A couple of weeks ago I undertook a major closet cleaning out. My mom actually came over (hey, she could help, right?) and we went through practically everything I owned, piece by piece. I tried on everything and then divided it up into different piles. It was honestly a long, exhausting process… but I came away from it feeling GREAT.
Besides just having the happiness of having a more manageable closet, though, I learned that I could make quite a bit of money by selling some of my old clothes. Actually, I made over $100 ($116.80 to be exact) selling clothes I never wear. Not too shabby, huh? So if you're looking for some extra cash, here are my tips to making some money for your unwanted clothes!
1. Get an (HONEST) friend or family member to help you: Honestly, I couldn't have done the massive closet overhaul without my mami. When I tried things on, she would help me decide whether they looked as great as I thought or if I need to let it go. A few things--my "maybes"--she made me get rid of anyway. Then, when I actually went to sell the clothes, I took a friend with me for moral (and emotional) support as I bid a final farewell to some of my favorites.
2. Divide everything into four piles and get rid of anything you don't wear: This is actually something that I learned from one of Tim Gunn's books. When you're clearing out the closet, divide things into four piles: things you love that fit great, things that you need to get mended or altered, clothes that are still in good shape and can be donated or sold, and clothes that have seen the last light of day and (no matter how many sweet memories you have) need to be retired. This is ESPECIALLY where that friend or family member can help you judge. I actually had a fifth "maybe" pile and eventually most of those ended up into the last two piles. If it's a maybe, it's really a NO.
3. Donate the things that aren't stylish, cute or look very old: When you take a look at your "for sale or donation" pile, you have to really be judgemental with your old clothes. I know that you have a lot of attachment to them and think some of the pieces are super amazing (based on all the fun times you had with them), but a new person won't see what you see. Be honest and donate anything that's in relatively good condition but is a few seasons old, looks a bit too worn-for-the-wear or just isn't very stylish anymore (and maybe never was, but you loved it anyway). All of that stuff will make a great home to someone shopping at Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but won't make you any money.
4. When it comes to selling, quality, seasonality and brands matter most of all: Now, the stores I went to for selling my clothes are completely NYC-based (Beacon's Closet and Crossroads in Brooklyn) but here's what I learned from them anyway. First, call ahead! They will usually be able to tell you what they're looking for right now. For instance, Beacon's Closet was a bit too stocked with dresses, so they only bought one of mine. But they loved the jeans and tops that I brought, so that was a win for me. Second, make sure you know the store's style. Is it a consignment shop? Are they really into vintage or modern looks? Bring things that are appropriate so that you don't waste anyone's time. Third, they WILL inspect your clothes to make sure they are in great condition. Bringing in things that are seasonally appropriate (and therefore they can sell tomorrow) is very important. If you have anything at all that's a decent brand, they will most likely take it—but don't expect to see anywhere near as much in return as you spent on it.
I actually had a really good time getting rid of my old things. Of course I'll miss a few items but I know I'll only end up filling my closet with brand new things to love. I know it's hard to get rid of stuff (trust me, I really do know!) but if you haven't worn it in a while or don't like how you look in it, then best to just let it go to a better home.
You can google to find the stores near you that buy and sell clothes to learn their percentages. For me, it was 35% in cash or 55% in store credit. I took the cash and I'm trying my hardest not to run out and spend it all on more clothes right away. At least I know I can make up for it the next time I do a big closet clean-out…I give myself six months.
Have you ever donated or sold your old clothes? Do you plan to save a few choice items and try to sell them next time?