read more fashion blogs and publications than is probably healthy for someone with my budget who doesn’t actually work in the industry. Considering that I also work from home most days, warm slippers are a much more essential accessory to my wardrobe than the Staud bucket bag I’ve been lusting after.

If you are anything like me, scrolling through a dizzying number of street style photos can leave you feeling bleh about what is in your own closet. And this time of year has a special knack for making all of those chunky sweaters you own feel especially drab when every it girl from here to
Timbuktu seems to be vacationing in tropical-printed cover-ups and bright bikinis.

After some serious fashion frustration and checking my bank account at least three times hoping more zeros would magically appear in all the right places, I was determined to take matters into my own hands and make my closet shoppable without going on an actual shopping spree. Armed with a sartorial eye and some paper grocery bags, I got to work making my closet great again. Here is what I learned in the process of cleaning out my closet.

I HAVE A BETTER SENSE OF MY OWN PERSONAL STYLE

After sorting through my closet, I ended up with two brown grocery bags full of clothes that needed to be retired for one reason or another. In addition to folding and color coding (yay!) the surviving pieces, this cleared out a lot of space in my closet.  It’s prettier to look at and offers me a more pleasant experience getting dressed in the morning. It’s been eye-opening to see the consistency in color, style, and cut that I feel and look good in. Denim is the bread and butter of my closet, I will never own enough wrap dresses, and while I gravitate toward neutrals and well-tailored basics, I love ’70s-inspired pieces that add flare to my wardrobe. Because I have a better sense of the styles I feel confident wearing, I’m can make smart investments when I add new pieces to my wardrobe.

Pro tip: To streamline your vetting process, you can use an app like Poshmark to snap pictures of the clothes you plan to sell as you are pulling them out of your closet. Poshmark makes it easy to sell clothes right from your phone.

THE CLOTHES I DO OWN FIT ME BETTER

I have an athletic build so pretty much every pair of pants that fit my legs gap a lot at the waist. While my girlfriends insist that this is a problem that most girls would love to have, for me it is just that, a problem. Cleaning out my closet left me with three pairs of jeans that I love, but can only wear once before they are completely stretched out. I made the decision to take them to my local tailor to get the right fit. It was like buying three new pairs of jeans for the price of one! My total bill was $80, and I supported a local business in the process. You deserve to have jeans that make your butt look great without making your wallet sad.

I MADE (SOME) MONEY

Remember those two bags of clothes and shoes I retired? I took them to my local consignment store Take2 to see if there was anything I could sell. And guess what? I made $50!

I always donate any clothes that can’t be sold to a consignment store. Pro tip: Most consignment stores will donate the clothes that they don’t want to buy, which makes donating remaining items a breeze. If you want to make sure the clothes you end up donating are going to a the people who need them most, you can find your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Crisis Shelter. One of my personal favorite non-profits for donating clothes is Dress for Success. They work to empower women by helping them build a professional wardrobe, and equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to land professional jobs and achieve financial independence.

My plan moving forward is to put any money I make from consigning clothes to a special shopping fund for when I find a really special piece. (P.S. There are a ton of other great consignment stores in Seattle where you can sell your lightly used clothes. Every story has a different system, but Buffalo Exchange in Ballard, and Crossroads Trading Co. in Capitol Hill (both are also in University District) are great options.