Learn how to purge your closet and downsize your wardrobe while earning extra money for the holidays at the same time with this easy and honest guide.
Do you have a closet that’s bursting at the seams with clothes you rarely (come on, you never) wear? And could your wallet use some extra padding this holiday season? I’m guessing the answer to both of those is yes, because I see you over there trying to hide your face behind your phone. (Not really, that’d be creepy, huh?!)
Well I can help you fix both of those problems at once by walking you through how you can purge your wardrobe for cold hard cash this holiday season. You free up space in your closet and get more moolah to put back for the new Xbox while doing it. It’s a win-win!
How To Purge Clothes For Cash
I’m going to break this mini-lesson down into three steps:
- The decision-making process
- The preparation process
- And the selling process
Each step is as important as the others, so make sure you show up for this completely humble and ready to be totally honest with yourself.
Now’s not the time to get cocky and make assumptions that you’re going to be rich by this time next week. But it is a time to realize that your belongings do have value and that value can be exchanged for something you want or need.
Deciding What To Purge
Welp, here we go, diving head first into the deep end, my friend. It’s time for some hard truth from your ol’ pal Lela here. You ready for this?
Not everything you own is worth something.
Some things you think you can sell won’t be worth your time and others aren’t even worth pennies. So I want you to go into this process without expectations so you don’t get disappointed if you aren’t a thousandaire by the time you’re done.
So before you even think about values, let’s just get the purging out of the way. Go through your closet, dresser, seasonal clothing totes, and anywhere else you have clothes and pull out the following:
- Pieces that don’t fit you
- Pieces that don’t flatter your body
- Items that have a color or pattern that clashes with your skin tone
- Things that are damaged or stained
- Items that hold bad memories for you or another family member
- Things you never have an occasion to wear them for
- Stuff you know you’ll never wear
- Items that still have tags on them from at least a month ago
- Pieces that aren’t your style anymore
- Items you have multiples of
Once you’ve pulled all these items out, separate them into three categories:
Pricier Brand Names and highly sought-after pieces that someone may search for specifically.
- Designer Handbags
- Expensive Coats
- Limited Edition Dresses
- Hard-To-Find Shoes
Mid-range brand names and good quality pieces that are still in season and on trend.
- Current/upcoming seasonal pieces
- Things you can bundle together as a set
Cheap brands of clothing and accessories, as well as items that are visibly well-loved.
- Minor signs of wear/imperfections
- Pieces from Target, Old Navy, Forever 21, or past trends
Go ahead and wash all these items again (even if they’re clean) and box up the donations. You can put that box in your trunk so you can drop it off wherever you like to donate next time you’re in the area.
Prepping Your Pieces To Sell
Of course, your first priority is making sure someone would want these used items, so make sure they’re clean, smell fresh, don’t have any frays, and look as good as new. Go ahead and iron them if needed so they look crisp in photos.
Speaking of photos, here are a few tips to make your pieces look more desirable:
- Put a small nail on a blank white/cream wall or door (or use a Command Hook) and put clothing on sturdy hangers. Hang the hanger on the nail/hook for a photo, and use double-sided tape to make the clothes spread out if needed. (Like if a button-up blouse is scrunching up in the middle)
- Lay down the pieces on a large piece of white or cream posterboard and put a seamstress measuring tape down to visually show the width or length of the item. (This saves you from annoying measurement DMs)
- Don’t use artificial lighting. Your overhead lights and lamps will make the clothing color look off, and will make the clothes look blotchy. Instead, turn out the lights and photograph near a window in the afternoon when your house gets the most light.
Next you’ll choose your selling platform and write your listings. I recommend looking up either the exact items you’re selling or something very similar so you can get a feel for what others are charging for them. You’ll also gain insight on how listings should look and what you should include.
Some platforms I think are the best for selling clothes for cash are:
- Facebook Marketplace
- The Real Real
- Etsy (for vintage clothing only)
For clothes and accessories you are going to be consigning at local shops, you’ll likely be working in bundles. Most consignment shops, both locally and digitally, don’t accept single pieces, so expect there to be minimums on quantities.
You can also list multiple items in your sales listings, just make sure you show photos of all pieces. Bonus points if they all go together to create an outfit or specific color scheme/theme.
Use the word “lot” to indicate that they will get a collection of pieces. For example “large lot of designer shoes” or “chunky knit sweater lot”.
The Actual Selling Process
This will be a little different across all platforms, so I won’t get into the details on how your actual process will work. But there are three main elements that happen during the sale and this applies to any platform:
- Price Negotiating
Dealing With Hagglers
Whether you are selling on a platform like Facebook Marketplace or taking items to a local consignment shop, you will experience some form of price negotiation. Don’t take it personally, this is completely normal.
I always suggest pricing your items 10-15 percent higher than what you would actually accept. This gives you wiggle room when someone offers $20 less than asking. You can meet them in the middle and accept $10 less than asking price, without feeling like you lost out on what you should’ve gotten.
Packaging Your Sold Items
Packaging is KEY, because your buyer holds all the cards here. They can always claim that the item isn’t what they expected and you’ll be required to accept a return and refund their money.
To avoid unhappy customers, you should make packaging a huge priority. Fold the clothes in the neatest and fanciest way you possibly can. Think of how the mens shirts are folded when they come in those plastic bags with the cardstock inside.
Use white tissue paper to line your box and fold the tissue paper over the clothing so it looks and feels like a gift. And include a handwritten thank you note on top of the folded item.
Shipping Your Sold Pieces
Some platforms have required shipping practices that you will have to follow. A lot of them provide the labels for you to print and designate certain carriers. This is super helpful, so be grateful if yours does this.
If your platform doesn’t offer this option, I always recommend shipping via USPS Priority Mail. I find that UPS and FedEx are much more expensive and tend to lose packages more often than the postal service. USPS Priority always provides tracking numbers, which is crucial for both you and your buyer.
Plus USPS has Flat-Rate Priority Packages so that means if it fits, it ships for one flat rate fee. If you’re selling a heavy pair of heels, you’ll be able to ship them for the same price that someone else would sell a bag of feathers for.
You save a lot of money using Flat-Rate, but sometimes shipping by weight could come out cheaper. Swing by the post office and get quotes on both options.
Sheesh, that was a lot of info! Did you read all that?? If you did, then you’re totally ready to hop in your closet and start turning your clothes into dolla dolla bills, yo!
But if you skipped around, here’s a quick skimmer’s version recap:
- Purge first, before even thinking about cash
- Donate anything that won’t reap a good amount of money
- Research and choose a platform to sell on
- Wash and steam/iron all the clothes you want to sell
- Take a variety of photos
- Write a detailed listing
- Price 10-15% higher than the price you’ll accept to allow for negotiating
- Package sold items like you’re sending a special gift
- Use USPS Priority Mail for affordable and trackable shipping
More Info On Selling Purged Items
Wondering if it’s worth your time and energy to go through all this work? Here’s a post that breaks down when you should sell your items and when you should just bite the bullet and accept your purged items as a loss.