Where do you even begin to clean out your home? So many memories, so many things, too much stuff! Nikki and Lauren give you some helpful tips to make it less painful and more rewarding to focus on what you really need, and not just stuff (and maybe make some money for something new)!
- Clutter can be completely overwhelming, so try breaking it down into smaller jobs to tackle (like one season, one closet, one category at a time).
- Yes you are “purging, piling, and passing on”… don’t panic… that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the things you love.
- Take some time sorting. Is it worth selling? Good enough to donate? Is it really ready for the trash?
GUESTS – NIKKI NAIDRICH AND LAUREN TUTUNDGY OF NEATFREAKS HOME
Welcome to another episode of the exExperts Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it. We’re Jessica and T.H.
TH: Hi, everybody. Today’s podcast, we are welcoming back Nicki Naidrich and Lauren Tutundgy of Neat Freaks. They’re going to take us through the process of what to keep, how to know what to get rid of, and then what we do with it. So welcome to the podcast, girls.
Jessica: Thanks for coming back!
Neat Freaks: How are you?
TH: Good! So let’s start with I’ve got a closet full of stuff. How do we even tackle that? And then we can talk about great now I’ve tackled it, what do I do with it?
Neat Freaks: Right. That could be a very overwhelming process when you’re looking at a very cluttered closet. So I think we would suggest focusing on a season, or focus on shoes, blouses, sweaters, pick a category and start there.
TH: That’s a great idea.
Neat Freaks: Obviously, there are things that you don’t use, there’s things that don’t bring you joy, there’s clothes that you have for one year and you have not put them on ever so then it’s time to get rid of them. By getting rid of them, we can sell them, we could donate them, you can purge them, or you could hand them down to someone. If it’s sitting in your closet and taking up space and collecting dust, then it’s time to get rid of it.
Jessica: What’s the rule of thumb? I mean, is it like if you haven’t worn it in six months, if you haven’t worn it in a year, if you haven’t worn it in two years? What’s sort of the guidance for that?
Neat Freaks: You have to go a year because you have to get through that season for sure, so you have to give it a year. You take your sweaters and if you don’t wear those sweaters all winter, it’s time to give them a purge.
Jessica: Yeah, I know. I feel like I have sweaters that I may not have worn them last year, but I wore them the year before, and maybe I gave them a break last year.
Neat Freaks: And that’s okay for some of them, but there’s very few of them though. Also, there are classic items that you do hold on to, right? Like a cable knit cashmere sweater may never go out of style [special stuff]. A thing that tends to be more trendy that really was in fashion for the season, maybe that’s a great way to start and consign.
TH: So true, if it’s super trendy. Well, what I did last year was, I’m a tank top girl because I’m always hot. I’ll wear a sweater but I’ll always wear a tank top underneath it in case I get hot in the restaurant and take off the tank top. [Laughing] I mean, sorry, take off the sweater! So anyway, I went through my tank top drawer and I had 45 black tanks, I had over 50 whiteish tanks because they turned a little yellow, and then I have all my colors. So I went through all the blacks that don’t look black anymore, like the color’s not rich anymore, but I still probably have a good 20 black tank tops, maybe 20. It was a slow start, but I felt successful because I still got rid of a lot of them.
Neat Freaks: And you started small like I’m just doing tank tops today. Then maybe the next day you say I’m just going to go through my jeans, because we all know that jeans [nobody wants to try on the jeans] need to be replaced and those trends go out of style, and so you need to get rid of jeans. Then you can say I’m just doing shoes today, I’m just doing handbags, just accessories, or whatever it is you just take on that project. And listen, even something like t-shirts, if it’s in good enough condition, you could still put that on a Poshmark, if you have the time, and you’ll still get money for that.
Jessica: So let’s talk about consignment specifically. What are the basics for someone to know? I feel sometimes I will talk to people who think that they want to sell things and I see exactly what they’re talking about and I think to myself, that’s so worn out, you can’t try to sell that. Or are you supposed to dry clean things first? What are some of the overall general rules if you’re considering consignment?
Neat Freaks: Absolutely. It needs to be clean and packaged nicely in the dry cleaning bag. If it’s a luxury item that is either new [designer], a luxury or designer item that’s for consignment. If it’s a worn or used, then you might have to sell that yourself on a Poshmark type of thing. [And they still take designer things as well]. Absolutely. They’ll take sneakers and anything that actually has a brand name typically will sell the quickest.
TH: But are you giving it away? So define consignment for people who are listening who don’t know anything about any of this. What is consignment?
Neat Freaks: Those stores will take more luxury items. They will not take no-name – they will take more luxury items. They will inspect the condition first so if it’s ripped or torn, that’s not interesting for them. So ultimately, you’d be the seller but there are also buyers. They’re trying to accept the product that they will be comfortable selling to someone else and they will give you ultimately a percentage of the sale price.
TH: So they won’t give you the money up front, you drop off your item, they inspect it, and then when it’s sold you get a percentage?
Neat Freaks: They will give you the money ahead of time.
TH: Oh, they will?
Neat Freaks: One site, which is called…and I will tell you in a sec…
Jessica: There was one I used called Material World. Maybe it wasn’t consignment, but they took brands. I sold a bunch of things that were like Theory and Diane von Furstenberg and stuff like that. And they sent me money flat like I got –
Neat Freaks: Fashionphile.com with a ‘phile’. They will offer a buyout for your item and whatever they choose that they think it is worth, they put a $ amount on it and then they give you the money. Then you don’t care if it sells or not because you’ve already made your money. [Right] Most consignments will give you anywhere from 60 to 80% of the sale price.
TH: And then the other consignments, if they don’t sell them, they end up donating them after a certain amount of time, right?
Neat Freaks: Yeah, it’s a risk, but you should know the quality and you should know the item. Classics always sell, things with tags on it always sell, gently used [anything newer] always sells. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, you’re probably not going to go wrong. If it’s Golden Goose, things like that they sell.
TH: So are you better off going to a consignment store or doing it online? If maybe it’s your first time, maybe you feel more comfortable going to a store?
Neat Freaks: You could start out very well yourself. If you have the time, why not? You just upload the pictures. They make it really user friendly and they walk you right through the steps. But yeah, I mean Tenafly has a consignment store called Mint. You can walk right in there and there are a bunch of them scattered around. So if you’re not ready, or savvy enough yet to take the pictures, clean, or whatever –
TH: Or you don’t want to deal with it. You just want to dump it and get it out of the house.
Neat Freaks: Right. I mean there are some places that will do everything for you. Some apps they literally will send you a bag, and you put it in the bag and ship it back to them. It’s pretty much like if it ships, we take care of it.
Jessica: I think that was what it was when I did the Material World. They sent me a bag, almost like Rent the Runway.
Neat Freaks: Right. Right. Right.
Jessica: I put everything in it and sent it away and they sent me back a check.
Neat Freaks: Exactly. Love it. Yeah.
TH: So let’s say you have a lot of stuff that’s not a brand name or designer label, you’ve got J Crew, GAP, Old Navy, or stuff you’re just not going to wear and is that even worth anything?
Neat Freaks: It is. Yes, it can be. So that’s where you’re going to go to Poshmark, Mercari, or thredUP.
TH: They’ll sell non-designer names?
Neat Freaks: Yes. You’re doing it, it’s not them. But it could be $5 per item. I think the lower you price it, the more likely you will be to sell it.
TH: Does anybody sell in bulk anymore? I remember I did an eBay business when eBay first started, and sometimes I would sell like 10 t-shirts at once all size small. These are all the colors and all in good condition. Does anybody do it like that anymore? It’s really individual. I think I really did that with the kids’ stuff, honestly, like a bunch of pajamas, or you know, so it was all the same size. It was like a bundle.
Neat Freaks: If it’s one of those things you’re interested in doing yourself then you probably can do it however you wanted. Like, I have five sets of pajamas for $10, or whatever.
TH: Right. Okay. All right, that’s cool.
Neat Freaks: At that point though, I just want to say, if you’re selling a used J Crew t-shirt [$5 item] then there are also other options which are so many nonprofits that you can donate to.
Jessica: That’s what I was just going to say, things like Housing Works or Salvation Army.
Neat Freaks: That’s absolutely right. If you’re doing a luxury consignment and it’s a high end item, absolutely see what you can get for it. But at that end, when you’re doing the lower valued items, [it’s beneficial to someone else]. Absolutely. There’s so many nonprofits that those donations make such a colossal difference and that alone makes you feel good.
Jessica: Which ones do you recommend that you work with the most frequently?
Neat Freaks: Family Centre. Yep, they accept –
TH: Well, that’s very local to Englewood, the Family Center. Today I had a whole bunch of stuff outside one of the breast cancer organizations picked up. Now what’s the difference between, they have those drop boxes in the suburbs for clothing, shoes and everything, and they’re not always donated, that stuff is sold. So how does that work?
Neat Freaks: I think if you want something more personal, like Room to Grow is great for children’s clothing and books and strollers and car seats. Dress for Success, it donates gently used clothes for professional women. Project G.L.A.M, it has prom dresses. There’s Soles4Souls, which is shoes. So I think if you want it to be more [and clothing], you can find something that’s important to you that makes you feel good and that you have a certain connection to, if you don’t want to throw it in a drop box. Right, if you throw it in a drop box, you don’t know where it’s going.
TH: I think most causes have some kind of pick up opportunity for donation.
Neat Freaks: Absolutely. Exactly, or a drop off.
TH: What about thrift stores? What’s the difference between a thrift store? That’s like making a donation to an actual store, right, instead of a consignment?
Neat Freaks: Like a Goodwill. I think the kids are really into thrifting these days. So I think again, you’re looking to buy something super, super cheap, and these kids actually buy it cheap and then they look to resell it. It’s fascinating.
Jessica: My daughter has recently gotten into “thrifting” with her friends.
TH: Really? That’s a thing, thrifting?
Jessica: Yes, she’s come home with Levis and it’s very funny what they do, but she’s not looking to resell it. She just thinks it’s vintage.
Neat Freaks: Right, it could be. It is vintage.
Jessica: Right. Someone brought it in yesterday with last year’s style. But that’s TH’s point, right? When it’s that kind of a situation, you’re basically donating it to the store and then they’re selling it. You’re not making any money yourself off of free.
Neat Freaks: You’re getting out of your house. Right, you’re decluttering your house. You’re making space in your closet to bring in new, right?
TH: And then you get a receipt for a tax write off. I think you can estimate the value of your stuff and then you can include it in your taxes, if it’s enough. I’ve been purging a lot during COVID. I have this breast cancer group come and pick up once a month. I felt so good yesterday, and I told my boyfriend about it, like waiting for him to be so excited. He goes, I just really want to be excited for you, but it’s just not my thing.
Jessica: Can we be proud of you!
TH: So you’re proud of yourself, but okay.
Jessica: That’s actually an interesting thing. I never would have thought about it. I don’t know if a lot of people listening necessarily know that in addition to the generally nationally known places like Salvation Army or Goodwill, or I know in the New York area, I’m forgetting the name of it that I’ve brought things to in New York City, but that specific organizations like a breast cancer organization, where they have an arm of donations and things like that. Is that very, very common?
Neat Freaks: Yes. Absolutely.
TH: For Alzheimer’s, for breast cancer, for Heart Association. I know that this thrift store that I volunteered in last year, you go and you bring what you want to donate and they have about 30 different organizations that you can donate the proceeds to. They assign the revenue from the sale of your stuff from the thrift store to a specific charity, and then they’ll cut a check to that charity every quarter.
Neat Freaks: What was that called?
TH: I don’t remember. They’re up by like Oakland, New Jersey.
Jessica: I feel like that’s a resource we should post because that’s amazing. There’ll be a lot of people that would be interested in being able to donate it and like siphon the proceeds off to a specific cause that’s meaningful to them. That would be amazing. Any other specific do’s and don’ts that you guys would recommend when it comes to choosing if you are consigning versus selling yourself online, to make sure that you know you’re doing it right, making sure that it’s reputable and all that kind of stuff?
Neat Freaks: Well, again, I think if you have the time yourself, do it yourself. It’s something that you’ll feel good about after posting something and somebody is interested in buying it, and you get it out of your closet. If you have the time, I would say Poshmark is great. If you don’t have the time, you could go to a higher end luxury consignment online or a store and that’s a great way to start.
TH: So nobody uses eBay anymore? Not so much? Is it more for stuff than for clothing? Like what is eBay used for anymore?
Neat Freaks: Would you buy clothing on eBay?
TH: I had a whole business on eBay, but that was a long time ago.
Jessica: I will tell you in the past eight months I actually have bought two things off of eBay, but it was random. One of them, you’re going to laugh, was an eye cream that I was looking for that had been discontinued. For whatever reason, when I googled searched it someone I guess had bought a bunch of it and was selling them on eBay. The same thing for a perfume rollerball that I love that’s been discontinued and I found three of them on eBay newly packaged, but I don’t think I’d go onto eBay for clothes.
TH: Well, I used to sell a ton of stuff on eBay, but did you check the expiration dates on those things and do like a seller check? You should always check on eBay for their rating and how many sales they’ve done. Then I would always ask the person selling it what the date was because that could be like 10 years old, especially if it’s discontinued. It could be it’s not going to help your eyes now.
Neat Freaks: Well, no, if you’re doing clothing it’s sometimes nice to deal with someone who specializes in clothing. If you’re dealing with handbags or dealing with shoes it’s nice to deal with – if you think it’s worth something then it’s nice to be like well this company is very reputable. They’ll give me the best bang for my buck. Also, within eBay if you’re going to look to sell jackets for example, November through March would be your best time to do that in the winter cold months.
Jessica: That’s actually a really good point though and we should talk about that for a second. Because depending on where someone is in their life, getting divorced, obviously you’re not controlling it with the seasons, but if you are starting to purge and thinking about getting rid of things and it’s June, that might not be the time you want to try and sell your fur coat.
Neat Freaks: Right.
Jessica: You might really want to think seasonally about the items you have and stagger it out to get the best bang for your buck.
TH: 100%. You have to do it seasonal. All the places won’t even take, like the actual stores themselves if you go to a consignment shop or thrift shop, they will not take winter stuff in the summer, and they won’t take summer stuff in the winter. They don’t have room for it. They’re just going to keep turning it.
Neat Freaks: The only thing I would say is if you can, accumulate a bunch of stuff. You don’t want to be doing this every day dealing with it at the time. If you can be like I’m going to go through all my bags right now, see what’s worth consigning and what’s worth holding on to. Then it’s better than being like, I don’t really wear this Chanel bag anymore, I’ll bring this. Oh, wait. I don’t really wear this Louis bag anymore. I don’t really wear the Hermès belt. Take all of your accessories, gather everything together, and then do it once. It’s just less work for you.
Jessica: Yeah, batch it. That’s a great idea.
TH: It really does feel like a victory when you do this stuff. Since our last podcast, I’ve organized my spice cabinet, and I was on the phone with my daughters while they’re in school. I’m like, I’m under your sinks right now, do you use this shampoo Malibu blonde? Because you’re not blonde, can I get rid of it? So I’m like on a roll, but it does give you like a little ‘yay for me’ in your day. So if you’re looking for a ‘yay for me’ in the day, you’d be like, look at what I did, or I donated all this stuff, and I cleaned out this closet. Give yourself small victories and this is a great way to give back and reward yourself.
Neat Freaks: Absolutely.
Jessica: So girls, anyone who has more questions or who wants to reach out to you directly, what are the best ways for people to find you?
Jessica: All right, excellent. And we will have those links on the website as well. Thank you so much for bringing, as always, amazing information to the ExExperts community. We really appreciate it.
Neat Freaks: Thanks for having us.
TH: Thank you guys.
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