What to do with your unwanted clothes

image from LookingFly

Can you believe it’s the middle of March already? I’m not complaining, but wow, the months just fly by. This got me thinking about spring cleaning and how my own closet could use a spruce-up. Which then got me thinking of what I’m going to do with my unwanted clothes. I often opt for donation–which I also recommend to clients–but there are other choices out there for sure. Cue the list!


Stores: Goodwill, Housing Works, Out of the Closet, local thrift stores

The deal: This option is best if you just want to GET RID OF IT. You can get a tax deduction for your goods if you ask for a receipt, but that also means you have to roughly itemize and price out what you’re donating. This can be time-consuming, especially if you have bags and bags of stuff. Some locations offer pick-up services, but you have to check on whether this is offered in your area.

Upside: it’s for charity, they take almost anything, will sometimes pick up

Downside: no cash back

2. SELL.

Stores: Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Beacon’s Closet

The deal: If you’re looking to make a little cash back from the items you spent money on, there are a few ways to go about this. First is a ‘cash for fashion’ option like the ones listed above. These are re-sale stores that will pay you in cash or trade on the spot for the pieces they are willing to accept. But know going in there that they are not obligated to take anything… and some can be a lot snobbier than they seem. For example, hipster haven Beacon’s Closet won’t take Gap. But they love Diane von Furstenberg. Also, the money or credit you receive is not even close to what you probably paid retail. But at least it’s better than nothing. Be sure to call ahead and ask which seasons they’re currently accepting before carrying everything over there.

Upside: you can get cash or credit (albeit a penance)

Downside: no pick-ups, they can be picky/bratty about what they take

3. CONSIGN (in store).

Stores: Michael’s, Fisch for the Hip, 2nd Time Around

The deal: A consignment store will take your goods, sell them for you, and offer you a (small) portion of the sale. With this option, you can often get more for your item than you would by selling it to the store right away. However, your item has to be bought by a customer in order for you to get anything for it.

Upside: more $$ for your stuff

Downside: they often prefer designer items, your piece has to sell in order for you to make money


Sites: The Real Real, PoshMark (app)

The deal: Consigning online is becoming increasingly popular, mainly because it’s so much easier than schlepping your stuff to a brick and mortar store. The Real Real is a site that re-sells your items online.  You can either send your stuff via mail, or choose their ‘white glove’ pick-up service if you live in NY, LA, or SF. The Poshmark app is a little more hands-on, allowing you to photograph and post items in your closet for sale.

And there’s always good ol’ eBay. Pretty self-explanatory, but can be challenging if you are a first-time seller, as you won’t have a score that potential buyers can reference (to make sure you’re not shady).

[tweetmeme] One Response to What to do with your unwanted clothes
  1. Suzy
    April 16, 2012 | 3:08 am

    So. Once a year I go through my closet and convince myself I need to get rid of 4 or 5 bags of clothes. Its always really painful because I see so much potential (assuming I lose weight or something).

    This year, inspired by this post, I actually trucked my stuff over to Haight and visited Buffalo, Crossroads, and Wasteland.

    A) It was weird having people watch you as you wait it line to have all your clothes judged.

    B) It was weird watching people get judged for what they brought.

    C) I am fairly sure some people steal and bring it in (based on refusal to make eye contact and having items there is no way they have ever worn/would ever wear).

    In the end I sold 2 things and made my way to the end of the block and deposited the rest at Goodwill. And it was somewhat therapeutic to have strangers give my stuff the once over and confirm it was not worth having. Plus I now have 2 weeks of laundry money :)

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