I'm not talking cans, I'm talking clothes.
A few times a year, I dig through my closets & drawers and round up a couple bags of things to donate. It's all nice stuff -- some even brand new -- but in a size that doesn't fit (anymore), or I no longer like the style, or I never liked it in the first place (but was too lazy to return).
Shitty, I know. But my careless spending is Goodwill's gain. And I've given some great stuff over the years -- once a pair of Uggs, never worn still in the box, and a JCrew winter coat with the tags still on!
In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I'm thisclose to becoming the old woman who lived in her shoes.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I was watching TV (what?!), and I saw a commercial for The RealReal, a luxury consignment shop. It got me thinking: There are probably others out there who have nice stuff that they don't want or need.
So I gave it a Goog, and it seemed pretty legit. People who have nice stuff sell it. People who like nice stuff -- and discounts -- buy it. And inbetween, somebody checks it out to make sure it really IS nice stuff, and didn't come from a basement in Chinatown.
Now, the sharing economy is nothing new. Think eBay, ZipCar, AirBNB, Rent the Runway or Uber. Whether it's for a night or forever, it's just peer to peer selling with a tech middleman to handle the transaction. And consignment is even older -- from Goodwill to used bookstores (which, for the record, are booger books and are totally disgusting.)
Could this be good?
I wasn't sure. So rather than sending my nice stuff into the abyss, I decided to try it out by buying something instead. Here's how it went...
Item: Stella McCartney Falbella Foldover Tote
Condition: Very Good
Savings: 63% off (!)
The Verdict: Love it! I've wanted this bag for ages, but spending $1000 on "vegan suede" seemed nuts -- even to me. But there were all the high-end brands on this site, and they say everything has been verified for authenticity. I also liked that they had a store in NYC. Shipping wasn't free, but it came quickly -- just 4 days after I ordered. And it looks new, it feels luxe, it doesn't smell or have anything funky going on in the lining. It's just a really nice bag. I've got 4 words to sum up my experience: This. Could. Be. Dangerous. Somebody lock up my Amex.
Ok, so after that good experience, my mind was open. I happened to be on Instagram and I saw a social media influencer promoting a site called thredUP, where she got a pile of secondhand clothes for a steal.
Let's just say, I was influenced.
So, I browsed around the site, and picked up a thing or two... you know, for Science.
Items: Michael Kors sweater & Rachel Roy shirt
Condition: Brand new with tags
Savings: 75% off (each!!)
The Verdict: Really good! There were thousands of things to choose from, and you could filter by clothes with tags. My order took 8 days to arrive, but that was still a day sooner than the estimate. And the box (pictured above) was really adorable. I'm a sucker for good marketing so the email & letter that I got from James Reinhart, their "Chief Knitwit," was a really cool touch as well. And the clothes are... nice! Really no different than what I would have picked up from Lord & Taylor, Macy's or Nordstrom, but at significant savings.
If you're still reading this -- and you know me well -- you might be shocked to hear I bought ANYTHING used. I mean, sometimes it even grosses me out to buy clothes at a STORE if they look picked over! Which is why I never buy clothes at Marshall's or TJ Maxx.
I might be scarred from my days as a 16 year old working the fitting room at The Gap. People are nasty (and they steal).
But this was different! Everything was refurbished, either like new or it WAS new. And it was crazy cheap. So, my eyes have been opened to a different -- more economical and eco-friendly -- way of shopping.
Hope yours have been too. Happy recycling!
(Oh, and if you've ever sold anything on these sites, let me know how it went.)