Tips for Selling Gently-Used Clothing Online
So you have a closet full of clothes, and not a thing to wear….
Instead of lamenting your lack of luxury labels, why don’t you make that little black dress work for you? I mean, by sorting out what you don’t wear today and selling it through online consignment.
If you are looking to declutter, reduce living space, or pursue tiny living, this may be a great option for you.
If you need some extra side cash, and are looking for ways to minimize your spending, this may definitely be for you.
Think back – into the deepest recesses of your closet.
Do you have great items of clothing sitting around, but just don’t have a use for them anymore?
If you have like-new or gently used clothing, especially top brands or designer names, you can make some decent side cash with this option.
Keep in mind though — you won’t make back what you paid for these items.
But if you have no plans to wear or use them anymore, why keep them hanging in your closet gathering dust?
Reasons to sell used clothing through online consignment
- You’re not wearing these clothes anymore
- Someone else could enjoy wearing them
- They’re in great condition, so you can make money by selling used clothing
- Name brand and designer items can be resold to buyers who normally may not be able to afford the brand new prices
- You’re recycling, therefore contributing to environmental causes
Things to remember
- Read the website guidelines for acceptable clothing — type, gender, sizes, brands, condition. And then re-read the guidelines, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Collect all items of clothing you plan to sell online, and evaluate against those guidelines.
- Make sure all clothing is freshly laundered, free of stains, pet hair and odors. Dog and cat lovers — it’s always a good idea to run over each item with a lint brush.
- Fully examine every item, checking for snags, tears, holes or pilling. While some amount of wear is acceptable, you don’t want to submit it in unusable condition.
- Take an inventory of everything you are mailing in, possibly even keeping a photo record of each item.
- Fold clothing neatly and place into box or bag suitable for sending to online store.
- Attach pre-paid shipping label and drop off at the nearest package shipment location (or submit a request to have it picked up at your location).
How much money can you make?
Well, it all depends on the following:
- The Numbers – How many items you send in will directly correlate to the amount of potential income. BUT — keep in mind that some companies track your acceptance/rejection rate. They examine your incoming items, and score you on the % that are of acceptable quality, vs. items that they rate as “unsellable”. Some companies may even charge you a fee for having too high of a rejection rating.
- The Condition – Clothing that is in new or like-new condition will yield the highest payout. You’ll first need to make it past the company’s quality control group, to even get accepted for resale. If your items are not up to snuff, then you won’t even get the chance for potential buyers to look at them. To give yourself the best shot at making a sale, be sure to examine all clothing for stains, rips, pilling and other wear and tear.
- The Branding – Designer and popular/trendy brands will make the most money, and will sell quicker. Designer and luxury items are always in demand. Just make sure you do your homework, to get the biggest bang for your buck. Educate yourself on what these items are selling for elsewhere, before letting these babies slip through your fingers for a song. If possible, sign up for the additional return service, just in case your item is marked as unacceptable. Maybe they can’t sell it for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to sell used clothing on your own, in a personal listing (like eBay, Craigslist, Let It Go, etc.)
- The Season – Selling used clothing online is seasonal — you won’t be selling many bathing suits in December, or leather jackets in July. Follow the lead of what your favorite stores are offering right now. If they’re gearing up for the next season, then those are the types of items you should be sending in as well.
- Accepts new and pre-owned clothing, as well as kids’ toys and games.
- Incoming items will be reviewed for acceptance & evaluated to determine a listing price
- If items aren’t accepted, you can either pay to have them shipped back, or have them donated to charity
- Each incoming shipment is subject to a flat fee of $11.90, which is subtracted from whatever proceeds you make from selling those items. Because of this, you should try to get as many high-quality items into that shipment as you possibly can. (Incoming boxes need to be less than 50 lbs.)
- Also keep in mind that you can receive payment either through PayPal, or as Swap.com credit. If you choose store credit, you’ll get roughly 10% more than what you’ll receive in straight cash.
My earnings: $234.67
Items Sold: 31
First Box Rejection Rate: 32%
Second Box Rejection Rate: 0%
Third Box Rejection Rate: 5% (1 item rejected for having an “odor” — not sure what that was all about, since everything was laundered and shipped together…)
(*Note: I worked super-hard to ensure my rejection rate improved for my second box. I took my learnings from box #1 and tried to make box #2 even better. And it looks like it paid off!)
- Accepts women’s and kids’ clothing (including shoes) that are Defect-Free, On-Trend, and a Top Brand name. They are currently not accepting men’s clothes.
- They only accept clothes from specific brands. Their brands list is on the site here: Brand List
- Offers Return Assurance for $10.99, where any items they don’t accept will be returned to you. You have to request this service before they receive your incoming shipment. (You can’t just wait to see how the evaluation turns out, and then request the items back.)
My earnings: $43.90
Items Sent: 6, Items Sold: 5, Items Rejected: 1
I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention eBay as an option for online consignment. After all, eBay is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. You can literally find anything you’re looking for on eBay. So the same would ring true if you are looking to sell used clothing — there could be any number of potential buyers, across the globe.
eBay has a Seller Central that’s chock full of tips and tricks on how to get started as a seller. I can tell you I do have experience with selling on eBay, but not specifically for clothing, and I haven’t done this in several years. Previously, I have sold used books, CDs, VHS tapes and costume jewelry. (Yes, this was quite some time ago, when people were still buying movies on video tape!)
If you have great items in your closet that you’re no longer wearing, selling these clothes online would be a great way to make some extra cash.
Just remember: They need to be defect-free, clean, on trend, and in-season. They should also preferably be from a popular brand.
Track what you send in, and if you really think you might want some items back (if rejected), make sure you pay the extra fees up front. As an alternative, you can choose to have those items donated to charity.
Has anyone tried out the online consignment side jam? What kinds of experiences have you had with these online services? Any other tips/suggestions –
Feel free to hit me up with some comments.
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.