I just finished my closet clean out, which I will post about soon. It was a big project, and it’ll take me a while to figure out how to write about it.
But what I CAN write about right now, is one of the most love/hate features for me of closet cleaning: the resale of my clothing.
I know some people clean out their closet and donate all their cast-offs to charity – maybe because they don’t think what they’re getting rid of has any value, or maybe they don’t need the money and would rather just pass the stuff on to people who need it. Or, maybe they’re like me, and just hate the idea of dragging a bunch of bags of my old clothes and shoes to a store, standing in line with all my crap for a long time, and then watching some much-cooler-than-me clerk pick through it and judge it piece by piece.
I really do kinda hate resale.
But I am also not in a position to not at least TRY to see if I can recoup some of the money I invested in all those clothes for which I went into debt. I was getting rid of a fair amount of decent labels that resale likes (J. Crew, Anthropologie, Gap, Joe’s Jeans, etc.), and I even had a couple designer items and some good cashmere to unload. I mostly purged clothes, but in a burst of energy at the end, I did a preliminary sweep of my shoes as well. When I packed it all up to take it to resale, I had one completely crammed rolling suitcase, and two big department store shopping bags full of stuff.
Fortunately, there is a little cluster of resale stores right near each other in SE in Portland, so it’s a matter of parking your car once, unloading the stuff, and then walking from store to store with it to see what you might be able to sell. I was braced for it to be thoroughly unpleasant, and to have to wait a long time. I was also braced for them to not take any of my sweaters and boots, since the weather is getting so nice. And I was also ready for them to reject a lot of the stuff I’d hung on to for emotional reasons because it was now out of style.
But after my experience, I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, the almost daily dose of bad luck and disappointment I was going through in May is starting to lift. Because I found great parking, so I didn’t have to schlep my stuff very far. I arrived at the first store, and there was only one person in front of me at the counter. And to my great surprise, the buyer was interested in buying a TON of my stuff – to the tune of $125!
I almost quit while I was ahead – I didn’t want to push my luck. But there were two other stores close by and the sun was out, so I forged on. There was only one person in front of me at the second store, so it was a minimal wait there too. And even though what I was bringing her was technically the leftovers, the buyer at the second store wanted a lot of what I had as well – $93.98 worth, to be exact.
At that point, I took a quick break, and met Lori and her boys for ice cream, and excitedly shared my good news. She cheered me on like she always does, and then we watched the boys with a mixture of puzzlement, amusement, and “eww” as they ate/wore their ice cream cones.
I had saved the “coolest” store for last because, well, I’m not cool. My fashion vibe is always a little too conservative for that store – they typically only take what I would consider my weirdest or most costume-like stuff. Sometimes I skip it altogether. But I was on a roll, so I figured what the hell. They took only three shirts for a total of $7. I actually liked that it brought me to an even resale total of $225.
Don’t get me wrong – I completely understand that $225 nowhere NEAR makes up for the amount of money I paid for those clothes. I totally took a loss in the end. But it was something, and right now I will take micro-successes wherever I can get them. I drove straight to the bank and deposited half of it in our household account, and put the remainder in my account to pay off the glass tupperware I charged on my Macy’s card last month, my cell phone bill, and a medical bill.
I’m going to keep some of the cold-weather stuff like sweaters that didn’t sell and try my luck again in the fall. The rest I’ll let my girlfriends have a crack at, and whatever they don’t want I’ll give to the Goodwill.
I am hopefully making enough of a shift with my clothes buying habit that I may not have to cart another massive load of clothes that I didn’t get my money’s worth out of to resale again. Hopefully, I am learning my lesson. In the meantime, my resale experience this time felt pretty damn good. Ca-CHING!