Goodwill, Here I Come

It seemed like a great plan: I’d take my no-longer-needed work clothes to a consignment shop and make a little money. Consignment store clothes are already inexpensive, and consignees only get a cut of the price—say 40 percent. So maybe I’d make $20. Then I’d use the cash for something fun—a little treat.

Choosing what to discard (a la Marie Kondo) was hard. I liked the clothes, felt good in them, and had enjoyed wearing them. But it didn’t make sense to keep them, since I no longer needed business attire. Maybe somebody else could use them. Last winter, I came up with a pile of about 15 pieces—jackets, tops, and pants. I washed them, hung them on hangers, and tried to keep the cat and his walking cloud of cat hair away from them.

Feeling virtuous and lighter, I called around and learned that the stores don’t want winter clothes in the winter. August is when I should bring in my fall and winter items. So I moved the clothes to the back of the closet and made a note on my calendar.

Last week, I loaded up the items and drove them to a nearby consignment shop. The sales associate said it would take an hour or so to go through my stuff. I assumed that meant deciding how to price everything. I took off to run some errands.

When I returned, I warned myself that the prices for my things might be lower than I expected. My cut might be small. Oh well, it was just meant to be fun money. No big deal.

When I found the sales associate, she said, “We are only able to accept a few of your clothes. Everything else is more than three years old.” In other words, my stuff was too out-of-style. I have never considered myself to be a fashion maven, but I thought my clothes were within acceptable limits for middle-aged business style. It’s not like I brought in a bunch of 1980’s power suits with jumbo shoulder pads.Power Suit pattern

“Do you want to take them back with you? If not, we can donate them,” the sales associate suggested. After making the decision to part with the clothes, I wasn’t bringing them home again. “No, go ahead and donate them,” I told her. I glanced at the three things she was keeping for sale and thought, “I’ll be lucky if I get $5 out of this. That’s a lot of work for a cappuccino!”

I laughed as I left the store and mentally paraphrased David Foster Wallace, “That’s another supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again.”

Next time I clean out my closet, I’ll go directly to Goodwill!

10 thoughts on “Goodwill, Here I Come

  1. Bravo to you for purging and lightening your load. I love it when I can easily move the hangers in my closet and find things after a good clean-up. That must have felt good, right? Or not. I’m a born purger. I shop almost exclusively at consignment stores now mostly because I love the variety, the reduced environmental impact, the thrill of the hunt. I also shop Goodwill and other thrift stores for the same reasons so keep cleaning for those of us who love “Goodwill hunting”. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  2. I went through that at consignment shops, too, now I don’t waste my time. I keep my clothes a long, long time, so by the time I’m ready to part with them no consignment wants them. I’ve been wondering what to do with my business attire, too. I keep thinking I might need them down the road…So now, I just love to shop in consignment shops.

  3. Before we moved I did the same thing with my books, with more success. I knew better with my clothing; I’d tried to sell the vintage stuff I wore in college and got s dismal sum. Good for you for donating before all of the stuff comes back in style. They say if you wore it back then, don’t wear it again. But I have my eyes on some embroidered jeans…

  4. Loved it…you made me laugh out loud. I have so many clothes I need to do the same thing with, including many things with shoulder pads that I just “inherited” in the cleaning out of Steve’s mom’s house. And are you telling me that clothes that are more than three years old are out of fashion? If that’s the case, I am definitely one out of date Idea Girl.

    • Crazy, huh? I figured if I was wearing it, some other middle-aged woman might want it, but consignment stores have different standards. I prefer to think of my older clothes as “classics” not out-of-style,

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