What are some alternatives to selling your clothes at a consignment store?

Question: I have lots of name brand clothing items that don’t fit/I don’t want any more, and I don’t want to just give them away. I haven’t been able to find any consignment stores in my area. Any ideas?

Searching google will probably help find at least a few consignment stores but if none are a good match for the items you have, here are a couple of ideas. They are listed in order of what will probably make you the most money:

  1. Look for vintage shops particularly if your items are older OR JEANS. They may be willing to consign or flat out buy your items.
  2. Sell your clothes on ebay. This works particularly well if you have high end or name brand items. Be sure to take good photos and use a lot of description words so more people see your item. If you have a lot of clothes to sell you might want to invest in a hanging dress form.
  3. Look for a “Clothes Mentor “store or a “Plato’s closet” or similar to buy your gently used items instead of consigning. http://www.platoscloset.com/ or http://www.clothesmentor.com/
  4. Cheapcycle, like freecycle but for low priced used items, can be great or it can be a bit of a pain depending on who responds to your post. If you don’t have time, I wouldn’t try this route since you have to plan to meet with people.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cheapcycle_Groups/ 
  5. Craigslist … this shouldn’t really need an explanation.
  6. Yardsale, Garage Sale, or organize an Apartment community basement sale.
  7. Road Trip! Research reliable consignment stores that will mail you a check and then make a road trip. Some may even let you send photos so they can tell you whether or not your trip will be worth it. This is a little bit lower on the list because it’s more time and effort.
  8. Organize a clothing swap with friends or neighbors. Search for “clothing swap tips” and you’ll find plenty of suggestions on how to organize one. You won’t make money on this one but your clothes will find a new home AND you’ll hopefully end up with some new clothes to add to your wardrobe.
  9. Last but not least, I know you said you didn’t want to give them away but sometimes it’s just better to donate some items. Sometimes it takes too much time or effort or what you own really isn’t worth that much but could help out someone else’s wardrobe. Goodwill is my top pick for clothes but Salvation Army is also a good option. You can take a tax deduction because these are charities. http://locator.goodwill.org/ or http://www.satruck.org/search-arc

If you’re reading this and have any other tips on where to sell gently used brand name clothing, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Consignment Store Clothing Haul – $20 Bag Sale

Stephen Lawrence, a local consignment store that typically carries gently worn medium – high end items, is having their bag sale March 16th & 17th 2012. $20 gets you a bag and full of end of season clothes. Whatever you could stuff into the bag was yours. I thought it was too good to pass up and I just found out that the proceeds are going our KY neighbors who lost everything in some recent tornados.

I got there promptly at 11am and was done by noon. There were no dressing rooms so you had to be able to really eyeball your size and style across a wide range of brands.

Here’s the breakdown of my bag:

  • 21 articles of clothing total
  • 3 pieces that flat out don’t fit
  • 3 pieces don’t look good on me
  • 2 pieces that are what I call pajama worthy (fit, comfy, but are not flattering)
  • 13 pieces that look good, 3 of which were pants / bottoms!

Not bad for $20!

The 3 that didn’t fit (picture below): “Banana Republic” maroon 100% silk top, “INC” maroon patterned top 100% silk, “For Joseph” lightweight darkwash 100% cotton jean trousers. The lightweight jeans were my biggest disappointment because they look bigger than the other pants I picked up that seem to have magical shrinking powers and seem 3 sizes too small when I try them on. Brand new with tags and a dark wash.  I tired them on twice because I really thought I was having a pants trying on failure moment but nope, they just plain didn’t fit.

The 3 that weren’t flattering on me (below): “Nurture” 100% Merino hunter green tank, “Koret” Black and white striped T (with some little yellow stripes), “Sigrid Olsen Sport” red thin-stripped capris.

The Coats / Jackets (below): “Gap” red / rust colored stretch corduroy jacket in a jean jacket style, “The F.L. Collection” brown / auburn colored corduroy fitted jacket with elbow patches, “Harvé Bernard by Senard Roltzman” vibrantblue (UK blue) 70% wool, 20% nylon pea coat (I need to sew the buttons tighter) but is one of my favorites that I picked up.

The Grays (below): “Lauren by Ralph Laren” cotton shawl collar sweater which is another favorite, “Chelsea & Violet” 53% wool, 25% acrylic lightweight snap front cardigan, “Calvin Klein” 100% silk wrap front sleeveless blouse which needs a cami under it.

The Pants / Bottoms: “Talbots” cotton khakis new with tags they have a horse riding inspired look to them and are a nice thickness, “J.H. Collectibles” aqua capris, “Studio Y” brown dress shorts / capris they hit below the knee … which sounds bad but they look better on than you would think.

More layers: “Allison Daley” navy, cream and metallic gold large houndstooth jacket,  “Max Studio” black and gold (non-metallic) lightweight hoodie, “Coldwater Creek” navy lace button up shirt with three quarter length sleeves.

The Sleepers & Tank: “Ann Taylor” long sleeve scoop neck t-shirt in a deep pink or pinky plum, “Evie” 55% silk, 20% viscos, 20% nylon, tank in a green apple / light lime color which will be great under things but not by itself, “Olo” periwinkle zip up fuzzy jacket (I knew when I bought this that it would be a sleep item.)

 

Did I have a process? Yes, but I didn’t have any idea what that would be before I was inside:

  • 1st I glanced at the shoes and decided not to bother with them because they took up so much space in the bag (and I wasn’t seeing any that immediately screamed my name.)
  • then onto the pants because they didn’t seem to have as much in my size range as other sizes. I wanted to pick over them before other people.
    1. I picked out anything I thought I might like and held it
    2. reviewed them on the hangers
    3. put anything back I thought would flat out not fit or really wasn’t quite what I had thought it was at first glance
    4. removed the tags to put in the pink plastic bags on the walls per the employees instructions
    5. removed the garment from the hanger and neatly folded it and placed in the bag.
  • then onto the tops and repeat steps 1-5 for both large and medium tops (they had a variety of brands so I look through both because some brands run small and some brands don’t.)
  • then I still had some space left in the bag so I glanced at the shoes again, not seeing anything in my size, and headed off to the room with the jackets and coats. Since jackets and coats take up a lot of space and because they can be tried on over things I went ahead and tried on quite a few but there were still no mirrors so I held onto those I wasn’t sure of until I was done and repeated steps 1-5 again. The blue coat had gone immediately into my bag after being tried on.
  • Bag is full, pay my $20 cash and leave happy. I know I at least have a new coat. 🙂

My favorites of the bunch are a vibrant UK blue coat, a Ralph Lauren grey shawl collar sweater, and the fact I actually have three new pairs of bottoms.

Have you ever participated in a bag sale? What did you think and is it common for them to not have dressing rooms? Do you have a plan of action going in in order to get the best deals?