Cleaning Out Your Closet: A How-To
So one of the biggest complaints I hear this days is in regards to closet space.
I have SO much to get rid of, what do I do with all of it??
Additionally, there are all these books and posts out there touting the benefits of doing a clean out (which I cannot argue with at all!), so I thought I'd put together a post that offers alternatives to the choice we most often default to: donating. I won't get into all the downsides of clothing donations here. Instead, I would just like to offer you some friendly alternatives! :) So let's go!
These guys are doing a very similar thing to ThredUp (discussed below), they just do not pay you anywhere near as much. It's called their SellByMail program. You order a bag here, they send it to you with a prepaid shipping label, you send it in, and they either pay you cash or mail you a card with store credit. The store credit for my bag was worth twice the amount as the cash offer, so I took the store credit. I usually find really great things at Buffalo Exchange (they have locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Austin, and many others), so this was fine by me.
Same thing again, except for very high quality items. These guys only take items like Givenchy, Rolex, Stella McCartney, etc., and they only take it if it is in great condition. The plus side is you make 50% or more on commission and that commission increases as you sell more with their company. Additionally, they will ship anything back to you (and they'll cover shipping!) if it is not in good enough condition for them to sell on their site.
This was the company that sold me on second hand shopping! But I had to put them last because they are currently overwhelmed with submissions. Hopefully they'll gain the infrastructure to handle it all soon. Regardless, here are the pros and cons of selling to ThredUp:
-It's SO easy! You order a Clean Out Kit from their website, they send you a bag with a prepaid shipping label on it, you fill it with clothes that fall on the spectrum of gently worn to brand new with tags, and you drop the bag at your local shipper! So. Easy.
-If they don't accept some of your items (maybe they are too damaged or don't belong to one of their categories - women, children, etc.) they will responsibly recycle the clothing for you! Huge win.
-You do have the option to donate everything in your bag (instead of making money off of it), in which case they will send you a receipt for tax purposes.
-They just started ThredUP Luxe, which offers an alternative to TheRealReal, where they are accepting submissions depending on the brands that you have available. If you send items that are not acceptable for resale, they will send them back to you for free.
-They are getting so much press (good problem!) that they have been overwhelmed by requests for Clean Out Kits (exception: ThredUp Luxe). So keep checking back here to see when they'll be accepting new ones. And in the meantime, you can do your shopping on their website to save yourself money AND reduce your carbon footprint!
-The time it takes them to process the bags can be quite extensive, which some view as a downside. I couldn't care less. I just appreciate that they are making room in my closet and putting money in my pocket.
NOTE: Some items you will be paid for right away (e.g. high quality, on-trend items). You will be paid for others based on when they sell. They do have a payout estimator for you if you'd like to use it!
FOR CLOTHES THAT AREN'T SELLABLE!!!!!! SEE BELOW:
This company is AWESOME. I called them and they actually came to PICK UP my bag of clothing that was too worn for sale. They even accepted old shoes! I couldn't believe it. Also check for their GREEN Box locations where you can drop your items.
& Other Stories is a beautiful brand "filled with collections from three design ateliers in Paris, Stockholm, and Los Angeles." They have stores in Soho and in the new Oculus shopping center (aka Westfield) in downtown Manhattan (find other locations here) and the great thing is that they offer you a 10% discount voucher (to be used once within three months) if you bring in textiles for them to recycle. You can even bring old socks, worn out towels, the works! The obvious bonus here is that it's a great way to get rid of items that are maybe stained or ripped, making them ineligIble for sale on sites like ThredUp and The RealReal.
Update! I just found out through an advertisement on my FreshAir podcast that Madewell will actually collect your old jeans and recycle them through a program of theirs called Blue Jeans Go Green!
GrowNYC also has events all over the city that you can bring your clothing to for recycling. Check here for the days/times/locations!