The Great Closet Clean-up: Results

So I did as promised: I emptied out my entire wardrobe and drawers and put all the clothes on my bed. Before I emptied everything, I thought this wouldn’t take super long. I thought that those people on the Marie Kondo tidying-up show were way more extreme than me. Granted, I don’t have several closets filled with clothes, I have quite limited space. But I have somehow still managed to accumulate way more items than I had imagined. It all got quite real when everything was lying on my bed. Here is how it looked:

Good thing that you are supposed to put it on your bed, because then I couldn’t go to sleep before I had finished, haha. Overwhelming as it was, it was also quite interesting to get a complete overview of my wardrobe. For the first time in years, I knew exactly what I owned.

How I sorted my clothes

Again, I have very limited space to work on, but I divided my clothes into four piles:

  • Keep: I love this item, I wear it a lot. My brain has to go “instant YES”.
  • Sell: I don’t wear this and I am happy to part with it. It is in a good condition and I think I absolutely can sell it.
  • Donate: I really can’t sell this, but it is too nice to be turned into rags.
  • Maybe: I need to try this own and see how it fits, I need some more time to think.

Once I had divided all my clothes into these piles, I hung the items I wanted to keep back in the closet, and then I started trying on the “maybe” pile. It was a lot, but having that option helped me get through the first rough categorisation quicker. Once I tried on most of these items, I either remember how well they fit me, or the exact opposite. Most of them went to the sell pile.

So how many items are getting sold or donated?

The total number of clothes I removed from my wardrobe was 73.
That is absolutely crazy to me because I am by no means a huge shopper. But when you aren’t aware of how much clothes you have, it is easy to forget about drawers, or keep items that don’t fit you perfectly “just because”. Now I know what I have left, and seeing the piles of clothes to sell or donate grow, was a nice wake-up call. It also effectively curbed my need for shopping – now I know what my wardrobe needs, and where I by no means should add anything else.

The total number of clothes I am donating is 22.
Still too many for my taste, but I am glad that I’ve taken good care of my clothes and steered clear of too much fast fashion, so that the majority of the 71 items are easier to sell. I also removed outworn socks, underwear, etc., but I didn’t count those in.

The total number of clothes I am selling is 51.
This was the biggest shock for me. I am quite good at selling items I don’t use and return things I’ve bought online, but the fact that I still had over fifty pieces of clothes to sell was mind-blowing to me. And an insane amount of money. If I sold all of these items for just $13 a piece, I’d have more than a month’s rent. I might not be able to sell all of them, and hopefully I’ll get more for some of the more expensive items, but it really was quite thought-provoking.

So yeah. Even for a mindful spender that has gone on several shopping bans, I was able to dig out this much. It makes me think about how much money I’ve wasted, or not gotten enough use out of. I also realised that I had a lot of clothes from a job in retail, that I never used due to the bad memories tied to it. For the money I did spend, however, I could have invested more, travelled more, paid off more debt. It is easy to spiral into this sort of thinking, so I am trying to remember that there would be no use in keep holding on to these things. I can recoup some of the money, and now I can start fresh. It really does feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, now that I don’t have to think any more about the piles of clothes hiding in drawers and in the back of the wardrobe. I know exactly how much I have and need – that is quite liberating, and it was worth the many hours of sorting.
Another side effect is also that I now assess my wardrobe much more critically. I have my eye on a few things that might be nearing the end of their life or that must be sold at some point. But at least I only own clothes now that I enjoy wearing.

Photo by James Hollingworth on Unsplash

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The Great Closet Clean-up

So I haven’t been that good with updates over the past month or two, and although I am mainly blogging for myself and my own accountability, then I’ve missed doing some sort writing that is not related to work or academia. It is still my plan to ramp it up some more, but for now, I’ll stick to my little, insignificant corner here.

What’s up with a closet clean-up?

I’ve been in quarantine for almost two weeks, which… Actually has not been that difficult. I mean, while I have wanted to go outside, then I’ve also just been absolutely swamped with work and catch-up with my studies. In a way, it was kind of a boot camp.

However, my room in London is almost embarrassingly small, which I have become even more aware of, now that I haven’t been able to use the living room. I have noticed how much stuff I have, and I have thought about the fact that I do have to move within the next 8-9 months. So what does one have to do? One has to downsize.

That will start with my closet. I am aware that I do own other things that I (probably) aren’t getting a ton of use out of these days, but my clothes are taking up quite a lot of space. We need to sort that out, and then I am going to prepare it to be sold. So not only will I (hopefully) free up more space, I am also going to earn a bit of extra money. And my savings account can use all the extra TLC it can possibly get.

So how am I going to do it?

It usually takes me ages to get through bigger piles, so I am trying to get this sorted over just one weekend, so I can upload all the listings and then take it from there. I am also going back to my home country for Christmas, so it adds to the urgency of getting the closet sorted out as soon as possible. I’ll do it over this coming weekend.

My steps to cleaning out my closet:

  1. Put all my clothes on my bed. Marie Kondo-style.
  2. Go through each item. How much do I wear it? Does it still make me happy? Does it need repair? It can be difficult to do this, but I am trying to practice a mindset of abundance. It is just a top, your image does not depend on that top.
  3. If I decide I do not use and/or like it anymore, I either put it in a “sell” pile or in a “donate” pile. Or if it is completely destroyed, I usually cut it up and use as rags.
  4. Now I have to prepare the clothes for selling. I make sure it has been washed, steamed and looks nice on the hanger. It is also important to have good light and a good camera.
  5. Once I have the pictures, I have to create listings on e-Bay and other places where I sell things. This takes a lot of time, so this is why I want to do it in bulk.
  6. I neatly fold the clothes and put it in a big bag, so it is ready to be taken out and prepared for shipping.

Once I have done my closet, I think I will move on to another category, e.g. books, handbags or similar. But one step of the time. To make this a little more fun, I have made a spreadsheet down here, where I will write down all the items I’ve sold, and how much I’ve earned in total. So let’s get started!

ROOM CLEAN-UP OVERVIEW:

ItemTypePrice
Clothes
Clothes
Total:

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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A female investment: Laser treatment

It seems like the FIRE community is dominated by male voices. I have never really given it much thought until now, but I have long been aware of the financial differences between genders – everything from the pink tax to how maternity leave affects female earning potential. But most of all, I have always been a little jealous of my male friends whenever we were travelling or just getting ready to go out somewhere. They never have to spend a long time on grooming, while I feel like I am fighting a constant uphill battle.

I have decided to tackle one of these battles now, in a small, expensive but hopefully also efficient way. You see, I am one of the people that prefers to shave my legs. I may be brainwashed by society, gender norms and my dear mum, but it is honest to god just a simple preference. However, I have to use more water in the shower to shave, I have to spend money on shaving products and aftercare to avoid irritated skin, and it takes time. Those precious minutes add up, not to mention having to bring shaving gear for trips.

So I bought a laser treatment.

It was expensive as heck, I’ll admit that straight away. I have been delaying the purchase, because it is just cheaper to keep buying razors – but even razor blades add up significantly over time, and I finally got frustrated enough to take the plunge.

You have to be patient with laser, as the skin has to be treated several times over many weeks before the effects start to appear – but I find that to be a worthy investment:

  • I will save time in the shower, making it quicker to get ready
  • I will save water (and money)
  • I can stop buying razors
  • I can stop buying shaving cream (… Okay, olive oil, but still!)
  • I can stop buying aftercare products
  • I can stop worrying about my skin getting rashes
  • I can stop bringing shaving gear for holidays

That means more time, money and peace of mind for me. I am quite sure that my handy laser treatment will pay for itself, since constantly buying razor blades and shaving products do add up over time. It may not be a very finance-focused type of investment, but it is also important to invest in yourself.

Photo by Uby Yanes on Unsplash

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About lockdown life and “getting my shit together”

We are halfway through May and I have somehow not lost my marbles being more or less stuck in my flat here in London. My other flatmates have gone back to their families, and while I enjoy the space and quiet, then I more than ever long to go back to my home country. I just have to be patient and wait for flights, that will hopefully be back in a couple of weeks.

I have finished the semester, so now I have a long summer ahead of me. I’ll continue to work at my part-time job (I was a remote worker from the get-go) and then do some more freelancing, but I’ve also started to read much more. In addition, I’ve started some awesome courses on Coursera, so I have plenty to keep me occupied, besides my determination to eat healthily and get in shape (which always occurs around this time of the year).

I have started to read Sarah Knight’s Get Your Shit Together. I like her writing style a lot and I do feel like I have been in a slump lately, most likely due to poor time management, too many commitments and, ya’ know, a global pandemic. That kind of stuff. I need a little hope, a bit to work on, and this might just be it. I am already the master of a to-do list, but her thoughts on, e.g. procrastination, time-wasters and what sort of fucks I should decide to give, it does make me reflect on my priorities and lifestyle. And take notes.

What has gone well in my finances?

  • I’ve put some extra money into my savings and my investment account.
  • I finished reading Your Money or Your Life, which was super interesting.
  • I’ve only ordered takeaway once (and tipped the driver). But I’ll probably do it again once Five Guys reopens, lol. I dream about burgers.
  • I have a ton of healthy, tasty recipes.
  • I have been booked for some tutoring, which will also add a bit of extra cash.

What has gone not so well in my finances?

  • I ordered this very expensive item, which I will make a separate post about, since I hope the cost might be worth it.
  • I bought a training program. I usually don’t use them, but this time it is about flexibility, which I have been working on consistently.
  • I have been slacking off and haven’t put everything up on eBay that I want to sell.
  • Online shopping is really fucking tempting, but we are trying to stay good here..

I do look forward to go back and (besides eating for free, lol) go on long runs, sunbathe and see all my old friends. Going stir-crazy is a real thing and I don’t think it has a good influence on my finances.

How is your May going so far?

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