Elsie’s Guide to Decluttering and Closet Sales

Hi friends! Since it’s now a fresh, new year, I’m sure many of you have decluttering on your minds. I know I do! I loveeee a nice BIG cleanout this time of year! Although, this past year, it’s kind of been a year round thing for me. I’ve been slowly decluttering every space in our entire home and it feels amazing!

Today I’m here to share some tips for decluttering that have helped me stay focused and some tips for closet sales, which I’ve been doing a little at a time for the past year or two.

3 Tips for Decluttering 

1. Make a checklist of the rooms and spaces you want to declutter and focus on them one at a time. I know how tempting it is to think you can donate ALL your unwanted items in your whole house when you have a free afternoon, but I always find it takes longer than I anticipate to go through each item and decide whether to give it a home, sell it or donate. It takes a lot of mental energy for me to go through sentimental items and those things I have moved from house to house to house over the years. So, give yourself plenty of time to focus and complete each space, whether it’s a room, a closet or even a suitcase of old memories you’ve been avoiding.

2. I used to watch the television show “Hoarders” back in the day, and while most of us don’t have hoarding issues on that level, I learned a lot from the show. It seemed like on every single episode they would start out strong and then hit a wall where they were completely unable to make decisions. I have hit that wall often with my own decluttering. It’s easy to do when you are going through things you’ve been avoiding. I find it really difficult to let go of gifts, even when I know it’s something I will never use and I struggle with some guilt when letting go of things I paid for but never really used.

My tip here is to accept these feelings as totally normal and anticipate them. When you hit that wall in decluttering, push through by giving yourself a pep talk about sticking to your plan.

My plan is typically to divide items into three piles: sell, donate and keep. There’s no pile for “avoid”!

3. Remember, it’s just stuff.

Stuff can bring joy to our lives, but it can also hold us back and bring undue stress on a daily basis. The biggest thing I try to remind myself is what kind of house I want to live in. I don’t want to live in a cluttered house. I always feel SO much better waking up to a clean closet and a tidy kitchen—even though that doesn’t always happen, it’s what I know I am aiming for.

Don’t let guilt or avoidance get in the way of creating the home you want to live in.

3 Tips for Closet Sales 

I love a good closet sale! Both buying and selling. As a customer, it’s a great way to get a good deal (clothing typically sells for half retail or less) and as a seller it’s nice to make a few extra dollars selling things that are just taking up closet space.

1. Only sell your best stuff and donate the rest. I donate a lot of stuff to our local Goodwill, and I sell the items that are better brands, more special and usually in new condition. Have a minimum— like, for me, if I would list if for under $15, I usually just donate it. Remember to account for the fees you’ll pay to your selling platform and Paypal and shipping (if you include it) when you price items.

2. Do it in batches. I like to list a bunch of stuff at once—maybe once a month or once a season. I always do it when I have time in the upcoming week to do the shipping. Shipping can be quick and easy, but it can also be time consuming if you sell a lot of items at once, so make sure you have time set aside.

3. Save little things for “goodies” or bonus items. I always keep a basket in my office where I keep cute small items to use as freebies in my closet sale packages. People seem to really appreciate it and it makes it fun to receive a package when you get something for free.

For my closet sales, I currently use Depop. I like it because they take a low fee (10%) and I can do the whole process (photos, listing and keeping track of sales) on my phone. You can also select to ship through the app so they email you shipping labels as you sell items, which is the best part because it makes it SO quick and I can just throw them in my mailbox.

I know there are all kinds of other places to sell items. If you are selling mainly vintage, you may want to look into Whurl. Or if you are selling designer items, there are probably better places specific to that. I think Depop is best for selling everyday clothing.

OK! That’s all I have for today! If you have any tips to share, I’d LOVE to hear them! xx – Elsie

P.S. In case you missed it, read about my 2019 fashion challenge here.

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • “There’s no pile for ‘avoid'” lol, yep that’s me! I have the best of intentions, start decluttering, find the process draining and then think ‘I’ll come back to that pile later”. And I struggle with feelings of guilt about stuff I don’t use or things that have been given to me but as you say, sometimes you have to just let stuff go. Thanks for reassuring me this is normal!

  • Please remember to donate to other organization such as Human society and even women shelters. There are a lot everywhere in the US. Goodwill is not really the best company in the US, they don’t treat their employee really well (good benefits, but bad pay and they treat them poorly), so support other organization that really need it and are more supportive to the community.

  • Hi! I love your outfit, what are those pants you are wearing in the photos? They look great on ya!

  • Wait, you neglected to share where your selling platform is. What a teaser.????

  • I’ve never sold items on the internet! Whenever you sell items that have to be shipped, how do you know what packages/boxes to use? I’m wondering if those shipping materials are another expensive/hassle.

  • I’m curious if you have had much luck selling vintage on Whurl? Maybe I’m just not devoting enough time to it but I barely got a sniff of interest compared to Etsy. Do you have any tips for selling there?

  • I would encourage everyone to think about donating a few nice things to the Goodwill as well. A lot of people today are buying all of their clothes second hand and it’s so wonderful to help out your neighbors who might never otherwise have a chance to own real leather shoes, or a real wool coat. I donated a beautiful sweater with tags at my local thrift shop and my heart soared when I saw it later on a beloved library assistant. Love that feeling!

    • Goodwill is a for-profit business though…so you might as well just sell it yourself and make money instead of handing Goodwill free money…

      • Goodwill is actually a nonprofit. It’s not perfect, but it does provide community-based programs for vulnerable populations.

        • Goodwill has been getting a lot of negative press lately about how they are pocketing a larger percentage of their profits than they should. In 2016 the CEO resigned as his paycheck was half a million per year while his employees were making less than minimum wage, due to a legal loophole that they used to not feel obligated to pay their employees. Although it is a fact that a CEO should be making a lot more than their cashiers, a lot of people stopped supporting Goodwill after realizing they didn’t support their employees the way they claimed. They were paying some people pennies an hour.

    • This is a lovely story 🙂 …and I agree – a lot of the charity / thrift shops where I live (in the UK) just get full up of cheap fast fashion clothing that’s not designed to last more than a few wears, so it’s great to have a better mix of stuff for people to have the opportunity to purchase quite cheaply 🙂

  • Such good tips! I’ve found watching Hoarders to be one of the absolute best motivators for me. I’m looking forward to checking out Marie Kondo’s new show for the same reason!

  • I’m in the middle of decluttering! I find it hard to sell stuff that isn’t very appealing anymore… so I’m gonna donate a bunch as well. Thanks for this post!

    Hannah from Words & Latte http://www.wordsandlatte.com

  • I love closet sales! It’s a great way to scope out good deals. Like they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!! 😉

    Would appreciate likes! <3 🙂

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