Spring cleaning, fall cleaning, winter cleaning: There's no bad time to purge your closet of the things you no longer wear and try and make a few extra bucks by hauling them off to the nearest Buffalo Exchange or Beacon's Closet. Before you run down to your local secondhand shop to trade your crop tops for a pile of Scrooge McDuck gold coins, however, there are a few tricks to selling clothes at consignment stores that you'll want to have in your back pocket.
Parting with beloved clothing items is never an easy thing to do and baring your closet to discerning employees can make you feel a little vulnerable. "What's wrong with my ankle boots?" you think as they place them in what's clearly the "pass" pile. "I wore that printed button down to work all the time," you defensively think. Well, it is probably super cute, but consignment stores are looking for some pretty specific things to maximize their sales.
Racked spoke with New York City Buffalo Exchange manager Justin Goellner, Katrina Feil from Beacon's Closet, and Crossroads' buyer Jake Biddlecome to find out how to make the most cash off of your former treasures. Whether you're trying to stockpile credit or get some cash for your cell phone bill, here's what you need to know when trying to clear your closet and freshen your wardrobe:
1. Study Up On Where You're Selling To
Buffalo Exhange turns down fast-fashion brands, but Crossroads will likely take really current pieces from places like Forever 21. Stores are also likely to carry more of the types of things that do well with that particular neighborhood's clientele, like Crossroads Brooklyn's penchant towards "street fashion." Do a little research by checking the shop out to see what type of stuff it carries to determine if it's the right place for your treasures.
2. Online-Only Items Sell Fast
Stuck with an item that didn't fit and can't return it? "We capitalize on that because pieces from a store like ASOS might not be better quality than pieces from other stores, but they are definitely fast-sellers," said Feil.
3. Make Sure It's In Season
Buffalo Exchange only keeps items on the sales floor for a month, so they're definitely not going to be buying your sweaters in June or your sundresses in December. Make sure you're selling items that make sense for the current weather.
4. Your Items Shouldn't Be Falling Apart
Pilled sweaters, beat up shoes, and faded tops: Not going to get you very far in resale. "People think, ‘Oh, I can get money for my old clothes!’" Goellner told Racked. "They aren’t thinking that if it's all stuff they would just donate, we aren’t going to buy it."
5. How Long Ago Did You Buy It?
"If you bought a good piece, wore it twice, and aren’t sure if you’re going to wear it again, just sell it back quickly! Don’t hold it," Goellner said. When shops are buying and selling for a season while it's actually happening, you're not going to want to sit on items for too long if you're planning on getting some money back for them.
Follow these tips and you too could be consigning like Abbi and Ilana.