Is There Cash in Your Closet? A Vintage Expert Gives Advice on Selling Clothes
Hanging in my closet is an authentic antique 1960’s Jackie Kennedy-style yellow bridesmaid dress. I’m never going to wear it, so it’s just taking up space. I should sell it for big bucks, right?
Not so fast.
In my last blog, Amy Mayberry of Viva Vintage Clothing schooled us on the best way to store clothes. In this blog, her advice will demystify the process of selling clothing—vintage, designer, and just regular stuff.
Comparing my dress with a 1970’s purple suede outfit that a client of mine wanted to sell, Amy pointed out all the pros and cons of each piece.
“Old Apartment” read the words on the cardboard box. Looking mystified, my client said, “It could be anything!”
It turned out to contain a random assortment of mugs, books, and one groovy, custom-made 1970’s purple suede bell bottom and vest outfit worthy of Cher in her heyday!
While helping my client try to sell this unique treasure, I was lucky enough to come across Amy Mayberry of Viva Vintage Clothing. She asked some very specific questions about the condition of the outfit that made me realize she’s a true specialist.
With nearly 30 years in the vintage clothing industry, Amy generously let me pick her brain for tidbits of wisdom to pass along to you. My next blog will be all about how to sell clothing (vintage and current), but first up I’m going to share what Amy taught me about clothing storage.
Aim to prevent the problem
so you don't have to try to fix it later.
Stains, moth holes, fading and more are all hazards of improper clothing storage.
Whether it’s clothes that you’re storing away or ones that are currently hanging in your closet, you want them to last. Amy shared five major things to avoid so you can keep your clothes in top condition.
Create a Year-Round Closet
Years ago, a change of seasons was a fraught time for me. Excited as I was about the warmer or cooler weather ahead, I dreaded the looming Big Closet Switch.
It was a messy, days-long chore. It always looked worse before it got better: clothes spread all over the room; keep/donate/does-it-still-fit piles everywhere; last-season’s clothes needing to be washed before being binned; next-season’s clothes needing to be ironed (nooooo!) after getting crumpled in bins.
The problem is, I really love the change of seasons. It’s fun when you first pull on a cozy sweater in the fall or head out the door in only a light jacket in the spring. But the way I had organized my closet was turning the change of seasons from a fun celebration into a dreaded chore.
How did I free myself? I discovered the Year-Round Closet.
Ever had this maddening experience?
You step outside and see your breath for the first time in the season. Yay, it’s sweater season! You run up to your closet and reach for that favorite sweater that’s been tucked away since spring. Eager to feel the comforting hug of snuggly wool (or maybe luxurious cashmere) on your arms, you pull the sweater over your head.
But, wait, what’s that? Is that a little piece of lint? No! It’s a hole! And there’s another! Nooooo!!! Moths have feasted on -- and ruined -- your favorite sweater.
What's the 75% rule?
Many of you may know Gretchen Rubin who gave a “bonus keynote” address at the conference. She has some interesting ideas about personality types, but my favorite takeaway from her talk was about how we can declutter our clothes.
If you have trouble deciding whether or not to keep an article of clothing, see if it passes the “Ex-Factor” test. Imagine you are wearing that faded, tattered sweatshirt and you run into your ex. Would you be happy to be wearing that?
Gretchen’s other insight about paring down clothes is that she noticed that people actually feel they have more to wear after getting rid of excess clothes. It sounds counterintuitive, but I experience this with my clients all the time. Once you weed out the excess, you feel more satisfied with what you have and experience a feeling of increased abundance.
Check out the first in my 4-part Spring Cleaning series with NBC10's Emily Volz.
In the first video, I talk about switching your coat closet from fall/winter to spring/summer.
Here in New England, many of us have older homes with small coat closets or mudrooms. So instead of trying to squeeze all the coats into the closet, we have to make some adjustments and put at least the bulkier coats away for the warm seasons.
Before putting coats away, be sure to follow these steps:
Get Your Laundry Organized
I know lots of organized people who have various strategies for keeping up with laundry, but the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t let it sit around. Once the dryer cycle is done, they fold it and put it away all in a single session.
You know how work swells to fit the time you give it but if you give yourself a deadline you manage to get it done faster? It’s the same with laundry. Give yourself a deadline (try using a timer or stopwatch) and plan your time so that you’ll be able to put it all away in the same day that it comes out of the dryer. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with piles of laundry sitting around your folding area for days!
Here in New England, the weather is starting to change from summer to fall (even though Thursday's forecast is 78 degrees!). One quick thing to take care of right now is to put away the summer sunblock, bug spray, and other summer cosmetics.
Round up the all the sunblocks in the house and check them all, tossing any that are nearly gone, nearly expired (or will be by next summer), or just gross from beach sand and grime.
Do the same with the bug sprays. While you're at it, test the sprayers and toss any that are malfunctioning (sprays a little trickle or has to be pumped 10 times before it will spray).
Gather any other summer cosmetics such as those bottles of ear drying liquid, mosquito bite spray, aloe vera, etc. Check these too to make sure they are full-ish, not expired, and in good condition.
Put everything worth keeping into gallon-size plastic freezer bags. If you don't have much, put it all in one bag. If you have a lot, sort it by type and use one bag per type. Store the bags near your summer accessories (beach towels, bathing suits) or near your luggage so it'll be handy when you pack for that beach vacation you're taking this winter. (You're taking me with you, right?)
Wandering through Ocean State Job Lot today (a favorite store, but beware because it can be tempting to over-buy) I spotted this: my favorite kind of jewelry organizer!
This is very similar to the organizer I use for my costume/everyday jewelry, but at half the price I paid.
It can either stand on the floor or be hung on a wall or on the back of a closet door, as I have mine.
What I love about this organizer, is that I can see all of my jewelry at a glance. No need to open multiple drawers or boxes.
So, if you're in need of a better storage solution for your jewelry, hustle on down to your nearest Ocean State Job Lot and see if they still have these in stock!