Spring Cleaning: Closet Cleanse

By Nancy Hernandez 

Few things are sweeter than buying a new piece for your closet, but if your closet door doesn’t close and hanging up shirts is a game of Tetris, it’s probably time for a closet cleanse.

To make the process a little easier, and perhaps less emotionally difficult, guide your cleanse with these six questions:

Does it fit?

If the clothing is too loose or too tight, find it a new home. Instead of letting it sit in your closet and collect dust, invest in a piece that flatters your body.

Is it in wearable condition?  

That missing button won’t fix itself. If you don’t think you’ll make the effort to fix it, it’s a goner.

Have you worn it in the last 12 months?

If you keep trying it on, but it never makes it out on the town, it’s time to give it up.

Is it still stylish?

Some trends are meant to end and never come back — we’re looking at you, fast food fashion.

Does it reflect your personal style?

Ask yourself if it adds dimension to the style you try to uphold. Is it something you would buy today? If not, let it go.

Does it make you feel confident?

There is no need to wear something that makes you feel self-conscious. If you are not completely comfortable in it, get rid of it.

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it’s time to say goodbye to some of your wardrobe. Now what?

Option 1: Sell

You may not be able to sell your used clothing for the original price tag, but there are many ways to get rid of your unwanted outfits and still make a small profit. You can choose to sell on classic sites like eBay or test your luck through third party businesses.

If your closet is filled with designer brands, we suggest selling your outfits on Tradesy. Tradesy is an online resale site that allows you to upload items from your closet and set your own price. They take nine percent commission, but also send you a shipping kit, which includes a pre-paid, pre-addressed box, for every item you sell.

Shop Hers is another resale site that accepts only designer and luxury brands. You can choose to upload and sell your items yourself, or use the VIP Experience option and let the company do the work for you. The VIP Experience allows Shop Hers to take 35 percent commission, as opposed to the regular 18 percent commission from selling things yourself.

For your more affordable pieces, Poshmark offers an easy outlet for sellers to upload their clothing and set their own prices. But this method may end up being a little pricey. They charge a $2.95 fee for any item that is $15 or less, and Poshmark keeps 2 percent commission for any item over $15.      

Another option is to search for a community buy-sell-trade group on Facebook like UT Austin’s Women Clothing Exchange. There, you can negotiate prices, set times to try on clothes and swap pieces with other university students. You can also sell your pieces more quickly than on a resell website.

Whether you choose to sell through a third party website or a Facebook group, do not underestimate the importance of a good “for sale” photo. Set-up a shooting area where you can take pictures of all your clothing. Use a white wall as a background, throw in some twinkling lights and replace your boring plastic hanger with a wooden one. Remove wrinkles and stains before snapping your pics. Remove shadows and keep your clothing looking fresh by illuminating the pieces with a few spotlight lamps.

Option 2: Donate

If some of your pieces aren’t sellable but could be used by someone who truly needs them, look into different donation centers. Popular donation sites like Goodwill and The Salvation Army offer tax-deductible receipts in exchange for your clothes. Or to support a specific cause, look into other nonprofits. Teens for Jeans which collects gently used jeans for homeless teenagers at Aeropostale donation sites in the winter.

Do you still have your prom dress hanging in the back of your closet? Project Princess, an Austin-based non-profit organization created by the Texas Lonestars, accepts gently used dresses, shoes and accessories year-round. Stop by one of their two permanent drop-off sites at Unbridaled on South Lamar or Urban Betty on West 38th Street to drop off your dress and help make a girl’s special night come true.

Option 3: Toss

Closets hold plenty of emotional value, and it’s hard to rid ourselves of nostalgic pieces. But we have to realize that after a while, clothes can become unusable. If something has a strong odor, moth holes, stains or substantial wear, it’s time to put it in the dumpster.

Dividing your closet into these three different piles is only half the work. Don’t forget to follow through by actually dropping off your clothes at your chosen donation site or uploading your high quality photos to make sells. If you say you’re going to toss it, just toss it. Chances are you won’t remember the piece after it’s gone.

To keep a clutter-free closet year round, turn all of your hangers so the hooks face the same way. Every time you actually wear a piece, flip the hanger so the hook faces the opposite way. At the end of the year, you will be able to see which pieces made it out of our closet and into the world, and which ones need a new home.