Make Money Selling Used Clothes

As part of my regular hustle, I always try to make money selling used clothes. Unlike some folks out there who are buying and upselling strategic designer or high ticket items like jeans and purses, I like to take things I already own and turn them over for a dollar.

I usually don’t shop in consignment stores for clothes — furniture is another deal — but opt for the thrift shops. Thrift shops usually have donated clothing with no cost to the person donating, and because a consignment store pays the donator at the time of the sell, the clothes end up being more expensive. Even though I get a ton of clothes at the thrift shop on the fly for very little money, I often end up with things that don’t fit correctly or that I never end up wearing. Every laundry day is closet cleaning day. You do need access to a car and a few big garbage bags.

1) Throw anything you haven’t worn in six months in the pile. If it doesn’t fit: pile. If you kinda like it but don’t wear it: pile. Don’t lie to yourself.

Children’s clothing is great for money-making. Unless you have somebody specific that you’re absolutely going to pass down the clothes down to, pile.

2) When your pile gets too big to handle or when you’re particularly low on cash, start sorting. I make one pile of clothes that are too ratty to sell and another pile for clothes that reasonably follow trends enough to sell. For adult clothes, no holes, stains, missing buttons, or loose hems. Some stores I sell to are weird about clothing that develop pills (sweaters, some cotton blends) and others are not. With children’s clothes, try to sell everything. Bag everything up in separate bags and label.

3) Pick your stores. Donate everything that is too ratty to resell to a charity. (Goodwill overprices the truly needy out of their market, oddly, and chances are that if you donate everything to a charity all of it will actually be placed out on the racks. Also it’s kind of cool to find your old clothes on the racks next time you go thrifting.)

Children’s used clothes stores are a dime a dozen and I make the rounds — plus they pay well for nice used goods. If it doesn’t get sold to the first store I take it to another, and then another. I also use this time to find newer, nicer clothes for my little one if necessary.

As for adult stores, try to sell the trendiest stuff to a store aimed at teenagers and then branch out from there, since those stores usually offer more money — especially for mall clothes and brand names. Don’t donate something that is a few years out of style or has seen better days, keep trying to sell it at the next place.

I use this technique when I need money to get me through to the next paycheck or if something relatively small but unexpected pops up. If I spend a Saturday afternoon lugging my stuff all over town I can usually make a good deal of closet space and about fifty bucks cash for the effort.

If you do decide to get your stuff into a consignment store make sure you continue to keep up with your wares. A large portion of bread made at consignment stores is off of unclaimed sales.

Believe it or not, one store I sell to is snotty about bringing in clothing in garbage bags, so I always save one laundry basket for the trip to take the clothes into the store.

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Lauren Bruce • July 15, 2013

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