MAY 16, 2024

Have you ever looked in your, or a family member’s, closet, garage, or storage area and thought you might run screaming into the street if you must sort, store, or move those items again? You are not alone. According to a Harvard Business Review published in December 2023, in 2021 the research and consulting firm Global Data estimated that each U.S. household holds on to a trove of potentially reusable goods worth $4,517, on average—and a similar pattern holds internationally. How much furniture, computers, cables, books, clothing items, and dare I mention my flaw, purses do you have hidden away? Why do we hold on to these items? Sometimes to the point where all value is lost. For some, it is an emotional attachment, or the mountain is too overwhelming to face. Then, of course, there are the various monetary aspects. We are capitalists. Items are tangible representations of our memories, emotions, and status. Whatever your reason, there is a solution for you and chances are you drive right past it every day!

Consignment. The process of allowing a connected reputable dealer to resale your goods, based on fair market value for a split of the proceeds. Hang on! Don’t turn the page yet! Consignment and thrifting do not hold the stigma they did for your grandparents. It is no longer just for those struggling to get by, rummaging through smelly bins and racks in sketchy rundown buildings. Consignment stores today are as varied as any other form of retail establishment. From local brick-and-mortar to entirely we-based and extremely clear-organized boutiques that only take certain items to those that take items from furniture to children’s clothing. Each offers different services, a level of attention to your goods, and varying levels of turnaround, so make certain to ask questions to find the best one for you. You are probably saying, “Great! But how does this lower the cost of my eggs and milk?” It is all about the resources. 

If you shop for consignment or utilize it to sell your items, you give them a second life. You are doing so much more than collecting some cash you are helping someone on a restricted budget look nice, get a better job, or just feel good about themselves. Consignments help to protect the environment, democratize luxury goods, and most importantly bring down inflation. 

We are all being strangled by the increased prices of everything from a McDonald’s Big Mac to eggs, gas, and interest rates. As a shopper, you are utilizing one of the only retail spaces that are minimally impacted by the inflationary prices you see currently from the gas pump to the grocery. For example, a Michael Kors purse that is $398 at Dillard’s will typically enter the resale market for %65% to 50 of that cost as a new with tag item. When you buy better quality and longer-lasting items at a reduced cost you stop the influx of questionably sourced, cheaply made, possibly hazardous, items. This fast fashion takes up space in landfills, never breaking down, possibly releasing toxic gases as it is exposed, ultimately causing more environmental harm and requiring more land to be turned into landfills. Ultimately, you are reducing manufacturing pressure and the demand for new production slows, reducing resource and energy demand from already over-stretched sources. Shopping upscale consignments helps to control unwanted foreign influence and pressure on companies that have traditionally shared a symbiotic relationship with the United States. When pre-loved items are given a second life there is a whole ecosphere around you affected.

Before you think I am just some dealer trying to make a fast buck or conspiracy theorist and run away, look at the following. What do Coach, Levi, Dicks, Apple, Nike, and Gucci have in common?  The reclaiming, refurbishing, and resale of their goods are not as new but rather as preloved.  In 2021 a new global report by a market research firm GlobalData showed that the secondhand clothing market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail. True, corporations are capitalist by nature, but they became the behemoths of their arenas because they saw the future and its needs and then adapted to meet them. Right now, that direction is in protecting resources that represent their brands’ expected quality while preserving their cost basis. These companies along with many others are doing this via the reclaiming, repurposing, and resale of their once discarded goods to a wider variety of socio-economic levels with an eye on the protection and renewal of our increasingly more precarious resources. 

I could talk about the memories and other emotions we connect to items. Maybe another day I will share some of the stories I have heard as items have come into my shop.  I could talk to you about how to be a good person you should do x, y, or z. However, I believe that is a “you” decision. Instead, in an age where we have deep fake news, and misguided reporting I choose to give you facts, insight, and awareness knowing that at the end of the day, every one of you realizes that we are on this boat of life together and we only get one chance to try and keep it afloat. It is simple, reduce, recycle, reuse. Consign, helps your budget, the environment, and the economy. Then, keep making the world great again.