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Reselling Old Clothes: A Sustainable Side-Hustle

Shopping has been a hobby of mine from a young age. Whether it’s for retail therapy or a form of self-entertainment, racks of clothing, shoes and accessories have always brought me joy. Over the years, my retail rendezvouses have resulted in piles of clothes and shoes that barely fit in my closet and dresser. When I got to college, I realized that reselling some of my old pieces would be an excellent way to make some money on the side. Whenever I’m feeling a little low on cash, or I’m depressed about the number in my bank account, I start to sort through my clothes to see what I can get rid of. Not only is this a great way to put some extra cash in my wallet, but it also creates a sustainable retail culture. For those who are unfamiliar with the idea of reselling old clothing, here is a crash course on how you can turn your unwanted items for a profit.

What clothes should you sell?

When it comes to reselling clothes, some consignment shops are picky. It will save you and the store time and frustration if you can curate your clothing before taking it in to sell. Look for items that have barely been worn, or still have the tags on. Stores are likely to take these because they still look new. It’s also important to pay attention to brand names. If it’s a brand that’s usually expensive or hard to come by, then stores are likely to make you an offer, even if your item is a little worn.

While I am going through my closet, I like to ask myself: When is the last time I wore this? Do I plan on wearing it again? The important thing is to be honest. The summer dress that you wore once on that vacation six months ago can probably go into the resell pile. On the other hand, don’t feel like you have to get rid of something just because it’s old. If it’s your favorite T-shirt, don’t get rid of it! Also, if you’re unsure about whether or not you want to sell an item, keep it and give yourself three months to wear it. After that time, reassess the piece and see if you still want it. This will help you avoid any hasty decisions that you could regret later.

When should you sell items?

It’s important to sell items either at the beginning of the season or in the middle. Near the end of the season, stores will begin to transition and sell other clothing items. They won’t need your Hollister shorts in the middle of December, but they might pay you for them in April when they’re looking to restock for the summer. You should also sell items while they’re trendy. If you have a pair of mom jeans that just aren’t working for you anymore, then take them to a consignment shop while they’re in fashion. Shops that cater to younger crowds try to keep their fingers on the pulse of fashion. If you want to have a successful resell, it’s important that you do the same. 

Where can you sell your old clothes?

Due to the popularity of thrifting, consignment shops that will buy your clothes are not in short supply. Plato’s Closet is a chain store that can be found in cities across the united states. On their website, the store offers a list of brands that they are looking for. It will also explain how the resell process works for newcomers. Local shops may also be looking to buy your gently worn clothes. In Gainesville, places like Sandy’s Savvy Resale Boutique will buy name brand clothing, purses, shoes and makeup from customers. Their website is full of information about what they are looking for, as well as if they’re offering any incentives for selling certain items or sizes. If you are unaware of a consignment shop that will buy clothes from customers near you, then Google is your best friend. With a little research, you can find a shop that is willing to take your extra clothes off your hands (and hangers) in no time.

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the company’s procedures for reselling. While some stores will allow you to drop the clothes off in plastic bags, others want the items to be placed in totes or duffel bags. Once you have dropped off the items you want to sell, you can either shop around the store while you wait or leave to grab a Starbucks drink and run errands. The store will notify you when they are ready to make an offer on your items. It usually only takes a few hours.

What happens if your items don’t get purchased?

As I said before, consignment stores are selective when purchasing items from customers. They will often take only a few items out of a bag and give you back the rest. However, don’t let that discourage you. Even if the store only purchases a few items from you, it’s still extra money that goes into your wallet. As a general rule, I take my items to two stores when I am looking to resell. Whatever the first store doesn’t take, I take to the second store. This helps to maximize my profit. I like to donate the remaining clothes to places like Goodwill.

If you aren’t quite ready to donate your remaining items, you can also try selling them online through stores like ASOS Marketplace, Poshmark and ThredUp.

How does all of this help with sustainability? 

According to The New York Times:

  • Nearly three-fifths of clothing will be put into landfills or incinerators within a year of when they were produced.
  • The apparel and footwear industries are also responsible for 8 percent of global greenhouse emissions.
  • The textile-finishing industry is responsible for producing around 20 to 25 percent of the globally produced chemical compounds.

While fashion is a source of self-expression and a vital piece of culture, the industry continues to be a source of waste and pollution. By reselling old clothing and buying from thrift stores, shoppers can help to reduce waste that would end up in landfills and pollute the environment.  This helps to create a more sustainable industry that shoppers can be proud of. Not only could reselling clothes be away to earn extra cash, but it’s also a way to have a positive impact on the global environment.

Growing up I attended three elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. I moved a total of six times altogether: I have lived in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida (twice), Missouri and Indiana. Each move taught me to love the new experiences that the world has to offer. It was the constant moving that sparked my interest in travel. Ever since I was young, I enjoyed spending hours in new places, trying new foods and collecting new stories to tell. Besides my six moves, much of my time is spent traveling to other cities within the United States. So far, my favorites have been New York City and New Orleans. The beignets from Café Du Monde made me want to cry tears of joy. My ultimate travel goal is to one day visit France. I desperately want to see the Palace of Versailles and walk through the Hall of Mirrors. While experiencing the world thus far, my taste buds have developed an affinity for coffee. Since the age of five, I have been an avid drinker. My body calls for coffee first thing in the morning and sometimes at night. I am a firm believer that all coffee needs caffeine. I also have a wicked sweet tooth and am willing to try any number of milkshakes, ice cream and doughnuts. My great loves are traveling, coffee and sweets; I also love to write. I hope to one day use my degree in journalism to tell other people’s stories in an entertaining and informative manner. It is also a part of my plan to attend law school. I look forward to experiencing all the adventures (sweets and coffee included) that life has to offer!
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