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Cleaning Out Your Closet: Tips for Selling Clothes Online

I recently moved out of my sorority house on campus and back into my childhood bedroom for the summer. Through the moving process, I realized that I don’t wear many of the items in my closet, leading me to have a listing spree on Poshmark and Mercari. I have been selling clothes on these apps since I was a freshman in high school and have had great success. If you’re a college student and want to clean out your closet while making a few extra bucks, here are some tips that can help you out.

Pick your marketplace

If you have a smartphone, there are many places to sell your items. Many people have Instagram and Facebook pages dedicated to selling items in their closets to people in their area. Ebay is a good option for niche items and Depop is a better option for unique and trendy items. I personally have had the most success by selling on Poshmark and Mercari.

Take quality photos

People want to get a good view of the products before they buy them. You can showcase your items by having good lighting and a plain background. Keeping the editing to a minimum is usually a good idea because you don’t want to deceive your buyer into thinking they are getting something that looks completely different in real life. To be transparent with your buyer, you should take pictures of flaws like minor rips and pilling. If possible, posting a photo of someone wearing the item makes it sell much quicker because people want to see how it fits on someone.

Be honest, and only sell items that are in good condition

Not all items are appropriate to sell online. If something is in poor condition, you should not say that it's like new in order to entice buyers. If you personally would not wear something because of large stains or tears, you should not list it online. There are also plenty of DIY options to upcycle worn clothes to consider before tossing them in the trash.

Price lower than you think

People will almost never pay full price for secondhand items. Pricing them at half of what you originally bought them for is usually a good start. You can always price them lower and negotiate with potential buyers. I personally like to sell my items for significantly less than what I bought them for to make quick sales.

Beware of scammers

Sellers aren’t the only people who try to scam. I once sold a mint-condition pair of bikini bottoms that my buyer claimed were ripped. They provided a photo of the ripped item and it was obvious that they cut the item themselves. Even though I still got paid for the purchase, you need to be careful as some buyers can have bad intentions. 

Package and ship as quickly as possible

Apps like Poshmark and Mercari give you the option of having the buyer pay for shipping or the seller handling it themselves. I prefer to have the buyer pay for shipping because it is less of a hassle, as you can just print off the shipping label and drop the package off at the post office. If the buyer is paying for shipping I will usually reduce the price of my item by a couple of dollars. For packaging, I like to use bubble mailers because they are inexpensive and keep the items protected. Many office supply stores sell packs of 12 for less than $10. I try to ship all of the items one to two days after the sale.

Send a “thank you” note

Sending a handwritten note makes the package feel more personalized and increases your likelihood of receiving a five-star rating. Buyers are also more inclined to buy from your store in the future if they feel that you are a trustworthy seller.

Give yourself a time frame

When I came home for the summer, I wanted to clean out my closet quickly, so I gave the items that I posted a one week time frame. Because they went one week without selling, I sold the items to Plato’s Closet and donated the items that Plato’s rejected. 

I'm a journalism student with an emphasis in strategic communication at the University of Missouri. When not writing articles for Her Campus, my hobbies include playing ultimate frisbee and listening to Lil Uzi Vert.
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