I am a clothes hound. Prior to weight loss surgery my "closet" was one quarter of the basement and consisted of four six-foot long clothing racks, two dressers, a tall, thin, eight shelf bookcase for sweaters, two four-drawer IKEA storage bins for the unmentionables, two 30-pair shoe racks and one 10-pair shoe rack (my boots line the bottom of the clothing racks) and a five foot tall mirror that doubles as jewelry storage. Oh, and a closet full of coats upstairs. And all of it was packed to the hilt. TO THE HILT!
It was downright gluttonous. And glorious. Oh, so glorious.
I keep swearing to myself that I am going to go through it all one day and get rid of what no longer fits. Problem is, most of it - about 80% of it - no longer fits and getting rid of it just sucks. It sucks emotionally and it sucks physically. What the hell do you do with all of it?
I took the first round - about 20 full-size shopping bags - to a girlfriend's house and told her to keep whatever she wanted. She donated the rest to a local women's shelter. The second round sat in a bag in the front room for close to three months. Two weeks ago I bit the bullet and decided to do something about. I packed up 25 of the better Fall pieces and headed to Hips in Roseville. The rest, about 15 pieces, was sent to ThredUp via one of their free Clean Out bags.
Lugging 25 pieces of clothing to Hips sucked. It was heavy and awkward and you haul it all in not knowing exactly what it is that they are going to actually keep. In fact, there are about five pieces still in my trunk that they rejected as I write this. ThredUp on the other hand will donate whatever they decide not to sell (or send it back to you for the cost of shipping).
I arrived at Hips at about 11:20 a.m. (they open at 11:00 a.m.) and was informed that I would be the last seller for the day. They have a daily buying quota (two of the locations buy twice a week - the Detroit location on Friday by appointment only) and it, apparently, goes quick. I imagine there was probably a line at the door when they opened at 11 a.m. and, I think, next time I'll try a Thursday.
As the last seller for the day, I had to wait quite a while - at least an hour - until they got to my stuff. Like I said, they took just about everything and they are incredibly liberal with their payouts. You get 45% of the selling price - up front - if you take a store credit (good for one year) or 30% if you take the cash. I took the store credit and ended up with $130 to spend over the course of the next year. Or, more realistically, the next month. I've already burned through half of it as I write this.
After leaving Hips I headed to a FedEx store to hand off my ThredUp clean-out bag. Shipping is free. A week and a half later, on October 5th, I received notification that they had received my bag and that I could expect it to be processed by, get this - October 30th. I decided then and there to stop bitching about the hour wait at Hips.
The very next day, however, I received notification that they had processed my bag and was invited to click on a link to discover how much I had earned. I knew it wasn't going to be near as much as Hips because I had taken my better designer pieces to Hips and had only sent ThredUp about half as much as I took to Hips. Still, I was more than disappointed to discover that three sweaters (Chaps & Lane Bryant), six Land's End dress shirts, a denim jacket from Lane Bryant and one pair of Linen pants from Lord & Taylor had earned me a whopping $18.
Maybe I should have included a note that I only wore the linen pants once... to meet Joe Biden. Everyone's favorite sometimes-inappropriate uncle hugged me as I wore those pants. That, alone, is worth at least $20, right?
I ran the numbers and had my ThredUp pieces sold at Hips for the price ThredUp was charging, I would have received at least $70 in store credit.
Now, the upside of ThredUp is that they take clothes out-of-season and Hips does not. So, more than likely, I'll be sending them another Clean Out bag sometime in the near future. And, quite frankly, they win in pretty much all convenience factors. Hips will only take 25 in-season items at a time, on very specified days, if you are lucky and get there before the buying quota is used up for the day. ThredUp will take whatever the hell you can fit in their huge Clean Out bags. You just have to remember what you send them because, far as I can tell, they don't tell you what they end up donating on your behalf.
Still, convenience factors aside, Hips wins at this game. They pay more - a lot more - and they are a local business. Oh, and they only carry plus sizes. I love a store that caters to larger women only. Doing business with them not only benefits your pocket book, it benefits the local economy and it promotes body positivism. Win-win-win.