I’ve been reselling my gently-worn clothing for the better part of the last decade — and making decent pocket change from my semi-annual sales. It would usually go something like this: I’d decide on a whim to clean out my entire closet, throw a bunch unwanted clothing in a trash bag, and store it in my trunk until the next time I drove past my favorite consignment shop. I’ll sell them eventually, I’d think. And eventually (read 2-6 months later), I would.

But recently, I figured out a much better method that helps me eliminate clutter and make extra cash.

The Best Way to Clean Out Your Closet Is to Schedule a Monthly Sale

After experimenting with a no-buy month, I started thinking about ways I could be more thoughtful about what I buy and what I own. One idea was to schedule a monthly closet sale — to put the day on my calendar each month like I would a reminder to get my oil changed or pick up dry-cleaning.

My plan was that when this day came each month, I would force myself to assess what I owned, what I was actually wearing, and what I could purge. Once I gathered all the things I wanted to sell, I’d list them all at once and spend the next month selling them. Four weeks later, I’d do the same thing again.

The first time I did this experiment, I made a few hundred dollars; after four closet sales, I’ve made almost $1,000. But it wasn’t just the extra spending cash that made this habit stick.

I felt lighter, like I was making room in my closet for things that actually made me happy and getting rid of things that weren’t adding anything to my life at all. The monthly habit forced me to consistently ask myself what I truly wanted to own and what I didn’t.

That process wasn’t always easy. In the past, I’d held onto clothing because of nostalgia, or because I think that I’ll fit into it again “one day” (that’s a whole other issue). And I still hesitate. Do I really want to give this away or will I regret it? I’ll ask myself. Half the time, I’ll put the item back in my closet. But, I make a point to go back to that item four weeks later. And I’ve gotten much better at letting go of the fear of… well, letting go. Throughout my four closet sales, I’ve sold dozens of items, and I don’t miss a single one of them as of yet.

The sales have also forced me to think about buying clothings in a new way. For example, if I realize I’ve listed four different hoodies for sale in the past three months, then I’ll realize I probably shouldn’t buy another hoodie. Or, if I keep listing clothing from one brand in particular, I’ll reassess if it’s really worth spending money there again.

Admittedly, I still probably own much more clothing than someone “needs,” but I do  have less clutter in my closet than ever. And while thinking about purging my closet used to feel overwhelming, now it feels more natural — like I’m actually able to assess what “stuff” makes my life better, and what doesn’t.