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Cashing In On Your Unworn Clothes

I hear this all the time, “You have so many clothes!” But, the truth is, I’m a big proponent of the one-in-one-out rule. Partly, that’s because I live in a 600-square foot living space, but it’s also because having too much stuff overwhelms me. When it comes to clothes, I do a mini-closet cleanout every month or two, evaluate what items I haven’t worn, that I’m ready to let go. Every time I do one of these purging sessions, I take them to secondhand shops so that I can cash in on the clothes I’m no longer wearing.

 SELLING OUTRIGHT VS. CONSIGNING

Depending on the store, you can either sell your clothes to the store outright or consign them–where the shop sells the item for you, and then you pay the shop a percentage of the sale price after it sells. My personal preference has always been to sell outright instead of consigning, but that decision is totally up to you. Both options have pros and cons.

PROS AND CONS

Generally speaking, the biggest “pro” to selling your clothes outright is that the process is relatively quick and painless. Cleaning out your closet is the hard part, and by the time you’re ready to drop them off, that is all taken care of.

Whatever option you choose, be sure that you spend some time after your closet cleanout to separate lightly worn clothing from those items beyond wear.

The downside of selling your clothes on the spot (usually stores refer to this as “cash for clothes”), is that you’ll typically receive much less for your clothes than you would if you consigned them. In this scenario, you’re selling the clothes to the store “at cost” so that they can still profit on the sale without accepting a ton of risk.

Consigning on the other hand, means that you’ll receive payment once the item sells, and not beforehand. The store assisting in the sale will receive a percentage of the sale, and that percentage will vary by store. However, you’re likely to receive more for your clothes when you consign versus sell. If you don’t mind getting paid as your items sell, then this might be a better option for you.

THE SECONDHAND PROCESS

In the Pittsburgh area, there are a variety of secondhand stores that provide cash for clothes on the spot, including Plato’s Closet and Style Encore. The process is the same, regardless of where you go: you’ll hand over your laundry basket of clothes and driver’s license. The store associates will go through each piece, determining which ones they’re willing to buy and for how much.

It’s not uncommon for a store not to accept your clothes–even if they are in mint condition. The items they are willing to buy are based on demand and the likelihood that the items will sell to their customer base.

Stores usually only accept items for the current (if it’s early enough) or upcoming season. For example: stores aren’t going to accept bathing suits in late August because vacation season is coming to an end, and they’ll be less likely to sell those items.

SELLING ON YOUR OWN

If you want total control over the pricing and sale of your items, then you’ll probably be more comfortable with a service like Poshmark or ebay. I’ve done a full review on my experience with Poshmark here.  Personally, I reserve Poshmark for higher end clothing, accessories, and shoes, and that is simply because–living in a small space–I don’t have the extra room to hold on to pieces until they sell. It’s generally easier for me to work through a store for most of my clothing, since they are responsible for holding on to it.


All in all, there are many ways you can cash in on your unworn clothing. I’m personally a big fan of selling outright and moving on. It’s simple and painless, and it doesn’t force me to hold on to things in my own space. For others, consigning may be a more comfortable option and you’re likely to make a bit more money that way, too. Whatever your situation, being able to receive a bit of extra cash for something you’re not using anyway, is a win-win. Usually, I just use the money I make selling my clothes to invest in new ones–or use it to save up for an extra special purchase as a bit of incentive!

Have you sold your clothes to a secondhand store? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!

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