Zero Dollars + a Dream

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Okay, people, let me just give you all a little southern-fried honesty right now: I have 85% fallen off the fashion wagon. I have slid into that comfortable slipper that would warrant a friend or family members’ plea to the former duo of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from What Not to Wear.

Don’t yell at me, but I’m totally blaming motherhood right now. I know that not all moms go down this road to hole-y clothing, jewelry so old it’s tarnished, and an overall look that screams “I’ve given up.” But this is just my truth, guys.

I used to be pretty cute, dress kind of trendy, and really try without going overboard (see the pictures below of me looking cute back in the day!). I like to look nice and presentable. I also love to be comfortable. That’s not to say that those two don’t ever meet in the fashion world. But in my world, they had a really big falling out and haven’t gotten around to making up yet.

To remedy this, I decided to put mind over matter to figure out how to treat myself to something nice for once—all while not messing up the family budget!

The reality is that there is much sacrifice in family life. Having time to shop is an issue in itself. Making a commitment to an online rental agreement and another monthly bill is also not in the cards for me.

So, I put the ‘ol thinking cap on and realized I had cash sitting in my closet! While most of my clothing seems like yesterday’s news or boring to me, it will be new to someone else! I still have some pretty cute dresses, jewelry, and shoes that are in good condition, so why not get money for them—or recycle them? I love recycling and doing good things for the earth anyway, which makes the decision that much easier!

While my daughter napped, I went through my drawers and closet, making four separate piles of clothing:

#1 – Clothes Mentor Pile: Clothes Mentor is a consignment shop that buys your clothes for cash or gives you more than you would get in cash for in-store credit to purchase items there.

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#2 – H & M: They offer a coupon (usually per grocery-sized bag) for 15% off your next purchase. These are the items that are too worn and hole-y to be worn again—H&M recycles them!

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#3 – thredUP: thredUP is an online consignment store that pays cash for upscale clothing you mail in to be evaluated by their team. So this pile was for those fashionable items I wanted to let go of even though they were in great condition and had some life left in them.

To order a thredUP “Clean Out Kit,” simply call (or go online), give them your address, and you’ll be sent a postage-paid bag that allows you to send your items in for free! If you think you want the items back if thredUP doesn’t choose to sell them, you will pay a small shipping fee—about $12. Otherwise, they will donate your clothing for you! Once they have evaluated your bag of items, if they keep anything, you can choose to receive cash, store credit, or donate the proceeds from your sale to thredUP to a charity! How awesome is that?!

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#4 – Kentucky Refugee Ministries: This last pile was for things that might not have been so trendy anymore but still had some wear-ability and cuteness-factor remaining. Kentucky Refugee Ministries is a wonderful nonprofit that aids both individual refugees and families. The organization helps refugees find a home, gain employment, and learn English. It is a wealth of resources and kindness and I am proud to have such a place here in Louisville.  

Overall, I’m so happy I cleaned out my old clothes, made room for new ones, and contributed to a cause! My style has changed over the last few years, so I’m excited to incorporate some of the new designs and patterns I’m getting into now. It seems that with my new (hair)’do, a new sense of style has also arrived. The long hair in those previous pics is long gone!

So here’s what I did with my earnings! I decided to take the $42 cash Clothes Mentor offered me. On a recent walk with my daughter, I found myself ogling a beautiful dress at a local store. Using the Clothes Mentor money was perfect since I wouldn’t be spending extra (unexpected) funds. And as a bonus, if buying local wasn’t great enough, the store carrying my coveted dress is also a fair trade store! This store sells amazing handcrafted, unique jewelry and clothing from countries all over the world made by people who have been paid fairly for their artful work and creativity. Score!

…it even has pockets! And check out the tag name in the pic below!

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I also went for the coupons from H&M and decided to save those for a rainy day when I’m super bored and there’s a really big sale. However, I saw some pretty cute things I may just go back for at the end of season!

And with the rest of my earnings, I was also able to snag a couple of cute dresses at another consignment store!

In the end, I got one new dress, two new-to-me dresses, and some coupons for future shopping! I’d say all in all, I did pretty well! I mean, I started with zero dollars and a desire for an update. From there, I found some new pieces that fit my current style and make me feel as stylish as I used to when I wore cuter and trendier clothing.

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Mission accomplished, ladies and gentlemen.

See what everyone else wore ♥