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Cash in your Closet

Your overstuffed wardrobe could be a big money spinner, so say these garage sale junkies.

fashion and trends Updated: Apr 29, 2011 12:38 IST
Rochelle Pinto

There never was a better time to clean out your closet. Judging by the recent frenzy, city’s shoppers are going gaga over garage sales, with one benefiting the Hamara Footpath charity launching today at Bandra’s popular eatery, Candies. While you may have complained about hand-me-downs as a kid, it seems scoring a T-shirt from someone else’s closet is no longer considered a taboo.

Bargain hunting
“People in Mumbai are always looking for good deals,” explains Shubhangi Swarup, one of the brains behind today’s garage sale. “Even clothes on Hill Road and Fashion Street are stained or have exposed threads, so people don’t mind buying if the quality is good.” Another garage sale organiser, Dhruvi Shah of the blog Alicewandering, puts another spin to it.

“People have begun associating garage sales with vintage shopping, which is really popular abroad. You might be able to find something that’s no longer available, or has a story attached to it, or perhaps was worn by somebody famous,” she says.

While both agree that there is still some hesitation, especially among older shoppers, a well-curated collection usually wins them over. “We tell them to try the clothes on and buy them only if they feel the quality is worth it,” explains Shah. Swarup emphasises the importance of curating the collection, saying, “Be ruthless in your selection. We usually reject most of the clothes that are donated. You should only put something on sale if you would wear it yourself.”

Beginner’s guide to garage sales
We asked experts to put together a fool-proof manual on how to host your own garage sale.

Clean your wardrobe - That’s where you’ll find stuff that you haven’t seen or worn in years. If you haven’t worn it in the past year, chances are you won’t ever. Tell yourself that someone else will use it.

Get together with your friends and clean out their closets, looking for stuff that they haven’t worn. Pick a theme for your sale, which will help you curate the clothes you want to sell.

Approach venues that you think might be interested. Restaurants and cafes are good locations to start. They have the place and lend credibility to the event.

Photograph the best of what you have to offer to publicise the event. Use word-of-mouth, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, email friends, write to newspapers and inform city-based blogs and websites.

Prepare an inventory of your items. This will be very important on the day of the sale when different people are asking about prices and origin of the garments. It should include description of the item, it’s condition, the price you want to sell it at and a code to separate items according to who donated them, which will help split profits.

Stagger your offerings by putting a few of the best garments up at intervals to keep interests piqued. If sales are slow in the beginning, add more good items so that you attract attention.

Once you’re nearing the end of the sale, offer items on discount, which can help get rid of the last few items.

Good salesmanship and adding a personal touch helps. Offer shoppers styling advice, something they may not receive in a store.