12 Ways to Make Money from Your Closet Clearout
Anyone ever tried to sell used clothes for cash?
If you have, you probably know what a giant headache it can be. From fielding questions from people wanting to know which brand your Topshop dress is, to the constant queues at the post office, trying to sell used clothes can sometimes feel like waaaay more trouble than it’s worth. And by, “sometimes,” I mean, “almost all the time.” Over the years, however, I have experimented with a few different methods of selling used clothes for cash, and today I thought I’d list some of them, for those of you who’re currently standing in the middle of a clothes mountain, thinking, “NOW what?”.
eBay is probably the best-known place to sell used clothes online, and some would argue it’s still the best. I’ve sold hundreds of items on eBay over the years – in fact, I once had my own eBay shop, which I had aspirations of turning into a full-time business. That didn’t work out, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately: I much prefer blogging to retail!), but I continued to sell used clothes there for a long time. I stopped selling on eBay a while back, when they changed the rules and stopped allowing sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers. I felt it led to a real change in the community: when buyers know they can’t get bad feedback for a transaction, it makes them much more likely to not pay, to quibble over the price, or to cause other problems, safe in the knowledge that there are no real consequences for them. That was my experience, anyway, and although I did eventually come back to eBay, and will list something there occasionally, I tend to find it more trouble than it’s worth these days.
These days, when I do sell used clothes on eBay, I always list my items as “Buy it Now” rather than putting them up for auction: it can take much longer to sell them that way, but at least I know I’ll get the price I want, and won’t end up having to walk to the post office for 99p. eBay now offers sellers 20 free listings per month, which also makes the service more attractive, as you only have to pay if your item sells: previously I would sometimes end up paying more to eBay than I actually made from it: not a good idea!
When I got tired of my eBay items selling at auction for less money than it cost me to package them up, I decided to try my luck with ASOS marketplace. This is part of the hugely popular ASOS retail site, and allows you to register for a profile and start selling your used clothes online. Unlike eBay, where items are mostly auctioned, ASOS marketplace allows you to set up your own “boutique” where you can upload photos of the items you’re selling, and set your price. It’s free to list, with ASOS taking a percentage of the value if your item sells.
I listed around 10 items on ASOS marketplace a couple of years ago, but didn’t have a lot of luck with it. Each listing runs for three months (assuming the item doesn’t sell), and I think I only sold one or two items in that time. In retrospect, I probably didn’t put enough effort into my listings: unlike eBay, where many sellers will simply photograph their item on the bed or floor, ASOS marketplace is primarily used by of professional sellers and brands, who put a lot of effort into making their clothes look as good as possible. Most items are modelled by a person, rather than just hanging on the back of a door, and the site has the feel of a “proper” online store, which means that if you want to sell there successfully, you need to make your listing as professional as possible. On the plus side, I liked the fact that I didn’t have to pay anything for the items which didn’t sell, so there was no financial risk in trying it out.
Vinted works along similar lines to most other online consignment stores: you list your item for free, and deal directly with interested buyers. Payments go through the Vinted website, so buyers can feel safe in the knowledge that if their purchase doesn’t turn up, they’ll be able to get a refund, and if you don’t want to sell your used clothes for cash, you can also swap them for other items – assuming the other buyer agrees.
Depop is essentially a cross between eBay and Instagram: the layout is very similar to the latter, but instead of simply posting photos of your breakfast, or whatever, you post photos of clothes and accessories you want to sell online, and people can either hit the ‘buy now’ button, or make you an offer. All payments go through the Depop app, which takes a cut of the profit, but other than that, it’s up to you to negotiate with the buyer and handle the sale.
I do have an account on Depop, but have only tried listing a couple of items there, neither of which sold. Obviously there could be lots of reasons for that, which have nothing to do with the app itself (wrong clothes, wrong price etc), and it seems to be pretty popular, so it could be worth a shot. Of course, if you have a decent-sized Instagram following, and post a lot of outfit shots (meaning that your followers are likely to like the kind of things you wear), you might prefer to cut out the middle man altogether, and sell via Instagram. I know quite a few bloggers who sell used clothes that way, and they seem to do really well out of it, although it’s not something I’ve tried myself.
Speaking of Instagram, the photo-sharing app can also be used to sell clothes for cash: just post a photo of the item you want to sell, and either state your price, or accept offers. As Instagram doesn’t have a payment engine, you’ll have to manage the sale privately: most Instagram sellers take payment via Paypal, but it’s worth being aware that there’s obviously a lot of trust involved here – unlike sites like eBay or Depop, which are set up for online selling, all sales conducted via Instagram are private ones, so the platform wont get involved if things go wrong.
For this reason, I haven’t sold anything via Instagram myself, but I do frequently see other bloggers list clothes there, and it seems fairly popular. Of course, for Instagram to work as a place to sell used clothes for cash, you will need to have an audience interested in fashion : if you generally only post about food or cars, say, don’t be surprised if your followers aren’t particularly interested in that amazing dress you just listed there.
Poshmark is an online community of fashion lovers, all looking to buy and sell used clothes for cash. Once signed up, simply snap a quick photo with your phone, and upload it to your virtual closet, where it can be viewed by the site’s thousands of members. There’s buyer protection, and, once your item sells, they’ll even send you a pre-paid shipping label, to make posting it easier. The big catch? It’s US-only, so those of us in the UK will just have to keep hoping they open an international site soon…
Preloved is an online classifieds site, much like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace (Both of which can also be used to sell old clothes for cash, obviously: I’ve had no luck whatsoever with either of these myself, but you never know…), where you can list pretty much anything for sale. As this one isn’t solely for clothes, I’m not sure how good it’ll be, but there is an extensive clothing section, so it could be worth a look.
If your old clothes are valuable enough, you may be able to sell them via designer consignment store, Vestiaire Collective. This site is based in France, but I’ve successfully used it to sell a handful of designer items, all of which have to be sent first of all to the site itself, where they’re checked for authenticity and condition, before being forwarded to the buyer. If you have a number of items to sell, there’s also a concierge service, where you can simply send the items to them, and they’ll take care of every aspect of the sale for you, from photographing and listing the items, to posting them to the buyer.
The main thing to bear in mind here is that Vestiaire Collective will only accept high-end designed pieces, so it’s not a good place to offload high street bargains. For the right items, though, you’re likely to make more than you would on eBay or similar sites, so it’s definitely one to consider.
The Real Real
Also for high-end designer goods (And ONLY for high-end designer goods…) the Real Real authenticates each item before accepting it for sale: this will inevitably make the process a little slower than selling on eBay, say, but, on the plus side, it also means you’re likely to get a fair price for more valuable items.
Hardly Ever Worn It
Yet another designer consignment store, but Hardly Ever Worn It allows you to list items yourself, much like Depop or Vinted.
Consignment stores are retailers (either online or offline) who will sell used clothes on your behalf, either in their store or on their website. There’s no upfront charge for this service, but the consignment store will split the proceeds of the sale with you: the percentage they take will vary, but a 50/50 split seems fairly common.
I had my first experience of consignment back in 2014, when I took a bag of used clothes to a consignment store which had opened in my local area. The main thing to bear in mind if you’re trying this method of selling old clothes is that your experience will differ from store-to-store (or site-to-site if it’s an online store): not only does each store have different policies, their location will also play a role in your success or otherwise.
In my case, the store I visited was in a small town which isn’t exactly known for fashion: I knew from this that I’d probably make a lot less than I would from a consignment store in the centre of a busy city, say, and I was right. I took in 15 items of clothing, of which they sold 9, with me making just under £40. It’s not a lot of money, but these were all items I’d previously attempted to sell on eBay/ASOS without success, so I figured it was better than nothing, especially considering that there was no work involved on my part: I simply dropped off the clothes, and they did the rest.
Cash for Clothes
My last resort when it comes to selling old clothes is an organisation called Cash for Clothes, which, as the name suggests, will pay cash for your used clothes. Unlike the consignment store model, you don’t have to wait for the items to sell before you get paid: you get cash upfront, with the organisation simply weighing your bag of clothes and calculating your payment based on that. As with all of the above venues, they require the clothes to be clean and in good condition, but they don’t have any restrictions beyond that, so if you have a large volume of unwanted clothing to get rid of, it can be an easy way to make a small amount of money from it. “Small” is the operative word here, though: Cash for Clothes pay 50p per kilo of clothing, so I don’t recommend it for high-value items: rather, it’s a way to make a little bit of money from a large-scale clearout, particularly if it contains a lot of lower value items, which you don´t want to sell individually.
As I said, this is by no means an exhaustive list of places to sell used clothes for cash, so if you know of any other clothing retail websites, I’d love to hear from you!