I have a confession. I am a clothes hoarder. I’m the person who looks at a shirt I haven’t worn in two years and thinks that it might come back in style, or I might need it one day and it’s just safer not to toss it yet. Not good.
But in the past year or so, after constantly starting at a full closet and lamenting that I had absolutely nothing to wear, I’ve been on a de-cluttering mission. That means being harsh with anything that doesn’t fit, is stained, I haven’t worn in ages, or is just plain unflattering.
But the good news is, cleaning out your closet has benefits that go way beyond better organization. You can turn your closet into cash by selling your unwanted items. Here are a few methods and sites you can look into to swap out dresses for dollars:
- Consignment Shops
Consignment shops are low-tech and super simple. You bring in a bag of clothes, they quote you a price for what they want, and you take the rest home. However, they tend to be the pickiest on what they take, and generally give you only 50% of the sale price.
EBay is my method of choice. I’m pretty sure it’s the site that can make you the most money, since you set the price and they charge a small percent as a fee. However, between listing and shipping items it’s a total time suck.
The hassle can be worth it though. In the past year I’ve made $843 selling 24 items (but one was my iPhone 5 that I sold for $250). And even more crazily, since I started selling in 2009 I’ve earned a total of $4,696!
Twice is one of the easiest of the online resale sites. You print a prepaid shipping label or request a fee selling kit and mail in all of the items you’re interested in selling. Twice then quotes you a price for the items they accept and you can pay $4.95 to get back the rejected items or Twice will donate them to Goodwill. You get paid regardless of whether the items sell.
That ease of use comes with a catch though. Items have to be less than 5 years old and be one of the accepted brands (no casual brands like Old Navy or Forever 21). The prices you get are also much lower than prices you could get on the other sites.
ThredUP works very similarly to Twice in that you request, fill, and send back a free kit. However, they take a wider rage of brands, including Target and Old Navy (thanks for the heads up, Amanda!). The downside is you pay slightly more – $12.99 – if you want your items back.
Poshmark is like the Instagram of second-hand shopping. All buying and selling is done through the app. You upload a few pictures of your item, set a price, and sell it. The best part is Poshmark provides you a prepaid shipping label or shipping kit once your item sells which means you get to avoid a lovely trip to the Post Office.
Poshmark’s commission is steep though. For all sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95, and for sales of $15 or more, they take 20%.
Tradesy looks like my second favorite after eBay. They don’t have too many brand restrictions, they’ll improve your photos for you, and you receive a free shipping kit when your item sells. The commission isn’t terrible either – 9% if you want your payment in store credit and 11.9% if you want it transferred to a bank account.
However, Tradesy looks like it appeals to a higher end crowd (I’m seeing lots of Chanel advertised), so this might not be the best place for your casual clothes.
Donating clothes can be a win-win that you might not have even known about. You can get a tax deduction for clothing donations to non-profits the same way you do for cash donations. Just keep track throughout the year of where you donated, how much you paid for the original items, and what their trade in value is (roughly). The charity can provide you a receipt, which you might need for more expensive donations.
The catch is that you have to use itemized deductions, not standard deductions on your tax return. So if you’re single and your itemized deductions (i.e. donations, car sales tax, etc.) don’t add up to more than $6,200, you won’t get an additional benefit for the donation.