Clothing, after the wearing – an FBFF post

Until the end of the summer when I move to Milwaukee, I’ll continue working as a kind of glorified RA for an independent student residence here. One of my jobs entails making sure the residents rooms are in good condition after they leave and cleaning up when they are not. I’ve been through the process for two years now but at the end of each semester as they begin to pack up and move out I’m always shocked at the number of clothing items left behind. Sure, I understand purging your closet and not lugging things that are stained, ruined or you no longer wear. But there are some residents who leave behind bags and bags worth of clothing. I’m talking things with the tags still on, shoes still in boxes, purses that couldn’t have been used more than twice. It always struck me as strange and maybe even a little sad. And even sadder is the fact that many of them just expect these items to be thrown out with the trash since they have no personal use for them anymore. I don’t throw the things out. The good things I might sell at Second Time Around and everything remaining is donated to Goodwill where I know it will be put to good use.

These thoughts inspired this week’s Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday questions…

1. How often do you go through your closet to purge the things you no longer wear? I’m one of those people who switches closets into summer mode and winter mode, so I tend to go through everything twice a year. I also have moved cities every few years, which is a major impetus to clean out, purge, and repair the things that I might have neglected before.

2. What do you do with the things you are through with? I have an account at Second Time Around where I sell anything that is still in good condition and current. Everything else is donated to Goodwill. There is a STA two blocks from my house so I make frequent trips. The Goodwill is right up Mass Ave about a mile away so I collect things over the weeks and then make big drop-offs when the back of the car is full of bags.

3. Have you ever sold on consignment or through online boutiques? What has your experience been like? Yup, as mentioned above. I have to say selling things at Second Time Around has given me a fair amount of additional spending money. I’m not making thousands but I have definitely make a couple hundred dollars every quarter. Seeing that check in the mail is pretty darn exciting. I also like the fact that before the checks are cut I can make purchases from STA by using my tab. No money need exchange hands, which is a little fun to walk out of the store with a new-to-me item without having technically laid money down.

4. More and more people are concerned about the fast rotation of fashion and how that is filling our landfills. What are you doing to decrease your clothing trash pile? You know this is something I never once thought about until moving to Boston. I was talking with a family friend and she asked me where I purchased the shirt I was wearing. It was from Forever21 and she made an underhanded comment about how that store was filling our landfills with its ‘fast fashion.’ I honestly had no idea what she was talking about and decided to look into it. It’s true, in part, what happens to a lot of fast fashion and fads is we buyers consume in bulk and then pitch it just as easily. Our mind’s are clear from worry because after all we only paid $12 for the item and we wore it a fair number of times in the last couple months. I now try to make a more concerted effort to buy things that could last for more than one season. And I’m also looking into ways to reuse items in a new-to-me way. (T-shirts turned into scarves, etc…) And of course I donate anything extra, never pitching the item since Goodwill is amazingly resourceful at finding a way to use nearly everything they get.

5. What’s been your favorite/best score from a thrift store or consignment shop? I have two dresses that I landed from Rescue on Newbury. They are both BCBG dresses – one an everyday dress, the other a party dress. They were both on sale and unlike anything else I had in my closet.

Do you thrift? What’s been your best buy?


Katy Rose
Filed In: FBFF , Friend Friday

21 thoughts on “Clothing, after the wearing – an FBFF post

  1. Emily

    That is truly shocking!!! I remember my mum always came and sorted out my room before I moved out. She hated to think of the state I’d leave it in! To be fair, I wouldn’t have left bags of rubbish – or clothes – but I didn’t want to let on – it was nice have her do it!!!!
    Emily recently posted..[FOOD FRIDAY] Linguine al Peperoncino e Gamberi

  2. MJ

    Wow, if I left clothes behind like that my mom would kill me!! My sister is in college though and she tells me it happens all the time and not even with just clothes. She scooped up a brand new microwave that somebody left behind!

    I hate throwing clothes out, even if they’re ruined or stained. I’ll use those types of clothes as dust clothes or even as a towel to dry my hair. T-shirts are awesome for that. Gives you less frizz than a normal towel.
    MJ recently posted..FBFF: Where do the Worn Clothes Go?

  3. Kim

    I love thrifting! I am very lucky to live in a community in South Florida that has some very affluent people. There is a cluster of 4 thrift stores in my city, and I never fail to come away with good stuff – Burberry, Polo, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, etc.

    I think I’ve done a pretty good job of training my own kids to buy investment clothing. (And if it comes from a thrift store, double bonus!) When I can wear something and tell them “This dress is older than you!” (which is quite a feat, considering my oldest is 22), they can see that if you buy good quality clothing, in classic styles, and take good care of it, it can last a long time.

  4. Pingback: What happens to our clothes when they’re no longer new | Fashion advice from The Closet Coach - The Closet Coach

  5. CC

    I managed the Residence Life office way back before I had my kid and I remember running into the same thing. It shocked and amazed me too! Of course, we were always aggravated that the kids didn’t clean up after themselves. 😉
    I would have to say my best thrift score was an Oscar de la Renta cashmere sweater for $3.
    CC recently posted..FBFF: After the Wearing

  6. Pingback: FBFF: Been There, Worn That! - Suburban Style Challenge | Suburban Style Challenge

  7. Rachel Jay

    Add me to the list of shocked folks who can’t believe someone would just leave that much stuff behind! I can’t imagine! Is it really that big of a chore to donate it? Ugh. Hopefully whoever takes your job over there does what you do, and doesn’t just let the items get thrown out!
    Rachel Jay recently posted..FBFF: Been There, Worn That!

  8. Lizzie Beadon

    I loved this post! Especially your answer to the ‘how often do you clean out your wardrobe’ question. I have so many old clothes that look terrible on me which makes me not buy new clothes. It’s a horrible cycle. Maybe it would be a good shout to go through my wardrobe twice a year like you do! Thanks for posting :)

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