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!

Advertisements

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:

void0

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!

24690_YL5596

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.

83742_WO0255_m

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

Originally $128, I paid $15.

jcrew-authentic-selvage-matchstick-jean-in-selvedge-product-1-3008937-752634190_large_flex

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

Originally $148, I paid $15.

jcrewblazer3-300x300

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?

Worth the Wait… J.Crew Warehouse Sale, Take Two

Yesterday being the last Saturday of the month, Alec, Sarah, and I ventured back down to Lynchburg for another round of warehouse sale craziness.

Let me just say that since it was 37 degrees when we got there, we were none too pleased to find that there was a line. Outside. In the cold. Nevertheless, we waited for an hour and a half, all the while telling ourselves that the wait would be worth it once we got inside. Even if we had lost a few toes to frostbite. And then it started to sleet. Yuck.

Still, we waited.

And I’m glad we did. Once we were released into the warehouse I was like a kid in a candy store, shoving items into my plastic garbage bag left and right. I scored a new necklace, a few more bridesmaids dresses to round out the options for my girls, a couple Mother of the Bride possibilities, a dress or two for myself, and some sweet headbands. One of those headbands might even make an appearance on my wedding day. Eighty-five cent bridal accessory? Yes, please!

Above all, my absolute favorite find was this…

Matinee trench

The Matinee Trenchcoat. *EEEeee!* Originally $178, I grabbed this beauty for, let’s see… oh, about 17 bucks. Yup. 17 bucks! I’m thrilled.

All in all, I think yesterday was a success. I may have a hard time convincing Sarah and Alec to go back again next month, but I personally can’t wait. The next sale will be right after my birthday and to me, that sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate!

On Raiding Your Boyfriend’s Closet

The purpose of this post is to celebrate my new favorite article of clothing:

The Boyfriend Sweater.

You’ve seen this style before, I’m sure. You can go into nearly any store these days and find a myriad of items named “boyfriend this” and “boyfriend that.” There are “boyfriend shorts” and “boyfriend t-shirts.” Most popularly, there’s the “boyfriend jean.” And yes, there is the “boyfriend sweater.” These articles of clothing are usually a more relaxed fit. Loose. Comfortable. Slightly bigger than what you might normally wear. Something your boyfriend would wear.

Presumably, this idea originated from girls actually wearing their boyfriend’s clothing. Then one day, a lightbulb appeared over the head of some brilliant designer and a new line of women’s clothing was created. Jackpot.

If you think about it, this idea is much the same as purchasing jeans that already have holes in the knees or paint splattered on them. And honestly, call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always kind of thought that was a rip off.

I have to admit though, lately I have bought into this trend. Only not in the way The Gap might prefer. Perhaps it occurred out of boredom with my own wardrobe, or from the desire to be comfortable at work while still appearing “put together.” Or maybe it was the biting cold that caused it. Whatever the reason, something has driven me into dangerous, unfamiliar, and irresistible territory:

My boyfriend’s side of the closet.

Well, in this case I suppose the term “fiancé” would be more appropriate, it just doesn’t sound quite as good (fiancé jeans, fiancé sweater…). Anyway, the point here is that I’m passing up those “boyfriend” style items in the store and going straight for the real thing. And why not? They are worn in, comfortable, and if he doesn’t wake up before I head out the door he never knows the difference! This new habit has led me to realize that his sweaters are often way more comfortable than my own. Plus, it is definitely budget friendly.

Yesterday I threw on one of Alec’s sweaters to wear to work. I was actually surprised to receive multiple compliments from coworkers. After I responded that the sweater actually belonged to my fiancé, one of my girlfriends just shook her head.

“I really need to shop in the men’s section more often,” she replied.

Come to think of it, the last time we went to the J.Crew warehouse sale my girlfriend Sarah bought this men’s sweater that has me envying her every time she wears it. There’s just something about the way she looks in it that just says “I’m so much more comfortable than you right now… and I look way cooler too.”

Sweater envy. That’s what this trend has done to me.

In closing, I think the boyfriend sweater is a great thing. You probably won’t see me at The Gap anytime soon buying a sweater that is a made for a girl, meant to look like it was made for a guy, intended for the girl to look like she stole the sweater from a guy, but also costs more than the guy would have paid for it in the first place… That’s all a little too confusing for me. Instead, I will just continue to raid my man’s closet.

I highly suggest you do the same.

Have You Tried These? You should.

Seriously.

These elastic hair ties are awesome. They won’t damage or break your hair, they won’t leave that horrible crease that just screams “ponytail!” They are basically magic.

Image

Okay, maybe not magic. Exactly. But they are as close as a hair tie can get.

These things are quite popular lately. You can find them at your local gym, your yoga studio, even at trendy retail stores. Thing is, as awesome as they are, they can be really expensive. I’m not kidding. One particularly popular retail chain is selling them for over $2 a piece! A piece!

If you’re like me, you probably consider that to be a little ridiculous. I mean, they are really cute and everything, but they are hair ties after all. How many of these do you lose on a regular basis? Mine, no matter how hard I try to keep them hidden, inevitably become cat toys. So spending over $2 for one seems a little excessive to me.

That said, I’m excited to say that I am now offering these fantastic little accessories in my Etsy shop

Image

Here, you can purchase the ties for much lower prices. Don’t spend two bucks at the gym just because you forgot your boring old elastic band at home. Plan ahead! In my shop, you can currently purchase the ties in various color themes and three different quantities:

6 for $5.00, 13 for $10.00, and 27 for $20.00

Less than a dollar each. Even better? The more you buy, the cheaper they are!

So head on over and get some for yourself!

Happy Shopping!

Be Your Own Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I understand some of you out there may not be a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’re spending the day alone, or you’re on a diet and can’t stand to be around all the sugar and sweets, or maybe you simply hate the color pink. Well, I’m not going to gasp and tell you you’re crazy or chase you around like an overly cheery Cupid with a bow and arrow. However, I will say this one thing…

You’re looking at it all wrong.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers. It isn’t all about pink hearts and candy necklaces. Think of it more as a mini-vacation from reality. This is how I prefer to think of most holidays. Like Halloween. And St. Patrick’s Day. And my birthday. And most Fridays…

So even if you’re stuck at work all day, try to remember that you are also on your mini-vacation. Should you eat that extra piece of chocolate? Yeah! It’s Valentine’s Day! Should you buy that gorgeous purse you’ve had your eye on since Christmas? Why not? It’s Valentines Day! Should you really order another pink martini? Or three? Of course!

It’s Valentine’s Day!

So even if you think you’re not spending the day with anyone special, you are! You’re spending the day with you! And don’t you deserve to be spoiled this Valentine’s Day? I think so. Be your own Valentine.

That said, I hope you all have a wonderful day. Smile. Embrace the pink hearts and candy necklaces. And don’t count your calories. Seriously.

Savannah Renée

 

P.S.

Just in case you’re looking to spoil yourself with some sparkle today, you can enjoy 10% off your entire purchase in my Etsy shop with the coupon code BeMyValentine. To quote my favorite show… Treat yo’self!

My Scarf Obsession

I love scarves.

And though I love them, I don’t believe I wear them quite often enough. My coworker, Courtney, wears these beautiful scarves nearly every day and it has awaken me to the idea that I have been neglecting mine.

Today I am wearing one given to me for Christmas by my fiancé, Alec. It is a sheer, sequin embellished scarf from Target (they have a pretty amazing selection of fashionable scarves there year-round… I love Target). I adore this scarf. Also, Alec is a great listener because I’m pretty sure I swooned over this scarf for weeks before Christmas, refusing to buy it for myself as I was adhering to my strict “no gifts for self after Thanksgiving” rule. So, as you can imagine, Christmas morning I was a happy girl.

You know another great place to find some lovely scarves? Etsy. Granted, Etsy is a great place to find pretty much anything vintage or handmade these days. I could, and have, spent many hours at a time on Etsy, just wandering around from shop to shop. In recent years, I have done a large amount of my Christmas shopping on the site as well. So easy.

Anyway, I was wandering around the shops this morning and added a few pretty things to my favorites list:


Here’s a lovely, ruffly number. It is from SenasShop and has the fantastic price of only $19.90.

Love it.


This hand painted beauty is from TeresaMare… in Greece! Isn’t it stunning?


I am in love with this color. Actually, it would almost perfectly match the walls in our living room.

This one is from JANNYSGIRL.


This one is actually text from Les Mis! Amazing, right? There are lots of similarly fantastic items in the storiarts shop.

And finally, I want this one so bad. What is it about Chevrons that does this to me?

This one is from MegansMenagerie.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed checking out these great scarves! Are you a scarf person? Describe your favorite one to me or share a link in the comments to your current obsession!

On a side note, I may not sell scarves, but I have other pretty items to adorn your neck! Check them out in my shop on Etsy and use the coupon code BLOG5 for 5% your purchase!

Happy Shopping!

PostScript

As a sort of mini-epilogue to today’s earlier post, I wanted to say that coming home this evening after work was glorious.

I kicked off my boots, threw on some Christmas themed jammies (they’re the best kind and also, pretty much the only kind I wear… year round), and tossed my hair up into a messy bun. I then proceeded to collapse onto the couch, next to my wonderful fiancé, and allow myself to act how I’ve been feeling all day… miserable. 

I know that probably sounds awful. But trust me, it feels amazing. I’m curled up next to my best friend, with the puppy sleeping on my feet, eating pancakes for dinner… and no one expects me to be stylish or put together here.

It’s the best.

Here’s to Looking Your Best When You’re Feeling Your Worst

This morning has not been my morning.

After having the flu for almost two weeks, my body is just not recovering as quickly as I’d like it to. I got out of bed this morning, put the coffee on, and got in the shower – my usual morning routine. What is not part of my usual morning routine, however, is standing in the shower with my head against the wall and my eyes closed, trying to remember if that is shampoo or conditioner (or possibly Dove body wash?) in my hair. When I got out of the shower, I went back to bed – wet hair and all – and called in late to work… twice.

I needed a pick-me-up. I needed it badly.

When I finally ventured out of bed, several alarms and snooze reprieves later, I wasn’t feeling much better. Nevertheless, I poured myself a cup of coffee and got to the task of applying my makeup, drying my hair, and picking out my clothes for the day. At this point, I was running way behind schedule. So my plan was this: successfully cover up the yellowy, greenish “sick” look with some foundation and call it good, dry my hair just enough to avoid turning the flu into walking pneumonia (forget about styling), and throw on the comfiest clothes I could still manage to pass off as “work” attire.

Well, my foundation went on really smooth. Like incredibly smooth. I’m going to attribute this to the fact that I’m fairly certain I washed my face at least twice in the shower, another clue to my state of mind this morning. Considering that my foundation looked so nice, I figured it would be a waste of a smooth foundation day to not finish the look off with at least a little light eyeshadow and some mascara.

Next I dried my hair. I didn’t even use a hairbrush. I threw my head upside down and had at it with the hair dryer for about five minutes. I figured a pony tail would be in order, maybe even a messy bun (what’s on the outside of my head should match what’s on the inside, right?). But when I flipped my head up, I was pleasantly surprised. My hair was perfectly straight! Maybe I should wash it with body wash more often?!

Then I threw on my clothes. To be perfectly honest, this required next to no brain power. I opted for a long sweater, skinny jeans, and a pair of boots. As it is supposedly January (the temperature today is 65 degrees) I grabbed my black North Face down vest to keep cozy. What I love about that vest is that even though it is rather warm today, I’m walking around feeling like I’m wearing a pillow. It is almost enough to convince me that I’m still at home, tucked into my bed. My main goal here was comfort. But actually, I was rather surprised with the outcome when I looked in the mirror. I thought, hey, you look pretty put together for someone who practically took a nap in the shower this morning.

It was just the pick-me-up I needed. Never mind that I still feel like I left my brain on the pillow and everything inside me feels a little fuzzy – and not in the I’ve been watching kittens in teacups on youtube sort of way – I look ready for work… Even if I am an hour late.

You may be wondering what the moral of this story is. There isn’t one, really. Just wanted to share that even when it feels like the world is imploding inside your head, sometimes the beauty and fashion fates smile down on you and somehow you still manage to look put together. Don’t worry, no one will notice that your hair smells strangely like pomegranate body wash and that you aren’t really sure what day of the week it is. You can fall apart again when you get home.