The holidays are well over now (I should probably put away my pink trees) but you may still find yourself a bit low on funds. I get it. I go nuts during the holidays buying gifts and throwing parties, and then I look around afterward and think, “Shit, I have bills to pay!”
An easy way to make a little extra cash if you’re a borderline shopaholic with three closets like me is to sell the shoes, clothes and accessories that are taking up space. It’s pretty easy to do if you don’t mind a little legwork, and you can make some good money simply by getting rid of what you don’t wear.
1. Go through your closets. And drawers. And shoe closets. Thoroughly. If you need a glass of wine and a friend to help you, go for it. If you haven’t worn something in six months to a year, it goes, unless there’s some crazy emotional attachment to the piece. Then you may keep it. But anything that doesn’t fit right, seems outdated, doesn’t mesh with your current style or has just slipped off your radar needs to go.
2. Organize things into piles. Got some designer labels? Keep those in a pile to sell to consignment or resale shops. Trendy fast fashion pieces or weird vintage stuff does well at Buffalo Exchange and Beacon’s Closet, for example. Decide that whatever doesn’t sell will eventually be donated.
3. Make sure that shit is clean. Do not bring anything that needs to be laundered into a shop with intention to sell it. Your items should be washed, folded neatly and lint-rolled. Don’t be gross.
4. Shoes should be in good condition too. A little wear and tear on the soles is OK, but anything beat-up isn’t going to sell. You wouldn’t buy those things if you saw them on the rack, would you? Shine ‘em up, buff out any nicks and make them look their best.
5. It’s all about presentation. I always sell more when I present Buffalo Exchange employees with nicely folded items and delicate fabrics on hangers than I do when I bring it all in dumped in an Ikea bag. If you’re trying to sell some designer dress you wore to a sorority formal or whatever, bring it in dry-cleaned. Presentation and proving you care for your items is key.
6. Most upscale places have pretty strict buying guidelines. Do your research. If you want cash right away, you need to go the resale route. Consignment stores pay you when that item sells, which could take days or weeks. Learn which lines they carry and what they won’t accept – some places consider J. Crew upscale and others don’t.
7. Don’t haggle with the employees after they give you a quote. This is their job and they know what they can resell your items for. They don’t care if that jacket has sentimental value to you. Take what they offer or bring the item home with you again.
8. Try selling online – I’ve used Tradesy before, which is a really easy selling app. Others create Instagram accounts and get paid via Paypal. If you have some really great stuff, research how to sell on eBay or etsy. (Once again, presentation is key.)
9. What if your stuff doesn’t sell? Try a new location or two. Different buyers have different taste. With the leftovers, host a clothing swap with your friends or donate the items and get the sweet tax write-off. And the good feeling that your clothes will have new life again.