Cleaning out your closet? Turn discards into profits.

Consider that your especially valuable, unwanted garments could generate a little bit of income if you're looking to save up fast.

Sammy Dallal / AP / File
Clutter that has built up in 12-year-old Elphey Israel's room lies piled against a wall in this Boulder, Colo. apartment in 2005.

Your closet at home almost certainly contains these two types of clothing: pieces that are no longer of use to you, and pieces that could be of value to someone else. When overlap occurs, the simplest solution is to hand these articles of clothing down to a family member or to make a donation to a local charity, scoring a meager tax deduction.

But consider that your especially valuable unwanted garments could instead generate a little bit of income if you're looking to save up fast.

Consider this: Secondhand selling was a $16 billion industry in 2015, according to PrivCo, a business and financial research company. That's an awful lot of vintage jeans, jackets and, well, jean jackets.

There's an app for all of it. In fact, there's many more than one. Wallapop, Asos Marketplace, Refashioner, Tradesy, Vinted, Poshmark, SnobSwap, Grailed, The RealReal, Material World and thredUp are all examples. They have various uses, such as selling to other people; shipping to a collection company; trading with fellow consumers; and dealing exclusively in a kind of fashion, whether it's women's, men's luxury-only or even more niche-oriented.

It's all very seamless in the world of pre-paid shipping labels and mobile notifications.

Simple strategies for making sales include: posting high-quality photos from various angles; pricing items fairly by gauging the original cost, the wear-and-tear and the competition's list prices; and being as detail-oriented as possible about the garment's sizing, brand and condition.

There are also old-fashioned ways of turning your discards into a profit. Walk to your nearest thrift or vintage store, such as the nationally-known Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Company or Clothes Mentor, to see if they'll buy your articles; list your especially unique or valuable garments on eBay and/or Craigslist, employing options such as auction-style bidding, "Buy It Now" and considering potential buyers' best offers; have a Saturday garage sale if you have enough garb to fill your front yard or stoop.

Remember that your old favorites may not necessarily be someone else's new treasures just because they're finely woven, have been treated with care or representative of another time in fashion. An example: We here at ValuePenguin recently took a casual men's jacket and 12 button-down shirts to our local Buffalo Exchange outpost. The salesperson there picked through all 13 items, spanning brands like J.Crew, Banana Republic and Alfani. She ended up wanting to buy two, the jacket and one heavy denim long-sleeve. We took the other 11 articles to a local homeless shelter.

As far as profits to be made, these can also be sparse. The salesperson at Buffalo Exchange priced the jacket at $24 and the denim button down at $16.50. She then offered us 50% of that value in trade-in credit (no, not that kind of credit) or 30% in cash. Looking to clean out our closet — not add to it — we took the latter.

In the end, no matter your method of selling, you'll have to determine if you get enough of a return on your investment of time. Putting your clothes in a plastic bag and dropping it off at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army (which is better than throwing it away) is a lot easier than laying your clothing out, taking pictures, posting it on various apps and websites and (should you get around to selling it) begin the process of setting up a payment vehicle and shipping the articles to their respective buyers. It's a multi-step process and one that's probably best reserved for your highest-priced items. 

Do you own a high-quality, standard-sized suit that no longer fits? Never got around to wearing that designer dress with those rare heels and handbag? How about the one-of-a-kind jacket that once you inherited yourself? These are the kind of items that may fetch a return worthy of your efforts. Otherwise, it may best to bag it all up and give it to somebody who might find it useful. After all, clothes are only as good as their lives are lengthened. (Don't get us started on laundry.)

This story originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Cleaning out your closet? Turn discards into profits.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today