Let’s set the scene.
You are standing in front of your closet. You’ve found the energy and you’ve done it! Your closet’s spring purge and refresh is finished. Maybe you’ve even gotten adventurous and decided to tackle your kids’ closets, as well.
And now, sitting smack dab in front of you, there it is…the stuff.
So. Much. Stuff.
Piles or bags of clothing, shoes, belts, hats—the list goes on—you name it, it’s right in front of you. Now you need to decide what exactly to do with everything. Sometimes this can be the most daunting problem of all.
It’s one thing to purge and edit; it’s something else to know what to do with everything left over. We get many questions about what to do with the pieces once they are no longer wanted
The Quick Way to Determine If You Should Consign or Sell Online
Before you even decide whether or not to donate, consign or sell your items, you need to make decisions about the state of your items.
Editing Tip: If something is damaged, stained, or from a mall brand, let it go. Throw it away or donate it and be finished. Just because you paid a lot of money for it twelve years ago does not mean it remains valuable.
Next, you need to determine which of the two is most important:
If you need the money and you have the time, you may choose to sell your wardrobe pieces online. The items may or may not sell, but the process of posting the pictures, waiting and responding to comments from potential buyers and mailing everything can take a considerable amount of time. More about this below.
If you don’t need the money and you definitely need more time, consignment is perfect.
The best way to make this decision, is to decide what your time is worth.
If you think you have some solid pieces, in amazing condition, and you believe you can make money at a price point that works for you, selling your clothes might be your best route.
Doing some research online about pieces that seem similar to yours will allow you to see how much like items sell for and how long they take to sell. Some key ideas to consider when looking online:
Brands are important
Quality of the item is key
Style and trend will indicate if your item is still in demand
Using your online research, your decision about money vs. time, and your determined price point, allows you to determine how to proceed.
Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Your Clothes Online
Because I have personal experience using these two platforms, today’s post will detail how they work. Please note, there are other online selling options, including other apps and Facebook groups. These come with their own quirks and challenges. I urge you to do thorough research on specific platforms before you decide to sell.
Many people think that they can quickly take a picture, slap it up online, add a few words and the piece will sell quickly and without much work. That's incorrect.
In determining if I would sell the pieces online, I asked myself a few questions:
Can I sell it quickly?
Is it in season or something that would sell year round?
($50 was my minimum amount for listing prices. Anything less than this wasn’t worth my time and I took the pieces to a consignment store.)
Is the item easy to ship?
The Nine Steps to Selling Your Pieces Online
After I answered these questions, I followed a process for listing each of my items:
Make sure everything is cleaned and ironed.
Check the clothing closely for stains or issues. Buyers will expect this and could be upset if the item isn’t accurately represented.
Take high quality pictures.
If you use a camera phone, use an app like pic tap go, with the “lights on” preset to make the items look bright.
Clothes look best on a white background. I used my bed’s white duvet cover or a white marble counter top.
Natural sunlight images are key.
Look at sellers with quality, similar items and imitate their styles.
Know the value of your items.
Take detailed measurement of your pieces.
Write excellent, accurate descriptions of your items.
I found manufacturer's details online and used that to guide my writing. Again, the seller is expecting thorough, honest details.
List the item.
Correspond with potential buyers and answer all of their questions.
Ship carefully and quickly.
Use tissue paper to wrap your item.
Keep the proper boxes to keep the items secure.
Shoes can get crushed, so be aware of how you box these.
Jewelry and sunglasses need jewelry boxes or sunglasses cases as well as an outer box for shipping.
If you don’t ship quickly, buyers can get frustrated and leave comments/reviews.
The Pros & Cons of Selling Clothes Online
Cons of selling online:
The process can be time consuming.
It takes time to properly ship items. It’s important to ensure they are packaged well.
If an item doesn’t sell, it’s still in your house. It’s still clutter.
Pros of selling online:
You can make more money.
When Consignment is the Better Option
If you’ve decided that your time is more valuable than potentially making more money, a local consignment store is your best route.
Key parts of consigning your clothes and accessories:
Research local consignment stores that best fit your pieces.
Check the consignment store’s website for brands they accept.
Make sure all of your items are clean, ironed and on hangers.
For Memphis-area readers, we use Celery for consignment and enjoy the ease in working with them. For kids clothes and shoes, Katie and I personally use The Blue Door Exchange. You can also find them on Instagram.
Cons of Consignment Sales:
You make less money.
They don’t take everything.
Pros of Consignment Sales
It is out of your house.
Money shows up in your mailbox without having to do anything.
If you hire Blue Pencil Home to declutter and organize, we will drop everything off for you! In fact, many clients tell us that their consignment checks more than paid for our services!
The Quickest Way to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Items
By far, the easiest thing to do is donate your clothing. Tell yourself the money is gone whether you keep it or not. If you bought something and never it wore it, ask yourself why? It is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.
If you are having a hard time donating your items, find a charity with a mission you feel strongly about and give it to them.
Tip: If you find yourself saying, “I might use this sometime in the future,” that’s a quick indication suggesting you should donate the item. Don’t hold onto anything you aren’t using right now.
How to Make These Decisions for Your Kids’ Items
You can also do these things with kids clothes, in much the same way. There are specific apps and programs geared toward just kids clothing items and accessories. Again, make sure to research appropriately before you begin selling online.
A few quick tips about dealing with kids’ items:
Like adult clothes, you should keep them on hangers. It’s tempting to fold items and put them in bins but this may cause difficult creases and strange discoloration.
Check carefully for stains.
Make sure pieces are ironed.
Katie and I typically consign all of our kids’ old clothes through The Blue Door Exchange. In our area, there are big consignment sales where we drop items off beforehand. If this is similar to your area, keep in mind that you’ll still need to store pieces throughout the course of the year. We tend to only keep the very good items that we know will be popular at the consignment sales.
It can often seem like the easy choice to sell items online, but be cautious before trying to do too much. Be honest with yourself about how much time you have and whether or not the value will be worth it.
Have you sold online in the past? Or do you prefer consignment? Let us know in the comments which method works best for you.
Until next week!