Keep It, Sell It, or Donate It—How to Decide

Cleaning out your closet can be an arduous, painstaking process. For many people, in fact, it can be the source of a lot of indecision and stress. Should you keep that heirloom furniture or fine China that you inherited from your grandmother, even though you've never used it? The Prada purse that just doesn’t receive the use it deserves? And what to do with that piece of designer clothing that looked so good on the rack, but didn't quite live up to expectations in reality? 


The decision really boils down to one main choice: keep it or get rid of it. Additionally, for the items you decide to part with, you'll also need to figure out whether you're going to sell or donate them. Of course, this is all easier said than done, but with a little bit of perseverance and a systematized approach to the project, cleaning out your closet can actually be very productive (and even lucrative!)—and might even have benefits for your well-being.

Decision #1: Keep It or Get Rid of It?

By now, many of us are familiar with Marie Kondo's signature line: "Does it spark joy?" While this question might be effective for some people, for others, the process of deciding what to keep is a little more complicated. Fortunately, there are a variety of approaches you can take to this particular decision. So, as you're staring down the barrel of that pile of pre-loved handbags, barely-worn clothing, and designer jewelry, try out a few of these questions from decluttering expert Gretchen Rubin:


  • Does it fit?
  • Do you actually wear it?
  • Do you love it, or if not, is it truly useful?
  • Have you worn it five times or fewer? It’s the rare item that’s worth keeping, even if it’s almost never been worn.
  • Do you worry that it’s out of fashion? If you think it might be, it probably is.

If you find yourself hesitating to throw something out, be honest with yourself about your reason for wanting to keep it. Do you actually like it, or was it a gift from someone else that you feel guilty about throwing away? Or does it have sentimental value? Often, clarifying the reason can make the choice itself easier. 

Decision #2: Sell It or Donate It?

Once you've determined which clothes are staying and which are going, it's time to decide how you're going to dispose of the ones that didn't make the cut. Of course, clothing that is damaged or no longer wearable should be thrown away or recycled (if possible). If the items are still in good condition but aren't exceptionally high-quality (such as old T-shirts, or clothing from lower-end stores), they are probably best suited for donation to a local charity, which will distribute them to people in need. An added bonus of donating your clothing is that you may be able to claim tax credit for it!


However, for high-quality clothing and accessories, especially luxury vintage items or lightly used designer products, you may be better off selling them. Selling allows you to recoup some of the money you spent on them—plus, you'll be giving the items a chance at a new life with someone who may have more use for them than you. 


Rather than dealing with the hassle of selling online, consider taking your pre-loved clothes to a local consignment or thrift store. By doing so, you'll be saving yourself from having to research and determine the value of each item, listing them, and shipping them to buyers. Not to mention, you'll be contributing to your local economy and supporting environmental sustainability efforts by saving on the fuel that would otherwise be used to transport those items to a warehouse. 


North Shore Exchange is a nonprofit luxury consignment shop that offers pre-owned and pre-loved designer  clothing, vintage jewelry, and accessories. Our expert Merchandising team carefully inspects all products to ensure authenticity, so you can shop for discount luxury items with complete confidence. Explore high-quality, timeless handbags, jewelry, clothing, or home accessories and decorative objects!

In addition to the satisfaction you'll get from a decluttered closet, you can feel good knowing that North Shore exchange supports Chicagoland charities, and that your purchases are helping to provide food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and services to prevent abuse to children and families. 

Visit one of our locations or explore our website to see more about our work, our curated product selection, and how you can donate or consign your own luxury items with North Shore Exchange today. Get cash for the luxury goods in your home, and find new ones at great prices—all while giving back to the community. It’s the best of all worlds!