Do me a favor and take a quick look in your closet. Overflowing, right?
Well, there’s a solution to that problem: selling your used clothes.
It’s a win-win, and you don’t have to wait for a spring-cleaning binge to get started. In fact, you should do it seasonally to stay in vogue.
So tear a page from the Marie Kondo playbook and make one big pile of all your clothes. Yes, even your winter gear from the living room closet. Definitely the swimsuit collection in the basement. And all the baby shower clothes that you never even used, too.
You may surprise yourself with the amount of clothes you have once you get them all in one place. Kondo recommends that as you sift through your stuff, you ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy?”
Nope? Then sell it.
Where to Sell Used Clothes
Plenty of apps and websites like Poshmark, Threadflip, Etsy and eBay allow you to sell your clothes online. But maybe you don’t have the technical know-how (or the patience) to do it yourself. Don’t fret. There are several other brick-and-mortar places to pawn off your used clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories — even baby clothes, toys and supplies — to get cash in your pocket by the end of the day.
Want to pop some tags? Uptown Cheapskate is your place. It’s located in 21 states and is a cross between a trendy boutique and a thrift store for young adults. You can sell or trade in men’s and women’s clothes at any of its locations. Trade-ins get 25% bonus store credit.
Brands that do well at Uptown Cheapskate include Urban Outfitters, Levi’s and H&M. If you’re unsure if your clothes will fit in style-wise, visit its website for more info on trending brands and styles.
Founded back in 1974, Buffalo Exchange has remained family owned as it has expanded to 19 states and the District of Columbia. And if you don’t live in one of those areas, the clothing exchange has a sell-by-mail program. The company is a firm believer in reusing and recycling clothes to reduce waste and pollution (and save cash). Each store also partners with local charities.
Buffalo Exchange accepts a wide array of clothes for both men and women — vintage, athletic wear, plus sizes and more. Contrary to its name, it does not accept bison at this time. Sorry in advance.
Clothes Mentor is a one-stop shop for fashionable women’s clothing sized 0 to 26 and maternity wear. It’s a hub for those who want designer brands without designer price tags.
Clothes that sell well include Armani, Banana Republic, Saks Fifth Avenue, White House Black Market and others. Shoes, accessories, jewelry and handbags are also accepted.
Ah, the ole standby, Plato’s Closet. You may not have known this was a clothing exchange store, but it’s likely that you’ve caught a glimpse of one of its more than 470 locations in North America — probably tucked between your local Chinese buffet and the grocery store.
Plato’s is Winmark Corp.’s most successful clothing exchange franchise, and it’s aimed at teens and young adults. Everyday styles from Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, H&M, Nike and Obey are typically in demand. Plato’s Closet also buys athletic wear, shoes and accessories.
To see if your wardrobe surplus is a good fit for Plato’s, browse its website for other brands and styles that sell well.
Another solid option from Winmark Corp. is Style Encore. It’s like Plato’s sibling, only slightly older and more sophisticated.
Style Encore accepts women’s clothing from brands like Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach and Kate Spade. Like Clothes Mentor, Style Encore has personal stylists to help you look like a million bucks (without spending a million).
It’s Winmark’s newest clothing exchange brand, so locations aren’t as comprehensive as Plato’s. Double-check the store locator to find the closest one to you.
Once Upon a Child
Last but not least in Winmark’s clothing resale portfolio is Once Upon a Child.
It’s no surprise that child care expenses are a budget buster, but this store can help keep costs down when it comes to baby clothes, supplies and even furniture.
In addition to children’s clothes sized preemie to youth 20, Once Upon a Child will buy used cribs, cradles, strollers, baby electronics, halloween costumes and toys. Even more good news for parents: You won’t have to look very far. Once Upon a Child has more than 350 stores across the U.S. and Canada.
Local Consignment Shops
If none of the above stores fit the bill, you can always try your nearest consignment shop.
These shops work a little differently than clothing exchanges, because consignment stores may not pay you until your item sells. That means it’s unlikely you’ll walk out with a pocketful of cash. It’s also difficult to predict what brands they will buy, because most local stores don’t have databases and metrics to go off of. Sales are often based on personal taste or season.
But hey, anything is better than leaving unused clothes tucked away in the furthest corner of your shelf for years to come.
How to Get the Most Cash From Your Clothes
Some things are guesswork when trying to sell your clothes. Stock and styles change, so it’s hard to say for sure which brand or outfit will sell. However, there are a few things you should always take into consideration, no matter the item or the store.
Following these few guidelines will ensure you get the best quote possible.
Clean and Fold Your Clothes
If it seems like I’m wagging my finger, it’s because I’m wagging my finger.
Almost every store listed above recommends washing your clothes before taking them in. Since your payout is based on an associate’s quote after they carefully check each item, you don’t want dirt or food caked to your shirt. It’ll definitely go in the “no” pile.
Likewise, super wrinkly clothes come across as unwashed, and you don’t want to give that impression. So be sure to fold them neatly before taking them in.
Use a Nice Basket or Hamper to Carry Your Clothes
Quick! What do you think of when you see trash bags?
Trash, right? Not clothes.
Presentation matters. The associates checking your clothes don’t want to sift through trash bags. So after you’ve washed all the clothes you want to sell, fold them and place them in a basket, hamper or box that you can take to the store.
Check for Damage or Pit Stains
If you were a shopper, would you buy a shirt that had pit stains or a missing pocket? Didn’t think so. The stores work the same way. They don’t want damaged, stained or heavily faded clothing.
Before you take your clothes in, examine them under a bright light to check for tears or discoloration.
Pro-tip: In general, to keep colors bright, you can soak your clothes in salt. Only wash them as needed — inside out and in cool water to avoid fading.
Sell Your Clothes Often
Buffalo Exchange’s biggest tip is to buy or sell your clothes every three months. That way, your clothes cache will always be in style, which means more money in your pocket when you sell.
Since most clothing exchanges buy with seasons in mind, it may be best to wait till spring or summer before purging your bathing suits.
Unless you live in Florida. Then January’s probably fine.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He believes in the life-changing power of selling all most of your things. Read his full bio here , or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.
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