Friday, July 27, 2012

plato's closet popped my consignment cherry

So... I have a lot of clothes.  If I had to guess, I'd put it at about a metric fuck-ton.  My husband refers to my wardrobe as his non-closet, since my stuff takes up most of "our" walk-in, the entire ten foot rack he installed in the basement, and five massive tupperware bins that weigh more than both my kids combined and would crush a grown man if they fell on him.  I never get rid of anything, okay?  I literally still have things I wore in high school.  I like to imagine that when their teenage years roll around my daughters will be the kind of quirky Molly Ringwalds who will appreciate my "vintage" dresses, bags and cheap sunglasses.  So you see, I save for them.  Plus, I pride myself on the fact that I can outfit my entire family for dress-up parties, no matter what the theme is.  We've done pirates, hippies, rednecks and rockstars so far, just to name a few.  I have everything we need and more... which is kind of the problem.  My collection is ballooning out of control at this point, and it's time to downsize.  I do a round-up every few years or so, usually attached to an address change, and in the past I've always just donated my clothes to Goodwill.  It's a noble cause.  But this time I decided to try consignment - maybe earn a few dollars [to spend on more clothes].  We've all heard the cheesy radio spots for Plato's Closet.  I thought I'd go see what the hype is about.  Here is what I learned:

  1. They take clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories like purses, scarves, and belts.
  2. Your stuff needs to be in good condition and in current style, though brand does not seem to mater.
  3. Take your stuff in bags - they aren't friends with hangers.
  4. When you get there, they'll take your name and give your stuff to a "professional consultant" to appraise its value.  You're not involved in the process.  They'll tell you how long it will take (anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how busy they are).  You can browse the store while you wait, or fill out a little sheet of info and come back later. 
  5. When they call your name, they'll give you back what they don't want and give you a total for what they're keeping.  What I gathered is that they typically mark things up three times for resale, so if they're going to sell your shirt for $12, you take home $4. You have a choice to take X amount of cash, or what seems to be X + 50% in store credit.  (Today, my options were $88 cash or $130 store credit.)        

I read some reviews online before I went (and then actually ran into a friend at the store who agreed) that taking your stuff to Plato's Closet is barely any more profitable than just giving it away to Goodwill.  One online review even said that if you don't have popular teen brand clothes like Hollister and Abercrombie, don't even bother going.  Well, I don't know about other locations, but at our local store that was not the case.  The brands I brought in ranged from J. Crew to Loft to Express; Gap, UO, The Limited, Anthro, etc - grownup stuff - and the appraiser not only accepted my items but raved over how nice they were.  That said, $88 is certainly only a fraction of what I originally paid for those items.  But when the other option is GIVING them to Goodwill, I'd say $88 is a boon.  And now there are a few free inches on that ten foot rack in the basement.  I'll definitely be making another trip to get rid of some fall items in a month or so.  

As far as the offerings on the racks at Plato's Closet, there are definitely some deals to be found if you're willing to dig.  And I do mean dig - there is ALOT of stuff there!  The location I visited was very clean, well-organized and maintained, with plenty of dressing rooms, but it's basically a big, more selective thrift store.  Which is great, if you're into that.  And I did see a couple of really cute things.  None of them were in my size though, which is of course the major downside to thrifting.  As for pricing, I found it to be fairly reasonable.  Jewelry was around $3 a piece, bags $10-12, tops and dresses from $6-18, shoes $6-18.  I didn't see anything over $18.  I'm not saying it's not there, I just didn't see it.  They have men's stuff as well as women's, though female was definitely dominant.  In the end, I'd say it was worth the trip.  I'd recommend the whole deal.  And I did find one thing in my size, these super-cute ankle biker booties - a steal at $6!

So Old Westy!

A little Febreeze and some [of my own] ankle socks,
and we're in bidness! 

Friends, I encourage you - 
go forth and hawk your shit!

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