How To Sell Your Clothes – Part 1: Organizing to Sell in 5 Steps

Selling your clothes can be super overwhelming and time-consuming but it’s arguably the category where you have the highest volume of items. There are several methods for how to sell your clothes, from online sales to local apps to social media to yard sales, and I’ve done them all.

I made over $1500 selling my clothes in an effort to thin my closet and make some money to travel the world..even before Marie Kondo told me to.

Part 1 of this series will teach you how to [ruthlessly] edit your closet and prepare to sell your clothes. Let the fun begin!

colorful hanging women's clothes

STEP ONE:  FIRST PASS –

Do a first pass of your closet.  You’re not getting ruthless quite yet, but start to take out items that fall into the following categories:

  1. You haven’t worn it in years.  Seriously, there’s a 0.001% chance that you will. It’s gathering dust for a reason. Pitch it.
  2. The item is damaged and not worth fixing.  Does it have holes?  Is it stretched out?  Did it shrink or color fade in the wash?  Is the zipper broken?  If you’re not going to take it to a professional and pay to fix it, remove it from your closet.
  3. The item is not properly sized.  I understand the concept of wanting to keep “fat clothes” or your “skinny wardrobe”.  I think everyone does.  However, these dual wardrobes are cluttering up your space and life.  

    Perhaps keep one pair of “fat jeans”…but you know you’re just going to buy more stuff when/if that time comes.  

    The reverse is even more true for skinny clothes — if you lose the stubborn weight, you can bet your svelte little fanny you’re going to buy a whole new wardrobe to show off your hard work.

    My Mega Tip: don’t keep two wardrobes. Keep the clothes you’re wearing now, and only now.
  4. It’s out of style.  Maybe you bought a bunch of trendy fast fashion items the last few years.  It’s fine to keep wearing them but we both know that style has moved on.  So if you don’t foresee yourself wearing the item within the next year, say, “We had a fantastic time together during the summer of 2017; thank you for your service.” and then move on.  Girl, bye.

Take a moment. Breathe. You’ve completed the first step. Yay! On to STEP TWO.

clothes hanging on a rack on the street

STEP TWO:  CAST A CRITICAL EYE –

Now, cast a critical eye over this batch.  
What is worthy of the effort it takes to sell?  

Usually, this would be:

  1. Designer items – Banana Republic/ZARA/Nordstrom-level and up. Do not bother with Old Navy, H&M, or items of that ilk.
  2. Shoes – footwear valued $50 or more, gently used.
  3. Dresses – casual cute through formal. Dresses sell well.
  4. Jewelry/Purses – brand names (Marc Jacobs, Kendra Scott) or valuable items sell easily but people will buy cheap ones too, if they’re interesting or unique (and priced to sell).
  5. Coats/Jackets – must be in good shape. No loose buttons, stains, rips, broken zippers, etc.
  6. Jeans – designer jeans are easier to sell but you can get away with GAP, Abercrombie or Old Navy-level as well.
woman dressed in medieval costume
She might have trouble selling this item

Things that do not sell well for individual sales:

  1. Anything fast fashion – Old Navy, H&M, Forever 21, Target, et al. People know you didn’t pay much, so they won’t either. Save these for yard sales or donations.
  2. Skirts – for some reason, these were harder to sell than anticipated.
  3. Costumes – I had accumulated quite a few over the years but they did not sell.

Once you’ve completed the first pass and cast a critical eye, move all of these items to another closet or box them away.  

Leave them there for two weeks or so and see if you miss anything or begin second-guessing a particular item.  

My Mega Tip: if you keep thinking about an item, pull it out and put it back in your closet for a probationary period of 3 months. If you haven’t worn it by then, time’s up.

When you’re ready, move on to STEP THREE.

woman looking through colorful print shirts hanging on a rack
Get medieval on those print shirts

STEP THREE: ONE MORE TIME

Wait until you’re in a brutal mood.  We all have them from time to time – when you’re sick of your clothes, sick of carrying all this STUFF from place to place, and you want to be more minimalistic.  These moods are golden and YOU MUST ACT when they arise.

Go into your closet ONE MORE TIME and get medieval. 

This is where you employ the one-two punch of KonMari + the Minimalists.  Ask yourself:

  • Does this item bring me joy?  Look, not every item is going to inspire cartwheels and back flips, but if it just feels “meh”…put it to the side.
  • Am I holding onto this because of sentimentality?  If the answer is yes, hold it in your hands, remember how much fun you had while wearing it or how it made you feel once upon a time. Really remember. Then, thank the item OUT LOUD (like a crazy person), and put it to the side.

    That sparkly dress you wore for your 21st birthday party…10 years ago? Let someone else spill their martini on it.

    The artfully ripped jeans you used to wear on dates [and now you’re married]? Set them free.

    The tailored pantsuit you wore to job interviews [and never again]? Pass the good luck on.
  • Am I holding onto this for a specific occasion that has yet to arrive?  I found this to be true for dresses and shoes.  If an occasion has not arisen in the last few years, you’re better off selling for cash.  Put it to the side.
  • Am I holding onto this because it was it expensive and/or is unworn with tags? Great! These are the easiest things to sell! Convert that item currently taking up space into some cold, hard cash.
lots of colorful clothes hanging in a closet.
These are all of the clothes I sold, gave away, or got rid of. I don’t miss a single thing.

Now, go through your cast off boxes and sort into 3 categories –

  1. TO SELL – these are your higher-value items, usually anything worth $50 or more, with the exception of jeans, dresses, and purses.
  2. YARD SALE – these are your Old Navy/Gap/Target/H&M/Banana Republic/F21/Zara items. You will be selling them for $4 or less so judge accordingly.
  3. TO DONATE – everything else.

STEP FOUR: QUALITY CONTROL –

Put the “Yard Sale” and “To Donate” boxes aside.

Go through your “To Sell” items very carefully and inspect them one-by-one,. Look for tears, stains, rips, holes, pilling, spots, etc.

If you find something that’s fixable, repair it.
If it’s a lost cause (as I had with a faded and stained DVF dress), move it to one of the other boxes.
If it’s a minor flaw, make a note of it. You’ll need to disclose this in your selling description.

STEP FIVE: PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK –

You did it. The hard part is over.

Editing your closet is the hardest part of this whole process. It can be very difficult to separate yourself from clothing, as they’re part of our identity and how we present ourselves to the world. Clothing can remind us of some really good times – when we were young, skinny, on a fabulous vacation, or celebrating – or they can evoke feelings of who we want to be – successful, worthy, sexy, warm, comfortable.

But, getting down to brass tacks…it’s just stuff. And it’s stuff that’s cluttering your closet and life. Get rid of the old in order to make room for yourself…and earn some dolla’-dolla’ bills while you’re at it.

You survived the edit, organized like a champ and are ready for Part 2 – Setting Up The Sale.

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