting it off, I decided to finally do something about it last weekend.

What the even is my personal style, anyway?

I had an old Pinterest board knocking around back when I was using Stitch Fix a lot. At first, I tried to edit it down to something that better represents I want to wear now. It didn’t take me too long to sick of wading through hundreds of pins, so I archived that old board and started a new one from scratch.

After a few hours of messing around, I had a better idea of what my idea of what I was looking for. Denim isn’t going anywhere, but I like a lot of color, too. Midi skirts? Gimme. Button downs? A nice way to graduate from relying on my graphic tee addiction. Florals, polka dots, and stripes? Yes to all.

I set myself a realistic goal over the weekend. Don’t worry about doing your whole wardrobe all in the weekend. Just be happy when you open your closet instead of dreading the hot mess within.

This week’s goal: open my closet and not be overwhelmed

Closed doors hide the horror within. I hardly ever opened up the left side. The right and middle sections, which are easiest for me to access, were a disorganized mess.

At the time that I took photos of my closet, my closet floor was a hot mess of shopping bags (plastic, paper, and canvas) I was saving to reuse, shoes I was planning on getting rid of somehow, two baskets of clean laundry (one folded, one not), and a box of Jim’s Lootcrate rejects that I was planning on using as prizes for my Portuguese students.

But I’m too ashamed to let the internet actually see that. These photos are as close as you’re going to get. I’ll let you us your imaginations to fill in the rest.

Take it allllllllll out

When I’ve attempted wardrobe purges in the past, I’ve gone through my closet and taken out things I wasn’t interested in anymore. This time around, I was far more aggressive. I took everything out. All of it.

Now that I had an empty closet, I asked myself this question: what would I actually buy if I had to start over again?

The sunken cost fallacy is a big reason why I couldn’t let things go. I bought the thing, therefore, I should use the thing. By starting over again, I was able to pick out things I wanted to wear and leave the rest out.

Once I was done, I’d managed to cut down my closet by a third! I hadn’t set any goals when I started this, so this felt like an excellent outcome.

What to sell

While I might be rejecting the sunken cost fallacy, that doesn’t mean I can’t get some money back from this endeavor. Here’s how I’m going about it.

Putting it up on Poshmark

There are several secondhand shopping apps out there where you can post things for other people to purchase. Poshmark just happens to be the one I use.

While I’ve had some success with the app in the past, I also have a bunch of clothes lying around waiting for someone to buy them. So, I dropped their prices a bit more and I’m setting a three month limit on trying to resell things. If they don’t get bought, they’re getting donated.

Check out what I’m selling here, or just scroll to the bottom of the page and check out the little widget I’ve added to my blog added in hopes of finally finding these things a new home. So far I haven’t had a chance to add things from my latest closet purge, but stay tuned!

Cashmere collection seeks loving home

While Poshmark is a pretty good catchall for most of what I’m getting rid of, I have a collection on vintage cashmere cardigans that I inherited from one of my mom’s friends that I know is worth something but just doesn’t fit me anymore. So if you know any good vintage shops in the South Bay, let me know!

What to give away

Not everything I’m getting rid of is something I’d feel good about selling. A lot of things are just worn out. Then there are other things I’ve had sitting around on Poshmark that haven’t sold, are still in good condition, but that I want gone now.

I struggled with this issue a while ago because I wanted to make an ethical choice about what to do with things I wanted to get rid of. Goodwill abuses their employees and the Salvation Army is homophobic. Months later, I had a few boxes of things I was planning on getting rid of cluttering my closet floor.

Doing the right thing takes a little bit more work, so sucked it up and did some research rather than dump a bunch of stuff off at a shady charity to sort through what’s useful and what’s not.

Clothes in good condition are going to San Jose’s Sacred Heart Community Service. It feels much better knowing that these good things that I don’t need will be going back to my community via an organization several of my friends have worked with and can vouch for.

However, not everything I’m getting rid of is in good condition. Figuring out what to do with that was harder. While some cities have textile recycling programs, San Jose currently does not. I did some reading over at Cal Recycle to figure out my options.

Ultimately, I decided to go with H&M’s garment collecting service. The discount card for 15% off for your next in-store purchase that they offer is nice, but honestly, I chose it because it’s the most convenient option. I can drop off a bag of stuff on my way to my parents’ house instead of agonizing over what to do and letting it sit in my apartment forever.

What’s next?

I still need to go through the clothes I took out of my closet and sort them into sell and donate piles. While I’m doing that, I’m going to be documenting what everything I’m getting rid of has in common, so that’ll be the next blog post in this series.

I haven’t even mentioned my drawers of clothes (soooooo many graphic tees) and the baskets of clean laundry (that somehow manage to be constantly breeding and multiplying?) that I still have to tackle. However, I feel like I’ve made a solid start and I’m looking forward to taking those challenges on instead of dreading them.

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