To Sell or Not To Sell?


There’s no Wordless Wednesday today, because I need your advice!  This is a three-days-before-the-yard-sale desperation post.  We’re having a yard sale on Saturday and though I told myself I was going to downsize my closet, but I’m not sure that I can go through with it!  So, I either need a pep talk to just take the plunge, or reassurances that it’s okay to hang on to things a little longer.  Here’s the back story:

Before I had Nora, I was a size 6, sometimes 8.  I worked in graduate school admissions, which required professional dress: business casual in the office and suits on the road.  As such, I had quite the collection of clothing that I knew wouldn’t be worn much in my new housewife role.  Before we moved out here I sold or gave away a lot of it, mostly some of my cheaper or older things.  I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of all of it though, so I still have a sizable portion of my closet devoted to clothes and shoes I don’t currently wear.

We’ve lived on Nantucket for 13 months now and I have gone out to eat in a nice dress three times and business pants with a sweater once; I haven’t put on a suit at all.  Not only do I not really have much reason to dress up, I am now a size 2, which means though the clothes are wearable, I don’t feel great in many of them.   The last time we went out it took me forever to decide which dress to wear, because I felt self-conscious about “bagginess.”  So I told myself I would sell them this weekend.  But, when I pulled them out of the closet, sharpie and price stickers waiting, I started to have a change of heart.  This is what was running through my mind:

  1. 1.  Some of these are sentimental…like the dress I was wearing when Chris proposed
  2. 2.  It’s all really nice stuff: The Loft, Calvin Klein, Talbots, etc., which means hundreds of dollars worth of clothes.
  3. 3.  If I were to get rid of them and then need to go back to work (or something), we couldn’t currently afford to replace these clothes with something of equal value.
  4. 4.  Maybe I could alter the dresses on my own (suits would require a tailor) to make them fit?
  5. 5.  Maybe Nora and I could just start dressing up once per week so that they are actually being worn?

And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the shoes.

Some of it seems a little crazy.  Obviously it would be impractical to wear a suit while hanging out with a toddler.  I say that I could alter the dresses, but when am I going to do that?  I already have a pile yay-high of skirts waiting to be made smaller (I see a greater chance of those getting worn about town).  Would it cost so much to have a tailor alter a suit that I might as well go buy new ones?  And even if I do alter them all, where/when would I wear them?

And some of it makes sense.  It is frugal to make what I already have work instead of getting rid of it and buying new.  And it’s prudent to remember that there is some possibility I may someday again have to go work in an office setting.  (Of course, who knows how many years from now that will be and what the fashions will be like.)  Even if we don’t make regular habits of eating out or the like, I do need to have at least one suit and a couple of nice dresses just in case.

So I’m stuck.  Should I sell all of them?  Some of them?  Or let them live in my closet for another year?  And if I’m going to sell them, how much should I ask?  I’ don’t think I could bear to sell a $280 suit that looks brand new for less than $50…and even that feels like a great loss.  Would people even pay that much?


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5 responses

  1. Lauren Avatar

    I have significant closet space dedicated to unworn professional clothes too. As long as we have the space for them and they still fit, I think I’ll keep them. If we needed the space I could let them go. Your problem is a bit different since you’re smaller now. I would take a picture of sentimental items and pitch all but a few ‘just in case I go back to work and don’t have money for a new wardrobe immediately’ pieces.

  2. Lovelorn Poets Avatar
    Lovelorn Poets

    So here’s my 2 cents… For the items that are higher quality, have you looked on eBay? I have sold suits/professional/designer items on there before and fetched a better price that what I would have received at a yard sale (in RI, of course). I say sell the clothes and use the money for your current endeavors while keeping a few of the more sentimental/”staples” that you might need for an important event. Remember, even if you leave Nantucket in another year or two, and re-enter the workforce, you may not need the kind of clothes you had to have at Marist (in all my years at Brown I wore a suit MAYBE 2-3 times??? And I had a “professional” grade position…). If you needed workplace items you could find them inexpensively at places like second-hand shops, Savers, and the like – and they would fit you properly. Re-tailoring is nice, and possibly fun, but do you really want to do that for most of the items? Probably not. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with the decision – either way, there’s no bad choice as long as you’re happy and satisfied with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Shari Avatar

    Are there any consignment shops on Nantucket? The consignment shops here in the Dallas areas where the high priced homes are have a wonderful selection of designer clothing that have been worn for only one season. The people that can afford to wear something for one season and then buy new. The consignment shops reap the benefit of the in one season out the next mentality. I’m taking a bunch of my clothes to a consignment shop next week. Hoping to clean out my closet of clothes that I’ve never worn or barely wore, plus make some extra cash for our vacation. I’ve been told that I have way too many clothes by your brother. So unfortunately you probably inherited that trait from me.

  4. Rebecca Hopson Avatar
    Rebecca Hopson

    I’ve been struggling with the same thing! I’m changing careers, but currently a student. I have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit. Or the few things that do fit I’m sick of wearing or they’re not flattering. While some of the things were expensive when purchased, an items worth is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. You probably have pictures from your engagement, or atleast warm fuzzy memories. Does having sentimental items around actually make you cherish those memories more or just take up precious, precious space. Having a tailor modify your suits would cost much more than buying one at a yard sale or consignment store. I’m trying to think of it as an opportunity to swap stuff with the rest of the world. And hanging on to a closetfull of clothes that are too small and so old isn’t the best thing for my self esteem. Stuff and hanging on to it, should not be a priority in life. With my husband’s support I took the plunge and dropped off a lot of it at the consignment store, what they don’t sell I can take back or they will donate it to charity. Plus I get a discount if I spend my earnings in their store. Sorry if this is too forward – I’m trying to give myself a pep talk, too! I say go for it and sell that stuff. If situations change later you can pick out and purchase something you like at a frugal price later on.

  5. Erin Althoff Avatar
    Erin Althoff

    Sounds like you already got some great advice … I agree with Lovelorn Poet about eBay and the fact that if you re-enter the workforce, you don’t know what you’ll need or what will be in style … and those expensive clothes will sell for less and less the longer you wait. Plus, based on your earlier posts it sounds like space is valuable in your house.

    I have made significant moves twice in the past four years, getting rid of pretty much everything I own. This past move, I could only take the clothes that would fit in a backpack. And I have to say … I really don’t miss any of it. Once it’s gone you don’t even think about it. But if you don’t do regular purges you end of with a houseful of junk you don’t use but can’t bear to part with.

    That said … keep the dress Chris proposed to you in. Even if you don’t wear it anymore, it could be repurposed into a family quilt or another project you will use. That’s the stuff you can’t replace.

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