8 Things You Need To Know Before You Start Selling Your Clothes Online

clothes

As I attempted to “put away” the fresh load of laundry sitting on my bedroom floor the other morning, I realized I was doing a lot more stuffing, shoving, and pushing than I was neatly folding or hanging. You see, my closet and dresser drawers were so full of clothes that it was becoming increasingly difficult to see what I even owned anymore. There was a black Calvin Klein dress which I wore once, sandwiched in-between a sequined top and a forgotten pair of work pants that were haphazardly arranged on a hanger, and in danger of falling to the floor. As I stood there violently propping the door open, I had a fleeting thought that I should remove the doors altogether. After all, it would make the situation less stressful as it would be one less layer to deal with, and provide more space for all my stuff! That’s when I knew I had truly reached Max Closet Capacity and was in need of a purge. I proceeded to take all the items off the hangers and sift through them with a discerning eye.

Although some items in my closet have exhausted their lives (read: have holes in them), it didn’t mean that everything I purged should have been tossed into the garbage. Clothes that were in decent condition and well-kept were either donated, gifted to family or friends, or (my favorite option) ~sOLD oNLinE fOr cAsH~. Although sellers (like me) who are looking to get rid of unwanted clothing items can use eBay, the site does require a fair amount of effort. Below are eight tips to help you make the most money from selling your items online, from purge to paycheck. Also, be sure to check out eBay’s university learning center if you’re a first-time seller.


1. Purge your closet and drawers.
If you, like me, are having difficulty navigating the insides of your closet, it’s time for a closet purge. Life is too short to have to toss aside shoes while looking for an item buried beneath a crusty layer of forgotten socks, pants, and trendy tops. Follow my lead, tackle it on a Saturday morning, and be sure NOT to leave the room until the task is complete. Make three piles of clothes: a pile for donating, a pile for keeping, and a pile for reselling.

2. Clean/iron everything.
It’s essential that clothing is clean and tidy before you post a photo of it online. If you upload a photo of a wrinkled item, a potential buyer can surmise that you don’t take good enough care of your clothing, and might think twice about purchasing from you. Although cleaning and ironing are time-consuming activities, you can tackle it in an afternoon and watch a show on Netflix while you’re go about your business. Never underestimate the power of ironed, fresh looking clothes.

3. Take time to photograph items well.
You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera and Photoshop to produce great photos. As long as you have natural light, a white (or as light as you can get it) background upon which to shoot the clothing, you are good to go. It’s best to photograph everything all at once so that the lighting is consistent across all the photos you upload. Consistency provides an air of professionalism and trustworthiness.

4. Lightly edit.
Use phone editing apps like VSCO CamAfterlight, and Snapseed which are great ways to edit photos on-the-go. However, be sure not to push filters or enhancements beyond what looks natural. You want to avoid skewing the color of the item you’re selling, which could confuse and turn off potential buyers.

5. Do your pricing research.
Make sure you price items fairly and accurately. Go online and research what items are comparable to yours and what they are selling for, in order to get the most accurate data.

6. Provide short, clear descriptions.
Simply state what the items is, the color and size, any areas that might have “wear and tear,” and be sure to call out any stains or spots on the item. You want to be honest about what someone can expect when they receive an item so you don’t run into trouble with a disgruntled buyer, who might leave a scathing review.

7. Ship out quickly.
This is key! It’s essential that buyers have items in hand as quickly as possible after they have made a purchase. To save on shipping costs, use old packaging materials. You should also include a tracking number on all shipments, which you can enter into the tracking information section within your eBay account.

8. Handle customer service with grace.
Always be kind to customers and answer questions promptly and thoroughly. The relationships you forge with your clients are essential if you want to become a trusted seller that people return back to.

Hopefully, all goes well and you’ll be making cash in no time! If eBay is not your ideal selling situation (and I recognize that it is a lot of work for busy individuals) be sure to check out these fantastic alternatives below!

Snobswap

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.55.27 AM

While you can still buy and sell in the traditional way on SnobSwap, there is also a “swap” feature that allows you to simply trade one item for another.

The RealReal

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.56.09 AM

On RealReal, merchandise is authenticated before it can be offered up for purchase. Sellers get to keep up to 70% of the sale price, and items are generally turned around quickly.

ThredUp

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.56.57 AM

ThredUp sends you a bag, you fill it up with clothes, and you return the bag without having to pay shipping costs. Since it’s an easier process, the seller gets less of the cut of the final sale. However, this site is ideal for busy working girls who don’t have time to photograph everything, upload, and watch a bidding war go down.

Vaunte

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.57.14 AM

Although you can only sell items that are on their approved Brand List, Vaunte allows you to sell directly with other members and unload your classiest brand-name items for a very good price.

Tradesy

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.57.31 AM

The great thing about Tradesy is that the site only take a 9% commission from the final sale, AND they provide perks to make your life easier. They enhance your photos for you and when you have sold an item, they send you a “pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping kit, complete with beautiful packaging.” Pretty neat!

Twice

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.10.00 AM

A great resell option for more casual brands like JCrew, Gap, Express, etc. You can request a free mailing bag with free shipping to send your stuff in. They also pay you up front so you don’t have to wait to sell your items. However, if you don’t like their offer you can “decline” it and have your clothes shipped back to you (but it will cost a $4.95 shipping fee, womp womb.)

Now go forth, sell and reap the extra money that is rightfully yours!

Image via Emily May on Flickr.

  • Agh, I love this article! I am obsessed with ThredUp. But the cut it alot smaller; defs gotta check out these other sites too.

  • Shamira West

    love this article! I just finished reading the “life changing magic of declutting and tidying” by Mari Kondo. I did a HUGE clothes purge and was going to send my stuff to Buffalo exchange, but this sounds way better!!

    • Lauren

      Thanks Shamira!

  • Alf

    Great advice in this blog, thanks.

  • Kristine Barry

    I use Tradesy + I LOVE it! So so simple! Thanks for the other ideas!

    • Lauren

      =)

  • Joy Smith

    This is a great article for beginners – I have used many of these pointers for a long time, and have had great success with them!

  • I am glad you have mentioned only the important things here with brief descriptions. Its not so difficult task to do, just need to follow the guidelines accordingly.

  • I am going to start new web shop with cloth selling this blog is very helpful to me. Many thanks for your authentic ideas.