Cash in Your Closet

I posted awhile back about my engagement and how I would be saving money over the next several months for my wedding dress. The task was a little daunting at first, despite rolling in the dough from my high-paying public school paycheck. My plan of attack was multi-faceted. I would offer discounts in my Etsy shop to promote sales, I would cut back on my Starbucks affair, and I would take on a rather sizable project I had been planning on tackling for awhile… cleaning out my closet.

At first I didn’t know how lucrative that last idea would be. If I don’t want to wear it anymore, who would? I tend to wear my clothes until they are on their last leg… or sleeve. I have one J.Crew shirt in particular that I wear at least once a week that should probably be retired to the pajama drawer. That said, I was skeptical that any item in my closet would fetch even a handful of pennies. But, I went to work anyway. Pulling literally everything out of my closet, my goal was to be perfectly honest with myself. Will I ever wear this again?

The result? More space in my closet, less room in my wallet! It feels amazing.

Think this is worth a shot? Here are some tips:

  • Set a goal. It helps if this goal is more than “a new car!” I find that generalized or overly simple goals like this lead to failure and self loathing. The idea here is to motivate yourself to stick with the plan, not to punish yourself if you decide you really do want to keep that dress you wore on your anniversary. Instead, your goal should be more along the lines of: “In three months I want to have a down payment for a car… in cash,” OR “I want to make 50% of my car payment every month from supplemental income. Months one and two are in my closet.” That way you avoid sobbing over your Vanilla Soy Latte thinking I bought this coffee and now I can’t have a new car. That’s just not healthy. It helps to have specifics, numbers, and a timeline. My goal was the idea of not having to pull out the credit card when I purchase my dress. Weddings are expensive and stressful enough already, I didn’t want the guilt of my beautiful dress weighing on my mind as I walked down the aisle.
  • Break out the champagne. Okay, this may sound silly. But I had no less than 3 mimosas the night I cleaned out my closet. I listened to Taylor Swift and sipped my favorite beverage as I asked myself, When was the last time I wore this? and Is this really me? It kept the mood light and my spirits up. Make this task a party for one!
  • I do mean a party for one. If you think having your best friend there for moral support will help you stay objective, then by all means invite her over. Just try not to give her everything you are getting rid of… unless she wants to pay you for it. There is no harm in donating a few items to the well being of your friendship, but if she walks out the door with everything you throw out, you won’t have anything to sell. Sad. Also, please don’t try this with your significant other present. First of all, they may catch on to that shoe obsession you’ve been hiding throughout your relationship. More importantly, everything you try on will “look great.” Let’s face it, when it comes to that special someone, nothing could ever make you look fat and you look just as good in those American Eagle “flares” as you did in high school. In short, this is a task best done solo.
  • Think about the wardrobe you want. Sure, you’re saving for something in particular. But that doesn’t mean you need to walk around naked. And you shouldn’t. Ever. Keep the items you love, and the ones that are necessary. Then, think about replacing some of the items. Think: Do I even like these three button down shirts I wear maybe twice a year? Or would I be better off with one really nice shirt for important meetings or interviews?
  • Consider about the big picture. I had a Kate Spade bag in the back of my closet that I adored. Problem was, in the few years I’d had it, I could count on one hand how many times I’d used it. I wanted to keep it. It was Kate Spade, after all. But when I looked at the big picture, I realized that the purse I rarely used or even thought of was going to help me pay for the most important article of clothing I would ever purchase. Mimosa in hand, I put the bag up on eBay and it sold for $100. Not bad.
  • Find the best place to showcase your items. Personally, I use eBay. It is fairly hassle free and there is a lot in place to protect you from scams and shipping hassles. One thing you want to keep in mind is how much you are willing to pay for a commission. Yeah, I know, it kind of sucks (for lack of a better term- my 6th graders would gasp). They are your items, you are the one doing the work to sell them, you should keep all the money, right? Well, unless you are ready to stand out in your driveway garage sale style, or you have the smarts to build your own website, link to PayPal, and advertise to gain site traffic, you really aren’t doing all of the work. The commission is worth it. Do pay attention to the percentage some sites take though. I found one that seemed like a great option… until I realized that they take 20%. Point is, do your research. You may love eBay like I do (it is unusually thrilling to watch active bidding on your items) or you may like the more personal aspect of going into a local consignment shop.
  • Finally, be reasonable. There is a difference between “gently used” and “worn out.” No one wants to spend money on jeans that have holes in all the wrong places, or that white t-shirt with the disgusting pit stains. Those items belong in the dumpster, or -if it’s a sentimental piece- in the back of you closet in a box. Some things are better off being donated to Goodwill. Like faded t-shirts from big-box stores, or low price items that you don’t have enough of to sell as part of a lot. Similarly, you need to price things fairly. Yes, you may have paid $150 for that cashmere sweater five years ago. And sure, maybe you have only worn it three times. But it is still technically “used,” not to mention that it may also be outdated. The important thing to keep in mind here is that at this point, any money you make off that sweater is going to feel like profit. So price it to sell, not to get your money back.

Now, everyone has different luck when it comes to selling used items. Many variables go into determining if an item will sell and what it will sell for. You may have great success the first time you list something! You may also have to reprice and re-list an item several times before it comes across the screen of the right buyer. So don’t get discouraged, keep that big picture in mind.

I have honestly had a blast raising money for my wedding dress. Hopefully you will be able to take these tips and turn them into cash!

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A J.Crew Sample Sale Weekend

I was over on the J.Crew Aficionada Blog the other day – quick side note: this has quickly become one of my favorite blogs. It features all things J.Crew including sale info, new catalog info, etc. It also gives fellow J.Crew lovers a place to exchange new and previously loved J.Crew items, a platform to rant or rave about experiences, and also a forum to share likes and dislikes. It really is awesome. If you like J.Crew, check it out.

Anyway, that was a long tangent there. Back to my original story. I was over on the J.Crew Aficionada Blog (seriously, check it out), and I saw that someone had shared that the March J.Crew Sample Sale was scheduled for Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th…

WHAT?!

Keep in mind that I saw this about two days before the weekend. The Lynchburg Clearance store didn’t even update their voice message! Needless to say, my weekend plans changed very quickly. You should understand by now that I love this sale. I don’t know how I ever purchased clothing anywhere else. The prices are so great you really have no excuse shopping at another store. Well, given my previous posts on the subject, you should know all the ins and outs of a Warehouse/Sample sale, so I won’t get into the details. I will just share the highlights with you 🙂

Here are some of my favorite finds:

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I saw these Macalister Wedge Boots at the last Warehouse sale and passed on them. After thinking about it, I was a little bummed that I did because I think they are super cute. Consequently, I spent approximately 45 minutes this weekend sorting through box upon box looking for these in a size seven. I think I found the only pair.

Originally $198, I paid $25!

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These Janey Glitter Flats stole the show for me this weekend. I have been eyeing these for awhile as a possible wedding shoe. I pointed them out to my fiancé before the sale, but was sad to find not one single pair in the HUNDREDS of shoes when we arrived this weekend. Very sad. About five minutes after I gave up the search and moved on to clothes, Alec came up to me and presented me with a one pair of beautifully sparkly flats… in my size. I basically felt like Cinderella. Turns out, Alec found the only pair in the warehouse… at the bottom of a box of men’s khakis.

Originally $228, I paid $30.

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Isn’t this adorable? This is the Pleated Awning Skirt.

Originally $128, I paid $15.

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Love these jeans. So comfy, I bought two pairs! These are the Matchstick Selvedge Jeans.

Originally $148, I paid $15.

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I have long wanted this Schoolboy Blazer. Yes, it is velvet. Yes, it is bright yellow. But I just love it.

Originally $178, I paid $25.

 

Those aren’t the only items I bought, either. I just wanted to share some of my favorites. I basically walked out with a brand new wardrobe. Oh, and they usually give you a percentage off the purchase. Generally 10-15%.

I have a new outfit for every day this week!

Did you have any great finds this weekend?

Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you all, but this week has found me struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I’m having a difficult time with Daylight Savings this year, more so than in years past. It doesn’t help that because of Snowquester 2013 we had a five day weekend. Now, I’m not really what you would call a “morning person” anyway so the mornings this week have been particularly unpleasant. Here is a brief summary of my week thus far:

Monday- Alarm goes off and I hit “snooze”… three times. I have neither the time or energy to make coffee (the coffee maker was hiding behind a stack of dishes needing to be washed from the night before. Too much effort to move them aside.) so I opt for green tea instead. I tell myself my choice was “healthy” and not just “lazy.” As a result, I am exhausted for the rest of the day. Also, I am late to work.

Tuesday- My alarm goes off and I hit “snooze.” I then sleep through my alarm when it goes off again and wake up 45 minutes later than I should. Dog is barking at the cats: I have a headache. I prep the coffee maker and forget to turn it on: Coffee to go. The outfit I have chosen the night before consists of a tissue tee and new canvas flats and is longer appropriate since it seems a monsoon has moved in for the day: Wardrobe change. Late for work again. At work, I spill my coffee on my Burberry scarf. Wonderful.

Wednesday- Alarm goes off but it appears as if I am super glued to my bed. I pull myself out of it twenty minutes later. Running late. Coffee to go, again. Can’t decide what to wear to work. Grab my favorite “boyfriend” sweater. Alec drives me to work… but we get stuck behind a school bus. Late again. This is getting old.

Thursday- Manage to get up on time: Win! Out of coffee: Fail. It is a green tea day again. Although green tea makes me feel better in the long run, it doesn’t wake me up quite as well as coffee. I yawn through applying my makeup. But on the bright side, I am finally on time for work. Things are starting to look up.

Friday- I get up (almost) on time. I bought coffee yesterday, yay! I get to throw on my favorite J.Crew sweatshirt and a pair of jeans because Fridays are casual. It’s already a good day.

I finally got it right by the end of the week. Just in time for the weekend.

Now that I have mentioned that I am currently wearing my favorite J.Crew sweatshirt, I feel obligated to share it.

I adore this sweatshirt. I must say though, I’m a sucker for sweatshirts. So when I find one that is a more stylish take on the classic hoodie, I’m in love. You may have guessed by now that I am a fan of casual options just as much as I am of runway fashion. After all, my life doesn’t afford me the luxury of sporting Manolos wherever I go. We can’t all be Carrie Bradshaw, after all.

Now I’m inviting you all to jump in and share with me (and each other)! What’s your favorite Friday Fashion?