22 February 2013

As a Phoenix desert resident, my “spring cleaning” generally takes place somewhere between summer’s 115 degree temperatures and winter’s rainy monsoon season. However, when I lived in the great Midwest, that distinct turn from winter weather to sunny spring always inspired me to open the windows, air the place out and get to cleaning.

I imagine those of you in New York are gearing up for that much desired weather about-face. As you prepare to usher in chirping robins and skinny squirrels who’ve reluctantly crawled out of their cozy hibernations, start thinking about your own spring cleaning. And, more specifically, organizing your wardrobe.

Below I’ve briefly outlined what to do with garments you no longer want to keep. Let the list inspire you to get rid of things, if not for more closet space than for a little extra dough in your back pocket.
Anything with sentimental value, for example, should be kept.

1. Store it

Let’s face it. Going through your closet isn’t a black and white process. You have a “keep pile,” a “toss pile” and a “Eh… I’m not really sure what I want to do with this yet” pile. The lattermost is the trickiest. After all, the last thing you want to do is regret your decision to toss something out. Anything with sentimental value, for example, should be kept. Designate a box for “maybes,” label it as such and then thoughtfully re-visit the clothes again on another day.
Organize your wardrobe and cash in your profits

2. Sell It

As someone who frequently moves, my favorite part of spring cleaning is getting rid of things (fewer things to pack up later). What makes it even more fun, though, is cashing it all in. I’ve become quite good at this and, honestly, could write a whole book on the process. I’ll give you a few highlights and tips below, though.

– Sell it online via online via eBay or Craigslist. Craigslist is fee free, but it will require more of your time and the ability to coordinate your schedule with buyers’ schedules. High end items in good condition do best. I prefer eBay because it’s less work.

– If it’s vintage (especially high end), consider selling it on Etsy. Especially if you have a lot of it. You’ll have to pay seller fees, but the Etsy platform attracts thousands of buyers willing to spend money on high quality. Always take attractive pictures and detail blemishes, dimensions and any pertinent information.

– Head to a local consignment shop. This requires the least amount of your time and you won’t get the whole profit, but at least you still make money on your goods. Always call ahead to see what the shop needs most and bring your garments clean and on hangers.
Donate the unwantables  to local homeless shelters or thrift stores

3. Give It Away

There will always be a few garments that others don’t want. For example, clothing that shows its age or has tears, stains or pilling are not going to sell. Consignment shops will simply reject them and online buyers won’t bite. For these, let’s call them “unwantables,” your best bet is to simply donate.

You have several options. First, you can offer them for free on websites such as Craigslist and Freecycle. This is nice because anyone who claims them will come to you.

Alternatively, you can donate them to local homeless shelters or thrift stores. Donating to a registered charity allows you to claim tax deductions. Always ask the organization for a proper form.
Re-invent and recycle your old clothes

4. DIY it

If you’re crafty (or want to be crafty), thoughtfully examine any “unwantables” and re-invent them. For example, old frocks with pretty patterns can easily be turned into throw pillows or re-cover an old chair. Check YouTube or Pinterest for thousands of ideas.

You can also upcycle an old garment by adding to it or changing it in some way. Again, lots of ideas are available online. The below blogs are some of my favorite DIY Fashion blogs — let them inspire your own creations!

P.S. I Made This…

Studs and Pearls

Love Meagan

DIY Fashion Tumblr

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 09:00 AM
Opinions , Points of View , Shopping News , Shopping Trends , The City , Tips Guides |

4 January 2013

New Year's Resolution: Better Shopping Habits

Even though December 31st and January 1st are only a day apart, there’s something about the beginning of a new year that makes us all feel like we’ve started afresh. Call it a second — or third, fourth or 20th — chance to get it right, call it a clean slate. Whatever you dub it, though, take advantage of the new year’s sense of renewal.

Like many, I do come up with a list of resolutions and goals for myself every year. Most of these goals hover somewhere between the categories of lofty/unobtainable and “things I should be doing anyway.” In the end, I find it’s best to make resolutions that better my body, mind and soul and have the potential to turn into lifestyle changes — not just a 365 day challenge.

Some resolutions are more personalized (such as traveling more or budgeting time more efficiently) while others are lifestyle habits we can all benefit from (exercising more and eating better both qualify, and are two of the most popular new year’s resolutions).

Another new year’s resolution we can all benefit from is better shopping habits. This boils down to money management, but the way we shop also says a lot about our personalities. For example, some people rarely shop around to find a better bargain while others hurriedly shuffle to the discount rack even if they’re not in need of anything.

The shopping habit I’m most guilty of? Online bargain shopping. During my free time, you can catch me perusing deals on designer duds at eBay, sifting through the hundreds of Etsy stores and clicking on any e-advertisement promising a good deal.

I’m also signed up at myriad monthly subscription websites — including JustFab, Birchbox, BeautyFix and JewelMint — and receive about 20 to 30 emails daily from various clothing/jewelry/makeup stores. The worst part is that while many delete these daily emails, I’m guilty of checking out what’s new (and what’s discounted), which only tempts me further.

This year, I’ve made a vow to cancel all my monthly subscriptions (who needs a new pair of shoes every month, really? My husband refuses to look inside my closet for fear of the great shoe avalanche) and will only allow myself purchases when absolutely necessary (e.g. special occasions or a new fitness gear when mine’s ready to be tossed).

Perhaps in the coming years I’ll be able to make goals like some of my other friends, who vow to go an entire 365 days without buying even one new piece of clothing or pair of shoes. For now, though, I’m taking baby steps. After all, new year’s resolutions are about making changes that translate into lifestyle habits.

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 10:45 AM
Opinions , Points of View , Shopping News , Shopping Trends |

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