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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No-Buy August: because shopping will not make you happy

I am not going to ramble off about how humans are screwing over Mother Nature, how the older generation with more money, political influence and better options is fucking things up for us young ones (has done that for years). No, I’ll save that for the other blog. All you need to know is that I recently had enough with consumerism and endless shopping sprees after I visited New York City. It was not some sort of odd lightbulb moment, but I knew I needed to actively take a break once I returned to London. You are bombarded with options to spend your money on when you live in a big city, and I have realised that is one of the reasons why I sometimes long to go back to Scandinavia and just stay out in nowhere for a good while. Anyway!

The aim for my August this year is doing a no-spend challenge. No unnecessary purchases, no shopping, no excessive sweets or soda, no new BOOKS (horror!). Obviously you have to eat, buy your medications and all that good stuff, but otherwise you will have to find something else to spend your time on. And while, let’s be real, you can save a nice good chunk of money if you are usually a ‘meh why not’-spender, then it also gives you space to think about what else you could really spend your time on.

My situation is a little difficult since I have no kitchen access until the 19th. My current living situation does not allow for as much as freaking boiler, so I will have to buy lunch and dinner from outside at least two times a day. Two times a week I can eat with the Christians that I am living with, but otherwise I have to be smart about my food situation. I do want to save money but I also want nutritious food. It will be quite a big budget post already, so cutting out anything unnecessary is probably a good choice.

I slipped up on my first day, since I was returning to London and had simply forgotten I was doing the challenge – which resulted in purchasing some multi-use balm and two books. Great to mess up on the first day, sets a terrific mood for the rest of the month BUT I am all for accepting your fuck-ups and just carry on. Nothing good comes out of being upset by a small mistake.

I will probably make a mid-month update on how this is getting on. Let me know if you have any tips for it or perhaps are interested in participating as well!

Photo by Bart Jaillet via UNSPLASH

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