In this tough economic time, cleaning the closet has the added bonus of extra income but it is also a practice of recycling at its best. After 20 years in the consignment business, we have learned and developed some great tips on what to keep and what to save, as well as how to prepare your items for optimum resale potential.
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-WHEN WE SAY CLEAN THE CLOSET, WE MEAN CLEAN THE CLOSET.
While sorting through clothing that you no longer wear, take this opportunity to wipe down and clean out all surfaces in your space. The Pacific Northwest is not only home to fabric eating moths, but also a lesser known pesky little bug called the Carpet Beetle, who love to eat small holes in what inevitably seems like our best pieces. Both moths and carpet beetles can hide and thrive in dusty, hard to find parts of our closet, so a routine cleanse of this area will help you from providing a perfect place for these cashmere eaters to hide. Vacuum or sweep the entire floor and sanitize and wipe down all surfaces inside and out. Make sure you include cleaning the baseboards, as this seems to be a carpet beetles’ favorite trail into your closet. Add pouches of lavender or cedar storage bins throughout your space, as well as regular dry cleaning will all help curtail moth and beetle invasions.
–SORT YOUR CLOSET BY CATEGORY, THEN SEASON.
Your end goal of a perfectly clean and organized space will be easier to achieve if you start by sorting into basic categories and seasons. Dresses, sweaters, pants, skirts, blouses, etc. should all have their own space; then divide them into Spring or Fall weight styles. Not only do we accept items only in season: always think what will you be wearing in the next three months at the time of drop off. But also, one of our main rules here at Seams To Fit is that if you did not wear something in the season that you were intending to, it probably means it is time to let it go. If you are still unsure of how much use you get out of any of your wardrobe, start by facing all of your hangers backward. Once you wear a piece, switch it around to face forward. After a couple months, any hanger still in the original position are the things to move out. Please store any items that will be more Fall and Winter appropriate until September or later.
–DOES THE PIECE MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AND CONFIDENT?
It is true that the right clothing can give you a boost in confident inside and out. We are always giving honest advice because we want to make sure you are only wearing items that put your best foot forward. Most of us have learned some precious lessons via Marie Kondo, the Queen of Organizing. She asks that you hold items in your hand and ask if it brings you joy or not. This fundamental rule is a great one to follow; only keep items that bring you happiness and make you feel like the best version of yourself! Make sure to try on any questionable pieces, and maybe style them to wear around the house for a bit, you have nothing to loose but maybe a weird look from a family member. This is the time to experiment, put unexpected patterns together, anything to break up the monotony of our isolated days. Our theory; the best accessories to any outfit is confidence and a smile!
Some of us live in our own type of uniform. Whether it is a t-shirt and jeans or a crisp white shirt with tailored black trousers; we all have our comfort zones. This does not mean you should have a closet full of just these key pieces. Say you have ten black cotton button front shirts, try them all on and only keep the two or three that fit you the best. This will not only streamline your closet; it will make sure you are keeping only the best and most flattering items.
-IS YOUR ITEM APPROPRIATE FOR CONSIGNMENT?
We recommend sorting your items of into two piles. One for donation and the second to prepare to bring to us for consignment. Ideally, we are looking for you to bring us only the pieces that you have purchased within the last few years, and items that are in excellent condition. The longer you hold onto a piece in your maybe pile, the lower the value in the resale market, so make those decisions now. Consignment shoppers like yourself, are super savvy and will only shop for the latest styles in impeccable condition. We do have a guide of what we are looking for at any given point on our website. If you have items that are just below this standard, think of a friend who might love it, or pass it forward to your favorite charity, like The Assistance League.
-IS EACH ITEM READY TO HIT THE FLOOR FOR CONSIGNMENT?
One of the biggest tasks we know we will face once we re-open will be to get items on the floor as quickly as they come in. You can all help us process your items more efficiently by taking extra effort to make sure the items are presented in as close to floor ready condition as you can. Typically, we spend quite a lot of time steaming, lint rolling, de-pilling sweaters, cleaning shoes and polishing jewelry, all to market the items in the best condition we can. It would be extremely helpful if all consignors can take the time to present your items freshly cleaned, lint free and hung up under garment bags. Jewelry should all be polished and made sure that all pieces are in working condition (check the clasp function). Purses and shoes would be amazing if they were already cleaned out and free from any personal items. Your help will ensure that your products hit the floor more rapidly and that we are adhering to strict sanitary guidelines, which are more important now than ever.
-BE PREPARED WITH ALL HELPFUL INFO ABOUT YOUR PIECES
This is especially relevant for any jewelry that you wish to bring in for us to sell. Not all jewelry has the same branding and other identifiers to help us research their resale value. If you have any artist names, retail price points or information about the gems in a piece, please be ready to provide this upon drop off. The more info you have, the better we can market the item for you. Resale is all about the story behind a piece, so please tell us about any obscure designer or fantastic exotic shop you might have purchased a piece from.
We have learned a few tricks over these past 20 years and are always happy to share. Some of our favorite tools to prepare items to sell are:
-Lint Rollers-Most of us have furry companions at home and their hair seems to get everywhere! Please make sure to de-lint all your items as best as you can before bringing them in for consignment. Take a sticky sheet off the roll and use it to clean up any hard to access interior pockets of purses and clothing.
–SweaterBrick– Even the best quality knits can be plagued with the inevitable balled up pilling that happens with friction. This pumice like tool is a perfect shaver, taking off only the unwanted pills, and not damaging the fabric. Make sure to hold the fabric taught so that you have a smooth surface to brush. Follow with a lint roller to pick up any leftover fabric.
–White Vinegar– Your common household staple may just have surprised you as one of leather’s best cleaners. If you soak a clean rag with regular old white vinegar and apply it in smooth circles to dirty leather, you will remove any superficial grime. Beware, it will darken the leather immediately, but once it dries, the color will return to normal. Do not use this technique on suede, nubuck or patent leather.
-Lemon Pledge- Another common household cleaner that works magic; this time on patent leather! Patent can easily be covered in fingerprints or superficial scuffs. Apply the pledge to a clean rag and wipe in gentle circles to achieve that fresh, shining finish that patent is known for.
-Staedler Eraser- This rubber art eraser is a gem for cleaning scuffs on leather. A gentle edge can magically erase scuffs on that were left on your shoes and purses, but also any rubber sole. This is best used on darker colors; if attempting on a light shade leather, start small and make sure it does not take any color away. Go ahead and buy the multi-pack we linked you to, these erasers are the most satisfying kind we have ever used!
-Disinfecting Wipes- Not all of you know this, but every shoe is thoroughly disinfected before being put on our sales floor. We wipe out all shoes with a Clorox wipe to provide a clean and safe piece for you to try on. If you have any of these wipes left after this pandemic, please take the first step and clean out your shoes, we will also make sure to do a second clean out on our end too. These wipes are also great to clean the sides of rubber soled sneakers. The small amount of bleach in them help whiten these easy to scuff surfaces.
-Polishing Pads- These are our go-to jewelry polishing pads. They are disposable but each one lasts for at least a few pieces of jewelry.
-Laundry Bags- Most of you know that some dry clean only items can actually be gently washed at home in a protective mesh laundry bag. You can save some money by handling some of this cleaning at home. This works best with sweaters, but make sure you are not washing them on hot! These are also wonderful for cleaning your intimates, but remember those items are not for resale.
-Angelus Luster Cream- Even a small scuff on a shoe or purse can affect its resale value. A little bit of moisture can often fix these scuffs. Apply a small amount of this neutral (make sure to select color in link above) luster cream to smooth out those eye-catching scuffs. This is our preferred brand for any polishing color or paint, they have been making products since 1907, and are always coming out with something new!
THESE ARE ALL TIPS YOU CAN TRY AT HOME AND WE ADDED LINKS TO MOSTLY LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT STOCK THESE ITEMS. FOR ANY MAJOR REPAIRS ON PURSES OR SHOES, WE RECOMMEND DERECK’S SHOE REPAIR DOWNTOWN, THEY ARE HONEST AND PERFECTIONISTS. FOR ANY DRY CLEAN ONLY ITEMS, THE PEARL DISTRICT CLEANERS HAS BEEN OUR CLEANING SAVIOR FOR MANY YEARS.
If you have any follow up questions, please let us know, we are happy to help any way we can from a virtual standpoint. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will have a chat from home!
Once we have a projected date to reopen, we want to remind you that we offer complimentary home appointments for sizable quantities ready for consignment. We will set up a time to come to your home and gather all the items you want to consign and contact you after inspection. If you plan on bringing in items on your own, please remember that we prefer items hung up and in as close to floor ready condition as possible.
We will be in touch with more helpful newsletters every Friday until we can make the grand announcement to re-open! Next week will be an update for all consignors, current and future, to know how we will deal with this crisis from a case-by-case scenario.
Happy Spring Cleaning and Health and Peace to you all.
Much love to our client friends (that means you) that make up this amazing Seams to Fit Family.