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Sensi Magazine

Thrifting Your Stuff

Mar 31, 2019 06:14PM ● By Leland Rucker
We all have stuff. Things we had when we were kids are fondly remembered and sought after as we age. My house is bursting with hoarded life detritus, and I sometimes wonder why I still have so much of it and why it’s so hard to get rid of.

There are plenty of reasons for the accumulation. The tiny footstool my toes rest on is the very same one that I played with as a child at my uncle’s house, one of my earliest memories. I have books of post cards I once collected. I started with baseball cards back in the 1950s, graduated to singles and vinyl records in the 1960s, and have gone through all sorts of obsessions since then: books on bears, wolves, and elephants; songbooks and sheet music; CDs and now mp3s.

But when and how to get rid of that stuff can be a tough decision. I stewed on it a couple of years before unloading my vinyl records, and finally sold the collection I had been building since 1962, about 3,000 LPs strong. Though I loved everything about vinyl and was proud of the collection’s depth, as I started to accumulate mp3s and .wav files, I found less use for them. Finally, I was digging out the fading vinyl covers while listening to the digital recordings. I thought selling them would be devastating. It was liberating.

“Too much stuff, there’s just too much stuff. It’ll hang you up dealing with too much stuff.”
–Delbert McClinton, “Too Much Stuff”

So you need money and you have a full closet. You would like more of the first and less in the second. How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of? How much do you want to get from your possessions? How can you know which things are worth something and which things are worthless?

Take the closet. First thing to ask yourself is when was the last time you wore that shirt, or coat, or pair of sneakers? When do you expect to wear it next? The lengthier the answer, the more reason to get rid of it. (For the record, I have two sweaters from high school that, though they are too small and I will never wear again, I just can’t seem to throw away.)

The next thing is to find out what people are buying and selling and for how much, and the best way is to frequent thrift and bargain shops. Then cross-check your own stuff and see what you have that might be worth something to-day. Besides, just looking around, there’s always a chance that you find something you have been seeking that costs $100 brand-new for less than a third of the price, and that’s a good feeling to know. Things go in and out of style, and you have to know when to sell and when to hold.

Fortunately, Denver has thrift shops everywhere. A quick look in the search engine brings up dozens of places that sell things on consignment. Each is unique, which is why you have to get out there and spend some time. The easiest might be Buffalo Exchange, a national chain with two locations in Denver and one on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.

All are quick and easiest to negotiate. The Exchange offers quick and easy cash, but it’s pennies on the dollar compared to what you could get by getting more involved.

Plum Consignment (2373 Central Park Blvd. #106) advertises itself as a clothing curator that offers nearly new, mint-condition, “Banana Republic or better” clothing for women and children, including items from Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Regal Vintage (1866 S. Broadway), on the other hand, is stocked with vintage clothing, collectibles, and children’s toy dating all the way back to the 1920s. This is where you’re more likely to find that old Ramones or Born in the USA t-shirt. And the South Broadway area is a mecca for second-hand stores if you do just a little sight exploring. You don’t even need GPS.

And for many of us, it’s just as good to donate our used stuff to those less fortunate before we start over. All of the proceeds gathered by Peak Thrift (4890 Pecos St.) go towards its mission of helping homeless youth get back on their feet, and there are numerous Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army outlets whose profits are funneled back to the community. It can feel good knowing someone else is proudly wearing something you once proudly wore.

In the long run, no matter what you decide, ultimately, you’re going to get what you put into it. So get started, and happy thrifting.

The Online Option
Online peer-to-peer resale sites are another option if you want to get the prices you want for your clothes or paraphernalia. All are more time-intensive than consigning your stuff. Here you’re in charge of posting and sending the items you want to sell. Overall, they’re likely to get you higher prices, but they also take more effort on your part.

eBay once owned this market, but new platforms and apps are coming online every day. Today’s competitors include Poshmark, Depop, Heroine, and Instagram’s @noihsaf.bazaar. When you read the dozens of pros/cons reviews on each, remember that the most important thing is that they work for you, so do some serious research before you jump into anything.