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How to sell used clothes in the 21st Century

With the change in seasons, now is the time to go through your closet and get rid of clothes you just don’t wear anymore. But before you throw out your old duds, you might want to consider selling them. If your unwanted clothes are from a good brand and still in good condition, you stand to make a pretty penny.

Old-school consignment shops are still a great way to make money off of clothes, but they’re no longer the only way. Thanks to the proliferation of apps and other online services, it’s easier than ever to sell your stuff without ever setting foot outside your home.

Clothes Line

1. Sort and Clean Your Clothes

Before you offer your clothes for sale, it’s important to inspect and clean them. And remember: Most consignment shops and services aren’t going to take cheap clothes from low-end retailers, so set those garments aside.

Next, you’ll want to check for any signs of wear and stains. If something has a hole in it—one that wasn’t there by design, anyway—just throw it out. If there’s a stain, try to wash it out.

It’s actually a good idea to wash everything you plan to sell. No one wants to buy a musty-smelling shirt or pair of jeans.

Consignment Store

2. Choose a Reseller

There are two ways to sell your stuff: at a physical consignment shop, or online. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and these can vary even further depending on the online service you choose. For example, some services require you to mail in all your clothes, while others will accept photos and let you ship items to buyers yourself.

If shipping is a hassle for you, then it might be easier to take all of your clothes to a local consignment shop. But be warned that many of them take a much higher commission than the online resellers.

Consignment Shops

If you’ve decided to sell your clothes the old fashion way, then there are a number of shops to choose from. You can either go to a local consignment store or a national chain like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Company. (There’s also Clothes Mentor, but it only buys and sells women’s clothing.)

These stores will examine your clothes and figure out what they can and can’t sell. If they can sell it, they’ll offer you a small percentage of the sale price—usually much, much less than the original retail price.

For example, Crossroads offers 35 percent of the sale price in cash, or 50 percent in store credit. Clothes Mentor is similar, offering one-third of the sales price in cash. According to Racked, Buffalo Exchange is the stingiest of the major chains, offering 30 percent of the sale price in cash or 50 percent in store credit.