You’ve taken time to declutter your house and clean out your closet—but what now? Throwing out your clothes means sending them to a landfill and contributing to the 11.3+ million tons of textile waste every year in America. Rather than wasting your money and damaging the environment, selling used clothes online is a sustainable and easy way to get rid of items you no longer want. Selling used clothes online is a win-win-win: you can declutter your house, appreciate and respect your clothes by giving them a renewed life, and make some extra cash in the process.
Note: These tips in this article are geared towards those women who are going to sell used clothes online to consignment stores, rather than through a third-party selling platform direct to customers. Check out the difference—and how to decide which is right for you—in the first tip below.
1. Decide whether you’ll sell to a consignment store or direct to customers.
There are two primary avenues for selling used clothes online. You can function as the consigner yourself and sell direct to customers, usually using an online platform like Poshmark or Asos Marketplace. Or, you can sell your clothes to an online consignment store or physical storefront, like Current Boutique or ThredUp. There are pros and cons to both options. We’ll give you an overview, but you’ll want to research for yourself which path is right for you.
Selling direct to customers is generally a lot more challenging and time-consuming than selling to a consigner, but you might be able to come out with more money in the end if you can market your clothes effectively. Still, selling direct is a much longer process, so the money might not always be worth it. You need to clean, photograph, price, market, and ship out your products yourself with little help and support from the selling platform, and then that platform ends up taking a cut of your profits anyway. Also, in order to get seen on a lot of these platforms, your listings need to be spotless in terms of descriptions, photos, and SEO, and people with more listings tend to do much better than those with just a few pieces taken from their closet during a clean-out.
While some women have made hundreds or even thousands of dollars selling through Poshmark or other direct-to-consumer selling platforms, these women also put a lot of time into running their stores like a business. They take on a lot of risk, and that risk doesn’t usually come with a high enough reward for most sellers who just looking to get rid of a few items from their closet a couple of times a year.
Selling used clothes online to a consignment store is much easier and lower risk. You work with a buyer (directly or indirectly) from the consignment store, who will help determine how much your item is worth. You don’t have to worry about marketing, pricing, selling, or shipping your clothes. The consignment store will do everything for you. You just give them the clothes and let them do the work.
If you want to sell used clothes online quickly and with low risk, working with a consignment store is probably the best bet for you. It’s fast, simple, and puts cash right in your pocket! If you enjoy selling and marketing clothes, you might want to think about creating your own side hustle by selling clothes direct to customers—but keep in mind that it is a full-blown side hustle that takes time, work, and patience.
Not sure where to start? Check out the 5 best websites to sell your designer clothes online and another 7 websites to shop secondhand designer clothing.
2. Find the right consignment store.
If you’ve decided to sell your clothes to a consignment store, you want to find the right store for you and your items. There are four main considerations when selecting the right consignment store you should sell to: what they sell, how easy it is to sell, the payout, and personal preference.
What do they sell?
Not all consignment stores sell everything. Finding a store that specializes in the type(s) of items you’re selling can help you make more money and make the process go smoother. For example, selling your preloved designer dresses to a high-end women’s clothing consignment store like Current Boutique will pay out higher than selling them to a general consignment store or thrift shop. Current Boutique only sells designer clothing brands, so we pay higher for those items, while other stores may accept all labels and offer a lower payout.
Or, for example, if you’re selling a used guitar, selling to a consignment musical instrument store will likely give you a more tailored process and higher payout for your guitar. You may even be able to find highly specific resellers, like a consignment store that specializes in designer handbags or one that upcycles used shoes by painting them.
How easy is it to sell?
Is it easy to sell used clothes online with this consignment store? For example, Current Boutique offers three options for getting your merchandise to us: you can drop it off at one of our locations, send it in with a prepaid shipping label, or have us come pick it up if you have at least 50 items to consign. You just need to fill out our Item List Form and Consignment Agreement, and we’ll contact you within 48 hours of processing. Any items we don’t accept will be donated. It really is that easy! We believe selling to a consignment store should be easy, fast, and fun.
Read over our white-glove selling process here.
What is the payout method?
There are two primary methods of consignment payout: upfront payment and profit-sharing. With an upfront payment, you and the consignment store buyer agree on a flat price you’ll receive for your items. The buyer will consider how much they estimate the items are worth and how much the items will likely sell for at that particular time, and they’ll pay you accordingly. Profit-sharing means that you receive an agreed-upon percentage of the profits after an item sells. If an item doesn’t sell, the store might give it back to you or donate it (whichever you agree upon).
Generally, profit sharing can result in higher earnings because you are accepting more risk in the sale of the item. However, it’s a slower trickle of money. With some stores, you’re not guaranteed a payout at all if the item doesn’t sell. (Current Boutique uses expert designers and buyers to make sure our items sell.) While an upfront payment may have a slightly lower overall payout because the consignment store is assuming more of the risk, you have a guaranteed payment so you get the cash or store credit on the spot. You can walk in with clothes and walk out with money.
Pro-tip: A lot of consignment stores will offer the choice between cash and a store credit. Oftentimes, the store credit amount will be higher because the consigner wants to keep the money in-house. If you love fashion, want to revamp your wardrobe, and would probably end up spending that money on clothes anyway, taking store credit is probably the right decision.
What’s your personal preference?
That brings us to the next tip: sell to a store you like and trust. If you’re going to be taking a store credit to buy clothes from them, you want your own shopping selection to fit your style. Even if you’re not taking a store credit, you want to sell to a store that has a good flow of customers and positive reviews. This means your items are more likely to sell, and you know they won’t try to shortchange you in terms of payout.
For example, a lot of people sell with Current Boutique because they would also prefer to buy with Current Boutique thanks to our fun fashion community, gorgeous storefronts, and emphasis on accessible fashion. They also trust us because they’ve purchased from us before and know we care about our customers!
3. Clean your clothes first.
Although most consigners like Current Boutique will professionally clean all clothes before the pieces hit the shelves or website, it doesn’t hurt for you to bring in clean clothes too. Well-maintained items that are in good shape will generally catch the eye of consigners, and these pieces are more likely to sell for a higher price, particularly in an upfront payment situation.
You don’t have to go crazy with cleaning, but removing stains and washing, ironing, and steaming can boost the perceived worth of your clothes. Items with marks, missing parts, or stains might be declined by a consignment store, so putting a little elbow grease in to make your clothes look newer can help boost the value of your payout.
Check out these 10 hacks to make your clothes last longer.
4. Make sure your items meet store standards.
When you’re selling preloved items, the consigner doesn’t expect that the item is 100% new. However, items that are like-new or in great condition will sell better, which means you’ll get paid more for them. Some stores like Current Boutique only sell high-end, high-quality designer clothes so we can uphold a reputation for customer satisfaction. We will typically only sell these items, and we will donate whatever we don’t put on the shelves.
(Donation is a pretty common practice. If you don’t want your items donated instead of paid out, you might want to first check in with each consignment store’s requirements and standards for clothing.)
Psst… Curious why Current Boutique donates clothes that we don’t accept? We do it to make it easier for you, so you don’t have to come to pick up clothes that you’ll have to donate or throw out anyway. We also donate any usable clothes to minimize textile waste that ends up in landfills and help those who are in need.
5. Sell seasonally.
This isn’t essential to selling used clothes online, but it’s a good tip to know. Selling seasonal items in-season might make you more money with a consigner. It’s easier for a consignment store to sell a jacket in the winter and sandals in the summer, so these higher-demand items might make you more if you sell them right before or during those seasons.
It’s a good tip, but it isn’t a necessity—we still see a lot of tank top purchases in the winter and boots purchases in the summer. So don’t worry if you’re doing a fall cleanout of your summer clothes, Current Boutique will still help you make money!
6. Keep selling in mind when buying.
You will rarely ever make money on clothes (unless that’s the game plan, like buying and holding a pair of Yeezy’s), and the value of the item likely will decrease after you’ve purchased it—even if you never wore it. So don’t expect a consigner to pay you $200 if you paid $210 for a piece.
Still, clothing can be an investment. Firstly, you’re investing in your own wallet and style. You can purchase timeless, sustainable clothing that will last longer in your closet, which means you’ll get more out of the money you spent on it. Secondly, some items inherently hold value better than others. For example, designer clothing and big-name brands like Kate Spade or Theory have better re-salability than box store brands (like Target clothing lines) or small boutique designers. So when you’re buying clothes, think long-term about what you’d be able to make back if you wanted to sell the pieces.
See our list of the top 15 brands you can make money by reselling here.
7. Keep selling in mind when wearing.
Take care of your clothes. If you want them to hold value when you want to resell them, your clothes need to be in great condition. That means you want to be mindful about how you wear and wash your clothing and accessories. If you show your clothes love and respect, they’ll return the love with a higher resale ticket price. Read this article with 10 easy hacks to make your clothes last longer.
Sell with Current Boutique
The best tip we have for you might seem a little biased but we swear by it… Sell your preloved items to Current Boutique! If you’re a lover of all things fashion and have designer items you want to sell, Current Boutique offers competitive pricing, easy drop-off methods, and a variety of clothes from elegant to exotic.
Remember that you’re a fashion icon. Selling your clothes online to Current Boutique is going to get you cash to spend, but it could also light up someone’s life by giving them access to your beautiful clothing. Current Boutique gets your clothes in front of the right eyes to make sure your preloved pieces are loved once again. (Oh, and did we mention you’ll make money too while joining our community of fashionistas?)