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How to Sell Your Clothes Like A Pro

Make back some of the money on those shopping blunders during your next closet cleanse.

Contributing Writer
woman with ponytail looking through clothing rack
Photography by: Courtesy of Getty

Besides making your space tidy, decluttering helps lower stress, but no matter how many times you read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” or binge her new Netflix show, it’s not always easy to part with items you bought with hard-earned cash.


One way to rationalize it is to donate your items to those in need. We compiled this handy guide highlighting where to discard or donate unwated goods.  Another fun and eco-friendly alternative is to host a clothing swap with like-minded friends. And finally, consignment stores or sites like eBay and ThredUp are great ways to help you recoup costs, especially for those mistake purchases. 


Navigating the resale market can be daunting, but it gets easier once you identify your goods and your selling needs. We spoke to some expert sellers to find out how to make some money back during your deep clean.

 

Where to Sell Designer Goods

It’s best to take that Louis Vuitton bag you never wear anymore to brick-and-mortar consignment shops or resale websites. Kate Holmes, the author of “Too Good to be Threw” and the blogger behind TGtbT.com says dropping your item off at a consignment shop or buy-outright stores takes the burden off your shoulders. “Let the pros figure out what it’s worth,” she advises. “They’ll take it from you, market it, deal with the customers, deal with any problems like bad checks or credit cards and returns.”

 

Holmes says it’s important to find a consignment shop that carries the kind of brands you’re selling, which can be done with a phone call. Consigning your item means you’ll get a cut of the final sale, and Holmes says that cut can be up to 70 percent. Buy-outright stores will offer you money upfront.

 

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Best Sites to Sell Online

You could also take your high-end items that are in good condition online, with popular luxury resale sites like The RealReal (clothes, shoes, bags and accessories), Yoogi’s Closet (clothes, shoes, bags and accessories), Bag, Borrow Or Steal (bags, shoes and accessories), Fashionphile (bags only) and Rebag (bags only). These sites offer quotes on items after asking some questions and looking at your photos, though some require you to mail in your item first. 


Beware of Selling Expensive Items on eBay

One place you probably won’t want to list your most precious pieces? eBay. Though the auction site takes a smaller seller cut than consignment sites and stores, eBay expert Suzanne Wells says she doesn’t advise selling items with a value of more than $500 on eBay because of the risks that come with consumer-to-consumer selling.

 

“Any time you’re shipping something there is potential for problems because you don’t know what’s going to happen on the other end,” she explains. “Maybe they have the Chanel bag from you, buy another one and return the crappy used one to you, and eBay shows the item has been returned, so that’s a huge problem on any site online.”

 

[CLOTHING CARE: How to Clean and Organize Everything in Your Closet]
woman packing sweater in cardboard box
Photography by: JGI/Jamie Grill/GettyImages

How to Sell Items On eBay

If you’re willing to put in the time, eBay can get you the most money for clothing from mass market brands that high-end stores won’t buy. Listing items on eBay requires taking nice photos, researching prices and writing thorough descriptions of your items. Wells says to check “Completed Listings” for similar items to yours on eBay to get a sense of how much you should be charging for your goods. She also suggests selling items as “Buy It Now with Best Offer” instead of “Auction,” in order to give users time to see your listing.

 

Caitlin Palumbo, the lifestyle blogger and Instagram influencer behind @MyDarlingPassport, says she frequently turns over clothes to keep her outfit posts fresh. She says she separates her items and sends off her most expensive goods to The RealReal, but lists contemporary brands like 7 For All Mankind jeans on eBay.  

 

“It’s definitely time-consuming,” she says of eBay. “That’s why I try to be thoughtful of what I spend my time on. I want to make sure I’m going to get at least $50 for the items I’m selling on the site.”


How to Sell Inexpensive Items

If you have clothes or shoes from fast-fashion stores like H&M, or well-worn items from nice brands, you can try to sell your pieces in bundles, or “lots,” instead of individually. Wells says for eBay, “Lot ’em up". An even easier option is to send a “Clean Out” kit into resale sites like ThredUP and Buffalo Exchange. The site will send you a bag for anything you want to get rid of, and pay you out or consign your items once they receive and process them. Keep your expectations in check—you likely won’t get more than $5 for a J. Crew blouse—and if they don’t accept your items, you’ll have to pay shipping to get them back (otherwise they get donated).


What to do with Damaged Goods

It’s not easy to salvage damaged goods, but it’s possible. Buttons from Chanel jackets can sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, for example, so think outside the box. This trick doesn't just work for clothes, Wells says that if you have broken items with working parts, like a Vitamix or a Kitchenaid stand mixer, there might be willing buyers for your pieces.