Cutting Through the Clutter: Nov. 19, 2018

November 20, 2018

My good friend, Lori, lives outside of Philadelphia. A few years ago, they had a surprise snowfall of 4 inches in October. I jokingly said to her on Facebook, “I bet you haven’t even switched out your summer clothes yet, let alone found all the hats, mittens and gloves for the winter.”

If you have young children, now is the time to take inventory of winter coats, boots, mittens, scarves and hats. Not the night before or morning of the first snow. There’s nothing worse than shoving your kids’ feet into too small boots because they are so excited about going out in that first snow.

Winter coats that are too small or have broken zippers don’t work well, either, in all the excitement. Oh, and I forgot to mention the all-important snow pants. I keep a bin of winter gear in the basement, so on those surprise snow mornings it’s pretty simple to lug the bin up the stairs and dig through it.

This month, we are going to talk about the big switcheroo. That is, moving the summer clothes out and making room for the fall winter wardrobe. I know it’s November, and I am hoping the majority of you already might have done so, but if not, let this be your official warning it needs to get done. Just think you might be in for a surprise snowstorm.

Not everyone (including myself) has the luxury of two closets to swap the clothes between. I personally have one small walk-in closet, so the out-of-season clothes live toward the back and the in-season clothes live in the front.

The first step is to remove all of your spring-summer clothes from the closet, and as you are going through your summer clothes, think about how often or if you ever wore each item. If you did not wear the item this summer, then ask yourself what is the likelihood you will wear it next summer.

If it’s low to not likely, then it’s time to start a box for donating, consigning or giving away. Consignment shops most likely will not be interested in your spring-summer items until the new year. So, put them in a box or container and make a note to yourself on the calendar to take the items in for consignment. There are several consignment and resale shops around the area.

As you are moving your fall and winter items in, you also should consider the likelihood you will wear something. Now is the time to take these items right to the place you plan to donate them or consign them. If you are donating the items, make sure you keep a list of each item and its value.

For a current valuation guide, go to goodwillindustries.com or salvationarmy.com. Both valuation guides are great for determining the value of your tax deduction.

If you don’t have much storage for off-season clothing, then you might consider investing in some space bags. I prefer the Space Bag brand, which can be found at discount stores. They come in cubes now and might work a little nicer at stacking. With one of my clients, I was able to consolidate several tubs into the space bag cubes and put them all in just one tub. It worked out great.

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