Things to Do

Turn Closet Cleaning into Spending Money

How can you make room for new clothes and get money to buy them all at the same time? Try your luck at a local consignment shop.

Instead of shoving trash bags full of old clothes into the nearest donation dumpster, I recently took some of my used items to Secondi, a consignment boutique in Dupont Circle (1702 Connecticut Ave., NW, second floor). Secondi sells only contemporary women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry. For details about which clothing labels they prefer and which they don’t accept, check out the handy list on the store’s website.

Read below for more tips on selling to Secondi.First-time consigners must set up an appointment by calling Secondi at 202-667-1122, then take in no more than 20 in-season items to be sold. The clothes must be neatly folded or on hangers and, above all, clean. Don’t try to sneak that blouse with the coffee stain on the front past the staff. And be warned: the staff are picky. While I was in the shop, another woman brought an armful of nice suits, jackets and dresses, all freshly cleaned and covered in dry-cleaning bags.  The Secondi staff took a swift look and told her they were going to pass on all of her items.   They appeared to be too conservative and out-of-date.

Secondi’s sales associates will comb through your clothing and let you know what they think will sell and what won’t. If the shop accepts your items, they will be put on sale that day. The items they won’t buy, they’ll offer to donate, even providing a handy tax form.

Consigners receive 50 percent of the amount the item sells for. Items under $20 stay on the floor only one month; everything else remains for three, getting marked down 20 percent each month it doesn’t sell.

My visit to Secondi has proven successful so far. I took several tops, two dresses, a pair of designer jeans, a clutch purse, and a barely worn pair of Puma sneakers. As of last week, Secondi had sold eight of the items—and I just received a check totaling $114. The store still has 12 of my things on the selling floor, so I’ll check back later this month for an update on my sales.