Feeling a little strapped for cash after the holidays? You can make money while simultaneously getting rid of old clothes (or unwanted Christmas gifts) by taking them to consignment or resale stores.
Used clothing stores resell everything from dresses to jeans to handbags for clearance prices — imagine PINK tanks for $10 and Free People tops for $14 — and they get their merchandise from fashionistas looking to clear out their closets.
True consignment stores, like My Best Friend’s Closet, sell items for you. You bring in the pieces you want to consign, and they choose which to take based on what they think will sell in their store. My Best Friend’s Closet typically buys higher-end brands, and their customer base is a bit older, so your gently used work clothes will do much better there than last year’s crop top.
The key phrase here is “gently used;” resale shops won’t take anything with holes, tears or noticeable wear. Also, while some shops will buy all seasons of clothing, consignment stores work faster, so they only want things that are currently in season.
You typically need to call and make an appointment if you’re bringing in over 10 items, and it is your job to call or stop in to check if any of your items sell. You only get paid after they sell, at which point you’ll earn 50 percent of the selling price (minus tax and a small fee). The store does markdowns every 40, 60 and 90 days and then donates unsold items after that, so it is a bit of a risk.
If you’re looking for quick cash, consigning isn’t your best option, but if you’re patient and have in-demand items, this method could earn you the most money.
Resale stores, sometimes called buy-outright shops, like Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor, give you cash up front when you bring in your used clothes. Just walk in with your wares and an ID, and after a quick 10-15 minute inspection, they’ll buy whatever meets their standards. They pay you 30-40 percent of what they price it at in the store, which usually puts about $3 in your pocket per item.
“We purchase things that were sold in retail stores within a year to a year and a half,” Chelsea Murphy, a sales associate at Clothes Mentor, said. “We’re always looking for more athletic wear, and we purchase all seasons.”
To maximize your profits, Murphy suggested bringing in currently trendy pieces and higher-end brands that are still in great condition.
Clothes Mentor doesn’t accept many juniors’ brands, but Plato’s Closet a few doors down will, and they’re also the only resale shop in town that buys men’s clothing too. They are a little less particular with how on-trend items have to be, but they still need pieces that are current, stylish, unstained and freshly washed.
Plato’s Closet sales associate Jewell Atkins said their store is always looking to buy more North Face jackets, American Eagle and Rock Revival jeans and popular shoe brands like Converse and Vans.
So search through your closet, and if you are looking to make even more cash, offer to take others’ unwanted clothes off their hands for them, and bring in your mom’s or boyfriend’s stuff too. If one store doesn’t want everything in your haul, try somewhere else. They might simply already have enough of that kind of item and don’t need more, or they might have different buying standards.
If you are not sure if a garment is new or trendy enough, try it anyway; you have nothing to lose and some extra spending money to gain.