Cleaning out Your Clothes

By Janine Adams

Cleaning out the clothes closet is difficult for many people. Clothes can represent so much — like music, they can do a great job of capturing a feeling about an occasion or part of life. They also can represent hopes. You hope to wear that size again. Or you hope to have an occasion to wear that evening gown.

The trouble with hanging on to clothes that you don’t or can’t wear is that an overcrowded closet makes it so difficult to care for the clothes you do wear. It’s hard to put clothes away if they’re packed in too tight. They also get wrinkled. And it’s much harder to see what you have.

I was just perusing an issue of O Magazine, whose theme is “De-Clutter Your Life!” In one of the articles, Oprah Winfrey goes through her closet trying to decide what to keep and what to let go of, with the help of the magazine’s creative director, Adam Glassman. What struck me about the article was that even Oprah, who has an almost unimaginable about of money, had a difficult time letting go of stuff. At one point in her life she had a very limited wardrobe because of budget. “Even now, wasting money on clothes makes me crazy,” she admits in the article.

After insisting on saving some beautiful items (she calls a pair of boots she’s never worn “closet jewelry”), Oprah agrees to let go of trendy items she doesn’t wear. It appears that Adam’s suggestion that the discarded clothing be auctioned off on Ebay to raise funds for OWLA, Oprah’s leadership academy for South African girls, makes it easier for her to let go.

I see this in my clients; if they know the article of clothing will be loved by someone else, they’re more able to let it go. They’d like to give stuff to me, but my policy is not to accept items that my clients are letting go of. (It prevents the appearance of conflict of interest and helps keep my home clutter-free.)

So next time you’re trying to weed out your closet, remember that Oprah found it difficult. You can imagine how beautiful the clothes she was discarding were, but she did it.

As an aside, my friend, the organizer extraordinaire Geralin Thomas helped me weed and organize my closet on a visit in 2009. She convinced me to arrange my clothes by color, something I resisted. I felt it was hyper-organized and would be too complicated for me. Boy, was I wrong. I love having my clothes sorted by color. (I organize them by category first, then by color. All blouses are together, in color order, all jackets, pants, etc.) Not only is it beautiful, but it makes it very easy to find what I need and to put individual items away.

And the less densely populated the rods, the more I enjoy my color-coded closet.

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. She specializes in working with chronically disorganized client, primarily in their homes, helping them create the order they crave. She blogs regularly at her website and offers concise, downloadable Organizing Guides for purchase. With life coach Shannon Wilkinson, she also offers a 28-day e-course called Declutter Happy Hour.

Your Home, the Retail Store

By Jennifer Morehead

I have done a lot of research on making a home inventory. Most blogs and websites start by telling you how unimportant people say a home inventory is and that it lives at the bottom of any to-do list. Sure you might have been told by an insurance agent or friend to do it but you just haven’t gotten around to it. Then they sprinkle in a bit of fear to really get you motivated.

So I wanted to talk about why I put together a home inventory. Yes, I live in fear of one of those catastrophic events just like anyone else. We have insurance on everything, it seems, including pet insurance for our dog. But in reality, the likelihood of one of those crazy events happening is small (thank goodness).

I wanted a home inventory so I could have a running total of the value of our stuff.

I have this weird way of categorizing anything that crosses my path and needs money: is it an investment or an expense? Most items count as an expense (especially, sigh, those Rock & Republic jeans). You pay money for it once and you get the experience of using it, wearing it, eating it, etc. but basically the dollar amount goes down after you use it.

As I’ve gotten older, the shelf life on my clothes, purses, coats, and other items has gotten longer. But now that we have young kids, we’ve entered a phase where all of their stuff has a really short shelf life. Now we’re entering phases every 6 months where their toys should be different and they need new clothes.

In my ideal world I would run my home like a Gap or Zara store. Zara is famous for getting fresh inventory every 6 weeks and we know that the Gap is constantly letting us know we need skinny jeans, then boyfriend jeans, then boot-cut jeans, and then we’re back to skinny jeans (usually within a calendar year).

My husband Brad always gives me a hard time because when I tell him about my dreams to redecorate our bedroom or bring in a painting to the dining room he asks how we’re going to pay for it. I always tell him that I have a plan. He teases me because in my mind I truly believe our old bedroom set or living room set will sell for “something like $10,000 each on eBay or Craigslist.” I’m usually completely out of touch, considering we didn’t pay that much for either in the first place.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you could run your home like a retail store? You could have new, fresh items sprinkled throughout your home’s décor while efficiently getting older inventory out the door. Afterall, if you wait too long, certain items don’t carry a value at all anymore. Then you’re just paying for them to be moved or stored or you’re lugging them to the donation bin.

We’re aiming to help people create that type of efficiency with their stuff on Lockboxer. The Lockboxer tool starts with the price and helps people add as much detail as they want to their home inventory. Then they can sell, donate, or make that wish list for something new. That way, no one is caught being out of touch about the value of their stuff.

Unique Ways to Dump Your Junk to the Curb

By Kylie Gilbert

By now you’ve probably all heard about how you can sell your stuff on Craiglist, eBay (directly through Lockboxer), or Amazon.  But there’s some new, less familiar sites popping up that can provide alternate means for getting rid of your stuff too.  And who doesn’t want more options?

Whether you’ve been berated by your significant other about clearing out all your junk from your frat star days, or if you simply know your closet will burst if you attempt to add one more pair of shoes, these sites can provide simple solutions to tackle your problems.

And, most importantly, at the end of the day you can get rid of all your junk and have a clutter-free space to do whatever you wish- even if it is just to run out and buy more stuff to fill it!

1. Garage Fairy

This is one site that has come up on my radar.  Box up the things you no longer want, schedule a pick up time and then wait for your check to come in the mail, all without having to sell a thing yourself.

The pros of this new site?  Easy and hassle free, and there’s no upfront charge.  If your stuff sells, you get paid.  Simple enough.

There are some restrictions however.  You must have at least $200 worth of stuff, and if you don’t you will have to pay a shipping fee. There’s also a $5 fee per item to offset overhead costs.  The more you sell, the higher percentage of the sale will go directly to you.  If you sell over $100 worth of stuff, you’ll see 85 bucks in your pocket.  If your stuff doesn’t sell you have to pay $30 per box to get it shipped back to you, or you can donate these items to charity (which will still indirectly benefit you).

So, if you’re one of those people who is dying to get rid of clutter and have some extra cash to play with, but don’t necessarily have the time to devote to online selling, this is a simple way.  However, you do give up some of the profit and don’t have as much control over the selling process.

2. Myusedcollege.com

Here’s another site I’ve come across that might be helpful to those recent college grads- or maybe those not-so-recent grads who still don’t want to part with their college memories just yet.

This newly launched website enables users, presumable college students, to sell to other students and there are minimal costs to do so. While I know I’d want to hold on to that ratty futon forever, this is a great way to let it go, and know it’s being passed onto someone else who will keep your legacy going.

It’s hard to give a final verdict on this site just yet- right now there are not very many items to browse through.  However, down the road this seems like a fantastic way for college students to find textbooks, college supplies, costumes, furniture, electronics, etc. right in one place- and for others to simultaneously benefit by selling stuff they no longer need.

Right now, they are offering new sellers no commission fees, or listing fees- only a small PayPal fee, which leaves more money for you compared to Amazon and eBay, which may make this site more worthwhile depending on the item you are trying to get rid of.

3. Freecycle

With a motto of “changing the world one gift at a time,” this site just had to be on my list as well. The Freecycle Network™ is a nonprofit movement made up of over 4,000 groups with over 8 million members worldwide.  It’s a fantastic way for people to give and get stuff for free in their own town and “keep good stuff out of landfills.”

Just search your town, become a member of the local group, and you’ll be able to post messages and get in touch with fellow members of the group.  It seems like you’re a bit on your own after that for getting the item to or from another person, so you should use caution like any other time you’re interacting with strangers on the Internet.  Overall, if you simply want to get rid of stuff without money in return, this is a great way to do so.

You Bought What on eBay?

 

 

 

 

By Kylie Gilbert

Ebay is widely known as one of the easiest and most useful sites to  buy and sell whatever it is your heart desires.  However, if you spend some time perusing the site, you’ll quickly find that the scope of items available covers a wide range.  Obviously many people turn to eBay for useful items they’d like to find for cheaper than in stores.  And of course there are also items that serve purely entertainment purposes like collectibles that can sell for significant sums.

However, separate from these categories you also have the just plain strange.

Take for example this heart shaped potato chip.  I’ve got to admit, it’s probably worthy of a Facebook upload, but… really? Someone saw that thing come out of the bag and thought immediately of the profit margin they could make on their potato chip? Clearly food is popular with others as well. For 99 cents, this “Amazingly normal piece of toast!!!” can be yours.

If food isn’t your style, you can also check out more creative items for sale like this hole.  Yes, you heard me.  This imaginative seller boasts, “item is in excellent condition you can put this hole any where you want, it doesn’t matter if you fill it in, fix it, block it up or try to remove it, it always comes back just in a different shape and place you will always have this hole for as long as you live.”

In addition to the plain silly, there are also items that are baffling for their sheer cost. Take for example this $21 million dollar painting from an Italian artist.  Or, for the same price you can buy this domain name.

Celebrity focused items are also huge on eBay.  This painting of Peyton Manning can be yours for just $2.5 million or for $800 you can start the bid on an Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt ‘suspected’ to have been worn by Justin Timberlake.  In the past, items previously worn or used by celebrities have sold for thousands.  Britney Spears’ old chewing gum went for a whopping $14,000 several years back.

It turns out that as long as eBay is out there helping countless individuals make normal transactions everyday; there will undoubtedly be some ridiculous items out there as well.

More stuff to look at: http://business.solveyourproblem.com/buy-on-ebay/strangest_items_ever_sold_on_ebay.shtml

Moving Made Easier with Lockboxer

By Kylie Gilbert

People have mixed feelings about moving.  Sure, it can be one of the best, most exciting times of your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful and daunting tasks imaginable (take a look at this awesome checklist to make it easier.) However, for a number of reasons (mostly lifestyle changes like new babies, promotions, divorces, job transfers, etc. according to the U.S. Census Bureau), 1 in 5 people every year are forced to pack up all their belongings and move.

Since the average American moves 11 times during his or her lifetime, it’s something everyone could use a little help with.  If you’ve moved before, you know it can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re moving cross-country.  Lockboxer’s sell it tool is a great way to clear out stuff you no longer need in order to streamline the items you have to pack, ship, and unpack in your new home.  Plus, what better time to go through all your old junk than when you’re starting over fresh in a new home?

If you don’t want to sell your stuff, you can also donate it through Lockboxer. Since simply dropping off your items at a Goodwill store will only give you a receipt of the items you donated, and not how much they’re worth, Lockboxer can really come in handy.   We’ll help you donate your stuff by automatically giving you the Salvation Army and Goodwill locations nearest you, and then give you the average donation prices of your items.  Then, when it comes time for taxes you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Of course, after you’ve cleared out all your old stuff and moved in, you may want to do some shopping. With a new home often comes a new wish list as well! Lockboxer can also be used to compile a list of all the new items you’d like for your home.  You can find the best prices on new dishware, linens, or whatever else your heart desires by searching on Lockboxer.  Then of course you’ll want to share it with all your friends and family so you get a housewarming gift you actually want- not something you have to re-gift or bury in the back of your cupboard, only to be returned from hiding when that lovely family member returns for the holidays.

Happy moving!

Tips for Selling your Stuff Online

By Kylie Gilbert

Nowadays, it seems like you can buy almost anything imaginable online.  Browsing through eBay, one can find items ranging from practical to just plain out there.  More and more people are catching onto the idea of selling their stuff online and turning their ‘trash’ into another man’s treasure.  Afterall, Princess Beatrice turned her fashion mistake at the royal wedding into the well-published sale of her hat for $130,000.

Despite the appeal of selling your stuff online, there are some important steps to follow to make sure that your sale is carried out successfully and that you and the buyer are both happy with the ultimate transaction.

After you decide how much you want to sell your item for (you can use Lockboxer to find new and used prices), there are many different options that you can choose from to actually sell your item.

Avenues for Success

1. Sites like Amazon, Half.com, or Lockboxer (where you can sell to eBay)

Amazon and Half.com are great for stuff like books, movies, music, and games.  You can sell your items at a fixed price, and you list your items here in exchange for a percentage of whatever the item sells for.  This is definitely worth if it you’re trying to get rid of something quickly because these sites are extremely popular and frequented often. You can also sell directly to eBay through a fixed price auction by using Lockboxer.

2. Set up a Storefront

Along these lines, you can also set up your own storefront for a monthly fee through places like Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo Shopping, which will also bring your item traffic.  Shopify is another option that allows you to set up an online store to organize and sell your stuff and accept credit card payments.  You can choose which plan you want depending on your usage.

3. Classifieds sites

This is another option, which may be best if your item is hard to ship and you need the buyer to actually come pick it up. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and Google Base are all popular options, and you can use as many sites as you want to post your classified ad at the same time.

4. Auction sites

Auction sites are another popular route, with eBay being the most widely used. The difference in this situation is that you are contractually bound to sell the item to the winning bidder (which means you should only list on one auction site at a time). This is also where pricing your item right comes into play.

Final Steps

1. Creating your description

Whichever option you choose, make that sure the description you include is descriptive and accurate.  If someone thinks they’re getting your Pokémon cards in ‘mint’ condition they won’t be happy to find them in acceptable condition at best.  Get right to the point.  No matter what, make sure you include pictures so the buyer knows what they are getting.  Most buyers will be much more likely to purchase an item with a picture, even if they can buy it slightly cheaper without one.  No one wants to make a gamble when it comes to buying other people’s used stuff.

2. Carrying out the Transaction

As far as actually carrying out the transaction, cash should be your first choice of payment if you are meeting the seller in person.  Most sites use PayPal now, which is a reliable way of allowing users to pay with a credit card.  Verifying payment is a smart thing to do before sending out the item, as is shipping the item with insurance and a tracking number so that you have covered all of your bases.

What does all of this mean? Choose the option that best fits what you’re selling, and how often you want to sell things.  Setting up a storefront might be useful for some, but too much work for others.

The bottom line is, you have a whole boatload of options to choose from for getting rid of all that junk that’s just taking up valuable space right now.  And once the money rolls in, you’ll have even more options for how you want to spend it.

Here are some great sites to check out that helped inform this blog:

http://www.ofzenandcomputing.com/zanswers/726

http://www.ehow.com/how_136987_sell-stuff-online.html

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/6_ways_to_sell_your_stuff_online.php

http://www.shopify.com/