An Easy, Step-by-Step Process For Cleaning Out Your Closet and Selling Your Sh*t
Like many women, I had lots of excuses for procrastinating a closet clean-out: I was tired; I own too much crap; if I move one shoe, the whole rack will come crumbling down; and anyway, I might wear this stuff again one day! I was shaking in my boots — old boots that I probably needed to throw out — when Mercari Stylist Contributor Anna DeSouza arrived at my door, fully prepared to help me weed through my impressive mess. She was wearing a white t-shirt and tailored black slacks with BaubleBar's adorable flamingo earrings, so my first thought was, "OK, phew, she won't make me get rid of my mermaid earrings."
What about the Madewell mom jeans with my initials embroidered at the waist? I busted open the zipper from gaining a little bit of weight, but I would get that fixed one day and simultaneously lose the pounds, right?
I wrote my whole college thesis around the idea that we form memories in our clothing, and in that way, those clothes define who we are. You can probably guess, then, that I have many prized possessions in my closet that are dear to my heart, like the $10 wooden beaded bag I hilariously negotiated for at a market in Haiti with my future mother-in-law. I got it caught on a door handle and it lost an entire strap, but I retied some strings and now it looks fine! Fine enough to hang in my closet on a hook, because I'm too scared to wear it to the bar and be the girl whose exploding beads cause someone to slip into an unfortunate medical emergency.
And what about the Madewell mom jeans with my initials embroidered at the waist? I busted open the zipper from gaining a little bit of weight, but I would get that fixed one day and simultaneously lose the pounds, right? They've only been sitting in my drawer collecting dust for, like, five months, tops. But Anna had other ideas, and we were about to use the Marie Kondo KonMari method to get rid of the clutter. Anna came armed with so many one-off tips that helped me feel good about the entire process. She also happens to have impeccable organizational skills and taught me how to display my valuables beautifully on my shelves and in my wardrobe.
In the end, I didn't just donate two full bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories, I also collected a pile of pieces that Anna encouraged me to sell on the Mercari app, which has a clean, easy-to-navigate interface and allows users to quickly snap photos, enter designer details, and post products for followers to bid on. Anna and I determined what stuff could potentially have a second life and be useful to other women.
Meghan Markle, who is collaborating with the charity Smart Works to provide people with better workwear, recently spoke at her launch event and tapped into this idea: "When you go into your closet and you say, 'OK, I'm going to make a donation,' you don't toss in a box what you don't care about anymore. That's charity as we know it today. Community is going through your closet and saying, 'This is the blazer that I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my dream job, and I don't need that anymore, because I'm where I want to be. But if I'm able to share that blazer, and be part of another woman's success story, then that's community.'"
Thanks to Meghan and Anna, I'm now of the belief that every article of clothing has its own story to tell — of its journey from wearer to wearer. So, I'd say this experience was a positive one for me. Though I may have to tweak my college thesis, I learned some tricks I'm about to share with you if you're also interested in recycling or donating your clothes, so let's get to it.