Decluttering your life has become "the thing" recently, thanks primarily to Netflix celebrity and organization expert Marie Kondo.
But Aurora business owner Teri Case can boast she's been bringing joy to suburban residents for more than a decade.
Case, who opened Boutique Repeats + Gifts 12 years ago, has seen her business expand from an upscale consignment store to a one-stop shop that helps people declutter their lives through services like closet purging, moving, senior transition and estate sale management.
The consignment store remains the core of her business, Case said, while other services began to evolve shortly after the Great Recession, when "people needed money on the spot."
"People wanted to go through their closets to find items and get some money, but they didn't have the time," Case said. She said she and her staff began to "go into your house and help you purge through your closet," helping clients decide what clothes or accessories to get rid of, "then take them back (to the store) and sell them."
The additional help proved to be popular, and soon the service also expanded into helping with estate sales.
"In those cases, it's very emotional and people don't always want to go through their loved one's items," she said. "So I would come in and go through everything, then take the clothes back and sell on consignment for them."
For the customer, Case said it's all about making the process of decluttering easier.
"It's all about convenience nowadays for consumers," she said. "People want the ease, but they also want to make the most money that they can."
Boutique Repeats + Gifts recently launched an online shopping site that lets customers review and buy the items that are on display at its 5,000 square-foot Eola Road location. Case said the site is geared toward younger buyers who are more inclined to shop online. The site also provided access to former customers who have moved away but still want to look for bargains.
Reaching out to the Millennial crowd is important, she said, as she sees them fueling the growth of the resale and consignment industry.
"The younger generation was raised in the thinking that there's nothing wrong with going out and buying something that's gently used," Case said, adding resale shops also attract bargain shoppers "because they like the hunt; they don't necessarily need to save the money."
Case is proud that little is wasted in her store. If items do not sell on consignment, she urges the client to donate them to one of many local charities she is connected to. The store's Blessing Boutique offers clothes for women in local shelters who might need a wardrobe to start a new job. Case said the woman comes to the store, where staff members volunteer their time to dress her appropriately with items in the store's collection.
"It could be anywhere from one outfit to a week's worth of mix and match clothing, and we do that at no charge," she said. "That way they can have up-to-date clothes so when they go out there, they can feel good about themselves."
The store also has a drop box, where customers with clothes or furniture that do not sell on consignment can donate them to local charities. The furniture is used to help furnish apartments for people who are moving out of homeless shelters, Case said.
"We'll somehow find a way to get it to someone who is in need," she said.
Among the local nonprofits that have benefitted from the store's philanthropy are Lifespring Community, Crossroads Community and Calvary churches, 360 Youth Services and the Women's Crisis Center, Case said.
Giving back to the community is what makes her business -- as well as all small businesses -- so special, she said.
"I have a great, loyal base of customers," Case said. "Once the consignment is over, they are able to donate their clothes that did not sell and that's what sustains us to help so many ladies.
"It's really humbling when you have someone come in and dress them and see the smile on their face and make them feel like everyone should feel ... that's what keeps me going."