Style Advice: 19 Different Ways to Sell, Recycle, and Donate Old Clothes

To me, building a minimalist wardrobe is just a way to gain more freedom.  Freedom from worrying about what to wear next, and freedom from mindless consumerism. Over the past 5 months, I successfully decluttered my closet and shrunk its size by at least 60%.  I wanted to share 21 different ways to sell, recycle and donate old clothes, so that you can make the most out of your old clothes! 

Before diving in, let’s set a realistic expectation: Clothes do NOT have any resale values.   Some may say that luxury brands usually have good resale values.  But that’s not the case for me. I was selling this classic Chanel le Boy, but the best quote I got was 80% of the original price tag. Given how expensive a Chanel purse is, I would have still lost $1000+.

Now that you are well prepared for what you may get from selling clothes, let’s discuss what I have tried so far.

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

SELLING

1. E-Bay

http://www.ebay.com/

What is it good for?

Luxury items, i.e. a Chanel Purse, etc.  

Is it risky?

Very risky. Frauds happen all the time on E-bay. Some sellers receive counterfeit returns and never get their money back because PayPal always refunds the consumer regardless of the seller’s return policy.

How easy is it?

It’s not easy because you need to have good ratings and reviews in order to successfully sell any used luxury items at a good price. In addition, you spend a lot of time answering buyers’ questions to make sure they are comfortable buying things from you.

How long does it take?

The quickest turnaround is 10 days. Typically, a bidding session ends in one week. Assuming you get a buyer within the first week of bidding and the buyer doesn’t return your item, the shortest turnaround time to get your money back is 10 days: 1 week of bidding + Overnight Shipping + PayPal processing time (2-3 Business days).

What advantage does it have?

Even though selling on E-Bay requires a lot of energy and work, you do get the most $$ from E-Bay compared to other selling methods. If you decide to go this route, I highly suggest you to research more to avoid being scammed. 

What was my resale price?

When I was trying to sell the Chanel Boy, the best quote I got was 80% of the original price.

2. Tradesy

https://www.tradesy.com/

What is it good for?

Luxury items.

How risky is it?

Very little to no Risk. Because you are selling it directly to Tradesy, or you are letting Tradesy handle all the returns so you don’t have to worry about buyers returning a counterfeit product. 

How easy is it?

It depends on how you sell it. There are two options: 1) Sell it directly to Tradesy and 2) Sell it yourself on Tradesy. Selling it directly to Tradesy means that you get less $$. For the Chanel Boy I was trying to sell, I got quoted 60% of the original price tag. But a big advantage is that you get paid out instantly, and all shipping is handled by Tradesy. I also heard that Tradesy pays you far more than any other online and physical consignment stores. You have to pay Tradesy 9% of commission fees if you want to get paid with Tradesy credits, and 14.9% of commission fees if you want to get cash back.

What advantage does it have?

Easy, convenient and fast.  I don’t think you get the most $$ back using Tradesy, but overall, I highly recommend Tradesy for a hassle free selling experience.

3. ThredUp 

https://www.thredup.com

What is it good for? 

Mid-ranged priced clothes in excellent conditions. 

How easy is it?

It’s very easy, but the process is painfully long.  To sell the clothes, you need to first ask ThredUp to mail you a Clean Out kit (aka, a giant plastic bag).  Once you receive the bag, you stock it up with old clothes that are in pristine conditions.  ThredUp examines and purchases some clothes from you, and helps you donate/recycle the remaining clothes they do not want to purchase. 

My experience?

I think buying from ThredUp is a great alternative to thrift stores, but I will not recommend selling it to ThredUp because the payout is very low, the process is very long and they are very picky with clothes.  Just to get a Clean Out kit, it took me 9 days to receive it. After that, it took up to 3 weeks for ThredUp to give me quotes and credits. While shipping/returning is free, their pay-out is extremely low.  I got less than $15 for a brand new cocktail dress from J Crew.  I was very turned off by the low price, and I would much rather gift it to a friend. 

4. Material World 

https://www.materialworld.co

What is it good for? 

Designer clothes in excellent condition. 

How easy is it?

Material World is essentially ThredUp for designer clothes.  The process is very easy but quite long.  

My experience?

I think selling to Material World is better than any physical consignment stores because of the convenience.  However, I personally got a bad quote for a pair of almost brand new Stuart Weitzman (only wore less than 5 times).  They were retailed at $160 at the time I was selling them, but I got quoted for $27. That’s less than 17% pay out.  The #1 lesson I learned from selling old clothes: clothes are worthless.  With that said, I also tried a couple other options: 

5. Posh Mark

https://poshmark.com

How does it work?

It’s essentially another E-bay, but specifically for old clothes.

My experience?

Contrary to this post on Refinery29 where the author claimed she made $100K from PoshMark, I got $0. I was trying to sell the same pair of Stuart Weitzman that I sold to Material World, hoping that I would get a better price (USD$86), but the truth is… I never got contacted.  LOL!

My thoughts?

What I think PoshMark is good for is sizzling hot trendy clothes that are sold out anywhere else.  I have seen some successful sellers on this platform, and majority of their clothes are brand new clothes that are already sold out anywhere else. I suspect that people ‘flip’ clothes on PoshMark to make $$, but to me, it’s a risky business model because clothes are so replaceable and worthless.

6. Reddit

Subreddit – FemaleFashionAdvice

How does it work?

You post pictures of the clothes along with the price in a conversation thread (link above). The rest is a waiting game.

My experience?

I never got contacted 🙁

7. Buffalo Exchange 

Pretty self-explanatory!

8. Grailed

This is an online consignment store for second hand designer clothes!

9. Depop

Another online consignment store!

10. Cross Roads Tradings & Other Local Consignments

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

RECYCLING

Now how to recycle your old clothes?

11. Gift them to friends.

Invite your girlfriends over and have them take your old clothes before you donate them!

12. Make a rug with your old T-shirts.

Back in college, I had an affair with free baggy T-shirts that were neither soft nor cute. That’s very out of character and un-stylish of me, and I purely blamed this habit on my engineering friends and their peer pressure/influence. If you too have many old T-shirts, you can do follow this to make a rug! (I am way too lazy for that.)

13. DIY Alterations

I love blogs such as ‘Extra Petite’ and ‘A Pair and A Spare’ for their alteration tips!

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

DONATING

Are you lazy? I don’t know about you, but I am. After trying to selling my Chanel bag, I didn’t want to sell any more old clothes because I already learned that old clothes are worthless. I purely tried all the other methods above because I wanted to research options so you don’t have to waste any time. Donating is THE easy way out.  It makes me feel less guilty about throwing away perfectly fine clothes. Where do I donate to?

14. Good Will 

15. Dress for Success

Donate your old work clothes to other women 🙂

16. H&M 

Donate your old clothes, and you can get 15% off your next purchase!

17. Soma

Apparently, they accept old bras!

18. MadeWell

Donate your old jeans, and you can get 15% off your next purchase!

19. Local Women Shelters

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

Thank you so much for reading this super long post!

Please support me on social media and tell your friends about this blog!

Smile and Style On!

SK


Outfit Information:

Sweater :: Faithful the Brand

Featured below are not from Faithful the Brand, but other sustainable alternatives.

4 Comment

  1. saim says: Reply

    Totally loving your outfit!good article!:)
    Regards.
    Walkindiscount.com

  2. Dinah says: Reply

    Wow thats alot of good information! I didnt think about scamming on ebay. But after my experience with tradesy. I think you can get scammed anywhere.

    I decided to sell my wedding dress directly on tradesy. Someone bought it almost immediately. The dress was mailed out and a couple of days later i was told by the buy that she didnt want the dress because it had a hole in it. Mind you, i had the dress professionally cleaned and preserved. Fast forward to after tradesy “inspected” the dress return, i get a dress that is NOT what i sent in. The buyer had removed the whole 8 yards of inner lining. As in physically cut the linning out! This basically rendered the dress unuseable. After almost 2 months of back and forth, tradesy took the dress back. But i got less than 50 % of the value of the dress plus they charged me to get the cash. Needless to say, i would NOT recommend tradesy

    1. SK says: Reply

      Omg, I am so sorry to hear about your experience! That’s absolutely horrible! 🙁 I hear you, and thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Melanie says: Reply

    Cool to read about your process of cleaning out your closet in detail! I generally try to 1) gift to friends (bring out a bag of clothes when hosting dinner), then 2) sell to an exchange store, and then 3) whatever is left I bring to Goodwill. I often skip step 2 because like you say, the payout is so low! Thanks for being so transparent about what you were offered at each of these places!

    I’m curious about what IS left in your closet now 🙂

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