There’s money lurking in your closet, and how much you make just depends on what kind of effort you want to put in.
When clearing out old clothes, I make 3 piles: Goodwill, eBay and consignment. Here’s how I decide what goes where, what effort is involved, and what kind of payout to expect.
Goodwill – You won’t make money, but you can get a donation receipt for your taxes. If it’s unbranded, tags cut out or shows visible wear, it goes to Goodwill. (Or some similar type of donation place) It takes minimal effort to toss everything in a bag and drop it off. Even less effort if you call a place like Vietnam Veterans of America, then you leave everything on your doorstep and they pick it up.
eBay – This is where you’ll make the most money, but also have to put in the biggest effort. I only do this for new looking items with easily searchable brand names. It takes a decent amount of time to take pics and create listings, plus add in time for shipping and answering inane questions you probably already answered in your listing. You also have to be prepared for the possibility of returns. You can always stipulate “final sale” but then it won’t sell as easily. I get an average of $5-$10 an item, vs. 50 cents from the consignment shop.
Consignment – The best places to take baby clothes are the types of consignment baby boutiques that buy on the spot. For adult clothes, the places that pay you when the item sells are the best option. This is a good place to take items that might not photograph well or dresses, shoes, and coats that are heavy and make shipping costs too high. The downside is you make only a fraction of what your item can sell for. I took a lot of clothes in 5 months ago, sold 3 things so far and have made $12. In comparison, I put a bunch of clothes on eBay two weeks ago, sold two items and have made $37.
*There are also online consignment shops like ThredUp, but you make even less money and have to factor in the initial cost of their shipping kit
The Final Breakdown:
Let’s say you have an item you think is worth $20
On eBay it will probably sell for $15 and after subtracting fees you profit $12.
On consignment they might start at $20, then mark it down and down until they finally donate it. So depending on their cut and final sale price, you could profit anywhere from $10 to $0. The downside is you don’t get it back if it doesn’t sell. The upside is you might make a few dollars with minimal effort and at least it’s out of your closet.
Or you can donate it and get $0, but it’s easy and it’s gone
* Clothes do best on eBay or consignment, household items, furniture, appliances, toys, etc. do better on places like Craigslist or LetGo (basically, anything where the shipping would outweigh the value)