Typically when I declutter and downsize my closet I yank out two or three garbage bags and label them “Good Will”. I almost never take the time to sort through the mess to find what should be donated, what should be thrown out and what is really still an item of value. A former boss of mine actually told me that she used to sell her clothes on eBay for cash. She’d even sell jeans on eBay. Now I’m all about hunting down a bargain, but I have to be completely honest and say I can’t imagine buying jeans on eBay. Or even on the internet in general. Jeans are so body specific aren’t they? But hey to each his own.
Fast forward a few years and here I am living in Savannah, home to multiple consignment shops and vintage stores. I’ve popped into a few of them once or twice, but there is really only one that I’ve found carries clothes that are my size and style. It wasn’t until recently (after I’d purchased a few items) that the thought hit me that I could probably sell some of my unwanted clothes there for spare cash. I assume I’d never be rich from the endeavor, but really since I donate clothes about once every 6 months what would the harm be in trying to consign them?
I was a little intimidated by the idea of bringing in my already worn clothes to a shop and asking if they were good enough, but I swallowed my pride and decided that the best way to go about it was to be prepared (and have no shame if they told me that all of my clothes were horribly ugly and would never sell).
How to Consign Clothes for Cash
1. Scope out the Competition: Shop your local consignment shops. Is there one that feels like your style? Typically carries your size? Look around you – are the customers your age? This is the one you want to bring your clothes to. Now pay closer attention to the type of clothes they sell. Are they all in season? Work appropriate and/or casual wear? What brands do they carry? This will help you narrow down what you should bring in for your first visit.
2. Take Inventory of your Merchandise: Go home and open your mess of a closet. Gasp as things hit the floor and burst out screaming to be worn. Start pulling out anything that you can’t remember wearing in the last 6 months.
3. Sort: Donate, Sell, Keep. The reality is that some items just aren’t gonna sell honey. Items like old t-shirts or shorts and anything slightly worn looking or out of date. Those can be put aside for good will. For questionable items (picture this mental conversation with yourself: “I haven’t worn this in a year… but it’s still good!”) try them on. Ask yourself, “Would I wear this tomorrow to work/out/on a date?” If the answer is no then put it in the sell or donate pile. If the answer is yes then pat yourself on the back, you’ve just planned your outfit for the next day. Anything that is good quality, still in style and in good condition can be sold. Maybe it’s the handful of items that no longer fit but you’ve been holding onto them anyway ‘just in case’. Maybe it’s the blazer your mom made you buy as ‘smart work attire’ that you never physically wore to work. Take any of these items and make yourself a pile.
4. Put your Best Foot Forward: Pull out the ironing board and plug-in your iron. All of the clothes you attempt to donate should be washed (i.e. smell fresh), ironed and properly hung or folded to be brought in for the shop. First impressions count. Don’t throw your items to sell into a garbage bag. Bring them to the store on hangers in a garment bag or neatly folded in a shopping bag.
5. Manage your Expectations: Let’s be honest. This is not going to make you rich. You’ve already shelled out cash for all of these items in the first place. The best part about the money you may earn is that it’s all money that had simply been hanging in your closet, unused. Wait until you hit a certain amount ($20, $30, $50?) before you cash out from the store and splurge on something for yourself. Make it a treat! Maybe a manicure or a Monday morning latte on the way to work each week. Whatever you do – resist the urge to spend on more clothes! Or wait… maybe you should now that your closets empty!