Ask Allie: Where to Sell Used Clothing?

I'm wondering if you have any resources or suggestions for someone who is trying to minimize their closet. I'm moving towards capsule wardrobes and limiting my shopping, so this is leaving me with some very high-quality items (though not necessarily designer) already in my closet that I'd like to sell to get some money back, especially since a few of them have never been worn or worn only once! Over the years I've donated bags and bags of clothing, but for these purchases I thought putting a little extra time into it could get me some money back. Tips? Where to start?

selling used clothing online tips how to

This is a post where I’d like to ask you, the readers to share your suggestions. I have my suggestions but even I am wondering if there’s better ways to pare down one’s wardrobe and recoup some of the original cost. Here’s some suggestions:

Selling Clothes on eBay

eBay has been my most successful avenue for selling quality clothing that isn’t necessarily designer or a recent season. I make sure to have multiple photos of the item in natural light without a flash – full front, full back, photo of the tag (proves the brand, proves the size, and also many brand loyalists can recognize a year or season by the style of the label), photo of any details (fly, style of buttons, cuffs, close-up of applique or fabric texture), and a photo of any flaws. When it comes to flaws, be upfront from the get-go; it’s not worth it to sacrifice your rating on eBay. My description has as much detail as possible – the fabric, length of skirt in inches, size and how it fits me with my measurements, and I also offer styling suggestions (I wore it with X, it looks great with opaque tights and tall boots in winter but also with sandals in summer).

When it comes to listing price, don’t assume a bidding war will happen on your piece, especially if it’s a lesser known brand or more than a season or two old. Don’t price it any lower than you’re willing to take; nothing worse than having to go through the process to ship out an item for 99 cents, especially when you know you could have received more in a tax write-off for a charitable donation. eBay often has promotions where you can also offer Buy it Now for free; when that happens I always choose that as well and offer it for a price I hope to get but not an unrealistic one. To get an idea for prices, search eBay for similar items and brands and see what they’re going for. If you see one is sold by an eBay-er with a lot of sales, click on their profile and you can see recent sales and prices likely of similar items to what you’re hoping to sell.

Be firm with what you are willing to do and not to do in your listing. For example, I state no returns or exchanges and shipping only to the United States. However, I do offer other methods of shipping they can request it upon winning the auction

For shipping, I use the eBay calculator and labels; I can print the labels at home, go to USPS.com and schedule a pickup, and not have to wait in line at the post office. If you wish to ship Priority Mail, you can order shipping containers for free from USPS.com. While it’s tempting to get an item out in the smallest and cheapest packaging possible, don’t scrimp and sacrifice the quality of a piece. I have received leather skirts shoved into tiny boxes that are bent and creased and necklaces broken upon arrival because they were barely wrapped in newspaper and mailed in a standard envelope. You’ll end up losing money if you have to return payment for an item that arrives unwearable, so take the time to pack carefully. I have a box in my closet that’s full of shipping supplies I gather from online purchases. I save plastic shipping bags, tissue paper, bubble wrap, and useful sizes of nice-looking boxes just for eBay sales and in my storage box I also have a Sharpie, packing tape, and a pair of scissors so I have everything I need for an afternoon of shipping. If you wish to do this long-term, I recommend adding a little something extra to the packing – wrap in the same color tissue paper, safety pin a business card to the garment tag, show a little care and it can help your customers actually leave reviews, leave better reviews, and come back to see what else you’re selling.

Selling Clothes on Poshmark

I haven’t used Poshmark… yet. However, I know my friend Alyson at The Average Girl’s Guide uses it often and raves about it all the time so I asked her to share her thoughts on the site:

“I'm obsessed with selling on Poshmark. There are definitely pieces you know will sell fast, and others you need to wait for the right buyer. I personally don't post anything under about $10 because I find that the time it takes to post (though just 2-3 minutes), plus any back and forth, packaging and dropping off, is not worth the eventual payment. I rather donate. That said, items from J. Crew, Lululemon, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff all do really well, though I've sold everything from Gap, Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx pieces, you name it. Think about posting the right time of year… posting a sweater and boots will probably not sell now unless you mark it really low, where going through your closet for springy pieces you're no longer into could result in extra spending money.”

“If possible, take photos of yourself wearing the item — it really helps! — and be sure to label everything accurately and thoroughly. Lastly, be mindful of price. It's just like how they say people who try to sell their homes on their own always have unrealistic selling prices; I've seen the same on Poshmark. Remember, you've likely worn something or it's not brand new. If someone can go into J. Crew and buy a similar brand-new item for what you're selling your used button down (and remember, buyer pays shipping) then you're too high.”

Selling Clothes on Consignment or to Resale Boutiques

Back when I worked in apparel, before the start of each new season I would take bags and bags of clothing (hello employee discount, dress codes, and the need to wear current pieces) to a shop near where I worked. They would buy on-trend pieces for half the price they’d sell it for on their salesfloor, and a bit more if I was willing to take store credit.  I've used stores like this off an on since and know many friends who visit them every season.  I know there’s stores like this all over the country, from Buffalo Exchange to Plato's Closet.

Appearance matters when trying to sell your clothes at such a store. Dress stylishly, and even if you have enough clothing to put in a lawn and leaf bag, instead choose a nice tote (I used my LL Bean Boat and Tote), or shopping bags from a “cool” retailer (think Anthropologie instead of Old Navy). Make sure the clothes are clean, folded nicely, ironed if necessary, and free of stains and damage.

And seriously, no damage. A tiny bleach dot that never bothered you when you wore it will be too much damage for the store to take. The wearing on the backs of your jean hems is only cool if the rest of the jeans are distressed. All buttons should be in place, tags still in place, linings still attached.

Know the store before you bring in your clothes. There’s no point in bringing in a bag of J. Crew if the store focuses on vintage fashion. Not only that, you’ll know if they already have enough Jackie Cardigans and will likely refuse yours, even if it’s like new.

Where To Sell Gently Worn Quality Clothing?

And now I ask you, what do you suggest to this reader? Have you used Twice, Threadflip, or Tradesy? Had any success with Craigslist or a local listserv? What do you find to be the most successful way for you to sell gently worn clothing?

If you have a storefront on Poshmark, etc. feel free to share it in the comments below, your castoff may be another's must-have!  Do know any non-fashion related shops or obvious spam links will be deleted.

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28 Comments

  1. Mashas Corner
    September 18, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    This is so relevant for today! – For other items come see Mashas Corner on Ebay – Pre-owned really is the way to go for all of our budgets while helping the environment. Soo many options for sure.

  2. April 14, 2015 / 12:00 pm

    Great topic! I have some dresses and boots that just don’t work for me anymore, but are very nice and I’d like to see them go to a good home.

  3. March 16, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    I haven’t tried Twice, Threadflip or Tradesy, but I have used ThredUp, mostly because I already had an account with them from way back when they were mostly children’s consignment. If I have really nice pieces, I’ll take the trouble to make an appointment with my local high-end consignment shop. If I have decent stuff from the better mass-market labels, I toss it in a ThredUp bag. I could probably make more trying to sell each thing individually on eBay or Poshmark, but I’m willing to take lower returns for a much smaller effort.

  4. Sara Rosso
    March 16, 2015 / 5:15 am

    Thanks for answering my question! 🙂

  5. PassThePopcorn
    March 15, 2015 / 12:52 am

    I’ve had an ebay account since 1998 and use software called GarageSale to list things. The software makes all the difference; I can duplicate a prior item that is similar and then just change the things that are different.

    I am not a pro, but the advice above about what to include is spot on. It is a LOT easier to sell things if you include the measurements (and how you measure), fabric content, a snappy description and lots of good-quality pictures. I ship nearly EVERYTHING priority mail; the flat rate padded envelopes have to be ordered from the post office, but will fit most clothing items and cost $6.10 to ship. They make it a lot easier.

    I tried Poshmark once or twice but the things I listed never seemed to move. Maybe it’s changed since then though – I can give it another look…

  6. Christine
    March 13, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    Ebay is tough to sell on if you don’t already have a strong user rating. If you resort to an Ebay concierge they take a cut and you end up with very little, plus you can’t prevent them from accepting a very low bid. Twice is very user friendly/professional but you don’t end up with much of a return. My advice is to start with the highest-end outlet you can and work your way “down.” If you have any designer goods (even if you got them at TJMaxx), check out The Real Real. Also very professional and the seller gets a reasonable cut.

  7. Little Red
    March 12, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    I try to sell at a local consignment shop that takes high-end designer brands for my nicer things. eBay seems to be a lot of hassle unless you have something super special.

  8. Annefair
    March 12, 2015 / 7:07 pm

    I’ve also had pretty good experiences selling on Poshmark and have to say that I’ve had people buy at asking outright on a few occasions. For designer items, I use Raggamoffyns in Bellevue, WA. My pieces that I’ve consigned tend more to the classic side, and I found it to be important to find a shop that aligns with the style of your pieces. It can be quite disheartening to hear that a shop won’t take your 5″ Louboutin booties because they cater to a younger/hipper population 🙁 My closet is here, with a broad mix of items. https://poshmark.com/closet/annfairchild

  9. Celeste
    March 12, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    I sell at Current Boutique in Old Town alexandria….I’ve had great luck there.

  10. SusanM
    March 12, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    I have used Twice successfully. It is very clear from the website what they accept. I sent eight items and they accepted six of them. One had a small stain I wasn’t aware of and the shoes I sent were worn. Apparently they need to look never worn. I opted for “store” credit to get more for my items. Service was very quick.

  11. March 12, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    Completely agree with Alyson – I love selling on Poshmark! I find it to be a lot easier & faster than eBay and I also love the interaction with other users…it’s like a fun little community.

    http://www.pennypincherfashion.com

  12. Kathryn Braun Fenner
    March 12, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    As a frequent eBay buyer, I cannot stress enough the importance of giving garment dimensions. I seldom request this from sellers who don’t provide it, since often i don’t get an answer. I want the length from shoulder to hem and armpit-to-armpit measurements on tops, at a minimum, length and waist on skirts, and waist, hips and inseam on pants. I also want the fabric content (allergies). Do not list any category as Unspecified. I only check those if I get a very small number of hits on the specified categories.

    I sell my better clothing at a local resale shop. The one that takes less nice stuff (Target, Old Navy–doesn’t make enough to make it worth my while). My unsaleables I take to a shop that raises money for the women’s shelter and sells the clothing for closer to what its worth than Goodwill does.

  13. Stella
    March 12, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    FWIW, Twice pays out PENNIES on the dollar. If you opt for Twice credit, you’ll get 25% more, but it’s more of a situation of getting a few bucks vs. nothing if you donate to Goodwill instead.

  14. Laura
    March 12, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    Twice for me, definitely. I’ve never had that much luck with selling items on ebay, maybe because the brands I was getting rid of weren’t high-end enough, and then you have to fuss with the packing and mailing and making sure all the payments get processed. And although there are a few local consignment stores, I’ve never gotten that much from them either and had several things not sell and then have to pick them up after the 60 days, or whatever. Too much fuss. I just fill up a box with stuff every few months and send it to Twice; anything else that Twice won’t take goes to my local Savers as a donation, which gives discount cards on future purchases when you donate.

  15. Ashley Secrest
    March 12, 2015 / 10:57 am

    I have used ebay for over 10 years, and just recently started using Poshmark. I like the ease of shopping newly listed items in my size on Poshmark, but find I prefer ebay for selling bigger ticket items. There are also Facebook groups that are amazing since you only pay PayPal fees. I love the group Our Preppy Closets Recycled on Facebook!

  16. Sydney
    March 12, 2015 / 9:24 am

    I love posts like this! A few thoughts… I know a lot of people love Poshmark (see comments below!), but I find it to be too unwieldy, too many things to sift through, so I have never really used it. I have used Twice before to sell client clothes from a closet cleanse and their process was SUPER easy. The hardest part is taking the bag of clothes to the PO. They send you over the bag and everything. My only quibble with them is they offer very low prices on your standard items, usually between $3-7 dollars. I take quite a few things to Clothes Mentor, the grown up woman’s Plato’s Closet (Plato’s is typically juniors pieces) and depending on how much you sell to them, you can make quite a bit back. They are very picking on taking pieces that are out of style or even just 2-3 years old. Depending on the Clothes Mentor and their staff, they will turn down great brands that are a few years old. They really want current, trendy items because that’s what sells for them. Finding a great local resell store has been my best bet. I have one (Ashby in Richmond, VA) that takes almost anything (within reason of course). They cater to the young adult crowd with brands like H&M, J. Crew, Forever 21 and vintage pieces. They offer great prices as well. Sometimes the non-chain stores are a better bet for getting the most for your money. I loved that you made points on presenting the clothes and yourself in an attractive manner. This is key! I typically use a huge IKEA bag for my clothing resell. Always steamed, always folded. Another great tip is to call a store to see how they want their clothes. Most stores hate getting things on hangers, but others prefer them that way because they want to buy and then immediately put the clothes out on the floor – they don’t have time to steam/iron your garments. Also check to see when stores are buying! Most chains will buy every day up to a certain hour before closing, but a lot of local places only buy on certain days.

  17. Tracy
    March 12, 2015 / 8:41 am

    These are great tips, as always! I have also had good luck selling my clothes on Instagram. It’s taken a while to develop a “following” but it’s been worth it. People pay me via PayPal. I am @wildthrifter there if you want to see how it works. I’ve also had decent luck with my neighborhood garage sale group on Facebook, mainly for “non-designer” stuff. And of course eBay like you mentioned.

  18. Morgan Rudder
    March 12, 2015 / 8:37 am

    Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I have a lot of experience with this topic lately. I sell pretty frequently to Clothes Mentor, and it is usually a great experience. They have a policy that they will not take anything in a closed bag, so you can’t bring anything that zips or a trash bag or anything like that. I use one of those trunk organizer bags from 31 as my go-to. I would recommend going earlier in the morning or later in the evening so as to avoid peak times. They tend to have more time to go through your stuff then. Also, know that they will not take something if it has a label more than two years old…all Gap/Banana Republic/J. Crew tags have a date on them…you may not realize it but they do. Also, if they won’t take something, and you know it is not because its damaged, take it back at a later time. Store inventories change and sometimes they need things and don’t need others. Also of note, Clothes Mentor has a list of the brands they accept on their website, so you can have a pretty good idea of what they want before you go. I will say that the Clothes Mentor is the only way that I have stayed clothed during my weight loss….it has truly been a lifesaver.

    Another option is Facebook groups. I belong to a group that sells all gently used J.Crew clothing. The operator organizes the photos by size so its very easy to shop and to sell. The shipping is included in the price of the item, and there are no fees to buy or sell. I also sell on a local board for my town, especially things that are TJ Maxx or not recognizable brand names. I just post quick cell phone pictures and have anyone interested come by my work place (public building in the day time) to pick it up and pay. I have even traded my stuff for a cute wool coat for my daughter.

  19. March 12, 2015 / 8:30 am

    Hi Allie,
    I’m a big fan of Poshmark. I find that they make it very easy for the seller from the ease of posting a listing right through their app to sending a prepaid shipping label which you use with the USPS priority mail packaging. They also take only 20% of the sale price which is less than most consignment shops. I also find that Poshmark has a big audience. One piece of advice: Price a bit higher than you want to sell it for. No one ever buys at the listed price.

    Lissy

    • Diplospice
      March 12, 2015 / 8:52 am

      Lissy is right on – Poshmark is the way to go for most things (in fact, I just bought a dress from her on Poshmark!) Give yourself some wiggle room on price and you’ll be all set. Allie, if you are up for it, I’d love to see readers share their Poshmark closet names here in your comments so we can shop each other’s cast-offs. Let me know if that is okay with you and I’ll comment with my Posh closet name. All best, Elizabeth

      • March 12, 2015 / 9:01 am

        For sure! I’m going to update this informing all that they can share their Poshmark, eBay and other stores. Please share! 🙂

        • Diplospice
          March 12, 2015 / 9:29 am

          Allie – Thanks. I’m on Poshmark as Diplospice. Would love to have you and your readers visit my virtual closet.

        • March 12, 2015 / 10:02 am

          My Poshmark closet is Agirlinboston.

        • Judy G
          March 12, 2015 / 11:12 am

          What is Alyson’s Poshmark store?

          • March 12, 2015 / 11:38 am

            She just hit me up on her way to a meeting, it is @avggirlsguide. 🙂

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