Out with the Old, in with the New
You’ve spent weeks cleaning out your closet and getting ready for a new year free of fashion clutter. So, now what? What do you do with all those bags of clothes? Do you donate them to the local Goodwill? Give them to friends and family? Or take them to a consignment shop? Or sell them on eBay?
Here are a few tips to help you recycle your wardrobe extras:
— When it’s cold outside, it’s a great time to spend a few hours taking inventory of your closet. Ask yourself what you haven’t worn in the past year — or the year before that — then be ruthless and get it out of your life once and for all. Maybe those sleeves have never really fit you; those buttons have been missing for months; you really do hate that chartreuse green color. Make room for something new. And remember: One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Put it in the giveaway pile.
— After you’ve purged, you have some decisions to make. I usually load my “extras” up in the car and take them to a local charity where I know my clothes will actually be worn by a person in need and not resold. Dress for Success is a favorite charity as well as the American Red Cross.
— If your clothes are in excellent condition, then you may want to consider “reselling” them at a consignment store in your area. Be sure to check out the store’s policies. These policies can vary widely. Many shops only handle high-end merchandise or clothes with designer labels. Ask what percentage of the sale price the store keeps. And remember, if your item does not sell right away, it may be marked down again and again.
Also ask what the store does with unsold clothing. And always make a list of what you have left at the consignment store. Trust me, it’s easy to forget that slinky little cocktail dress that languished at the back of your closet for years, even when it’s at the resale store. Out of sight, out of mind!
— If you’ve decided to finally part with great-aunt Lucille’s fur stole or your grandmother’s rhinestone brooch, then you may want to consider taking it to a consignment store that specializes in selling vintage clothes and accessories. Again, ask friends for a reputable store managed by people who know their “stuff” and can assist you in determining the value of a treasured item.
Also ask about their “terms” — some vintage stores may offer you cash up front, while others operate much in the same way as a consignment store that resells designer clothing.
— Have a swap party. I’ve only been to one of these, but it was interesting. Most of us had more fun sipping cocktails and socializing then actually going home with tons of new clothes. But there are several websites that will get you started on hosting one of these parties — www.wikihow.com or www.ehow.com — and even online fashion swap sites: www.swapstyle.com.
— And then there’s eBay. This international, online auction phenomenon is a treasure trove of fashion finds — new and old. One of my New Year’s resolutions (oops, I forgot to mention this last week!) is to sell one of my black Persian lamb coats on eBay. However, at this point, I’m much more likely to find an authorized “eBay” drop-off store and let them do all the work for me. Now that’s how I like to clean out my closet!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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