My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothing

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes - The Well Dressed Life

Updated 2019: This article was originally posted last year. If you have recently completed or are working through our Wardrobe Challenge in our Private Facebook group you likely have things you need to get rid of.  Lauren wrote a comprehensive roundup of all of your options, including various ways to resell, how to ethically donate and your best options to recycle.  Links have been updated.  

Are you working through the 4 Weeks to a Better Wardrobe Series? If so, no doubt you will end up with a pile of clothes that you need to get out of your closet. I’m guilty of hanging onto clothes because they were expensive or still are in great condition and it breaks my heart to part with them.

Should you consign, donate, or recycle these pieces that you have determined no longer fit into your new and improved wardrobe?

Consign

Poshmark

I am a huge fan of Poshmark, which is an online consignment app.

To create a listing, you snap pictures of your clothes, fill in appropriate details like brand, size, original purchase price, and a short description, and then name your price. Typically, items are listed at least a 50% discount from the original purchase price.

To date, I have sold just over $1,000 worth of clothes, shoes, and accessories from my closet, which has put a bit of money in my pocket and helped to fund newer pieces for my wardrobe.

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes

However, using Poshmark to sell your clothes does require a bit of work and finesse. Here are my best tips to get your items sold quickly:

Be Social.

Ultimately, Poshmark is a social network and you need to be an active participant in order to get your closet seen. As soon as you join Poshmark, other Poshers will start to follow you. Follow them back.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t have the same taste as you or wear the same size as you.

The point is that you want as many eyeballs on your closet as possible. I shouldn’t admit this, but I have gone on “follow sprees” after I put my daughter to sleep. Just go throught the app and follow as many people as possible.

What a way to spend my “me” time!

Picture quality matters.

You should upload many different pictures of the same item. Take a picture of the item folded or hung neatly.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dress form, use it! Take a close up picture so the texture and color is apparent. Can you find the original photo of the item online from the brand’s website? Great! Add that too. If you have a nice picture of you wearing the item, you can add it as well.

Share. Share. Share.

Some Poshers have hundreds of thousands of followers, which means that your items will have high visibility if they are shared. If you share from their closet, they will return the favor.

Also, you will receive notifications of themed “parties.” If you have items that follow the theme, share them to that party! Brand aficionados might be hunting for that exact J. Crew sweater from your closet from two seasons ago.

Ship quickly and package your items nicely.

Stock up on free boxes from USPS so you’re not searching for a box when the time comes. Print out the prepaid shipping label, wrap the item in tissue paper, and jot down a quick thank you on an inexpensive note card.

You’ll get high ratings for good customer service, which can help to attract more buyers.

Bags, Shoes, and Accessories sell the best.

Brands like Lululemon, J. Crew, Kate Spade, and Lilly Pulitzer also sell particularly well.

Bonus! I have to admit that while I’m selling, I do a bit of shopping too. Have you ever regretted that you didn’t get something or it sold out before you could grab your size?

Yes, me too. Hunt for it on Poshmark! I am obsessed with these Franco Sarto sandals that I picked up at DSW a few years ago. By the time I realized how amazing they were, they were completely sold out. Poshmark to the rescue!

Not only do I have a backup of the color I love for when they wear out, but I also grabbed other colors. And I got them for about $12 each.

Like I said, Poshmark requires a bit of work, but you can make a darn good amount of money for your beloved items.

ThredUp

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes

Another option is ThredUp. If you are short on time and you want these clothes out of your house now but still want to make a little bit of money, ThredUp is for you.

From their website, you order a bag, which includes a pre-paid shipping label. You can either choose to pay a $10 processing fee to have your bag processed quickly, or you can opt for a free bag, which can take several weeks to process.

But the process could not be easier. You fill the bag and drop it off at the post office and then…wait. ThredUp inspects your items, takes the pictures, lists it, sells it, and ships it. They notify you when your item is sold. Voila!

So why do I go through the trouble of Poshmark instead this super easy service? Because with ThredUp you earn a fraction of what you earn with Poshmark. For example, you might earn about $4 on ThredUp for a J.Crew Sweater, but about $20 on Poshmark. So it’s up to you whether a bigger payout or ease of use is more important to you.

Donate

If I’ve completely scared you from consigning, you may want to opt for donating, with or without a tax deduction credit. I have gone this route as well; sometimes things just need to go.

My go-to charitable organization for clothing donations is Goodwill. The charity has an A rating on Charitywatch, and I personally like their mission. Be careful of the donation boxes in shopping center and gas station parking lots! Some (but not all) are for-profit and some of the organizations that own the boxes have questionable backgrounds, so make sure you are choosing one you feel good about.

Some retail stores will give you discounts or rewards for donating clothes. H&M will give you 15% off a future purchase, J.Crew will give you $20 towards a pair of jeans in exchange for your old pair, and Levi’s will handle your Goodwill donation for you and will give you 20% off a future item purchase.

Recycle

If an item is too worn for consignment or donation, it can be recycled. Check to see if your town has a nearby textile recycling center. You can also recycle items using Planet Aid’s donation boxes; they repurpose and sell the textiles, while using the profits for good causes like Teacher Training, Child Aid, and Farmers’ Clubs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Hopefully, there’s a solution here for you that will ease the pain of letting go of your beloved pieces of clothing, help fund your new wardrobe purchases, or gain you some good karma points.

Need to catch up on our style challenge?  Follow the links below and go at your own pace.

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

How to Use Stitch Fix

How to Use Stitch Fix

I spent ten years as a personal stylist, schlepping up and down the east coast to work with clients. During busy seasons, I practically lived in the private dressing rooms at Nordstrom. Season after season, I knew every piece of inventory in almost every store.

By the time I stopped working with clients, I was pretty burned out, and if I never had to see the inside of a mall again, it would be too soon.

What are you supposed to do when you hate to shop, don’t want to go to the mall, but still need clothes?

Enter Stitch Fix, the subscription box service that sends a curated selection of clothing to your front door.

I’m often asked how to use Stitch Fix and if it’s worth it. As someone who built a business helping women get dressed, I think Stitch Fix is genius.

Is it a perfect service? No, but you can get a lot out of it, depending on your needs. Over the years, they’ve done much to improve, including expanding their merchandise to include plus and maternity sizes and offer men’s clothing. (I would have been all over this when I was expecting.)

How to Use Stitch Fix

How to Use Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix allows you to work with a personal stylist and receive a customized selection of clothes and accessories every few weeks. You can choose how frequently you want your “fix” to be delivered. Every time you schedule a fix you pay a $20 styling fee which can be used for whatever you decide to purchase.

If you chose not to make a purchase, you would lose the $20 – more on that later. From a pricing perspective, it’s a fantastic value compared to what you would pay to work with a personal stylist.

Note: It’s not the same as working one-on-one with a professional, more like having a relationship with a sales professional at your favorite store.

Once you create an account, you’ll fill out a fairly comprehensive style profile.  Be sure to take the time to provide all of your information, from your size and budget to notes about your lifestyle. The best part is that you can convey your style preferences to your stylist by choosing from a selection of images, designed to help create a visual around your tastes.

I started using the service about two years ago, I stopped for a bit, and picked back up right before the holidays. My wardrobe is split into three categories: professional, activewear and casual.

Since my professional work is pretty vanilla, I keep it simple and classic. A few dresses and suits with heels and I’m good to go. Because I hit the gym and workout classes regularly, I have a lot of activewear – almost all black because I don’t want to think about what I’m wearing and also I don’t care.

The real struggle is in my casual wardrobe. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they are blowing through their casual pieces? I’m always replacing jeans and better basics, so those fun and trendy pieces are the last things on my list. Stitch Fix has helped fill that void.

Below are my tips if you are thinking about giving Stitch Fix a try (THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST:

Figure out what you need
Before you shop anywhere, make sure you have a good idea of what you like, what you have and what you need. Our 4 Weeks to a Better Wardrobe series (part 1, 2, 3, 4) walks you through a detailed process of defining your style and organizing your wardrobe.

You’ll be able to see what you’re missing, come up with a list and share it with your stylist.  I use it primarily for casual pieces to wear on the weekend, drinks with friends, or weekly dates with Bri.  If you need pieces for work, or special occasions, it works just as well.

Communicate with your stylist
Take advantage of your ability to correspond with your stylist, doing so makes all the difference in the world. You’ll have an opportunity to write to them before and after each order. When you receive an order, let them know what worked, and more important, what didn’t and why. Before an order, you can tell them if you are looking for something specific.

Additionally, you can connect with them on social media and share your Pinterest boards. Sharing photos is always the most helpful way to convey your style.

Try on everything
Try every item you receive on, or you might miss out on something great. A few months back I received these Liverpool black pants. I didn’t think they would fit or that I needed another pair of black pants, so I threw them back in the box. At the last minute, I pulled them out and tried them on. Thank goodness I did because they are one of my most favorite pairs of pants and (yay!) have amazing fit.

Only keep what you love
Trust me when I tell you that you will be tempted to keep something. Early on, I kept a lot because it fit well, not because I loved it. Now, my Poshmark shop has a few barely worn pieces for sale. As much as something fitting well feels amazing, avoid the temptation to keep it unless you L.O.V.E it.

Don’t fall into this trap 
You’ll pay a $20 styling fee for each fix. If you make a purchase, your fee is applied to the purchase of the item. If you send everything back, you lose your fee. I’m pretty sure every box has something that costs $36 – $42, like an accessory or scarf, just so you say, “Well, it’s only $16 more!”

I can’t tell you how many times I kept a dumb scarf, which I didn’t like, only because I was going to spend $20 anyway. Instead, if you don’t love your fix, send everything back, pay the $20, work with your stylist to get pieces worth buying and keep the junk out of your closet.

Give it time
Have some patience with the service. My first order back was great. I took the time to update my style profile and wrote my stylist that I was looking for better casual separates to dress up or down for the holidays. I loved everything she sent. Because I kept all five pieces, I received a 25% discount on the order.

My most recent order was ok. I wasn’t crazy about a few of the pieces, and didn’t need others, but did end up with a new pair of jeans for the spring. I figure, just like when you stop in a store, not everything is going to blow your mind all the time. I also don’t need to always be spending.

Overall, I’m delighted with the service. If you are looking for casual, easy, well-priced pieces to update your wardrobe, and hate to shop, give it a try.

This post is NOT sponsored.