If your closet is bursting at the seams with clothing you've barely worn, turn your clutter into cash--and make room for that next purchase you can't live without--by selling your clothes online or at resale stores.
- Skill level:
Things you need
Clean out your closet. Toss worn-out or stained clothes in the ragbag. Pull out clothes, shoes and accessories that are in good shape, still in fashion and will be in season for the next few months. Sort kids' clothes by size and gender.
Clean and iron the clothes. All stores want clothes that look as new as possible; many require you to bring them on hangers.
Visit resale stores that sell clothes similar to yours and browse the racks to become familiar with what they carry. Ask what they're looking for and about their buying policies. For example, some stores that sell jeans are interested in only Levi's 501s; other stores want only designer kids' clothes. Don't waste your time trying to sell to the wrong store.
Consider a consignment store for selling gently worn designer label clothes that are two seasons to two years old. Consignment shops usually display clothes for 30 to 90 days (often with periodic markdowns). You are paid a portion of the sales price (usually 40 to 50 percent, excluding tax) for any items that sell. Some consignment stores have two seasons--spring/summer and fall/winter--so batch your clothes accordingly.
Find out what hours a buyer will be on the job. If necessary, make an appointment to take in your clothes. Check to see if there is a maximum number of garments that you can bring in.
Hold on to your receipt, and contact the shop when the consignment period is over. Most stores will mail you a check for any items that sold. If you don't pick up your unsold clothes promptly, they may be donated to charity.
Walk away with cash--or more clothes--by selling casual styles to second-hand shops. They normally pay about 30 to 40 percent of the price that they intend to charge for your items--more if you take store credit instead.
Be your own retailer by selling your clothes, especially designer or vintage items, on your own Web site or auction sites like eBay.com. To get top dollar, write clear, accurate descriptions, give specific dimensions and include quality color photos.
Tips and warnings
- Donate your unsold clothing to a local charity that collects used clothing. Get a receipt for tax purposes.
- Think a season ahead or target the very beginning of seasons with weather sensitive items such as winter coats and boots, and shorts and sandals.
- Listen when buyers explain why they don't take certain clothes or what else they're looking for. And don't take it personally if a store passes on your clothes or your items don't sell on consignment.