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How to Downsize Your Wardrobe & Make Money

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Scaling down your belongings may seem less glamorous than buying new items, but it can be just as valuable. Whether you are preparing for a simpler life in retirement, getting ready to move, looking to make a charitable donation, trying to pay off debt or just feel like condensing your possessions, downsizing your wardrobe can be very rewarding (quite literally, since it can earn you some extra cash). Here are some tips to go about doing it.

1. Understand Your Needs

Downsizing may not be easy — but if you know why you are doing it, you are more likely to stay motivated despite challenges. Maybe you want more space for another purpose, are tired of consumerism, have to change your lifestyle for a job or a move. No matter what the reason or what your future holds, it’s a good idea to fully understand your needs and plan appropriately. (Here’s one way to get started.)

2. Make a Plan

Beginning such a large project without a goal or plan can lead to a half-finished job or a disorganized mess. Depending on how minimal you want to get, set a number you aim to reach, a number of items in general, a number of hangers and drawers you want to use for clothing or a number of suitcases you can fill. For example, if it doesn’t fit in your dresser, it must be given away to charity, given to a friend or sold.

Next, divide the task into steps and begin with the obvious. Get the clothes you haven’t worn within the past year and that don’t fit out of the way first. Next, move on to the more difficult questions. This can help you see the progress you are making quickly and allow you to stick with it.

3. Evaluate Honestly

Once you have started to dig into the pieces that still fit, still look good and can be worn in your current lifestyle, it’s a good idea to attack clothing by category. Pick your favorites in every type of clothing and evaluate the rest as honestly as possible based on value, flexibility and comfort. It’s important to know your style and what you will likely wear most often and what goes with other items in your wardrobe. It’s a good idea to avoid letting “what ifs” and expensive price tags intimidate you. For example, a pricey dress that you never wear isn’t valuable to you. It can be worth a lot to others so you could try selling it online or at a thrift store. A ball gown may be beautiful but if you haven’t been to a fancy event in a long time, it may be better to get rid of it and make room for the clothes you wear every day.

4. Take One Step at a Time

When you have the items you are ready to part with, decide what can bring in value and the best method to make money off of your extra clothes. Some items may go to thrift shops or fashion shops, and get ready to donate the rest. It can be a good idea to break up the process and take downsizing one task at a time. You can go through all of one type of clothing (like shirts) or by season. Eventually, your wardrobe will be carefully curated and the right size for your lifestyle. As you move forward, you can attempt the “one in, one out” policy where each time you buy something new, an older piece hits the road.

Although it can seem daunting looking at a closet full of accumulated clothing and accessories, getting started now will save you time and effort down the line. Once you have begun the process, you will likely feel lighter and more prepared to tackle the next phase of your life.

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