Corri McFadden, owner of eDrop-Off in Chicago and star of VH1's "House Of Consignment," knows a thing or two about getting a pile of cash from your overstuffed closet. In fact, she's built an entire brand around the concept, going into clients' wardrobes, helping them clean and coming out with loads of designer duds to sell on eBay, which then results in her getting a cut of the seller's profit. As McFadden put it when we sat down with her last week, "this is a service everyone needs, they may just not know it yet." She continued, "I did the reality show not because I was going to flip a table or anything, but to show that we're more than just a consignment service, we're a friend and a voice of reason, someone who is there to help you through the process of cleaning out your closet and getting rid of the things you may have some sort of emotional attachment to."
And that can be a tough job to say the least -- we've all got items that we keep but never wear anymore, so why not cash that in for something brand new and of the current season? It seems like an easy task but it's one that really takes a lot of care and effort. Luckily, McFadden offered up some of her best tips for purging your closet and getting the most cash for what you plan to get rid of:
1. Tackle your closet in phases: "You don't want to overwhelm yourself. You have to be able to wrap your head around the process, so divide and conquer. Start with sweaters, start with with shoes, go through outerwear, maybe do it in afternoons or take one month and divide it up accordingly. If you try to do it all at once, you'll end up with a huge, messy pile on the floor and end up shoving it all under the bed."
2. Edit your closet each time you clean: "The thing is, out of sight, out of mind -- if you pull out your sweaters out next winter and you've already edited them, you will have forgotten about the old ones since you've already gotten rid of them and they haven't just piled up. If you leave everything and don't get rid of pieces each season, they'll go right back into your closet and take up space. Make sure you are ready to do the clean out and in an honest place so you will actually go through with the act of letting go."
3. Take the time to try things on: "Ask yourself, 'when's the last time I wore this?' 'Does it still fit?' If the answer is 'two years ago,' or 'no it doesn't' then get rid of it because if you're not wearing it now, you aren't going to wear it next season either or the season after that. Get a check for the old and spend it on the new."
4. Make sure all of your hangers are the same and all of the components of a particular piece are together: "It will increase the value of the item at resale. If you've got an Equipment top that comes with a silk belt and you put the belt somewhere else in your closet and can't find it when you want to bring it in to sell, it's not going to be worth as much."
5. Hold on to all of your sleepers, shoe boxes, receipts: "It's hard to find the space for them but if you can do it, you will really get the most money out of what you bring in. It makes the sale complete and makes it feel like it just came off the store shelves."
6. Really value the item you are going to get rid of and sell: "Ask is it worth the time, effort and money to get tailored or dry cleaned. I always tell people to just let it go, don't invest in anything you aren't going to wear because the person on the receiving end will make all the corrections and alterations they want once they buy online. Invest money where it makes sense -- if you've got a Chanel jacket that smells like Chanel 'Chance,' then maybe get that dry cleaned so it doesn't have the odor with it."
As you can see, McFadden is an expert on consigning, and as she told us, "nothing surprises me anymore. You can bring in anything, have any hoarding problem and I think after eight years of running this business, I've figured out how to solve it for you and help you just let it go."
On top of her expertise and impressive business savvy, McFadden's favorite part of the job is listening to the tales behind the items on the eBay auction block. Like the woman who once brought in a beautiful, unlined Roberto Cavalli bag straight off the runway. McFadden told us, "the client once took care of Cavalli when he had one too many cocktails at one of his crazy parties, and he gifted her the bag the next day as a thank you." She continued with a laugh, "I ended up buying it for myself because it was too beautiful and had too great of a story behind it to pass up."
This spring, as you keep McFadden's tips in mind, take some time to clean out the items from your closet and not just the high-ticket pieces. Corri assured us that they accept any price-point really, from Hermés handbags to pants from Zara.
Are you inspired to make some money off your old clothes? Tell us how you'll purge your wardrobe this season, what items are you dying to get rid of and which ones you're just too attached to let go?