I don’t consider myself a sentimental person, but when Mercari’s chief stylist, Anna De Souza, came to my home to help me clean out my closet, I realized I’d been hanging on to a lot of unnecessary stuff. The peacock blue suede Christian Louboutins I ill-advisedly bought with my first real-job paycheck and haven’t worn in years. The backless white linen Reformation dress I wore to my bachelorette party and feel naked in now. The leggings I haven't worn in years (but somehow managed to hang onto even though I clean out my closet seasonally).
When Mercari, the app that helps you buy and sell practically anything quickly, initially reached out to help me slim down my wardrobe and put up items to sell, my first thought was that I didn’t really have anything I needed to part with. Clearly, I was wrong.
With De Souza’s help, I donated three trash bags worth of clothes and am now slowly working my way through three additional bags of things we found to sell. So far, I’ve made about $600 and not only has it been really easy, but it changed the way I think about my wardrobe. Here’s why.
1. The App Is Seriously Easy to Use
Over the years, I’ve used everything from eBay to Poshmark to sell unwanted purses, shoes and clothes, and felt like it was more work than it was worth what with the shipping and keeping an eye on things.
Lucky for me, Mercari is really intuitive. After downloading the app, you select the “Sell” button, snap some pics of whatever you want to get rid of, describe the item you’re hawking and the app pulls data to finish the rest of your listing. You get to set your price and you can even have shipping taken out of your cut of the sale and print the USPS shipping label at home. That means your mail carrier can just pick it up when they drop off your mail. No trips to the post office required.
De Souza coached me along as I put up six items and sold a Lululemon down running jacket for $90 within several hours. The Louboutins, which had been collecting dust in my closet for seven years, went for $300 and the Reformation dress sold for $80. The quick sales and easy listing process hooked me. But it’s not just the money that’s enticing, it’s also how it shifted my mindset around clothes.
2. It’s Helped Me Rethink Fashion Waste
It’s no secret that fast fashion has left us in a lurch. More and more consumers, including myself, are looking for ways to be thoughtful and sustainable about their purchases. Because of this, second-hand shopping has increased exponentially over the last year. As we looked through my things, it occurred to me that I was holding onto a lot of stuff I’d had for years, never worn anymore or worn and didn’t absolutely love. De Souza helped me realize that I could create a wardrobe with fewer, better things and even if I wasn’t sure about selling an item, I could put it up and see if it sells.
I’ll use my collection of black booties as an example. I have one pair of Dolce Vita heeled booties that aren’t comfortable and a flat pair of Karl Lagerfelds that I never wear. For some reason, I’ve been holding on to both, but I recently decided to sell each pair and purchase a new pair of Anine Bing ones I’ve had my eye on and will actually enjoy wearing.
I’ve enjoyed this process so much that for Christmas I even asked my in-laws to—gasp—buy me a used pair of the Fendi sunglasses from the app instead of new ones. The money I’ve made is now my shopping money, so I have a new one-out, one-in kind of policy.
If there’s a way to be less wasteful with purchases that also lines my pockets with some extra shopping money, then I’m definitely not opposed.