While grabbing a pair of jeans packed tightly in a drawer one morning, a tall stack of shoe boxes and carefully folded knitwear topples to the ground. Nike sneakers, Balenciaga boots, Manolos and sweaters are all over the place. I have a problem.
Before I worked at The RealReal, my experience with luxury consignment was hovering around zero. I’d sold thrifted vintage at Wasteland on Haight Street, pawned off fast fashion purchases at Crossroads and donated the rest to Goodwill. But I’d never parted with the luxe bread and butter of my wardrobe. I’m picky but shop often, which leads to an overflow of beautiful pieces that fail to reach a reasonable cost-per-wear.
As a notorious shopper and borderline hoarder, I long ignored the buzz surrounding Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but after doing a little research I see the appeal. The KonMari method is rooted in Shinto tradition — Kondo’s respect for each item stems from her time as a miko or Shinto shrine maiden, a caretaker who helps with rituals and maintaining a shrine’s grounds. Shinto spirits called kami are believed to exist in humans, nature and inanimate objects, which is why Kondo shows such regard for others’ homes and items in her Netflix show. Kondo treats every residence she enters as a sacred space and essentially addresses the kami of belongings.
The more I read about her method, the more inclined I am to adopt Kondo’s reverence for things and approach to cleaning. After the falling shoe incident, I vow to consign anything I no longer love or haven’t worn in the last six months and respect the pieces I own. I give myself a month to commit myself to tidying up (rule #1) and Kondo my wardrobe into shape.
March 4th: When I get home from work, I take the first step and start sorting. Per Kondo’s rule #4 — tidy by category, not by location — I start with clothing. A Stella McCartney pullover that I haven’t worn in forever sticks out from my barrage of sweaters. It fits more like a dress and even though I love the hawk motif on the front, I can consign it, get a $100 credit to shop at Stella McCartney and buy a pair of neon yellow and white Stella McCartney Eclypse sneakers I’ve been eyeing (and will wear daily). I take the plunge, consign my sweater via mail the next day and wait for my $100 Stella McCartney credit to arrive. No regrets.
March 8th: Despite the fact that I haven’t made much progress in cleaning, I get the itch to shop and take a trip to the mall. I spot a Dior Oblique Saddle cardholder and fall hard. It’s reasonably priced (compared to Saddle bags and Book totes, that is) but it’s so trendy and I’m worried that I’ll be over it before long. I do some research and it seems like it has a high resale value, in case I want to buy and consign in the future. I make a mental note, but don’t cave.
March 15th: My site credit commission payment comes in from an item selling last month — a painfully oversized fox fur coat I picked up at the height of my ‘80s obsession but never wore (I swore off wearing fur shortly after I bought that coat). The extra 5% boost I get from choosing site credit gives me even more motivation to consign.
March 23rd: In the interest of sharing the life-changing magic of consignment, I host a “keep or consign” party with some friends who are as obsessed with shopping as I am. When they arrive, my entire studio apartment is an explosion of stuff. Bags overflowing with clothes, handbags and shoes are everywhere.
We begin to unpack. A pink Dior Lady Dior bag (consign). A pair of 2017 Fendi sock boots (consign). Those Chanel cap-toe slingbacks that were a street style requirement four years ago (consign). Frame Denim jeans with the tags still on (would be consign, but a friend grabs them for herself). An embellished Gucci belt (consign), and an equally flashy Gucci barrette (keep). A Cartier LOVE ring (everyone says keep, but my friend consigns).
A monogram-averse friend unearths a Louis Vuitton pouch from beneath a mountain of dresses. It was a gift and she doesn’t have any interest in keeping or consigning it. My keeping it defeats the point of a closet clean-out. I consign it on her behalf.
March 27th: Before an impromptu trip to Southern California, I realize that I’ve never been to The RealReal’s LA store. I pack two things to bring to the Melrose Luxury Consignment Office: my mom’s former Patek Philippe watch (which she suggests I trade in for credit, knowing my love of shopping) and a Dries Van Noten sweater. I schedule a watch trade-in appointment and a consignment drop-off, both free.
I meet with Valuations Manager Lauren Hunt and the watch trade-in appointment goes smoothly. Even though I won’t receive my site credit for a couple weeks, I peruse the racks at our LA store between appointments. I almost cry at the beauty of a lizard Céline box bag and try on some Phoebe Philo-era Céline sweaters and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC cowboy boots. I Obsess the pieces that fit so I can save them and shop when my site credit comes in.
At my drop-off appointment, I reconsign a Dries Van Noten sweater I bought on TRR. Since it’s accepted, I qualify for TRR’s in-store promotion — consign anything in-store and get $50 to shop on the spot. I’m still not trying to add too much to my wardrobe (especially since I have to fly back to San Francisco) but I use it on a heavenly Régime des Fleurs candle after a rigorous smell test of all the candles in the store. It smells like sandalwood and a little musky, which I love for a spring scent.
March 30th: The month is almost over and I feel like I haven’t Kondoed or consigned much. I need help. I’m able to book a last-minute White Glove appointment, and Molly McKenna, one of our Luxury Managers, visits me to help talk me through things.
I do my best to embrace rule #6 — ask yourself if it sparks joy. Molly and I decide that I can let go of a pair of black Manolo Blahniks I found on the site. I’ve only worn them twice, to a wedding and to last year’s holiday party, but the heels are five inches tall and more than a little painful for me (aka very little joy). I also say goodbye to a Saint Laurent wallet, some bright white Balenciaga boots (I’d ruin them in this city, anyway) and a pair of orange Proenza Schouler platform sandals. I haven’t used or worn any of them in at least six months.
April 15th: Once I receive my Stella McCartney credit, I treat myself to those Eclypse sneakers. My next commission payment also arrives, and due to a few quick and lucrative sales, I learn that I’ve skipped the Icon RealReal Rewards tier and have shot straight to VIP (hallelujah, a $100 site credit is coming my way!). This also means I now earn 70% commission when I consign. Better news — that Dior cardholder I wanted is on the site and in excellent condition. I buy it without a second thought. Even though I may not have it forever, it will have the potential to live on when I consign.