HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR CLOSET THIS SPRING (and make some money back)

So, you’re stuck at home because of the quarantine.

While social distancing is crucial to protect ourselves and others, a lot of you may be looking for something to do with the few extra hours not spent commuting or socialising.

For me, I finally found the time to create the course I had been thinking of for a while. It’s all about how to successfully sell your clothes on eBay (and maybe even turn it into a side hustle) – so if that’s something you’re interested in, you can check out the eBay Sales Academy here. *Shameless plug over*

If creating courses isn’t really your thing, why not try sorting out your closet? With the first day of spring officially behind us, now is the perfect time to do some conscious closet decluttering. Instead of seeing it a chore, you can turn it into a fun at-home activity.

By sorting your clothes you will be able to decide which ones are staying and which ones you’ll pass forward. Giving a second life to the items you don’t wear anymore is not only a sustainable choice for the environment, but also for your wallet.

P.S. If sorting through your clothes and trying stuff on is not your idea of fun, you can stop reading right now. I promise I won’t be offended.

STEP 1: LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES

Spring is the best time for a quick assessment of what you wore during the cold season. By looking at what items got the most use, you’ll gain a more accurate picture of what you actually like to wear vs what your fantasy self thinks you’d wear.

There’s no need to feel guilty for spending money on something that you barely used. It’s counter-productive and won’t make you feel good. Instead, spend some time learning from your mistakes.

Take out everything you never or barely wore, and ask yourself:

What can you learn from this experience? What truly made you not want to wear it?

Maybe the colour isn’t very ‘you’, maybe it fits weirdly, or it’s simply quite uncomfortable and itchy.

If it’s something you can fix, like not knowing how to style your dress, keep it – it’s the most sustainable option. However, if you’re not wearing something because of comfort or the wrong size, it’s time to let it go. For now, put these items aside – we’ll deal with them in a little bit.

To truly learn from your mistakes, I’d suggest making yourself a digital list (in Word or Google Drive) so you don’t forget what was ‘wrong’ with your items. In that way, if you choose to keep something, you’ll be able to revisit your reasons and see if something has changed 6 months from now. You’ll be surprised how much your style preferences can change even in a short time.

Note: This excludes your sentimental items. For them, I’d suggest only keeping the ones that have true meaning to you. If you have a few hoodies that you love but never wear, simply put them in a separate box so they’re not cluttering your everyday closet.

STEP 2: KEEP YOUR WORKHORSES

We all have workhorses in our closets. You know, these items that we can always rely on, especially when we have about 30 seconds to get out the door.

For me, it’s a stretchy pair of skinnies, a black turtleneck and a pair of mid-heel ankle boots. Maybe it’s not the most fashionable or interesting outfit, but it’s one I can turn to when I’m out of ideas and want to avoid looking like a complete slob.

My more fashion-conscious boyfriend’s choice is a pair of mustard trousers and a burgundy sweater – so as you can see, ‘workhorses’ do not need to be greyscale ‘basics’!

If you’re not sure what your workhorses are, find the top 5-10 things you wear most often. Unless they are completely season-inappropriate, keep them for a little longer. Chances are, you’ll need them in the transitional weather, too.

STEP 3: SORT YOUR SPRING CLOTHES

This is a guide to the autumn winter 2017 fashion trends. 15 most wearable autumn winter 2017 fashion trends.

My sister and I have very different memories from those days when we had to pack our winter stuff away, and take out all the summery ones from the cellar. I thrived sorting through the piles of clothes, and she protested, eventually outsourcing the burden to me.

No matter whether you’re more like me or my sister, now it’s a great time to go through all of the clothes you’ve put away 4-5 months ago. I’m sure you’ll rediscover some hidden treasures, and find some duds you can’t even remember why you kept (and maybe a tenner in a pocket).

Instead of just looking at stuff and deciding what to keep, try your clothes on while re-watching Friends or playing an unabsorbing podcast in the background.

The sorting process is best done with a full-length mirror, because you may find you don’t really like that item ON you, despite it looking fab on the hanger. You may also discover something that you weren’t loving so much last summer, but now your taste changed ever so slightly.

Just like with your wintery stuff, put aside anything you won’t be wearing this spring/summer.


Now, it’s time to deal with all the clothes you’ve discarded (both winter and spring ones). They’ll go into one of three piles (FIX, SELL and DONATE), depending on what you plan to do with them.

STEP 4: FIX WHAT YOU CAN

Until recently, I have to admit I was not very big on fixing my stuff (out of laziness and lack of fine motor skills).

Today, I have a 5-minute rule. If I can fix something in 5 minutes or less, I just do it. Things like sewing buttons and small holes, shaving my jumpers using this tool or bleaching a stain do indeed take very little time and effort.

If it’s something more substantial, like a zipper needing replacement or something that only a professional can do, put it near the front door. That way you’ll remember to take it the next time you go out.

STEP 5: FIND ITEMS YOU CAN SELL

Selling some of your best items is not only budget-friendly, but it’s also more sustainable than donating. Did you know only about 10% of donated items get sold? Yeah, it shocked me too! Donating is NOT always the best option. Selling is.

I truly believe it’s our responsibility to learn how to pass on items that are in good shape but we no longer want or need. And with the variety of online platforms, you literally have no excuse.

Starting with the most popular one, eBay, I’ll show you a quick hack to see if something can sell for you.

Open your country’s eBay website and type a broad description of your item in the search bar. You don’t need to be registered to do it. (If you don’t have eBay in your country, you can still sell on eBay.com and eBay.co.uk – you’ll just need to select ‘Shipping from outside the US/UK’ option when listing an item)

For example, I have a simple black long sleeve silk blouse from & Other Stories.

I’d type something like Other stories black silk, hit enter and  then click on Tops & Shirts on the left side menu. That’s because I don’t know if someone will call this item a blouse or a shirt, and I don’t want to limit my results by searching for ‘Other stories black silk blouse’.

Then scroll all the way to the bottom left side, until you see ‘SOLD ITEMS. Click there: now you’ll see everything that has sold on eBay in the last 3 months.

By default, you’ll see items in all conditions, and they’ll be sorted by what ended recently.

Then sort the items by choosing the Condition (used or new with tags) and Price (Highest price) to see how much similar items have sold for.

By scrolling down, I can find that similar blouses sell for about £25-30 in the same condition as mine.

Beware of seasonality, though – if you’re looking to sell a coat in March, then you’ll have data from January to March, which is reasonably reliable. But if you’re trying to sell a beach maxi dress, the results will be wildly inaccurate – so you may want to wait for a bit.

Depending on how crazy you went on your springtime closet clean-up, you may need to set aside a few hours to list your things. I go in much more detail and show you how to sell your stuff step-by-step in the eBay Sales Academy. If you only have 2-3 things, you’ll probably be fine with just that info alone.

If your items are not selling on eBay like freshly used panties on a fetish convention, you still have plenty of other options:

  • Poshmark (US only; for high-street and mid-range brands);
  • Depop (international; vintage & high street works best here);
  • Vestiaire collective (international; for designer stuff);
  • Craigslist / Gumtree / OLX / FB marketplace – for your classified.

With so much choice and arguably a bit more free time right now, you can prepare and list your items. If you choose fixed-priced listings, they’ll automatically renew until they sell. This means that even if you can’t sell / ship something right now, once the situation has improved, you’ll be able to do it.

STEP 6: FINALLY, PREPARE YOUR DONATIONS

If you have items that are in good condition but don’t sell (even though your listings are well-prepared and in-season), then prepare to donate them to people in need. But please don’t donate items that are in a poor condition! You are just passing the process of binning to someone else.

Donating may come in the form of thrift stores / charity shops / op-shops which sell clothes to support a good cause, like Cancer research etc.

However, if you live in a country where thrift stores are for-profit and you can’t donate to them (like my home country Bulgaria), there are plenty of other options. Orphanages and women shelters are always in need of nice clothes. I’ve also found that leaving items near the bins (NEVER INSIDE) allows someone homeless or in need of clothes to get good-quality stuff for free. Get creative and don’t forget that not everyone has access to the internet.

This is the exact process I’ve been following for the last 2 years that has allowed me to be a bit more sustainable in my fashion choices. If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends so more people can learn how to consciously declutter and give their clothes a new lease of life.
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