to shop / downsizing my closet

Living in a city with expensive real estate translates into tiny spaces with miniscule closets (if even). After years of carefree (bargain) shopping, my pile of treasure grew into a mountain and exploded out of my closet. Really! My friends say they would love to “see my closet” or “shop my room” but I am too embarassed, for now. I’ve been slowly liquidating some items on eBay. Before I go further, I will mention that I used to be an eBay Powerseller in my college days, so selling on eBay comes easier to me than for others.

I like to buy now and think later, especially when there is a great sale. Some of the items I’ve had luck in unloading lately are:

  • Gap ballet flats (both travel and cap toe) that I mentioned earlier. I sold them for $30-40. Most were new but there were 2 pairs that were gently used.
  • Repetto ballet flats. Whenever I buy expensive shoes, I wait a while before I wear them because I need to take to the cobbler first and I want to be 100% sure I am keeping them. So far, I’ve sold 2 pairs and may sell 1 more pair at the right price.
  • Longchamp. I’ve sold some new Le Pliage/Planetes bags in colors I know I’ll never use. I also unloaded a beautiful Veau Foulonne (think leather Le Pliage) that I bought in Paris 4 years ago – it was too delicate and I didn’t use it for 3.5 years! I have more new leather products to unload, but haven’t had time to take pics.
  • J.Crew. J.Crew is very popular on eBay and I used to sell a LOT of it in college. It’s not as easy to sell now because J.Crew pulls your auction if you use their stock image. Anyways, I don’t return everything I get from final sales to Amex because I know I can wait a little bit and post it on eBay. Sometimes it goes for way more, because it’s “sold out and rare”. Sometimes I just make a little.
  • Shoes, in general. I’ve concluded that Cole Haan Nike Air shoes don’t really like my feet. I had 3 year pair of nude patent pumps that I wore once at a friend’s wedding – I sold them for almost what I paid for them! I will never buy used shoes on eBay, but it doesn’t mean someone else won’t buy mine…

If you’re on a similar kick to downsize, here are some tips for eBaying:

  • Fees: Fees are high and they included pre-and-post auction fees and PayPal fees. But, remember that you’re paying for exposure to a huge market and factor in your fees when setting the price. I use a reverse calculator to help me ballpark my starting and desired price.
  • Auction descriptions: This is the most painful part of the process for me. In order to market my item, I need a good description and good images. I have many items that I need to sell, but haven’t yet, because I’m waiting for a sunny weekend day to take pics. I have gotten a bit more organized by PDF’ing the product page and saving the product images whenever I buy something online (or find something I bought in store online).
  • Research your market: In order to search completed auctions, you need an eBay account. See if your brand is popular, or your item. Not everything is.
  • Auction title: They allow more characters in the auction title now. Take advantage of it! What would people who are looking for your item search for?
  • Perseverance. The eBay demand ebbs and flows and sometimes I have to post items a few times before someone bites. Not that I mind because typically posting is free.
  • Shipping: If you’re waiting in line somewhere, you’re being inefficient. You can pay for postage and print the shipping label online. I usually use USPS Priority Mail and sometimes UPS. The USPS PM gives you free boxes and pickups!
  • Customer service: My target audience is female and they can be annoying. I don’t answer all questions… or sell to everyone.
  • International shipping: I sell to many countries. You widen your audience by going international, but be smart about it. Ship via trackable methods. For major ones (like Canada, Australia, Japan, UK, Germany…), I use USPS Priority Mail. For ones I’m not sure about or have a high rate of theft (like Russia), I use USPS Express Mail. Don’t feel bad in passing the costs on to the buyer. And don’t underreport customs if they ask you!
  • Seller protection: Anything over $250 should include signature confirmation. Everything should include tracking.
  • Craigslist: Don’t forget about CL but you have to use it for the right item. Apparel is hard to sell on there. Other things, not so much. I recently bought a designer suitcase for 80% and promptly regretted it. It was too late to cancel the order. I posted it on eBay and CL – while the eBay auction was proceeding, I found a local buyer, so I ended the auction.

Your junk is someone else’s treasure! I read some fashion blogs that favor independent fashion designers and they’ve been talking about downsizing/curating the perfect wardrobe. I’m still far from it, but it makes me think twice on how much I want to keep after a crazy sale at a fast fashion retailer (I’m a big returner). A $5 top is only a bargain if you actually wear it. I’m also a Forever 21 addict and have also had luck selling stuff I forgot to return – there really is a market for everything on eBay.

One thought on “to shop / downsizing my closet”

  1. I want to shop your closet! Hurry up and get your inventory under control :) If you keep up for another year, I really will call an intervention…

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