Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thrift audit: February/March report card

This is part of a series of posts pulling back the veil on my process for buying and selling secondhand clothes: 

Now that March is at an end (thank god, let it be April already!), I figured I would look back on these "thrift audit" posts and see how I'm doing, in general.



First, let's talk about what my goals are:

Buy low. My No. 1 goal is to make sure I don't spend too much money thrifting. It's easy to get carried away when the individual items you're buying are cheap, but things can add up fast.

Spend money to make money. The reason I line up outside the Salvation Army every Monday morning isn't just because I enjoy shopping (although, let's be honest here, I do). It's because I am looking for things to buy that I can re-sell for a profit.

Have a plan. I should have a clear goal in mind for every item I buy — whether it's resale, or adding to my own wardrobe. (Hey, I'm not made of stone.)

Do my homework. This means not only inspecting the items I buy for stains, rips or other flaws, but also being thoughtful about what I'm buying. I need to be really sure something is vintage before I can buy it for my Etsy store. I need to know exactly which contemporary brands have resale potential, and which ones don't (still definitely working on this one). And if I'm buying for myself, I should maybe TRY THINGS ON every now and then (this is my biggest weakness, boo).

So how did I do on each of these goals?

Buy low: A.



I can't fault myself here. My total spending for February and March was pretty reasonable considering what I got for my money. A few months ago, I tried to set a standard of not paying more than $1 for anything I plan to re-sell, unless it's extraordinary, and I have been doing a good job of sticking to that guideline, for the most part.

Spend money to make money: B-.


Getting my Etsy shop to up over 100 listings has definitely made a difference — I've been psyched to see some of my latest purchases sell right away. But I have made some bad buys, too, so I'm not letting myself off the hook for that just yet.

Have a plan: C.


Sure, I go in there every time with the intention of buying things that are clearly earmarked for re-sale, but these thrift audits have opened my eyes to the fact that I let myself take home WAY too many other things along the way. I've bought far too many things these past two months that were question marks — "Maybe I'll sell it, maybe I'll keep it." This is no good. I've been using my own closet as a dumping ground for anything that doesn't make the re-sale cut, and it needs to stop.

Do my homework: B+.


I've definitely been passing up more so-so items, which I feel good about. My mantra has been, "Is it good, or just good enough?" And if it's the latter, I put it back. That being said: I need to have a better strategy going forward for non-vintage purchases, as I have a few weird items kicking around now that I'm just not sure what to do with, sigh.

Overall, I feel like I'm on a pretty good path right now — I just need to exercise a little more discipline, especially as we get into the season of rummage sales, where everything is so insanely cheap that I tend to just go nuts.

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