If your closet is overstuffed, you’ve got a dozen grocery bags full of things to donate, or a life change has left you with things you can no longer wear, the answer may be to resell them.
I’m all for donating, but if you’re on a budget or have goods from small labels that aren’t that marketable to the masses, it makes a lot of sense to consider your resale options. One of the biggest issues with donating a pile of unsorted clothes is that the staff at thrift shops are mostly left to their own devices to discern what is quality and what will sit on the racks for the next six months. It’s more satisfying for everyone if you ensure that your specific goods can go to someone who understands what they are and really wants them.
For myself, I prefer to consign at a local shop (Darling Boutique is my favorite), because in-person sales are often more successful than online ones, you can interact with a real person, and the consignment payout is up to 50%. I choose items I think have mass appeal to send to consignment, then use Poshmark or Ebay to sell specialty items and small labels.
But what to consider when you’re selling online? Here are a few things to keep in mind…
Time Commitment: First, you need to take the time commitment of reselling seriously, and be honest about how much time you are willing to commit to photographing, communicating with customers or consignment owners, and waiting for things to sell.
Effort: If you decide to resell yourself, you’ll likely make more money per transaction, but you’ll be responsible for packing things up and taking them to the post office. You’ll also have to decide if you want to accept returns.
Quality and Curation: Whether you’re consigning or reselling, in order to save both effort and time, make sure to narrow down your items to high quality, in demand clothing that looks good when photographed. Some items simply won’t sell online, so consider hosting a swap or donating what doesn’t make the cut.
This list contains a few affiliate links.
Pros: Incredibly easy – just request a Clean Out Bag and put all your stuff in it
Cons: Very low payouts | Many items and brands not accepted | Only a small number of ethical brands accepted (Eileen Fisher and Everlane are top ones)
Payment Format: Upfront payout
iPhone App? Yes
Would Recommend? No, if you aim to make money. Yes, if you have no time to deal with your piles of clothing in another way
I used to be a strong proponent of Thredup, but over the years, they’ve reduced their total payouts and hiked up prices. I once sent in a huge bag full of new and like-new clothes – some with tags – and only got a $2.00 payout!
Pros: Focuses on ethical fashion and boutique brands so your ethical goods will fetch a higher price
Cons: You must photograph all items ahead of time for approval | Specializes in upscale brands
Payment Format: 55% of total sale price after item sells
iPhone App? No
Would Recommend? Yes, if you’ve got high quality, ethical items to sell
Pros: Focuses on trend-driven ethical and vegan fashion
Cons: Vegan items only | Payment offered as store credit
Payment Format: 50% of total sale price in store credit after item sells
iPhone App? No
Would Recommend? Yes, if you like to shop at Bead & Reel
Pros: It’s the happenin’ place for resale these days | Shipping and customer communication managed by the platform | Social sharing options
Cons: Some brands and products are hard for customers to discover | You can’t directly communicate on orders or negotiations | Social sharing is almost required for discovery | High fee | Flat rate and Make an Offer only | US only
Payment Format: Poshmark takes 20% commission on the sale after purchase is complete
iPhone App? Yes (Use referral code, leahcwise, for $5 credit)
Would Recommend? Yes, for “hot” brands and items. No, for off brand items and things geared toward an older audience
Learn more here
I’ve had some success selling brands like Everlane, MATTER, and VEJA on Poshmark, but the commission rate is quite high considering you’re doing a lot of the work yourself. And customers will almost always use the “Make an Offer” option, so be prepared to negotiate. My shop here.
Pros: Large and well respected marketplace | You can find a buyer for nearly anything | Easy to use platform | Low fee | Bid, Flat Rate, and Make an Offer options, customizable for each listing
Cons: Crowded marketplace | Shipping rates and customer communication are your responsibility
Payment Format: Ebay takes 10% commission on the sale after purchase is complete
iPhone App? Yes
Would Recommend? Yes, for less niche items and things you’re looking to make a quick buck on. No, if you’re aiming to get closer to market rate for your goods
I’ve been selling and buying on Ebay for at least a decade, so I’m comfortable with the format. Some sellers may find it overly complicated for their needs, but I personally find the most success on Ebay, especially when it comes to selling Everlane (international customers can’t currently buy directly from the Everlane site, so they are anxious to buy from resell sites like Ebay).
Whether you choose to consign or sell yourself, reselling takes time and effort. But it can also be the most satisfying way to ensure you don’t go over your seasonal clothing budget and get your items in the hands of people who will enjoy them for years to come.
P.S. In an ideal world, all of our ethical goods would work out for us. But sometimes you end up with something that just doesn’t fit right, or isn’t suitable for your lifestyle. I believe it’s better to be honest about that and move on in a responsible way rather than holding onto it.