Thursday, June 5, 2008

Clean Out Your Closet and Sell Your Old Clothes

You can get rid of clutter, plus make some extra money just by cleaning out your clothes closet.

Trust me, I know.

I used to be a total clothes whore -- I mean, horse. At one time (way before I got into student loan debt), I had so many clothes, I could go a whole year without ever having to wear the same thing twice. Unfortunately, after I graduated from law school, I really started packing on the pounds so none of my clothes fit any more.

As each year passed, it seemed like I always had to buy new clothes because I kept gaining more and more weight (e.g., I went from a regular size 2 to a vanity-sized 8 in less than four years). Pretty soon, my whole closet was crammed full of clothes that didn’t fit, and I had nowhere to put the clothes that did fit so onto the floor they went!

It didn’t take long before my bedroom was all cluttered up with piles and piles of clothes I refused to part with!

I have been trying to de-clutter my bedroom for years now – yes, YEARS – and it wasn’t until last January when I finally started seeing some progress after I made up my mind to start getting rid of things that no longer fit or things I had bought and never wore!

I used to like selling my old clothes on eBay to make extra money, but now that eBay has implemented a bunch of radical changes in its quest to be the next Amazon, it just isn’t worth the time or expense. Fortunately, there are plenty of other less time-consuming and less expensive ways to sell old clothes. For example:

(1) Have a rummage sale. Last January, I participated in an indoor community rummage sale and got rid of just about all of my size 2 clothes. I swear, fate was on my side that day because there were tons of size 2 buyers, all very excited to find excellent condition, like-new clothing in their size! Everyone who stopped by said my booth was the best one there, and I was so surprised to find out how much money I had made at the end of the day! It’s really amazing how $1 here and $2 there can add up!

(2) Consign your clothes at a consignment shop. In the late ‘90s, before eBay became a household name, I used to bring my clothes to a consignment shop. The owner took 60% of the sale price, and I got 40%. The consignment arrangement didn’t turn out to be very profitable for me, especially when the shop had a big “clearance” sale at the end of the season and sold my items for little or nothing. In the end, I got about $30.00 for a whole trunk load of good, name brand clothes so I would not recommend going to a consignment shop unless (a) you have absolutely no other alternative or (b) you just want to get rid of the items and don't care what you receive for them. If you fall into the latter category, you might be better off donating them to a charity so you can get a tax deduction!

(3) Bring your clothes to a resale store that pays cash on the spot. Resale stores differ from consignment shops because they buy your clothes up front before reselling them.

My first experience with a resale store during college was not very positive because the owner rudely told me that I didn’t have anything worth buying before he had even bothered to look through what I had just brought in! After that incident, I avoided resale stores like the plague.

Well, the other day, I loaded up a bunch of clothes and decided to bring them to a resale store to see if they would be interested in any of my items. (Ironically, I have unexpectedly lost 15 pounds so a majority of my clothes are too big now, but I’m definitely not going to complain, that’s for sure!)

The person going through my things kept remarking how beautiful my clothes were and bought just about everything I brought in! She thanked me several times for stopping in, and I was very pleased with the amount I received for my items.

Even though I’m very tempted to use the money to treat myself to something special, I plan to put all of the money toward my student loan debt because I want to see that balance fall below $70,000 by the end of the year!


nixtress said...

I wait for the "cash" at the end of the year by donating everything and taking a tax write off! Since we're about to move, at this point we've got close to an entire ROOM'S worth of clothes, furniture and STUFF that needs to go.

yellowdog granny said...

those are all good ideas, and what doesn't sell, you can donate and get tax right off..

Tara @ Born Again Resale said...

I'm so sorry you had negative experiences with consignment and resale previously, but happy to hear you found a reputable store that recognized the high caliber of your clothing and paid you according. Please rest assured that while there are plenty of "hucksters" in the resale and consignment industry (just like in every other industry) there are plenty of reputable and responsible stores, as well. If you're interested in investigating further, check out this site: . They have tons of information about how to consign just about anything from clothing to furniture to knick knacks. They also have a comprehensive listing of resale and consignment stores by state (and Canadian province). Many of the stores have their website listed so you can really check them out before you haul your things in.

Best of luck on the student loan,
Owner, Born Again Resale & Consignment

Nikki said...

HOly crap heidi! You've got people shamelessly plugging on your blog! That's awesome, by the way.

Here are my two handy dandy tips of the day! Me and a friend who shall remain nameless (Because I don't really remember it) use to go to goodwill and thrift store whenever we had an extra couple dollars to throw away. We would go and buy brand name clothing, not paying attention to the sizes, just making sure they were in good condition and had reputable names, we'd take them to her house, wash them, and then go to Plato's Closet, which is a store that just buys your clothing from you. We usually doubled our money everytime!!! Sometimes even more. It wasn't bad going into goodwill with $50 bucks, and coming out of plato's closet with $100 or more! Definately something to think about!

Also- right now, as we speak (well, i'm obviously taking a break to check your blog!) I'm sorting through all my clothing and what I don't wear or what doesn't fit is getting altered (as in, painted on, grommets added, and all sorts of artsy stuff!) and sold on etsy. Probably for three times what I paid for it, since I am a thrift shop whore.

Nikki said...

and oh my god, your going to be so proud of me! Ya know how I said I was going through my closet to see what I could "repurpose" and sell on etsy?! I found a whole pile of old sweaters that I never wear, so I grabbed one and tore it up! I turned it back into a ball of yarn (two, actually!) and will knit said yarn into something profitable! The rest of the sweaters will suffer the same fate. Because they're all pretty ugly! This one was a poncho! I have no idea what I was thinking when I walked into Walmart two winters ago and bought a knit poncho! I'm sure I was under the influence of something!

I also occasionally buy sweaters at the thrift store for like, 9 and a half cents, just so that I can "upcycle" them

Yes. Repurpose and Upcycle. Two buzzwords I picked up. Ya like em?! LOL!

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