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Cash not trash: How to get rid of old clothes in Shanghai
Online sales, consignment shops and charity donations are great ways to get the best value from your old clothes, and save on closet space
For some people, spring might only mean nice weather, but for Shanghai fashionistas, it means a whole new wardrobe of possibilities -- and the space needed to hang them.
Although getting rid of old clothes can be as easy as grabbing a trash bag, that doesn't give them much of a life afterwards. Problem is, in Shanghai, finding old clothes a new home is easier said than done. Luckily, new shops and websites have sprung up in the last few years to help.
Donating clothes -- to those in need, or to anyone who likes second-hand gear -- is one of the most common ways to pass-off old ensembles. But, how do you find the right people?
The Baidu charity forum allows people looking for second-hand items to post their information and address.
To send off your old garments, simply bring them in a box to the post office, where they’ll check, seal and send them off. Where you send your goods is up to you. Simply pick a name and address off the forum and pay for shipping.
If you’d rather be sure that your donation goes to those in need, River of Hearts, a charity program run by Community Center Shanghai, provides drop-off locations around the city and donates old clothes to poor families across China. You can find drop-off point addresses here.
The best clothes to donate are thick jackets, practical suits and loose pants. Leave the delicate garments to other closet-cleaning options.
2. Online flea markets
Although donation is good for some clothes, trendier pieces are usually better for the auction block than charity boxes, and a number of consumer-to-consumer auction and sales website have recently popped up to help bring together those with clothes and cash to spare.
The best sites around are EnjoyShanghai, Baixing.com, Flea Market Net and Ganji.com. They all have sections for second-hand clothing deals, where you can mark if you want to auction the item or sell it. (EnjoyShanghai is the only one without the auction function.)
The process is simple: upload photos of the items, choose the auction option or set the prices and wait for the right buyer to come along.
Most websites will also ask you to also upload additional details including brands and the item's general condition.
Don’t expect to make a fortune out of this. Most people on these sites are trolling for deals, but all three companies have huge followings so rarely do things sit on the sites for long.
3. Name-brand consignment shops
If the clothes you're trying to get rid of have names like “Dior” and “Miu Miu” attached to them, and you don’t want to try your hand on auction sites, there is a host of new vintage and consignment stores willing help.
Most of the stores in the market for vintage name-brand good specialize, so one store might only want your limited-edition LV bag, while another might take a dress or jewelry.
Most local vintage shops will buy your items straight out, but usually not for top dollar, while consignment shops will re-sell the item for you, and you’ll split the profits.
Both Milan Station (26 Xinle Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, +86 21 5403 3136) and William the Beekeeper (84 Fenyang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu 汾阳路84号, 近复兴中路, +86 138 1809 3796) have popular consignment sections for women’s wear.
Idle Fashion Store Research Center has both online and physical vintage stores that buy men’s clothing as well as women’s accessories.