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How to purge your closet and make some money

by SARAH WELCH, on April 10, 2013 10:50 AM

It’s time.

Time to purge your closet (and your kids’ closets) of all those clothes that simply aren’t worn anymore. However, rather than doing the usual closet whip-through and then dropping off an overstuffed garbage bag of clothes at Goodwill or another charity, consider an option that will both streamline your closet and improve your finances: Selling items on consignment.

Worried that it would take too much work? Think again. Here’s what you need to know to unlock the liquidity hiding in rarely worn frocks.


Sort into three piles

Pile 1 is for the clothes you want to keep. Pile 2 is for well-worn items that you will either give to charity or, if beyond repair, toss. And pile 3 is for pieces in good condition that you think others would find appealing. (Hint: Designer clothes always do well at consignment stores.)

Review items with a highly critical eye

Being honest with yourself about the condition of clothing will save time in the end, as the staff at the consignment store is going to be doing the same. It will also make a good first impression if you bring in items that are in pretty decent condition.

Get familiar with consignment stores

Depending on the type of items you’re looking to sell (such as women’s, children’s, etc.), a consignment store that focuses on a particular clientele might pay more for what you have. It is also more likely to sell your clothes, as they bring in the right kind of customers for those items.

Visit the consignment store

It’s always a good idea to check out the store (or stores) you’re thinking about working with. When you stop in, pay attention to the prices and try to get a feel for what sells well. If you can, talk to employees, as they know what sells and the proper pricing for what you have to offer.

Ask questions

It’s important to understand what is required of and owed to you as a seller. Know what percentage of the sale price you will receive, and find out what fees you’re responsible for. Also, keep track of the items up for sale, and cross them off your list as each one finds a buyer.


Mark your calendar

Keep track of when the selling period is going to end, and be ready to pick up the items that don’t sell.


Be season-savvy

Though it’s tempting to try and sell bulky winter clothing right now, it’s actually the perfect time to bring in spring and summer items, as that’s exactly what will be in demand now. Wait until autumn to bring in fall and winter items.

o o o

I’m curious. How many of you have ever sold (or bought) clothes on consignment? How much money do you make in a season? If you’ve never done it before, what’s stopping you?


Sarah Welch is a co-founder of Buttoned Up Inc., a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized. Please send ideas and questions to or visit

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