We recently sat down with Barbra Goodman, the owner of The Classic Closet, a comprehensive closet organization business, and a partner of Rebag who aids in sourcing luxury bags that her clients would like to sell to us. With her years of expertise in organization and resources for helping her clients declutter, it was only fitting that Rebag chronicled her advice for maximizing your space.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I started my business, The Classic Closet, about 12 years ago. I work with people who do not have time to shop and organize themselves. My services include, but are not limited to, closet design recommendations, time management, household organization, styling, wardrobe planning, and personal shopping.
My clients are people who want you to set them up with a schedule and an organized system. I begin with a free consultation at their home or office. Before I start, I like to take “before” images, depending on what I’m being asked to do. I listen to what they are looking for and I take notes. After I print out the pictures and analyze them, I am able to give my client suggestions. I often recommend what they should keep and what they should get rid of. I work primarily on the Upper East Side but offer my services to other areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
When you help people clean their closets, which handbags are people willing to let go of? How do you help them decide?
Basically, the bag has to be in really good condition. If they haven’t worn it in a year or so and it’s not something they are gravitating toward, I suggest that they sell it. In New York, there’s never enough space, so if my client is looking to buy something new, I recommend getting rid of something else first. Compared to consignment stores, Rebag provides higher quotes and your turnaround time is great. People are enticed by the fact that they can sell a bag and then go buy a new one.
Do you see patterns in terms of selling versus keeping?
It depends on what the current trends are. Gucci is amazing right now! I had so many fabulous Gucci bags that I got rid of and I am now kicking myself. I feel like the old Prada styles have also resurfaced, especially the nylon pieces. All of those styles are coming back.
Are you familiar with Marie Kondo? Have you noticed an uptick in people eager to get organized?
She's incredibly relevant right now with her book and videos, however, our methods differ. I do it differently than she does. I think people, in general, want to get organized. People aren’t spending what they used to, so they are going into their closets and getting rid of some of the old things. If you’re organized you can see what you have, and when you’re not, you can’t. This is a problem, especially for working women and men. I know for me with two kids, getting out of the house in the morning by 8:15 am is tough. If I weren’t organized, I don’t know how I would do it. In the kitchen, I have a drawer of just snacks, and everything is in ziplock bags and you can just grab a snack and go. I think the key to being successful in life is organizing yourself with constant notes and lists. Even if you go food shopping, to the drug store or to Bloomingdales, I think it’s super helpful to be organized and know why you are there and what you need to buy.
How do you help your clients decide what to sell?
Some people are married to certain things and they don’t want to get rid of them, so I do not push. I recommend that you keep it for another year and see if you use it, and if not, then get rid of it. If they can make money from something, and I tell them they can make “x” amount, then they’re more apt to get rid of it.
So they’re open to resale?
They are. I also think it’s a motivating factor to clear out some space so they can buy something new. Everyone loves something new.
Top tips for closet cleaning?
1. First, take everything out of your closet and start fresh with a clean, open space.
2. Categorize. Put all of your jeans together, all tee shirts together, workout clothes, etc.
3. Everything should have a place.
4. Make time. If the laundry is done but you don't have time to put it away immediately, wait a couple of days until you have a little time.