He paid off his student loans flipping furniture. They paid off their mortgage re-selling estate sale finds. I made over $1,000 decluttering my closet. We’ve all seen the headlines. Some of us have even written them (guilty). But you know what? That’s not real life. Not all the time, anyway.
When it comes to selling my clothing, shoes, and handbags, I’ve found a great deal of success with online platforms like Poshmark, Tradesy, and even Craigslist. But when sales get slow, I take my goods to local consignment-like stores like Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor, or I donate them. Scratch that. From here on out, I donate them. Why? Because I don’t ever want to work for $4 an hour again.
Here’s how this played out. I bagged up about fifty different pieces to sell. I knew I wasn’t going to make big money. At this point, I just wanted it all out of the spare bedroom. Still, the items were quality. Heck, I hadn’t even worn most of the things. Which can sadly be said about much of my closet. You don’t wear it if you don’t see it. And when you have over 150 pairs of shoes spread out in three rooms? You don’t see most of them. You don’t want to see them.
Anyway, I neatly folded a bunch of different items. A few pairs of heels that I had to have only to realize I couldn’t actually walk in. A half dozen tops from the LOFT that no longer curried favor when I got ready. A suede jacket I received as a gift but it was one size too big and I never returned it. The list goes on. And on. And on. Afterwards, I carted my goods to Clothes Mentor.
The idea of Clothes Mentor is sellers get paid cash on the spot, generally between 20-30% of the prospective list price of your items. The real bonus to this model is payments are not contingent on sales. No second trip to the consignment shop. Drop it off once and you’re done. The drawback, of course, is they pay you less. But still, every little bit counts. Right?
Of all the things I should have seen coming, it should have been this. I was the second person in the store–which I have sold at for years–but the wait was already an hour. Whaaaat? I dropped off my items and decided to go run a few other errands. When I had run out of errands, I decided to see if my items had been priced. I walked up to the counter which had my items in that same neat pile that I dropped them off in, the woman looked at me and said, “Yeah, we’re just finishing up. I’ll get your money.” If by finishing up, you mean taking my items out of the bag, setting them on the counter, and then doing other parts of your job instead of looking at my items, then I agree. That’s exactly what you did.
Out of all the items I brought in, they took ONE cardigan. Their inventory was overflowing. I had to battle to get up and down the aisles, where I notably pushed aside a black wristlet from Walmart that had the original price tag of $7 on it and the Clothes Mentor tag listing the item for $12. Of course, they weren’t actually looking to add to the chaos. But if you had asked me to guess, I would have never selected that item. It was a top from White House Black Market that had metallic accents on it that had actually worn off up and down the sleeves.* I only tossed it in as an afterthought. They paid me $4.40 for it.
Now, it’s true that the free space in my home is priceless. It’s also true that I got a fair amount of other errands run at the same time. But the truth of the matter is I actually made less than $4.40 an hour. I’m not talking about gas. I’m not talking about wear and tear on my car. I’m not talking about the fact that I could have run all my other errands at other stores closer to my house. I’m talking about my time.
The time I initially spent going through my closet. The time I spent listing my items on Poshmark and other selling sites. The time I spent editing my inventory, bagging up parts of it, and carting it over to Clothes Mentor. That’s a lot of time. And it’s time I won’t get back.
So that’s the truth, folks. Sometimes, you have a goldmine in your closet. And sometimes, those items you’re trying to sell are a waste of time just as much as they were a waste of money.
*That’s right, Dad. I WORE SOMETHING OUT. BOOM.
So Tell Me…What’s your favorite way to declutter or resell? Have you ever short-changed your time?