New Year Closet Cleanse


I’ve started the New Year with a cleanse–and not the kind that involves cold press juice and loose stool; I cleansed my home, purging closet after closet of unworn clothes, shoes and accessories. 

The first month of year is a time to be thankful for what you have, even if it’s time to let it go. With this in mind, I divided all the garments I don’t wear anymore into three piles: sell, donate, trash.

Normally the sell pile would be a tremendous pain to deal with. Traditional consignment shops tend to be rather snotty. They only accept items that are currently in season and often require you to schedule an appointment so they can review your items before they agree to sell them. Then there’s the matter of having to hunt down your check after items sell.

Fortunately, there’s now a slew of online secondhand and consignment shops that have simplified the process while simultaneously exposing sale items to online shoppers all over the country, not just those within your neighborhood. Each online consignment store has their niche, so I divided my sale items accordingly.

Within my selling pile, I placed high-end items in a pile to be sent to TheRealReal, a premium designer online consignment shop that gives the seller up to 70% of the sale price. I only had a few items to sell on TheRealReal, so I went online and ordered a shipping label through their website. If I had more items, I could’ve requested their “white glove” service and had a rep come to my home to help me sort through my closet and pick up for-sale items.

I had many more contemporary and mall brand items to sell, some going all the way back to high school (I really need to go through my closet more often!). I placed all these items into a pile for ThredUp, an enormous online consignment shop for women and kids. ThredUp requests that all items be freshly laundered and unstained, so I threw everything in this pile into the wash. From here, the process was ridiculously easy; I simply logged into ThredUp and ordered a “Clean Out Bag” which was promptly shipped out to me at no cost. The bag arrived folded in a small envelope (see picture below), but expanded tremendously allowing me to stuff it full of items. I sent it back using the prepaid label. Now I just wait as my items sell and the money rolls in!

All remaining items in good shape, along with some old books and knick knacks went to Goodwill. Everything else was trashed.

Cleaning out your closet can seem daunting, so I’ve come up with five rules to make the process easier. Check them out below…

  • If you haven’t worn it in the past year, it gets tossed.
  • You have a maximum of five items you can keep solely for sentimental reasons (ex. your favorite tee from college or the necklace your godmother bought you for graduation that you never wear now)
  • If you’re on the fence about something, try to think of three outfits you could (and would) wear the piece with. If you can’t, toss it. 
  • If it still holds value sell it, and if it doesn’t have much secondary market value but is in good shape, donate it. 
  • Double check everything in your bag before you send it off; it’s very easy to accidentally scoop up a beloved tee on your bed and toss it into the Goodwill pile or load the box full of brand new shoes into your trunk along with the other trash boxes. Trust me, it happens. 

3 Comments on New Year Closet Cleanse

  1. Maggie Winterfeldt
    January 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Robbin, I’m guilty of doing the same thing! I find the “one year test” a good rule for tossing those types of clothes–if I haven’t worn it in a year, I toss it, without giving myself time to contrive a scenario in which I might need it!

  2. Maggie Winterfeldt
    January 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks, Catherine! I’ll update you when I get my check from ThredUp–i’m curious how much money I’ll actually make with them. Regardless, it’s been a very painless process so far!