April 21, 2011

How do you decide when to say goodbye?

I've been thinking about parting with some of my lesser-used bags. Adrien and Marianne of Looks Good from the Back call this recycling, since the old often funds the new. As much as I enjoy them, they mostly sit in my closet. Let's face it: I just don't have the Kardashian-caliber closet/lifestyle/income to justify collecting for the sake of a collection.

 One such aforementioned Kardashian closet. (from Elle)

But that leaves me with the decisions. I don't mean to sound dramatic or so crass as to liken this privileged process of material weeding to Sophie's Choice. I fully recognize that this is among the first-world-iest of a developed world/global north problem. But even so, how do you decide what stays and what goes when it is in a genre you happen to (kind of) hoard?

 All of these MBMJ bags have been rehomed except the Pan Am and the Softy.

When I am weeding out fast fashion, the process is easy. I don't feel a lot of commitment to that stuff. I didn't buy it with longevity in mind. No one expects to keep some necklace from Target for decades.  That's part of why I've begun avoiding fast fashion. No matter how cute the item, I often view the stuff as temporary or even (more guiltily) disposable.

 As much as I love the Stam, it didn't suit my lifestyle.

With nicer clothing the process is a little more simple and less intimidating. If I haven't worn it that must mean it 1. doesn't fit my lifestyle 2. doesn't make me feel confident and/or 3. just plain doesn't fit. I don't typically feel that pang of sentimental "what if someday I will want this again" anxiety with clothes.  

 I thought I was ready to say goodbye when I sold this Balenciaga City. 
A month or so later I bought it back from its new owner.

Bags have long been my vice. They were my high-end gateway drug. I hold onto them with irrational fervor. Quite a few were purchased with great care and effort, to (for lack of better and less pretentious word) curate a fine accessories arsenal that could enhance any range of outfits. Parting with the ones I have kept to this point would mean parting with the ones I really like. Even if I don't use them now, I see their value in remaining a part of my collection. If they've made this many closet edits then I obviously feel kind of attached. And all of these irrational material musings add up to my becoming emotional (and therefore unrealistic) about pricing. When I feel confident about selling a bag, I price it to move. When I feel mixed, I end up being less realistic in my evaluation of resale market value.

I hope I don't sound too materially dependent. I am curious about the thoughts of others on this subject. What about you? How do you decide what stays and what goes? Do you consign, use ebay/bonanza, or a shop blog? Is weeding and re-selling a simple or emotional process? How do you determine a price for something you might have coveted desperately at one point but realize you just rarely use?  Do you feel more attached to specific types of items (like shoes, watches, tote bags, etc.) over others?


the dea diaries said...

Good post Jess, and right on time for me. I'm in the process of packing and preparing for a long trip away,so am in that mindset of making a lot out of a little. I feel like I have a lot of things and at times don't know how to keep it straight and enjoy them all. Part of me just wants to donate and not think about it twice, then I think that through Ebay I could make a little money and put it in savings, but it takes so much energy!!
I say try to sell them if you can, and then put that money away either towards a fun vacation or a handbag you've been lusting after that would serve as a timeless classic. Look forward to reading more about how you figure this out.

Amblus said...

Hi! As you know, I run a tight ship with my stuff, mostly out of necessity - I don't have a lot of money or closet space, so I try not to get too emotionally attached to bags/shoes/clothes. However, I have some items that love deeply and can't imagine getting rid of. Most of these get quite a bit of use, but not all. Everything else? I see as recyclable if something shinier catches my eye. I consign clothes/shoes every season and sell bags on Bonanzle or the blog when I have something else I want to buy. I (almost) never regret selling because by the time I've decided to sell, I've already let go of the item in my mind.

St Germain said...

Just now catching up to my blogroll. I have a hard time saying goodbye to classic or truly unique items (usually $$$) that don't fit any more (within 2 sizes, say). I have a large attic that has become my clothes hoarding space. Every spring I think I'm going to purge but somehow life gets in the way. With other stuff I'm pretty ruthless. I put piles in a bin and let it sit for a couple of weeks. If I don't miss anything (or reach for it), off to goodwill it goes. I really wish there was a place in town where I could donate nicer items (Tahari suits, for ex) for working women in need. In the past I occasionally donated to a women's shelter, too.

ngoni said...

I just send them to my younger cousins, give to charity shops or sell on ebay.

Thirteenlbs said...

Ahhhhhhhhh, both bags are lovely. Maybe try a blog sale?

As for me, I tend to swish everything into a goodwill bag, often just before I'm done wearing it. Then, after a season, I'm wondering: now where are my yellow wedges? And then I remember.

Lauren Cox said...

Ohhhh man, you just gave me a serious case of bag envy. I was going to say that I'd have a verrrryyy hard time getting rid of any of the bags that cost a bit of $$$, but I don't think cost has much to do with my attachment. I just recently started having a consistent income, so I've just discovered shopping and loving my clothes. I'm not ready to get rid of them yet, haha.

I vote that if you're going to get rid of any bags in the near future, plz post them here. I am all about well-loved and new-to-me things, you know?

Alana@truthandshoes said...

the title of your blog post scared me--I thought you were thinking of leaving us :( there have been so many of those posts lately. Anyways, glad that's not the case--I love your bags--definitely say goodbye to what doesn't fit your style. Those will sell well and you can put it toward something that does suit your style!

Terri said...

I have only begun carrying a bag again in the past year. I am so out of the habit of carrying one that I don't even know what to look for. What are the biggest factors for you? I only know I like soft leather and something that offers a bit of organization.

Cynthia said...

I sometimes do want things again. Now, where did that dress go? Drat. Actually I really have the not pricing them to move problem with shoes. If I have a pair of Fluevogs that I bought becaue they're beautiful, and that I've worn out of the house maybe once because I was overambitious about the heel my feet would tolerate, it's very hard to let them go.

Marianne Canada said...

Every once in a long while, I regret selling something. I hold on to a lot of things, just the other week I wore a Petite Bateau sweater I bought in Paris 15 years ago! But other things I have no problem letting go of, especially if it funds getting something else that I really, really want. I recently sold my MJ Pocket Satchel and MJ Sophia so I could pre-order a Su-Shi Old Skool bag, which I think will better suit my lifestyle and will be something I can keep forever.

Moniquezuman said...

I use ebay to sell my used items!

Monique xx


debbie deb said...

I wish I knew! The most I've spent on a purse was around the $198 range at Banana Republic, and even then I had a coupon. I can say it's seen a lot of use. As for my other bags, I've been wondering what I should do. I'll be moving in the next few months and a majority of them haven't been used in more than a year. I tend to hang onto things, too! Sometimes I feel guilty when I see an item that hasn't been used. It'll lead me to hang onto it until the day I "eventually" use it.

Most of these bags are also "fast fashion" pieces, so I'm sure in the end they'll be donated. I have trouble seeing value in something several years old and cheap to begin with.

Kelly said...

At least for me, cost doesn't really factor in much. I had a pair of berry-colored patent heels with a tweed bow on the toe that I got for $20 at T.J. Maxx several years ago. I wore them with every outfit (it's amazing how versatile they really were) and got tons of compliments each time I wore them, even by men. The patent didn't hold up past a year of heavy use and I was devastated (maybe a bit dramatic, but they really were an excellent purchase and I was sad to see them go. In fact, several times I put them in the trash only to dig them back out an hour or so later b/c I wanted to hold onto them). Meanwhile I have several anthropologie coats that I rarely wear b/c I live in Los Angeles and the weather doesn't really warrant owning more than two coats.

I guess the easiest things to go are items that, like my coats, are just inappropriate for my lifestyle. The most difficult things are items that have been worn out but I've lost all objectivity in determining the item needs to go b/c I love it so much. As far as just closet minimizing (rather than an item having to go b/c it's worn out), I'd say it's more difficult for me to get rid of clothes than shoes/accessories. I'm just not interested as much in general in those items, so I don't feel as attached (berry shoes notwithstanding).

Dana said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I love bags, shoes, and accessories. I don't wear a lot of what I own, although I do try to mix things up. It's funny though, I don't really hold onto my expensive items. I donated a more expensive pair or shoes but cannot for the life of me part with a pair of shoes from payless that were $10 new 5 years ago. It's easiest to describe what I covet as textures, styles, and colors. I do love expensive bags though and I have a coach that I have only used once, for an hour. I seriously can't justify keeping it and I would sell it but I'm thinking I'm going to be using it for a giveaway. I figure it's a good segue into talking about my obsession. I usually donate whatever I'm not keeping or I sell it on eBay or Craigslist.


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