Here’s yet another thing no one tells you about living in New York City: It’s a pain to de-clutter your home.
The lack of a car is key, here: When you can’t bundle your surplus into the backseat and zip it off to the nearest consignment store or donation bin, jettisoning unwanted items becomes more difficult … and less likely to happen.
I’ve been wanting to pare down the contents of my closet for a while now — seriously, I still have clothes from high school — so when a friend raved to me about Twice, the online startup that lets you sell clothes through the mail, I figured, “why not?” A little extra cash is always welcome.
Twice both buys and sells women’s clothing and handbags. For that reason, they only accept brands that they can resell, i.e. they won’t buy even unworn H&M tees.
They’re very upfront about the fact that they only accept recognisable brands like Theory, Banana Republic, J Crew, 7 for All Mankind, and North Face. Everything must be clean and no more than five years old. No shoes.
Technically, this isn’t a consignment service, which would sell clothes on my behalf and give me a portion of the profit. Twice simply buys the clothing upfront, and donates that which it doesn’t want. (“Clothes-buyer-and-reseller” just doesn’t roll off the tongue like “consignment store.”)
I particularly like that they donate the extras, because that’s where my clothes would be headed anyway if I hadn’t heard about the site.
In about two minutes, I had signed up for a free account and requested a prepaid shipping bag through the site. You can also print a label and stick it to an existing box, but as a New Yorker with a laptop and no printer, I went with the easier option.
Here’s what arrived in the mail:
Next, I assembled my clothes to be sold, which was hard. (Again, high school clothing-keeper, here!) I eliminated a garbage bag of clothing destined for Goodwill that was in good condition but simply not high-end enough to sell, and whittled it down to these brand-name items:
I tossed them in the bag, tossed the bag in the mailbox that’s handily in my building, and headed to work. A few days later, I received the following email from Twice, who had evaluated the clothing I sent and determined what they would keep:
I’m pretty embarrassed that I didn’t realise the dress was “stained,” and kind of sorry they don’t want my Lauren Jeans Co. shirt (that doesn’t fit and I haven’t worn in 2-3 years, for goodness sake) and my practically unworn C. Wonder horse head sweater (my fault, I should have looked more closely at the accepted brands).
I could have paid $US5 to get all of my clothes back, but that would defeat the purpose of this whole exercise.
They also made me an offer:
Note that the offer is framed to make me think I’m losing out if I don’t accept store credit — why wouldn’t I want more value for my clothes? But I’m trying to clean out my closet and maybe make some money, not go on a shopping spree. No thanks, Twice. I’ll take a check.
Before this, I had never sold used clothes before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. When I voiced my hope for $US50, a more-experienced thrifting friend shot that down immediately, so I was pretty happy to get $US28.50. Yes, I probably paid more than $US28 each for most of the things in that pile, but it was going to be $US4.75 per item or nothing at all.
If I had a Theory suit, for example, perhaps I could have earned more. Let’s be honest, though: If I had a Theory suit, I would be buried in it, whether it still fit or not.
Admittedly, clutter-averse men won’t be able to use Twice. A little Googling for similar concept services showed that they overwhelmingly skew towards women, although sites like Dresm offer alternative sales models that anyone can use.
Sure, selling clothing through the mail isn’t going to make me rich. But it’s so little effort that it doesn’t matter. Compared to lugging stacks of clothing down the street to be potentially rejected at a thrift store or to miss the hours of operation at Goodwill, throwing a prepaid bag in the mail is a breeze.
Remember that garbage bag of unqualified clothes destined for donation? It’s still sitting in my closet.
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