The Collective - Oct 27, 2022

Your Ultimate Guide: 13 Best Tips for Selling Used Clothes Online

By gemma prior


Image: Shopvintagecollection.com

‘The future of fashion is circular. It has to be.’

(Stella McCartney)

Right now the fashion industry is being transformed by a fashionable force for good: second-hand clothing. So there’s never been a better time for selling your used clothes online. 

In 2019, second-hand clothing expanded 21 times faster than conventional fashion retail did.

And according to a report, the U.S. second-hand clothing market is projected to almost triple in value in the next 10 years — from $28 billion (USD)  in 2019 to $80 billion in 2029.

The benefits?

Obviously making some extra cash and stopping your clothes clogging up your closet are both encouraging. 
 
But the best benefits are significant.

You’re preventing clothes ending up in landfill while offering other fashion-lovers more options for buying second-hand clothing rather than new, helping to further reduce the impact of fashion on our planet.

So keep reading to find the best tips for selling your used clothes online and getting a good price, plus the online platforms and stores you can go to sell, wherever you are in the world.


Circular Fashion: The Benefits of Second-Hand Clothing

Photo of Diane Batoukina wearing trench and Chanel bag at fashion weekImage: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images


A love for fashion and the joy of buying new styles and trends with each season can make living sustainably a delicate personal quarrel.

According to
WRAP, a UK-based organisation driven by sustainability, ‘The value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. It is also estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year.’ 

Selling used clothes online challenges the concept of fashion, having met the end of its function in your closet, being discarded to landfill, or sitting unused when it could provide options to someone else. 

Instead, these clothes, still perfectly capable of meeting their purpose in someone else’s closet, are shared and circulated through resale. 

ThredUp, a consignment company based in the US, states that, ‘If everyone in the US bought just one item used instead of new in 2019, it would save nearly 6 billion lbs of carbon emissions - the equivalent of taking over half a million cars off the road for an entire year.’

So we know the benefits are valuable.


How a Closet Clean Out Can Help

If your wardrobe is on the full-side than a closet clean out would be the best place to start if you’re looking to sell your used clothes. 

The reasons for an overcrowded closet vary from person to person. 

Your style might have evolved with time and you now have pieces that no longer appeal to you. Or perhaps you’ve changed size but are yet to let go of the clothes that don’t fit. Maybe some of your clothes were a random or impulse buy and simply don’t suit your lifestyle.

Whatever the reason, a closet clean out will mean you can separate the pieces you know you’ll wear from those that serve you no purpose. 

The latter would be much better off making you some money and being on offer to someone else shopping for second-hand clothes of this style.

If you think this might be the best place for you to start then check out my blog for a simple step-by-step guide to a
closet clean out with the best results.


13 Tips for Selling Your Used Clothes Online

VSP Consignment woman wearing Jacquemus white shirtImage: Vspconsignment.com

All sites selling second-hand clothing will have their own policies so have a read of the advice they offer to help things go smoothly. 

You want to make sure buyers feel confident to spend their money so providing them with all the details they need regarding the items you’re selling is essential. 

Read on for the 13 best tips for selling your used clothes online and seeing the sales happen.


1. Preparing  TO SELL USED CLOTHES

First of all, before listing an item you need to review the condition they’re in.

This is a step when selling second-hand clothes you don’t want to overlook. 

If a buyer receives an item that isn't in the condition they expected you could receive negative feedback or a demand for a refund. So making sure your clothes are looking and smelling good is a must.

Otherwise, you need to include any details of stains, faults or wear as well as photos in your auction so a potential buyer can review the full picture.

If your items have been sitting in a cramped airless cupboard for months on end then they could be a little stale. Or you may have rehung them without washing the last time you wore them. So a wash is probably due. 

It’s also a good idea to iron your clothes both for the benefit of the buyer when they receive them and so they look their best in any photos you use.

With shoes and bags try using a leather cleaner or gentle damp cloth where appropriate, as well as clean up the soles of shoes if you can. 

2. THE BEST TIME TO SELL

According to ThredUp, the best time for selling used clothes online is February 24th to March 2nd. But there are no restrictions and you’re still sure to enjoy sales no matter the time of year. 

But there are a few things to consider when choosing what to sell and when to sell them. 

For instance, if it’s summer where you live then you’ll be most successful if you focus on selling clothes that are right for the season. 

However, if you’re listing your items so they’re available to both local and international customers then there are no restrictions. All the seasons are happening somewhere (well, almost)! 


3. What to Sell

This varies based on a few points.

For example, depending on where you intend to sell, platforms can have a specific focus based on styles, quality, and brands. This information should be available in their policies or help guide.

You also need to be realistic about what people will pay money for. If you’re looking to sell a piece that’s worn and you don’t think it’s good enough to wear then others won’t either.

Consider finding another purpose for these pieces such as adding them to the around-the-house draw or sending them to a recycling center.

Or if they’re pieces that are still in good condition but not likely to earn you any money you could consider donating them to a charity providing for those in need of basics.

4. Photos

This is one of the most important steps.

No one is going to spend money on something they can’t view properly. So you need to offer photos that are clear, capture the natural colour, present the item from multiple angles, and show any defects. 

It’s also best to turn off the flash so the light is softer and take the photos in a room with good natural light.

Hanging clothes on a coat hanger and showing them with a white or light background will improve the visibility of items. 

Another trick is including stock photos and even better if you can show them worn by a model. This will help display the length, style and fit of items. 

Just make sure these photos are of the same item you're selling so the buyer is not confused. To ensure you have them, you could save stock images when you buy items if you feel you may sell them in the future. 

Or if you’re happy to model clothes yourself, that's also very helpful. 

5. Measurements

Providing measurements for items will help the buyer feel more confident that something will fit. For clothing it’s best to provide the length of an item as well as measurements across the shoulders, bust, waist, and hips. 

It’s also a good idea to provide measurements for shoes and bags. So the length of the shoes sole and the height of heels and for bags their length, depth, and height.

6. Title

The title of a listing helps the searchability of your items so it’s worth getting it right. It’s best to start by stating the brand, followed by the type of item, the size, colour, the gender it was designed for, followed by some details. 

For example, ‘Lululemon Cashmere Sweater Size 10 Blue Women’s V Neck New’. It’s also best not to use acronyms such as NIB (new in box) or NWT (new with tags) as some people might not understand them.

7. Detail

Another important way to provide a buyer with confidence is to make sure you include any extra information they might wonder about. 

For instance, describe the condition of the item, pointing out any faults, explaining the fit (is it a small fit, large, or standard). 

Also, letting buyers know the fabric of an item is helpful. And if a piece requires dry cleaning then that should be included as they may ask for a refund if they weren’t warned before buying. 

Think about the details you’d want to know before spending money. 

Also, if you’re not willing to accept returns then make sure this is stated in your auction so a buyer isn’t peeved when they request to return an item and you say you don’t offer them. 

8. Price competitively

Pricing can be a deal breaker. If you wouldn’t buy it at the price you’ve set then others probably won’t either. 

On peer-to-peer sites you can charge whatever you like, but if you’re hoping to sell quickly then the best bet is to list the item at 75% less than retail.

Of course there are some items, such as fashion from luxury designers, which may sell with greater profit. You could also try searching for similar items and see what they’re selling for. 

And if you’ve had an item listed for some time and it isn’t selling, consider reducing the starting price or offering free postage. 

9. Payments

Each site will have its own processes for managing payments.

If a buyer doesn’t pay within a reasonable time frame then try sending them a friendly reminder - they may have simply forgotten. 

But if it does go on too long or you don’t get a reply from your buyer then it might be time to cancel the sale. Each site will have a way of managing this process, but it should be pretty simple. 

10. Time your listing

Some sites operate using set auction periods, such as 5 days, and an auction will start and end at the same time. On some of these sites you have the option to pick a time when your auction will become active. 

So rather than the auction going live at an inconvenient time - for example you’re organising it very late at night or in the wee hours of the morning - you can set the date and time to start selling so it’s convenient to a wider audience. 

A
nd if you’re targeting overseas buyers then think about setting a time which offers the best chance to both local buyers and those abroad.

Late afternoon and evening seem to be the most successful. And according to records the best day for an auction to end is Sunday, followed by Monday and then Saturday. 

11. Share your listings

You can also try sharing your listings with your online social communities, such as Facebook or Instagram, to increase their visibility to potential buyers.

12. Customer service

Shoppers may send questions about an item you’re selling and it’s important to reply to these messages quickly, clearly, and honestly.

This helps reassure people you’re reliable and they would be spending their money wisely should they buy from you. And always try to be affable with potential buyers, after all they are your customer.

13. Postage

First of all, it’s a great idea, again for the purpose of reusing supplies and reducing waste, to collect tissue paper and postage bags from items you have bought so you have them available to use when you sell. 

Just make sure you remove, cover, or scribble over existing shipping labels so there’s no confusion about where it’s going. 

Also consider the condition of your packaging. You want your item to arrive with its new owner in as good condition as it left you. 

If the site you list on lets you manage your own postage then you should weigh your items and check how much they are going to cost you to post before you set the postage amount in an auction. 

This way you can set reasonable postage prices and you won’t have any shocks when it comes time to send an item. 

And it’s best to use postage that provides tracking so that if there are any hiccups you can search for the item as well as having evidence of good practice at your end. So make sure you always keep postage receipts and the tracking number. 

And post quickly, letting a buyer know when you’ve posted their item and provide them with the tracking details.

You should also consider whether you need postage insurance. Different post and courier services will have different policies, but with many buying insurance means if a parcel goes missing you may be eligible for compensation.

One of the realities of selling via platforms such as eBay is that if a parcel goes missing it will be the seller who cops the cost.


WHERE TO GO when SELLING USED CLOTHES ONLINE
VSP Consignment Woman wearing dark blue denim jacket

Image: Vspconsignment.com


These days there’s no shortage of resale options for selling used clothes online.

On peer-to-peer sites like eBay, Vestiaire and Depop you organise selling your items yourself from start to finish. 

With others such as The RealReal and LePrix, which are consignment resale sites, once they’ve accepted your pieces you send to them and they manage the whole process. 

These sites may only accept specific labels and will most often have restrictions regarding where they take items from depending on their location.

There are pros and cons with both options so it's whatever works best for you.

If you have the time and are happy to put in a little work to list items and manage sales yourself then you’re likely to receive more money using the peer-to-peer method.

If you don’t have the time or would simply prefer someone else looks after the process then consignment might be the way.

We’ve collected some great sites for you to check out, but you can find a whole lot more if you visit my Used Clothes and Luxury Consignment page. Available both to shop and sell through!
 

Vestiaire Collective

Vestiaire Collective is a peer-to-peer site with a long history offering you the chance to sell fashion directly to a huge audience of potential buyers globally!

The RealReal

A designer consignment store in the United States, The RealReal has been going since 2011 and is very well known, with buyers visiting from around the world.

The Harmonic

Based in Australia this store sells a more limited range of brands than some sites, but it’s very popular and many things sell super quickly! So if you have pieces that suit them than it’s worth getting in touch. 

VSP

Founded in Canada in 2013, VSP is synonymous with high-end luxury consignment offering a huge collection of clothing and accessories with a focus on promoting the importance of up-cycling and sustainable fashion.

ThredUp

A hugely popular site ThredUp was established with the intention of rejecting the throw away culture of fashion. And although a consignment store they aren’t restricted to designer labels and offer over 35 000 brands, from Gucci to Gap. 

Poshmark

Selling both designer labels and less expensive brands Poshmark is very popular. Currently available to sellers in the United States and Canada, they plan to expand to more countries in the future.

Depop

A very popular peer-to-peer platform, Depop allows you to sell almost anything from anywhere, managing sales from start to finish yourself.

Bagista

Based in the United Kingdom this one is definitely a speciality store selling bags, and bags alone. If you have a used designer bag you’d like to sell then this might be the one for you.

Cudoni

Another consignment store based in the United Kingdom, Cudoni allows you to sell a wide range of luxury fashion including clothing, shoes and accessories. 

Fashionphile

A designer consignment website based in the United States, Fashionphile is dedicated to selling handbags, jewellery, and accessories. 

Hardly Ever Worn It 

Otherwise known as HEWI, this is a resale store with a difference. Specialising in designer labels, you have the chance to sell a broad range of fashion yourself. HEWI simply reviews your listing to check all is good before it appears on their site.

Mercari

Another site offering the chance to sell directly to the buyer, Mercari is a fast and easy way to sell pretty well anything. And it is very popular!  

If you’re really serious, there’s also a multi-platform manager called
List Perfectly, which helps you list your items on multiple sites at once to give you the best chance of great sales. 

And I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions regarding good sites I’ve missed and should include. 


THE ‘NEED-TO-KNOW’ ABOUT SELLING USED CLOTHES ONLINE
VSP Consignment Valentino Rockstud heels

Image: Vspconsignment.com


As with everything, make sure you always read the fine print! It pays to know exactly what you’re signing up for so there are no ‘nasty’ surprises. 

For instance, there will always be fees so knowing what you’ll be charged is very important.  

Some platforms may also offer a set number of free listings each month and once you pass that number you will begin to pay a listing fee on top of your sales fee. So always check.

And having the option to sell your used clothing online down the track is another reason quality is the best option when you're shopping. 

When you buy fashion of reasonable quality, the items in your closet will stay in good condition for much longer and will be fit for resale when the time comes.

And with consignment sites, once your items are approved all you need to do is post them - sometimes with a prepaid shipping label. Easy!


So there you have it, 13 of the best tips for successfully selling used clothes online.

It might sould like there's a lot of work involved but you’ll soon get the hang of it and it’ll be an effective way to rid yourself of clutter, become involved in circular fashion and prevent your wardrobe from becoming landfill, while making some money on the side. 

It will also free up space in your wardrobe and make seeing what you have available when you go to dress, clearer

And on some sites if an item doesn’t sell the first time around the listing will be saved and next time you’ll just click a couple of buttons to relist it. On other sites the item will remain for sale until it's sold. 

If you have some of your own great tips to share with all of us regarding selling used clothes online, then I’d love you to share your ideas in the comments below.

Now, get selling and make sure you visit the Used Clothes and Luxury Consignment stores I’ve listed on With Bogart for more places to sell and shop!



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Karen Kidston-Morris wrote:
26 Nov 9:48pm
This is a fabulous article. So well written and very useful.