Ask The Cheaping Girls: Plato's Closet

Today's question comes from one of our readers:

"I have been a regular reader of your blog since the last month and I must say its really fun to read all your good deal finds and your tips. I was wondering what Plato's closet was all about since I am new to that concept. How do you know how much to sell your stuff for and what kind of stuff do they buy ??? If you have any tips then please pass them on. I would love to hear about it."

Mom and Janaan have been hot on Plato's Closet for a while. I was actually pretty late to the game. It all started with these 2007 Prada Vernice Sfumata Mary Janes (OH HELLO LOVER!!):

These were ALL OVER the September 2007 issue of Vogue and I was instantly smitten. And by smitten I mean I HAD to have them. I tore out the pictures and spent the month of September searching. I went to every department store, I laughed, I cried, I begged, I bargained, I batted my eyes and they were NOWHERE to be found. Sniff! Sniff!

Then in October, I went to San Francisco for work. My friend Estelle and I went shopping and decided to check out the new Barney's New York (it had opened in late September). Oh, did I mention that I wasn't supposed to be spending any money on this trip?

So, I walk into the GORGEOUS GORGEOUS (GORGEOUS!!) Barney's and that feeling of Barney's awe and delight just washed over me (have I mentioned that Barney's is my favorite department store?). I turned to Estelle and said 'I'm looking for these Prada shoes. I'm NOT supposed to be spending any money. BUT, if they have them here and if they have my size, I'm going to get them, because it's meant to be.' OH YEAH, I was feeling BOLD, mostly because I didn't think that they would be there.

But they had them! And they had them in my size! And when I put them on and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw and, well, I bought them. I absolutely LOVE these shoes and wear them frequently. BUT at the time I was in a total shame spiral for buying them.

When I was putting them away in my closet I noticed the three giant IKEA bags (yeah, the blue ones) full of clothes that I didn't want anymore. And that put me into an even deeper shame spiral of spending. And then I remembered Mom and Janaan talking about Plato's closet and I thought, what the heck? And yada yada yada, 2 hours later I had $250 and the peace of mind that I really got those shoes for 50% off! That's how it works, right?

So here's the scoop on Plato's Closet. They are a used clothing and accessories store that targets the teenage market. They buy jewelry, shoes, bags, and clothes and specifically look for brand names and styles that appeal to the teen set when they buy used clothes from you (i.e. Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21, Seven Jeans, etc.). You go in, drop off your pile of used clothes/accessories, they pick through the pile and decide what they're going to buy, make you an offer, and if you take it, they give you cold hard cash. P.S. You can't leave the store during this whole process.

I've added some handy links below for your reference - where to find Plato's, what they're looking for, how it works, etc. From our own experience we've found the following:

  • Go to sell your stuff in the middle of the day on a weekday if at all possible. If not, be prepared to wait for quite a while in the sellers queue.
  • They are random about what they buy. They won't buy stuff we think is cute and they will buy stuff we think is not so cute. It's a crap shoot every time.
  • While there is a little room for interpretation by their employees, they have some corporate mandated rules about what they can/cannot buy. One time I was selling clothes and they had a mandate not to buy any bubble skirts. And I totally had two totally cute bubble skirts in my pile.
  • They seem to be buying up all of our jewelry and accessories. So needless to say we've all cleaned out our jewelry boxes. Same 'teen' rule applies here in terms of brands and styles.
  • Remember that teens are their market. Most of the time when my stuff is rejected it's because it looks too 'mature'. Sniff. Sniff.
  • While you wait for them to pick through your stuff and decide what they're buying, check out the designer jean racks. They usually have great stuff at low low prices.

Happy Selling...and Buying!








zobars said...

wow Natalie,
I did not expect you to answer my question so promptly. I am really thankful for all the info you have given me and other bloggers. I want to sell too now. I have some jeans that I need to get rid off. Hopefully I get some money from it. Thanks a bunch. Love your blog.