Whether you’re clearing out your closet, or thrifting to sell clothes you find, there’s a big market for selling gently used clothes on the internet. (Even more so since the pandemic, which has caused everyone to both carefully watch their pennies and consider how to shop more sustainably.)
Unfortunately, also due to the pandemic, many thrift stores and consignment shops remain closed. Places you might have gone before to get some extra cash for your old outfits likely won’t accept them, for fear of contamination from the pandemic.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options for selling your gently used items!
Selling your clothes online is a great way to earn some extra cash while clearing out your closet. You can breathe easy knowing you only have clothes you love and will actually wear in your wardrobe, PLUS your wallet will thank you.
The Biggest Benefits of Selling Clothes Online
Now is one of the best times to start selling online. People are avoiding going shopping in person to reduce the risk of contamination. Which means they’re going online to fill their shopping needs.
Many people are also looking to save money, so that means they’re willing to buy secondhand items.
Offering your secondhand items to others is also a great way to boost your environmental impact. Buying used reduces carbon emissions and water usage. You’ll be helping yourself and the planet simultaneously!
What You Need For Selling Used Clothing Online
Several used clothing apps are extremely easy to use, so you don’t have to invest a huge amount of time into selling your items. Depending on how much time and effort you want to invest in selling used clothes, you can get started with very little.
- – your smartphone camera
- – an internet connection
- – somewhere tidy (with good lighting) to stage your photos
- – access to pricing information
- – an account on each platform you want to sell on
Knowledge of what’s currently in fashion, and what’s part of last season’s trends will also help in knowing how to market your clothes. However, you don’t need to know what’s currently fashionable to make an extra buck from your items.
If you’re selling a large number of clothes, you’ll want to consider using a mannequin or other way of staging your clothes. You can also use a digital camera if you have one for better quality photos, but don’t go looking to invest in one. A smartphone is just fine (and it's what I use and I have zero problems!)
Tips for Selling Clothes Online
I cover this in more detail in this post that talks about how to purge your home to sell goods online, but repeat after me: not everything I own is saleable.
And what I mean by that phrase is this: if you wouldn't pay money for it, someone else probably wouldn't either. I'm talking about clothes that have been heavily worn, are ripped, torn, or stained or are very outdated.
Selling online isn't a game about offloading your crap, it's about making money.
- Other than seriously evaluating the worthiness of your secondhand items, the most important thing when it comes to selling clothes online is PATIENCE! Some things will sell quickly, while others won’t move for a while. That’s okay.
- Designer labels and top brands tend to sell best. However, if you have a unique looking item, you can sell it on sites like Etsy.
- Sell clothes with the seasons. You don’t want to list a bikini in December, because no one’s going to be looking for one.
- If you’re selling heavy coats, wait until it’s cold outside to list them.
- Items like jeans, shoes, and t-shirts will likely sell well no matter the season, since many people wear those things year-round.
Photographing Your Clothes
When it comes to selling clothes, pictures ARE worth 1000 words. The better your pictures, the more likely you are to sell.
You’ll either want to use a mannequin, or the flat lay method to display your clothes. (Many sellers on Poshmark are also models! I've learned people really like it when they can see the items on a body.)
Either way, make sure your items are free of wrinkles, stains, and other things that will detract from how it looks. If you’re folding sleeves, you’ll want to make sure they’re folded consistently and nicely.
Consider washing and ironing your clothes to present it in the best light.
Speaking of light, you’ll also want a good setup for your lighting. Use a white background, and either a three-point lighting setup or a continuous light kit depending on what camera you’re using.
You can also use a photo editing app on your phone to try and increase the brightness of the photo if you don't have access to good light.
One of the most important parts of selling your used items online is pricing. You don’t want to price them so high that no one will buy them. However, you do still need to make a profit on your sale.
When it comes to pricing, you have to start with knowing the current retail price. Not what you bought it for, but what it’s currently selling for. If your item is no longer in circulation, that can boost the amount you can get for it.
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
2 years or less: 50% of retail price
4 years or less: 25% of retail price
5 years or more: 10% of retail price.
Price according to your ultimate goal. Do you want to make as much money as possible? Be okay with waiting for someone to offer full price. Want to move the items ASAP and earn a little in the process? Price competitively and slash prices in order to ensure a quick sale.
Around labor day, I rounded up all of my pre-baby clothes that no longer fit. I wanted to make money, but mostly I needed them out of our guest/junk room so I sold them at a big discount so they'd all be gone within the week.
Now, this doesn’t account for anything that’s vintage. Clothes that are vintage have their own pricing structure and selling process behind them. I'm not an expert in this, so I won't go into detail, but here's a great guide I found from Shopify on how to sell vintage online.
Best Places to Sell Clothes Online
While there are dozens of apps for selling things, there are specific ones dedicated to selling your clothes.
The nice thing about these apps is that you can use more than one at a time. Consider listing on several, and see which one gets you the most eyeballs and interactions.
Here are the top 5 I recommend you start using and they are E-A-S-Y.
Poshmark connects you to more than 60 million members either looking for clothing or selling their own. Millions of people come here to resell their items or run their own e-commerce clothing shops. They have options for Women, Men, and Kids, as well as several categories that aren’t related to clothes.
So, if you have jewelry or home accents you'd like to get rid of, you can sell them here as well!
How it Works
Simply download the Poshmark app and create an account. Then you’ll need to photograph your items, write up a description, and they’ll be listed for sale within minutes!
Shipping with Poshmark is easy. They provide you with a pre-paid, pre-addressed label you can just stick on the box. Use the post office to send it out, and it’ll get delivered to your customer hassle-free! I enjoyed using Poshmark the most because of this feature.
ThredUp is another dedicated clothing resale app. They claim to be “the world’s largest fashion resale marketplace”.
They’re committed to bettering the environment through promoting buying used items to reduce the pollution of the fashion industry. So you’ll be working with a company that supports a good cause, as well as filling up your wallet!
How it Works
ThredUp works a little differently than Poshmark. Instead of listing your items, you’ll get a Clean Out Kit. You send it in, and then the team at ThredUp then goes through your clothes, inspects, photographs, and lists them for you. In return, you’ll get some cash or shopping credit.
Compared to taking the time and listing your items on Poshmark, you'll make much, much, less. ThredUp (in my opinion) is a good way to send in those brand name items you don't feel are worth it enough to take the time to list on another site, but you'd still like a little something for the clothes. Cumulatively, I've made ~$150 a year using ThredUp cleanout kits 2x a year.
But I send in a lot of J.Crew and lower-end brand name clothes. So, it's pennies on the dollar, but I still like it because it saves time and I earn a little bit.
If you want to take the more charitable angle, you can choose to donate your clothes to charity instead.
Before Poshmark and ThredUp were started, most people used eBay to sell their used clothing. Currently, eBay tends to work best if you’re selling high-end designer items instead of everyday clothes you might sell on ThredUp.
How it Works
Before you can start selling anything on eBay, you need to create an account. The best way to start is to search for items like yours and use it for inspiration on how to sell your own pieces.
Once you have good photos of your items, you’ll need to list them. This includes selecting the proper category, writing a short description, and determining pricing data.
Ebay does have a 30 cent listing fee per item.
I like to use Ebay for high-dollar items: a designer bag, an Armani blazer, clothes with the tags on. People on Ebay are very interested in items “new with tags.”
Etsy is known for selling handmade crafts. But that isn’t the only thing they sell. Many people go to sites like Etsy for vintage, handmade, and creative clothing items. They look for clothes here that they won’t find anywhere else.
Etsy is the most labor-intensive of the 5 sites listed here. You have to set up a shop, create an item listing, and a description. If you do it right, selling on Etsy can bring you more than other places. Many shoppers use Etsy as a search engine, and your pieces could show up under their search.
How it Works
To start selling on Etsy, you’ll need a store page. The best pages have comprehensive descriptions, and compelling story related to what people can expect from you.
Once you have your store page, you’ll need to create an item listing. The more work you put into your listing, the better it’ll sell.
Etsy also has a listing fee of 20 cents per item.
Facebook Marketplace is one of the easiest places to sell things.
However, since it isn’t specifically built for selling clothes, you may not get much interaction. I've found people on Facebook Marketplace are generally not willing to pay as much for clothing items as other places (unless it is brand name kids clothing.)
Consider joining local “yard sale” pages in your area and list your items there as well.
How it Works
Selling on Facebook Marketplace is easy. All you need to do is log in to your account, go to marketplace, and click on list an item. Technically, all you need to sell something is a picture, an item title, and a price.
Selling used clothes online is a great way to pad your savings account and bring in a little extra cash. You can start selling your items today, and watch the extra money come to you!
One thing I wanted to mention that I didn't feel merited a listing above is using Instagram and specifically Instagram stories to sell secondhand items. I see a lot of fashion influencers doing this, but if you have a lot of clothes or a lot of friends who are your size, it could save a lot of hassle doing it via IG and direct DMs. Simply take payment via Venmo or Paypal and ship.
My point is this: GET CREATIVE. And don't just give your clothes away to organizations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. They might be doing good, but they also are making money off of you, when you could put that money back in your pocket for savings goals.