Cleaning Out Closets for Cash: The Conscious Consumer Recirculating Clothes
Did you know that the United States generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year? That’s about 82 pounds per resident, of that 15% is donated or recycled and 85% goes to our landfills. That adds up to more than 5.2% of all municipal solid waste generated in the U.S.
If you are anything like me, all this new free time has led to cleaning out your closet, and chances are you are trying to eliminate wasteful habits, which includes being more mindful of what we do with clothes we no longer want.
If you want to make some cash and help save the earth, here are a few tips and tricks to know before you get started!
There are dozens of websites where you can sell your clothes and every service attracts a slightly different market. Depop is great for unique and vintage clothing, The RealReal specializes in luxury merchandise whereas Facebook marketplace, Poshmark, and Mercari are generally consignment outlets.
Certain brands are going to perform better than others, depending on the site. Do your research and see what people are selling on your outlet of choice to make sure your clothing fits that marketplace.
Wrinkled, stained and scuffed items aren’t going to sell well. Make sure you wash and iron your clothes and polish jewelry, shoes, and handbags before listing them. You want to make sure your items are shown in their best possible condition. Avoid plastic hangers, wood one look great! You wouldn’t buy wrinkled clothes, so why would anyone else?
High-quality, well-styled pictures will help your items sell, and you will stand out in a pile of dark iPhone photos, all you need is a few lamps.
Lay your item down on a naturally lit, plain, flat surface. Arrange some light sources at different angles to help eliminate shadows and then snap your pictures. Make sure you are capturing the front, back and any details that may be appealing. Want to go a step further? Show the item styled with other pieces to give buyers a better idea of what they are shopping for.
Looking for some inspiration on how to best photograph? Pinterest, Googling flat lay ideas, boutiques on Instagram and even other sellers are great sources!
Let buyers know everything, but keep it brief. Details on size, brand, condition, and fit should always be included. Details on if the fabric is heavy or has stretch, where pants sit on the hips or the metal content of jewelry are all important information. Think about the questions you would ask when shopping and make sure those details are included! If your item has defects or general wear and tear, be honest and make sure it is included in your photographs. It helps protect you and lets customers know upfront what they are getting.
Do your research, it will help you find the sweet spot for pricing. Shoppers are looking for a deal, and unless it is a rare or one of a kind item you will be selling below what you bought it for. You should look up similar items and see what people are selling for, you may be surprised!
There are fees associated with doing this, and it varies based on the app. Consider that when pricing your item.
Be responsive! Make sure you are checking your notifications and be ready to answer questions or interest ASAP.
When it comes time to ship, remember that this can eat your profits. Get a proper estimate of your shopping costs before you put an item up for sale, flat rate shipping is best but not all items will fit, so price accordingly.
This can take a lot of time. Working in batches will be your friend! Set aside a few hours to take pictures of everything, write all your titles and descriptions, and upload them in one go, instead of periodically uploading a few items.
The first sales are always the hardest but once you get familiar with the process and customers you will be able to make money in no time!
Alexandra Larsen, Social Media Content Specialist